Tenrikyo Europe Centre

Loading ...

2013 November Monthly Service Sermon

by Koichi Iwakiri (Europe Centre Board Member)

Hello to you all. We have just completed in high spirits the celebration of the September Monthly Service, and it makes me very happy. As I am appointed to speak to you, I will now tell you a few words. Please treat me favorably.

As you know, we are within the three years, one thousand days season leading up to the 130th Anniversary of the Withdrawal of Oyasama and the TEC announced the objectives of spiritual maturity and the resolves for these three years, one thousand days season. I think you know they are displayed on the front page of Info-TEC. It’s about these resolves that I now want to talk to you.

In the 24th verse of the fifth part of the Ofudesaki that Oyasama gave us, it is written as follows:

Ponder and come follow Me with firm resolve.

There is a path of hope in the future.

If we follow the Way taught by Oyasama, we will always end up reaching the Way to Happiness. But as it is said in this verse, prior to this, Oyasama wants us first to resolve our mind. In this verse, there is the word “ponder”. The word “ponder” appears over 70 times in the Ofudesaki, that’s why I think that this word has a deeper meaning, and that we are asked to resolve our mind after having pondered on the will of Oyagami.

In addition, the 6th verse of the 9th Song of Teodori says:

I never compel you to go forth,
Until you determine your own minds.

It is taught there that people who are unable to resolve their mind are not to insist. In other words, if we do not resolve our mind by pondering on the will of Oyagami, it is said that we can not follow the teaching of Oyasama.

Why is it so important to resolve our mind? As you all know, the Tenrikyo teaches that

With human beings: the body is a thing lent by God, a thing borrowed. The mind alone is yours.

And just as it is written in the seventh chapter of the Doctrine of Tenrikyo that

Since the body is a thing borrowed from God the Parent, it is important that we use it in accord with the will of God. But we do not see this truth clearly and, relying on human thinking, we attempt to use the body for our own willful ends. Thus, we cloud the truth by which we receive divine providence and, sooner or later, we invite suffering upon ourselves.,

similarly, according to the free use of their mind that has been granted them, it may be that human beings are not happy.

What does mean the resolve of the mind to the Tenrikyo? In the Dictionary of Tenrikyo, the following is written regarding the word “resolve”:

This term -- with its variants including “resolution,” “pledge,” and “determination” -- refers to understanding God’s intention to save humankind and pledging and resolving to respond to that divine intention. We are told that the pledge and resolve, grounded in faith, will allow God, the Parent of humankind, to pave the way for new opportunities for salvation.

In the 43rd verse of the seventh part of the Ofudesaki, it is written as follows:

If you truly resolve your mind and pray to Me,
I shall grant you My free and unlimited workings at once.

To receive the protections of Oyagami, it is taught that it is important to pray with a resolute mind.

Regarding the resolve, the remarkable Divine Model of Oyasama was left to us as follows. Just before Oyasama withdrew from physical life in 1887, there were tense exchanges between Oyasama who wanted to hasten the celebration of the service, and the first Shimbashira. Performing the Service was contrary to the law, and to the first Shimbashira who said that one could not break the law, Oyasama said

Sah, sah, because Tsukihi exists, the world exists. Because the world exists, things exist. Because things exist, your bodies exist. Because your bodies exist, law exists. Although the law exists, to resolve your minds is primary.(The Life of Oyasama, X: The Portals Opened)

In today’s society, even if we perform the service, we do not break the law. In this case, can we say that to perform the service, it is not necessary to resolve our minds? No, we can not say so. Rather, since we live today in this world as it is, we are asked to perform the Service after we have resolved our minds firmly so as not to be carried away by the current of the world.

Please allow me to tell you a little of my own resolve for the 100th Anniversary of the Withdrawal of Oyasama. On January 26th, 1986, I attended the 100th Anniversary at Jiba. When I returned to Paris, on the orders of Overseas Department, I have been seconded in Africa to the Church of Congo-Brazzaville for 2 months, from February 9th to April 9th, to replace a member of the Overseas Department posted in Congo who returned to Jiba.

It was about 2:00 in the morning on February 26th, the day of the monthly Service at Church Headquarters, about two weeks after my arrival in Congo. While I was lying, I suddenly felt a sharp pain in a tooth, and whether lying or standing, the pain was unbearable. In the totally dark room, while supporting the pain, I was thinking a lot, wondering if I should not repent of something. Then something came to my mind. This concerned the resolution of mind I had taken three years before the 100th anniversary. I had resolved to administer Sazuke once a day for three years, one thousand days. This resolution, I had abandoned it in the meantime, and I had forgotten it long ago. This was a serious thing, and nothing else came to mind but that idea. So I took my resolution of mind, and because I was going to administer the Sazuke 1000 times during my stay in Congo, I asked that toothache to be stopped after three days.

There were neither dentists nor drugs, it was a request out of despair. So the next day, without letting anyone into that secret, I started at full speed to round the houses in the area to complete the number of Sazuke. I administered the Sazuke to 30 to 40 people every day, but my toothache still did not calm down. I could not open my mouth, and therefore could not eat. My physical strength had quickly dropped.

Then came the third day. While my toothache did not subside at all, after administering Sazuke by going around the neighborhood, I went back to church staggering; then dinner time arrived. I was startled seeing on the table a plate containing a steak that looked hard. I could not do anything, because I had informed nobody of my toothache. With an innocent look, I cut the meat with a knife, I opened my mouth a little despite the pain, and put a piece of meat on the aching tooth. Why have I done this? This will be probably difficult to understand, it was a thing not to do, but I wanted to put God to the test. Then I gently closed my mouth. Normally, when touching my tooth, I would have to jump in pain. But I did not feel any pain. I did not believe it for a moment. Then I started to chew carefully. Not the slightest pain. It was incredible. Finally, I ate greedily just like that.

My happiness at this time was incomparable. As I asked Him, Oyagami on the third day showed me His incredible protection.

Then two weeks later, once again, I received the divine guidance of Oyagami. It was on March 14th. I suddenly suffered a terrible diarrhea, I began to have fever and a headache. It was no good my pondering, I did not see any wrongdoing I had done. As I could not stop transmitting the Sazuke, on 14th and 15th I did my round, on 15th, after the Evening service I returned to my room and took my temperature, which was 40 degrees. After much thought, I noticed something.

The soil of the villages where I did my round was sandy, and many older people had sore eyes. When I started my round, I was doing the Sazuke after putting eye drops that I had on me by chance. Then the eye drops has been exhausted. Thereupon these people began to tell me that if I do not put eye drops, they do not agree to receive Sazuke. Of course, there were also people who had diarrhea, people who had fever, people who had a headache. It was not surprising because poor people can not buy drugs. I told them “I’m not a carrier of drugs, I am a missionary of Tenrikyo, and because the Sacred Rice is more effective than drugs, take the sacred rice and then I’ll do the Sazuke.”

But I realized that when I had diarrhea, high fever or a headache, I did not take the Sacred Rice, but I was just looking to take medication. Towards Oyagami and Congolese, I felt ashamed. So I immediately apologized, I gave up drugs and took the Sacred Rice, I applied the Sacred Rice paper on my stomach and I prayed.

The next day, the 16th, I rested because it was a Sunday. Then, early in the afternoon of the 16th, I sweated much and my fever decreased, as well as my diarrhea. In the morning Service of the 17th, I had always a headache, I was staggering a little, but when doing the Teodori, I felt completely refreshed. I could feel my body regain its vitality. I felt that I was now in the process of healing. This wonderful feeling, I still can not forget today. Then, after the morning service was completed, when having breakfast, my body had recovered its normal state.

As a result, during the two months I spent in the Congo, I could complete my resolution of mind, and I was glad I had been able to complete it. But the real joy which is engraved in my mind is that thanks to the many miracles of Salvation, I could perceive the existence of Oyagami and Oyasama. The experience I got by completing my resolution of mind has become the treasure of my life, and the foundation of the faith that sustains me even 30 years later.

The first person of Tenrikyo who took a resolution of mind was the husband of Oyasama: he was called Zembei NAKAYAMA. The first chapter of The Life of Oyasama describes as follows the day of October 26th, 1838, where it was decided that Oyasama would be the Shrine of God.

The strain and exhaustion on Miki, who was intently conveying the will of God of Origin day and night, taking neither food nor rest, increased visibly. Zenbei, fearing it might cost Her life if the situation continued, finally concluded that there was no alternative but to comply. At eight o’clock on the morning of the 26th, he accepted God’s demand, declaring with firm resolution: “I offer Miki to You.”

Three days after the divine revelation “I wish to receive Miki as the Shrine of God.”, and after careful pondering, eventually abandoning common sense, her husband Zembei obeyed the will of Oyagami with firm resolution, and I think we must be deeply aware that it is thanks his determination that our faith of Tenrikyo exists today.

Thank you for your quiet attention.