On November 25, Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association held its 97th convention in the Inner Courtyard of Church Headquarters. The convention, which took place without any limits on attendance for the first time in four years, drew a large turnout of association members from many parts of Japan and overseas.
The Young Men’s Association has been encouraging its members to carry out activities such as “having dialogues based on the teachings” under the association’s activity guideline: “Purifying our minds each day.”
Blessed with fine weather, association members arrived in the Inner Courtyard one after another, led by their directly supervised chapters’ flag-bearers. At 10:55 A.M., President Daisuke Nakayama escorted Harue Nakayama, Nobue Nakayama, and other guests into the venue. A moment of worship was followed by the opening declaration.
President Nakayama then took the podium to address the participants. At the outset, he referred to the association guideline and introduced two ideas about how to purify our minds: “having less dust” and “having more sincerity.”
Regarding the first point, “having less dust,” President Nakayama first referred to the eight dusts of the mind as our uses of the mind that are not in accordance with the divine intention. He explained that what is important is to notice the dusts we have accumulated. Giving an example, he said that, when we have human relationship issues, we should direct our attention to ourselves, rather than blaming others, and try to have less dust.
As for the second point, “having more sincerity,” President Nakayama stated, “Sincerity can be shown through words and actions that can bring good, joy, and help to others.” Cautioning that we may sometimes expect returns from others for our acts of kindness, he explained that the true purpose of dedicating our sincerity in showing kindness is to make repayment to God.
He went on to say: “The only thing that truly belongs to us is our mind. Life unfolds according to the way we use our mind. If that is so, I thought that what we must do is to purify our mind. Then I was able to become much less anxious than before and had peace of mind.”
Having quoted from Anecdotes of Oyasama, President Nayakama assured the association members by saying that Oyasama had told us to “be joyful of the future.” He stated: “There are many issues for us to address. However, those issues can make us think hard and try to advance forward even though we may make mistakes along the way. We might struggle, but I can look forward to creating the future with you while being joyful of the future.”
Lastly, President Nakayama mentioned that we are in the middle of the “three years, one thousand days” season preceding the 140th Anniversary of Oyasama. He told the listeners that we can surely bring joy to Oyasama as we strive to have less dust and more sincerity while looking for clues in Her Divine Model.
Next, Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs Zensuke Nakata read aloud a message from the Shinbashira on his behalf. In the beginning, the Shinbashira’s message explained the parental love of the everliving Oyasama, who shortened Her term of life by twenty-five years to hasten the spiritual growth of all human beings. The message then stated that the significance of performing Oyasama’s anniversary is to “make decisive progress in spiritual growth while returning our thoughts to the intention of the Parent and to show Her a new level of spiritual growth.”
The Shinbashira went on to say that the period of “three years, one thousand days” is “a length of time that God the Parent specified for us to focus on following the path of the Divine Model.” He said that, while we must always remember the Divine Model and implement it on a daily basis, during the pre-anniversary period in particular he hoped that all association members would commit themselves to being “deeply conscious of the Divine Model” as they carried out their activities.
Furthermore, the Shinbashira explained that being “deeply conscious of the Divine Model” means to put Oyasama’s teachings into practice, which is “to make a sustained effort to develop an attitude of faith that is single-hearted with God in the course of daily life.” Regarding the spirit of single-heartedness with God, he said that it is “our willingness to base all our choices and decisions on the intention of God the Parent as opposed to giving priority to the worldly common ideas and our own thoughts in pondering over various things that happen in our everyday life.”
The Shinbashira then stated that working for single-hearted salvation is the way by which we can bring the utmost joy to God the Parent and Oyasama and that it is the most important point for us to keep in mind as we strive to near the Joyous Life. He went on to say: “[I]t is vital for us to be mindful of spreading the fragrance of the teachings on a daily basis, earnestly administer the Sazuke to those who are ill, perform the service in prayer for the salvation of those beset by other problems, and continue sincerely guiding them until they can settle the teachings in their minds. Such is the salvation work of the path.” He then stated: “In this way, more and more people will be able to live the Joyous Life by implementing the teachings in the spirit of single-heartedness with God. This is what it means to work for single-hearted salvation.”
The Shinbashira then described the importance of spreading the teachings and seeking the path while working with our minds to accord with God’s intention. “It is important for us to lean on God’s parental love, take delight in the truth of arising occurrences, and patiently and consistently follow the path, while giving thought to the world filled with the blessings of God the Parent, who always guides us in a better direction every time something happens,” said the Shinbashira.
The Shinbashira concluded his message by saying: “Now is the time to do as God directs. Taking advantage of this season when the entire Tenrikyo community should move forward in unity of mind, I very much hope that the members of the Young Men’s Association will also work hard to ‘spread the teachings’ and ‘seek the path,’ thereby bringing joy and peace of mind to the everliving Oyasama.”
After that, the association members recited the guiding principles of Arakitoryo and then joined together in singing the Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association Song.
In the afternoon, many activities such as “Lecture Venue,” “Futsal Competition,” and “Children’s Play Area” were conducted. The evening saw festivities featuring a variety of food booths run by diocese and directly supervised church groups, as well as a parade.