The Shinbashira’s Sermon at the Autumn Grand Service 2023

May I express my deep appreciation to all of you for returning to Jiba from within the country and overseas to attend today’s Autumn Grand Service. May I also thank you most sincerely for the efforts you are devoting in your daily lives to the work of the path. I feel truly grateful that we were able to perform the Service. May I take this opportunity to share some of my thoughts with you.

As you are well aware, October 26, 1838—which the Autumn Grand Service is performed to commemorate—was the date on which Oyasama was settled as the Shrine of Tsukihi and began to directly convey the intention of God the Parent to human beings. According to the teachings, in the beginnings of origin of the world when the world was still the vast expanse of a muddy ocean, God the Parent hit upon the idea of creating us human beings to see us lead the Joyous Life and to share in our joy.

Over the long years, however, we human beings misused the freedom of the mind that was allowed and, therefore, our minds became covered in the dust of self-centered or greedy thoughts. As a result, we brought suffering and distress upon ourselves, leaving the actual state of the world far removed from the ideal envisioned by God the Parent.

Upon the arrival of the Promised Time, thinking that human beings could not be allowed to remain as they were, God the Parent settled Oyasama as the Shrine of Tsukihi out of the parental love for the children, all human beings, to teach us how to replace our mind so that we can once again restore our ability to live the Joyous Life, the ability the first human beings had in the beginnings of origin.

That day, Oyasama’s behavior and language changed completely. Those who knew Her back then were not able to understand Her actions, and no one took Her seriously for many years.

Far from giving up in despair in this situation, Oyasama patiently and diligently taught people through Her spoken and written words and walked through various hardships in full accordance with God the Parent’s intention. She thus demonstrated the Divine Model through Her own example to guide us human beings toward living the Joyous Life.

We often turn our thoughts to Oyasama’s Divine Model, recalling what She did and said, and use Her actions and words as a guide for our lives. While this is good, the first thing we must remember is that Oyasama never stopped trying to nurture people no matter what happened over the course of fifty years. This, I believe, must also be borne in mind as part of the Divine Model.

Last year on this same occasion, I announced Instruction Four as we prepared to begin the “three years, one thousand days” activities leading up to the 140th Anniversary of Oyasama. In it, I said that Oyasama withdrew from physical life by shortening Her term of life by twenty-five years to hasten the spiritual growth of all humankind, Her children, but continues to work, now as ever before, for world salvation by virtue of Her eternal life. I stated that the significance of observing an anniversary of Oyasama is to respond to Her parental love by making decisive progress in spiritual growth, with each and every Yoboku raising his or her awareness of being Oyasama’s instrument.

I, therefore, want to invite all of you to join me in reaffirming that our mission as Yoboku is to engage in single-hearted salvation while honestly and straightforwardly carrying out Oyasama’s intention by melting into Her mind in the same manner that the instruments summoned by God the Parent in the beginnings of origin worked in full accord with the divine intention by melting into God the Parent’s mind as they played their roles in human creation.

Let us strive to guide as many people as possible to this path and patiently and consistently work with them with loving care until they start putting the teachings into practice with an awareness of being Oyasama’s instruments. Further, let us continue to reach out to as many as possible of those who have already become Yoboku but are temporarily inactive, encouraging them to play active roles in the path with an awareness of being Yoboku. Let us make a point of working with these Yoboku, too, so as to help ensure that the pre-anniversary activities gain ever more momentum. 

I would like to conclude my remarks by asking all of you to continue walking the path spiritedly. I look forward to your continued efforts in this regard.

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