Tenrikyo Europe Centre

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2012 July Monthly Service Sermon

by Eiichi Kato (Head of Leeds Mission Station)

Good afternoon everyone. We have finished the monthly Tsutome in July at Tenrikyo Europe centre with positive spirit united firmly. Having been appointed, I would like to share some of my thoughts with you. May I have your attention for a while?

What is Tenrikyo? Let us briefly review this together. Tenrikyo is a spiritual teaching about the creative, nurturing and protective principle of nature and the universe, which we refer to as Tenri-O-no-Mikoto. In one sense, Tenrikyo is a path towards spiritual liberation, but a path of a very practical nature.

Tenrikyo came into existence on 26th October 1838, through the revelatory experiences of Miki Nakayama, the daughter of a samurai, who at that time lived in Shoyashiki Village, Nara Prefecture, Japan. Since that time, Miki has been referred to using the honourific title Oyasama, literally Honoured Parent.

In Tenrikyo teachings, the principle of the entity or Kami underlying the creation of the universe is often described as Moto-no-Ri, literally principle of origin. Through coming to understand Moto-no-Ri, human beings can learn to live with positive spirit in harmony with nature, and make step by step efforts to construct a better world. This principle implies that all people in the world are brothers and sisters. Thus, Tenrikyo is not limited in scope to Japan, but can be beneficial to anyone from any nation or cultural background.

Furthermore, Tenrikyo does not interfere with religious beliefs, and many Tenrikyo followers are at the same time Christians or believers in some other religion such as Shinto or Buddhism. Tenrikyo teachings are essentially practical in nature, and enable people to live in a better way through step by step improvements over time.

Another important teaching is Kashimono Karimono, literally meaning “A thing lent, a thing borrowed.” This describes the relationship between the human body and nature, that is, we borrow our body from nature, and from nature’s underlying principle, which we call Tenri-O-no-Mikoto. However, although we borrow our body, we are given free use of our Kokoro, or spirit, and the question of how we should use it is answered by an understanding of the real, deeper meaning of Kashimono Karimono.

This is an outline of Tenrikyo. There are just a few people who are open to listen to the path with comfort but we go out to talk to them, taking a simple guide with us and hand it out to them if we get the chance. Recently, I have come to think that there is no need to obtain a result. What is needed is that we go out, using our body by knocking on the door of a house. We do not know what will happen while walking -we may find something good. It is important to make ourselves comfortable, not adhere to an end result.

Now from here, I would like to talk with you about some verses relating to “Kanrodai” which appear in the Ofudesaki. Part 9, verse 46 says;

From now on, I shall teach you clearly, step by step,
solely about the preparations for the Kanrodai.46

From this verse to verse 64, the last of Part 9, everything is related concerning the Kanrodai. Let me pick up a few of the main verses:

Until now, I have taught you various things,
But they are all preparations for setting up this Stand.48

If only this Stand has been put firmly in place,
there will be nothing fearful or dangerous.49

As soon as this Stand is completed, the Service will be done.
Nothing will remain that cannot be realized.52

Watch! Tsukihi will surely bestow the Gift,
the Food of Heaven, without fail.55

Place a flat vessel on top,
and I shall surely bestow the Food of Heaven.60

On whom do you think the Food of Heaven is to be bestowed?
It is to be bestowed on the Parent who began this world.61

There is no one who knows the mind of the Parent
Who is to receive the Gift from Heaven.62

After Tsukihi surely ascertains the mind,
then the Food of Heaven will be bestowed.63

Once Tsukihi has bestowed it,
the rest is up to the mind of the Parent.64

Please let me add some comments.
Verse 48 indicates that the reason why Oyasama has taught various things is that Oyasama would like to make preparations for setting up this Stand even a day sooner. Verses 49 & 52 indicate that if we set up the Kanrodai firmly at the Jiba, there is no fear or danger at all. If the Kanrodai is completed, we will do the Kanrodai Tsutome at once, then any prayer will be realized. Verses 55 & 60 relate that the children of God should watch carefully. As Tsukihi told us, the time will come when the Gift, the Food of Heaven is bestowed on us from Heaven. After the Kanrodai is completed and we pray while performing Joyous Tsutome, Tsukihi will surely bestow the Kanro on the flat vessel placed on the top of the Kanrodai. This is the Food of Heaven.

Regarding the Food of Heaven and the flat vessel, Part 8, verses 78, 79 and 80 describe these in detail:
and so, I would also like to briefly touch on the meanings as follows:

You have heard of the Gift of Heaven
to be given to the Parent of this world’s human beginnings.78

You may not know what this talk is about.
Tsukihi wishes to bestow the Food of Heaven.79

Further about this talk:
place a flat vessel on the Kanrodai.80

We have already heard that the Gift of Heaven is to be given to the Parent who began creating human beings in this world. But we may not know what this means. I will try to tell you now, that is, Tsukihi wishes to bestow the Food of Heaven to us. Then, how does Tsukihi bestow the Food of Heaven?
Well, if we place a flat vessel on top of the Kanrodai, Tsukihi will bestow the Food of Heaven i.e. the Gift of Heaven onto the flat vessel.

The Food of Heaven is explained in further detail as follows:
The Food of Heaven is the special food which Oyagami-sama bestows to the Parent of this world i.e, Oyasama and is understood a medicine for one’s life. Receive it into a flat vessel and place it on top of the Kanrodai. Once the Food of Heaven is bestowed to Oyasama who created this world, the rest is up to the mind of the Parent.

Please continue to look at the Ofudesaki Part 17, verses 10 & 11, and also 14 & 15.

If only the Stand comes to completion,
There will be nothing that cannot be realized. 10

Until then, the heart of everyone throughout the world
must be swept clean. 11

Whatever mind you may have had until now,
replace it, even in the span of a night! 14

If you truly replace the mind in its entirety,
Tsukihi will accept it too, at once. 15

Verses 10 & ll indicate that if the Kanrodai comes to completion as Oyagami-sama instructed, the world will surely come, full of energy and vitality and with free and unlimited workings as Oyagami-sama desires. Therefore, until then, the heart of everyone throughout the world must be swept clean and be kept purified. Verses 14 & 15 indicate that until now, even if we use a heart which is not in accord with Oyagami-sama’s intention, once we understand that we have made a mistake, replace it with a heart of sincerity even in the span of a night. Then Oyagami-sama will accept it sincerely and bless us with free and unlimited protection.

Now, here, let me review the construction history of the Kanrodai according to the Tenrikyo guidebook.
The construction of a stone Kanrodai began in 1881 (Meiji 14) and completed up to two sections, but the police then confiscated these two sections in1882 (Meiji 15). In1888 (Meiji 21), the boarded Kanrodai was made up to two sections and was placed at the Jiba. When the construction of the present South Worship Hall was completed in October, 1934, a wooden Kanrodai was built according to the shape and dimensions specified by Oyasama. Now we are taught that a stone Kanrodai will be constructed in the course of time when the spirit of human beings in the world is purified. Therefore, the present Kanrodai we see at the Jiba is a wooden one and it serves as the focal point for worship and the basis of faith.

This part refers to my personal opinions. As we see, our seniors chose wooden material to construct the present Kanrodai. I wonder if they would consider to include a wooden flat vessel and make the Kanrodai complete with a wooden material structure. I understand a wooden Kanrodai is provisional. However, if Kanro were bestowed from Oyasama through a provisional flat vessel, we guess what strong ties would be brought to us, instruments of Oyasama. I am afraid to say that a wooden flat vessel was not constructed at the same time as the wooden Kanrodai. I think a flat vessel would be put on only when a stone Kanrodai is constructed. Perhaps this is the right answer. This means that there is no way that Kanro is given to us from the present wooden Kanrodai where a flat vessel is not placed on top. Therefore, the shape of faith is going to continue for many years to come on an individual and an independent basis as we are doing right now.

In the meantime, the first half of this year has ended. The situation of the world changes quickly, and globalization progresses more rapidly. It is almost impossible to decide a country's policy by oneself. In monetary and financial circles, the European crisis has been especially highlighted. Worldwide disinterestedness toward religion is progressing at present. Tenrikyo is not an exception. We are facing a reality in which it is so hard to raise the membership from today’s low. As a result of the budget scale down by Tenrikyo Headquarters, overseas activity has had to be reconsidered from a different angle. We must change our way of thinking at this moment and take proper steps to meet the new situation.

Now ladies and gentlemen, would you be kind enough to accept my request that I would like to close the last part of my speech in French, though I am not sure of myself. Oyasama’s Anniversary will fall in the year of 2016. The Instruction will be issued by the Shinbashira at the time when the Autumn Grand Service of Church Headquaters is held in October this year, which corresponds to the starting point of the season of “three years, one thousand days". At this season, I would like to tell you, as a yoboku having an idea in mind that I would like to carry out my contribution and dedication in a concrete form. However, in order to maximize this idea, it is requested that one must replace one’s mind to become a sincere and real yoboku and raise this movement up to a new systematic level with unity of mind. If it could be done, I hope it will help putting the brakes on the teaching’s spreading power being kept deteriorated at present. In this connection, I request sincerely, with his permission, that the Shinbashira will extend to us his powerful message urging us to put our idea into practice in this coming season.

Lastly, we live in the U.K. I think it is very important that we must further strengthen our relationship with Tenrikyo Europe Centre, more than ever before and that we must think hard together with each other, and tackle and face many difficult problems squarely. The time we face a difficult matter is the time we make it a spring board for a jump. This must be kept in mind and we make progress steadily step by step.

Now, I bring my speech to a close, requesting for your further assistance and cooperation.
Thank you for your kind attention.