Tenrikyo Europe Centre

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2012 Decembre Monthly Service Sermon

by Simon Patterson (Deputy head of Tenrikyo UK Centre)

Good afternoon, and thank you for coming today and celebrating the December Monthly Service here together at the Tenrikyo Europe Centre, with such high Spirits.

Today I am to deliver the sermon so I would like to ask for your attention for a while.

At the Autumn Grand Service held at Jiba on October 26th the Shimbashira announced Instruction Three, marking the beginning of the 3 years, 1,000 days period leading up to the 130th Anniversary of Oyasama, to be observed in 2016. (Tenrikyo179)

The anniversaries of Oyasama are held to commemorate the day Oyasama gave up her physical being, on January 26th 1887, and withdraw from physical life to hasten our Spiritual Growth and the performance of the Service.

In The Life of Oyasama we read: (page 235)

Dawn broke on that fateful day, February 18, which was January 26 by the Lunar Calendar, the day of the Service. This day, on which the Service performance had taken place each month, was especially significant because now, through Oyasama’s condition, God the Parent was urging the performance of the Service. A great number of worshippers from neighboring villages and districts had assembled. Moreover, the police were keeping strict watch. A single mistake would result in the arrest of the ailing Oyasama. Caught in this dilemma, the disciples could not decide what to do.

Then; (page 238)

However, just when the last line of Song Twelve, “all the members of carpenters have assembled” was ending, Oyasama, who had been listening to the cheerful sounds of the musical instruments contentedly, showed a slight change. Hisa, who was close by, asked, “Do You wish some water?” Oyasama gave a faint reply:

Um

When the water was offered to Her, She took three sips. Then, to the query, “Grandmother?” there was no reply.

And further: (page 239)

The Service safely completed, the elated performers were returning from the place for the Kanrodai, when they heard the news. They cried out pathetically in a single voice, filled with deep sadness. Utter Silence followed; not even a cough was heard.

Oyasama had withdrawn from physical life at the same time the Service had ended, at two O’clock in the afternoon, as if asleep. She was in her ninetieth year.

This was nearly 126 years ago, in 1887. Oyasama had spent the last 50 years devoting herself to World Salvation and demonstrating to us, through the Divine Model, how to lead a Joyous Life.

When we are at Jiba we are reminded of this moment everyday at 20’clock in the afternoon as the tune of Ashiki O harote tasuke tamae, Tenri –O-no Mikoto drifts around Jiba, everyone suddenly stops, and blows towards the Kanrodai. A stillness and momentary silence accompanies our reflection on Oyasama’s love for us.

In Instruction 3 the Shimbashira reminds us of the fundamental principles of the Teachings of Oyasama and Tenrikyo.

For example:

  • The importance of performing the Service.

In the Ofudesaki we read:

What do you think this Service is about? It is Solely
to bring peace to the World and Salvation to all.
Ofudesaki IV:93

If you quickly unite your minds and do the
Service correctly, the world will settle.Ofudesaki XIV: 92

  • It reminds us of our goal as Human beings to lead a Joyous Life, as God the Parent intended for all of us.

In the Ofudesaki we read:

If only the human beings throughout the world have
purified their minds and lead lives Joyously...

When the mind of Tsukihi is truly spirited, so will
be all human beings.

When the minds of all the world are spirited,
Tsukihi and human beings will be one in mind.
Ofudesaki VII: 109 -111

  • And we are reminded to live a life of Moderation, avoiding Greed or creating disharmony with others. And instead to strengthen our interpersonal ties and our family bonds.

Being Pioneers of the Path here in Europe we Yobokuhave the added task of conveying the Teachings to people;

  • Who have never been to Japan and know little about the country apart from Sony, Yamaha and Sushi.
  • Who maybe involved with ‘the big 3’; Judaism, Christianity and Islam, or have chosen to reject them, due to all the wars and fighting that take place in their name. And consequently go so far as blaming religion for the problems in the world
  • Or people for whom religion does not play are part in there life at all. Instead they might worship a football team, or a pop group, or spend their whole time in the isolated virtual world of Facebook.
  • Or people who have become interested in the idea of Eastern Religions but wrongly believe that if you selfishly chant ‘I want a new car’ enough times you will receive one!
  • Or people who have become disenfranchised from Society due to the recession, who might have become unemployed and lost everything
  • Or those who are suffering from Depression, and can’t see a way out of their mental maze.

With all these different types of people that we may come across Instruction 3 reminds us of our responsibilities as Yoboku.

To

  • Study the Teachings throughly
  • Create harmony through mutual help in our own families
  • Keep contact with, visit and participant in our churches and work together with our head ministers
  • Replace our own minds, reflecting critically on ourselves
  • Helping others as much as possible.
  • And conducting Salvation work, which includes:
  • Paying Attention to those around us;
  • Praying for them;
  • Speaking to them proactively;
  • Listening to them and their worries;
  • Supporting them;
  • Administering the Sazuke to them;
  • Guiding them towards leading a Joyous Life.

By following Tenrikyo we are making a statement to our friends, family, colleagues, local communities, and society in general that we believe in a different path. A path based upon peace amongst everyone, whatever your race, colour or nationality. We believe in living a Joyous Life in harmony with each other based upon mutual help and moderation.

Oyasama taught us that we are saved, only by saving others. This is one of the most important aspects of Tenrikyo’s teachings. We should not ask people to pray for us, and we should not pray for our own good fortune, this is self centred and greedy. Rather we should pray for others and their good fortune; we should pray for their good health and happiness and administer the Sazuke whenever we can.

As we start this 3 years , 1,000 days period towards Oyasama’s 130th Anniversary we are inspired by the Shimbashira’s words and are encouraged to read Instruction 3 regularly together.

Seeing others that we care for, and pray for, getting better and doing well brings us joy and a sense of achievement. To help build a world of peace and harmony with the ever living Oyasama’s Teachings as the core will bring us a step closer to the world of the Joyous Life.

We look forward to this with anticipation and look forward to a positive and optimistic future.

Thank you very much for listening.