On October 27, the day after the Autumn Grand Service, Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association held its 87th Convention in the Inner Courtyard of Church Headquarters. Some 12,000 participants including association members from both within the country and from overseas assembled to attend the convention.
On the convention day, the Home of the Parent was blessed with balmy weather and clear skies. Groups of association members, who began assembling around 8:30 a.m., filled the benches that had been set up in the Inner Courtyard.
Shortly after 10:00 a.m., the Shinbashira, who also serves as the president of the Young Men’s Association, escorted the former Shinbashira, Women’s Association President Harue Nakayama, and other distinguished guests into the Inner Courtyard to the accompaniment of music provided by Tenri High School Brass Band.
The convention started with a moment of prayer. After the hoisting of the association flag and the opening declaration, the participants sang the Eight Verses of the Yorozuyo in unison. Association Vice Chairman Nobuhiro Kashihara then presented the progress report on the activities of the previous year. In the report, Chairman Kashihara mentioned the fact that, in the wake of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, the Young Men’s Association Headquarters dispatched its Disaster Relief Hinokishin Corps 11 times, resulting in the participation of a total of 183 members. In addition, he said, a number of directly supervised chapters as well as diocese and district chapters organized groups of members to contribute to the relief activities in the affected regions.
The Shinbashira then took the podium to deliver his address. He started off by saying that many people had been afflicted by natural disasters such as the March 11 earthquake and tsunami this year. He then said: “These people must have been suffering both physically and emotionally. As for those of us who were not directly afflicted by the disasters, we should keep those people in our minds and reflect upon ourselves critically while trying to make any necessary corrections to the orientation of our minds. Hoping that those who began taking steps toward restoration in the midst of various difficulties may receive the blessings they wish for as soon as they can, we must seek after Oyasama’s mind, which is focused on single-hearted salvation, and earnestly follow the path in unity of mind.” He then asked the association members to further dedicate their sincerity in fulfilling their respective roles and positions.
After briefly reflecting upon the history of the association, which was founded in 1918, he said that the association is promoting its guidelines “Develop Faith and Spread the Teachings in Single-heartedness with God” based on its fundamental spirit to seek the path and spread the teachings in the course of daily life—the spirit that has been passed down to today’s association members ever since the association’s inception. He continued: “Seeking the path and spreading the teachings are like the two sides of the same coin. While seeking to base yourselves on the teachings of Oyasama, you try to reflect to the world the joy of following the path that Oyasama taught to us. By doing so, you are fulfilling your role as Arakitoryo.”
To illustrate this point, he spoke about the Oyasato Construction Young Men’s Association Hinokishin Corps. The corps, he said, provides its participants with an opportunity to engage in hinokishin activities. Moreover, through various training activities, these participants are able to work on their minds by deepening their understanding of the teachings, cultivate firm faith in the teachings, and build up their motivation for working toward world salvation. He added that, through engaging in the construction process, it is important for the association members to make efforts to come closer to the Parent’s mind even little by little, thereby trying to live in accord with God’s intention.
In explaining what constitutes the Joyous Life World so desired by God the Parent, he quoted a Divine Direction that says: “Only when your joy brings joy to others, can it be called true joy. If you enjoy yourselves while causing others to suffer, this cannot be called true joy (Osashizu, December 11, 1897). He went on to say: “The way of living where one tries to bring delight to others and make others spirited, giving priority to the joy of helping others, may seem to go against common sense. People may think that such a way of living is unprofitable, irrational, and too naive. Moreover, it is indeed difficult to always maintain joy in all circumstances.” He then added, “Fortunately, we have Oyasama’s Divine Model to help us reflect upon ourselves and clear our doubts, enabling us to follow the path of faith with courage and confidence.”
Next, he stated that the path of Oyasama’s Divine Model is also the path of single-heartedness with God and explained that the spirit of single-heartedness with God refers to the way of thinking in which people try to base all their thoughts on Oyasama’s teachings. He then told the listeners: “Thus, the spirit of single-heartedness with God is not limited to the people who work solely for the path. People of any social stratum or of any occupation can lead their lives in single-heartedness with God, solely depending on their way of thinking. . . . If you try to fully enjoy life that is given by God and base all your thoughts on the teachings in order to bring yourselves into accord with God’s intention, then you are living in the spirit of single-heartedness with God.”
Further, he cited a Divine Direction that says, “I shall fully provide for you in every matter if you go on the path of single-heartedness with God while maintaining a mind that effortlessly makes the world feel that you provide a convincing example through the way you lead your life” (Osashizu, May 6, 1890). He then talked about how Oyasama left an exemplary model of a joyous life for one and all by personally following the path that accords with God the Parent’s intention, how people who were close to Her went through the depths of poverty along with Oyasama while maintaining firm faith, and how other predecessors of the path have struggled between the intention of God and human sentiment at first but eventually managed to discard their human thinking and brought themselves into accord with Oyasama’s intention. He continued: “We can learn from them how we can determine our mind in the spirit of single-heartedness with God, for they give us a good example of how we should live each day as befits the ones who are taught by Oyasama. At the same time, we are also taught that following Oyasama’s path resolutely will allow us to open the path whereby we can effortlessly convince others, making the truth self-apparent to them.” Moreover, after quoting passages from the Book of the Besseki and from the Divine Directions, he instructed the listeners by saying: “The way we live each day based entirely on true sincerity will reach and move the minds of other people. We are taught that joy and elation will only well up from the bottom of their heart if we make tireless efforts to implement the teachings in daily life based solely on sincerity.”
In concluding his address, the Shinbashira encouraged the followers by saying: “The path we are following is not a path where a human being saves other human beings. It is God the Parent and Oyasama who bring us salvation. . . . It is my hope that you will settle in your hearts Oyasama’s parental love . . . and that you will follow the single path of true salvation toward the Joyous Life. I hope you will be single-hearted in following the path in accord with God’s intention while maintaining enthusiasm and passion as befits Arakitoryo, pioneers of the path.”
In response to the Shinbashira’s address, Honshiba Chapter Chairman Masao Kamioka made a pledge on behalf of all association members. To close the convention, the members recited the Guiding Principles of Arakitoryo and then joined together in singing the Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association Song.