Tenrikyo Europe Centre
by Kohina Matsukawa (Wife of Maison Uchiko Tenrikyo de Paris)
We have just conducted the May Monthly Service of the Europe Centre together in high spirits. Thank you very much for your attendance. Since I have been appointed to deliver the sermon today, I would like to share with you some of my thoughts and reflections. May I ask you to kindly give me your attention?
I’m ashamed to say, but let me start sharing my personal matter. Having faced various stressful challenges, I once returned to Japan where my parents lived without notice. However, my mother reproached me for the sudden return and we had a strong but sincere discussion.
My mother is a very sympathetic, nice person and I can consult her on anything. Children in the neighborhood like her so much that they come and play in the Church. So I was shocked by her reaction and her reply. I wondered why my mother told me in such a harsh way and I did not understand her intention at that time.
As time passed, however, I gradually thought and understood her deep parental love, which is, she could make those remarks because she was my parent and nobody except parents were not able to do so. It must have been painful for her. Thus, I felt sorry for having her worry me so much. Parents worry always more than children imagine and I think that it is the same for God the Parent, our Creator.
In the Ofudesaki we read:
Just as you humans worry about your children,
I worry over your dreadful and dangerous path.(VII:9)
Unaware of this, all of you everywhere are living your lives without heed.(VII:10)
Whatever I say to you in My tedious appeals,
it is solely from My single desire to save you.(VII:26)
Sometimes parents scold children harshly. We are happy to receive the wonderful blessings when our wishes are realized or something good happens, but we feel sad and disappointed when things do not go well as we expect or we receive bad results. Yet, is this how we should use our mind? I think that we can understand that any happening comes from the Parental Love with which we are guided to the Joyous Life even if some seem unpleasant to us. Certainly, the day will come when we understand the will of God the Parent although we may not understand it at the very moment when undesirable thing happened.
The Divine Directions say:
No parent intends to have her children lead a difficult life.(June 1888)
We also read in the Ofudesaki:
To Tsukihi, all of you throughout the world are My children.
My only desire is to save you.(VIII:4)
Day after day, the concern of the Parent is only about the means to save you.(XIV:35)
I think that God the Parent strongly desires to save us, the children of God, at all costs. Our Foundress taught us:
Faith in God is to believe in God just as you do in your own parent who gave you birth. Then your faith will become genuine.(104 “Faith in God”)
Here Europe is far from Jiba. However, God the Parent resides with us at home and at the TEC. When we feel sad, we should cry our hearts out, and when we are happy, we should thank God happily. Thus, I have thought that it is important for us to feel close to God anytime, completely relying on God with a sense of security and well-being.
In daily life, various unexpected events occur. There are days when we feel happy while others when we do not. But if we entrust our minds to God the Parent, we will be able to understand God’s intention by chance, even by dreaming a dream or through words or actions of people around you. In such an occasion, we say to ourselves: “Oh, now I’ve understood it!” We should like to change the direction of our mind little by little.
In the Doctrine of Tenrikyo, we read:
Those of us who advance straight ahead on the path of faith, trusting in the heart of God the Parent, do not succumb to the pains and sufferings that befall us but, rather, because we advance with our eyes fixed directly on the truth behind all events that occur, our pains and sufferings are transformed into joy. When the mind of Tanno is thus truly settled, the causality from our previous lives is cancelled. Concerning this, God the Parent taught: “Tanno is accepted as the repentance for the causality from your previous lives.” Tanno is not merely to be resigned nor is it just to persevere. It is to recognize God’s parental love in all events and be braced by their occurrence into an ever firmer determination to live joyously each day.
(VIII - On the Way to the Final Goal)
I think that God the Parent and my parents wish me to be joyful, anytime, anywhere.
When we can understand that our Parent always wants to save us and worries us, what should we do? How can we bring satisfaction to God? Oyasama said:
Become a person with a gentle heart. Save other people. Change your habits and temperament.(Anecdote 123 “Is Man the Object?”)
We can say that a gentle heart means to understand other people. When we try to put ourselves in others’ position and consider what to do, we can naturally speak and act in a gentle way. When I look back on myself, I feel there must have been many faults in me that I must reflect upon.
In the Doctrine of Tenrikyo, we also read:
The mission of the Yoboku is single-hearted salvation. In the beginning, we must make diligent efforts to settle the truth of the teachings in our minds. Thereafter, as we carry out the teachings in our lives, we convey a word to others about the teachings. Then, with the hope and prayer that others be saved, we proceed to administer the Sazuke with sincerity. Herein will the marvelous, saving grace of God the Parent appear.
A Tenrikyo minister explains about the Sazuke this way: “The Sazuke is granted to us as a tool to save others. Any good tool will become dirty and rusty if left unused and then it will become dull if kept stored away. The truth of the Sazuke, however, never becomes dull. If a person is granted but does not use the tool for salvation of others, the person will never go well. We should have a deep consideration of this point and make the best use of the truth of the Sazuke to save others. In administering the Sazuke, we stroke the ailing part of sufferer’s body. The stroke represents the truth of the Parental Love of Oyasama who desires to save us by all means. We are to administer the truth. This is the truth of the Sazuke.”
In the Ofudesaki, it is said:
If you are truly of a mind to save others,
there is no need for persuasion of God.(III:32)
If you are truly of a mind to save others single-heartedly,
I shall firmly accept you, even if you say nothing.
I would like to administer the Sazuke faithfully and follow this Path spiritedly so that our Foundress, the ever-living Oyasama, can work more.
God the Parent and our Foundress are longing for us, all of their children throughout the world, to return to Jiba. The Jiba is the home of our Parent, the Creator of humankind. It is the place where we feel at ease and comfortable whenever we may return there.
I would like to try my best so that as many people as possible will return to Jiba and they feel at ease, thus enabling us to bring joy to the Parent.
Thank you for your attention.