The Autumn Grand Service for the 184th year of the Teaching was performed in the Main Sanctuary on October 26 with Successor-Designate Daisuke Nakayama serving as chief officiant on behalf of the Shinbashira. The Grand Service commemorates the Teaching’s day of origin in 1838, when God the Parent became openly revealed in the world and Oyasama was settled as the Shrine of Tsukihi.
On the day of the Service, the Home of the Parent was blessed with clear autumn skies after the previous day’s rain. Shortly before 8:00 a.m.—the hour at which Oyasama was settled as the Shrine of Tsukihi—Successor-Designate Daisuke Nakayama left the Staff Quarters with other Service performers for the Foundress’ Sanctuary and the Memorial Hall to pay their respects before proceeding to the Main Sanctuary. The Shinbashira paid his respects to God the Parent at the South Worship Hall together with the performers and worshipers.
In the Service prayer, Rev. Daisuke Nakayama expressed gratitude to God the Parent—who became openly revealed by settling Oyasama as the Shrine upon the arrival of the Promised Time—for disclosing the origin of everything and guiding us along this path with unchanging parental love.
He also said: “On this auspicious day today, all of us followers will once again take to heart the purpose of the founding of the Teaching as we see various troubles being shown one after another in the current world. We are determined to move forward toward world salvation with our minds in unison while relying on the fifty-year Divine Model of Oyasama.”
The prayer was followed by the joyous performance of the Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements. Following the Service, Director-in-Chief of Religious Affairs Yoichiro Miyamori delivered the sermon.
Rev. Miyamori began his sermon by mentioning that, despite the pandemic, he saw new sprouts of faith appearing this year even if they might seem small, referring to families’ pilgrimages to Jiba and hinokishin. He said, “We should cherish these sprouts of faith.”
Continuing, he pointed out that the path of the Divine Model was consistently “a path that urged us to settle our minds and make a resolution.” Even though the contents of our resolutions may be different from one another, “I believe that we can grow spiritually by making our own resolutions every time we encounter challenges and knots,” said Rev. Miyamori.
He then went on to make remarks based on the history of the construction of the Place for the Service. Referring to the event where Izo Iburi offered to build a shrine for God the Parent, Rev. Miyamori quoted the following responses by Oyasama: “There is no need for a shrine. Start building something small.” “It is to be one square tsubo. This structure of one square tsubo is not for human habitation.” “Additions can be made depending on your minds.”
Rev. Miyamori said that these words of Oyasama contain something important for followers of the path. He explained where our minds should be centered by saying: “We must remember what to base our thoughts and decisions on as followers of the path. . . . Rather than setting a huge goal we have to keep pushing ourselves to achieve, it is more important to start with something we will be able to manage and work our way up. . . . The most important thing is to take it upon ourselves to do something, rather than do something just because someone tells us to do it.”
He then quoted a verse from the Ofudesaki that says: “This path may be somewhat difficult, but it is marvelous indeed. Watch it carefully” (IV:101). He mentioned that the path of single-hearted salvation is hardly an easy path but is surely a marvelous path that will bring us wondrous salvation. “When we go through the kind of situations that are not easy but rather difficult, we will naturally come to perceive God’s blessings,” Rev. Miyamori stated.
Next, he referred to the fact that, when people’s opposition and the authorities’ interference and persecution grew harsher as Oyasama’s teachings spread, Oyasama’s eldest son, Shuji, applied for and obtained authorization from the Yoshida Administrative Office of Shinto to conduct religious activities as well as requested and gained permission from the Jifuku Temple at the foot of Mt. Kongo to establish a branch of the Buddhist temple. Rev. Miyamori pointed out that Shuji took all of these actions because of his single-minded desire to protect Oyasama and to secure ways to convey the teachings with peace of mind.
He added that the authorities’ extremely severe persecution left Shuji with no choice but to obtain official authorization and the temple’s permission, but Oyasama never approved of such efforts. Explaining that Oyasama always wished him to be single-hearted with God, Rev. Miyamori stated, “I would like you all to once again think about what Oyasama was trying to convey to us through the events involving Shuji.”
Toward the end of his sermon, he said that we may be worried about the future ahead of us but we will be able to keep advancing forward if we pay kind attention to people around us and devote ourselves to salvation work starting from where we are. He encouraged worshipers by saying that those of us living in the age of the pandemic will also be able to receive blessings of salvation by overcoming any kind of knots depending on the state of our minds alone if we rely on the Divine Model of Oyasama in the same way as our predecessors did.
Rev. Miyamori concluded his sermon by saying: “It is at times like this that we must show Oyasama how we are engaging in our single-hearted salvation. Let us share our wisdom and walk the path ahead of us engaging in salvation work spiritedly without misdirecting our minds or losing track of the Divine Model.”