On March 28, a total of 4,522 high school and college students gathered in the Home of the Parent to participate in the Students’ Spring Pilgrimage to Jiba, sponsored by Tenrikyo Students Association with the support of Student Advisory Committee.
The convention started at nine o’clock in the Inner Courtyard. It was honored by the presence of the Shinbashira, the former Shinbashira, and Women’s Association President Masa Nakayama and Vice President Harue Nakayama. After the participants sang the Yorozuyo, Shokichi Nakayama, chairman of Tenrikyo Students Association, spoke to the students. He said: “Let us settle the Shinbashira’s intention in our minds and grow into Yoboku who can shoulder the task of world salvation. Let us regard the present time as precious and do the actual work we ought to do in this season.”
The Shinbashira then took the podium to deliver an address. He explained the truth of “a thing lent, a thing borrowed” in a way that was easy for the students to understand. He said, “To make repayment for the blessings we receive, it is important that our steps on the path bring joy to God the Parent.” He closed his address with the words, “I should like all of you to take the initiative in putting the teachings into practice without forgetting to thank God the Parent for the blessings you receive.”
Following the Shinbashira’s address, Yoshitaka Takeshita, who will be appointed chairman for the next term starting in April, expressed his resolution. He said, “Motivated by this joy we feel at returning to Jiba with our friends, we will strive to grow spiritually and meet Oyasama’s wishes.” After the participants sang “Let’s Go Back Together,” the theme song for the event, three members made speeches on the association’s Three Pledges for Spiritual Growth: “Let us thank God the Parent for being kept alive,” “Let us spread the wonderfulness of the teachings to others,” and “Let us take it upon ourselves to visit our churches.”
Following the convention, 448 students, including 160 first-timers, attended the Besseki lecture, and the rest participated in activities organized by their directly supervised churches. After the evening service, the “Spring Festival” was held on both sides of the South Gate, enabling participants to enjoy food and drinks served at 76 booths as well as a variety of entertainment provided on stages although it ended early because of a thunderstorm.