The High School Division of the Students Training Course was conducted between August 9 and 15 at the Home of the Parent, drawing 1,613 students not only from all parts of Japan but also from Canada. This annual one-week course is designed to enable students to learn the teachings together, share their experiences in faith with one another, and cultivate friendship through boarding at dormitories.
This year’s course took place against a backdrop of heinous juvenile crimes committed by high school students, which have called into question the sort of education that is being provided for this generation. In addition to giving guidance to successors of the path, the Students Training Course has expanded its role to provide an opportunity for troubled youngsters to come into touch with the teachings and work out their salvation.
The students were divided into groups according to their grade and the number of times they had participated in the course. In addition to attending the morning and evening services each day, the students listened to lectures, practiced the dance and musical instruments for the service, and dedicated themselves in efforts of hinokishin, or selfless and thankful action. After the evening service, such activities as “Faith Discussion Groups” and “Indoor Olympics” were held in the dormitories.
First-time participants discussed the current social problem of juvenile crime in a mock televised broadcast called “Talk in Doyusha.”
Second-time participants walked the 30 kilometers between the Home of the Parent and Osaka, crossing the Jusan Pass. This trek was designed to provide the participants with a chance to experience what Kokan, Oyasama’s youngest daughter, might have gone through when crossing the same pass to spread the name of God in Osaka at the age of 17.
Third-time participants performed the dance to the Yorozuyo and the Twelve Songs in front of the South Gate of Church Headquarters to express their gratitude for the blessings that had enabled them to participate in the course three times.
On the 15th, all the students assembled for the closing ceremony, in which Tenrikyo Students Advisory Committee Chairman Tadahiro Fukaya delivered an address asking the students to put into practice what they had learned in this course.