As a sequel to his talk on the future course of the path delivered on August 27, 2020, Rev. Nakata shared his thoughts in the interview.
The Future Course of the Path—Let Us Start Afresh to Ensure that Our Churches Are Truly Focused on Single-hearted Salvation
—Could you tell us what you are thinking about now as Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs?
The world is in a state of confusion now due to the novel coronavirus. As for those of us who are followers of the path, we have over the past few years been facing difficult knots including the knot of the Kanrodai and that of the Shinbashira’s illness, all of which are urging us to ponder deeply. It seems to me that there is definitely an intention of God behind this global confusion caused by the novel coronavirus.
In light of the current situation, we should reflect on our past and examine where we have fallen short and, basing ourselves on that reflection, follow the path with fresh minds as if we were to start afresh.
As we look at our churches and reflect on our faith, we should ask ourselves whether or not our practice of faith, which we believed to be appropriate, was indeed so. We might have forgotten something important. I think there are many things to reflect on. We must firmly grasp the current state of the path and begin performing our tasks with a strong sense of urgency as if the entire Tenrikyo community is making a fresh start in unity of mind.
—What exactly are your thoughts on the fresh start?
In the path, we are taught by Oyasama “to save others.” The path by which we implement that instruction is the path of single-hearted salvation, which is the path we should follow. This point has not changed and will not change in the future. However, I think the opportunities to engage in salvation work are decreasing now. It is important to create more opportunities to help save others. In order to do so, it is crucial to increase the number of people who can engage in salvation work. There are many people in this world who are in difficult situations, who are sick and helpless, and who are suffering. It is important to pay close attention to these people as we carry out our tasks.
As for a time frame, I recently mentioned that as we move toward the 150th Anniversary of Oyasama, which will be observed in 15 years, we should each consider what we would like to achieve and make efforts to accomplish that. These efforts also must be done with the focus on salvation work.
—When people hear “15 years from now,” some of them may feel that they are not involved. What do you think of this point?
I understand that very well. Since I am getting old, too, I am not sure if I will be healthy enough to work in 15 years. However, how we will be in the future is not important. The important thing is how the churches entrusted to us will be in 15 years. What I am asking everyone to do here is to think about and envision what we would like our churches to look like in 15 years. Setting our sights on realizing the future that we envision, we need to exert our utmost efforts over the next 15 years.
I also would like church head ministers to share that future vision of their churches with their family members and followers so that they can aim at and work toward the same goal in high spirits. Taking a leadership role in this regard is an important task of church head ministers.