Tenrikyo Europe Centre

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2016 December Monthly Service Sermon

by Nobuyuki Takeuchi (Head of Kyokushi London)

The world is heading towards globalization. Through innovation such as IOT (internet of things), for the past 20 years it seems as though the human race is increasingly pursuing our individual needs. In the UK, the referendum on 23 June in 2016 has lead to Brexit, and it is said that over 10 thousand officials will be preparing UK’s exit from the EU next year. On 8 November, the USA elected Mr. Tramp as their next president. The year 2017 may lead to other countries such as France and Holland to follow these trend.

Out of 7 billion people in the world, some 3 billion people are exposed to internet technology. I feel that increasingly, the world will require harmony between freedom, control and order.

In Tenrikyo, when I was 7, I returned to Jiba on the Oyasama’s 80 anniversary, which I was made very memorable thanks to the beautiful anniversary song sang at the time. This year, the 130th Anniversary of Oyasama was the 6th anniversary that I have been part of. Each anniversary commemorates Oyasama’s withdrawal from physical life. Even more importantly, each anniversary has a common significance for us to advance to answer Oyasama’s anticipation and expectation. In this way, the world is moved forward as it is purified and uneven society will be levelled out. The world will be brought forward to recognize the meaning of the Joyous Life.

In order to save people, Oyasama taught the truth of origin, explaining the meaning behind section 1, 2, & 3 of the songs for the Service.

Oyasama taught that through teaching the origin, Oyasama wished to teach us the fundamental core of our life, the ultimate objective of human life to reach 115 years of age.

People are living merrily
but there is no one who knows the origin

If this origin is known in detail,
there should be no cause for illness.

These children, living their lives knowing nothing,
pitiful are they the eyes of God.

There is nothing at all which should be called illness.
It is only because there are paths of mistaken mind.

These paths are miserliness, covetousness, self-love,
greed, and arrogance. They are the dusts.

All human beings in this world are children of God.
Listen and understand well the words of God!

If only the dusts are cleanly swept away,
then I shall work marvellous salvation.

By this salvation given in accordance with the mind of sincerity,
you shall be free from illness, death, and weakening.

By this salvation, to fix the natural term of life at one hundred and fifteen years
is the single desire of God.Ofudesaki III 92 – 100

By the way, the Tenrikyo mission in USA started in the early 1900s, and Christian mission was though to be a good example to follow. This is not the case in Europe. Terminology we have borrowed from Christianity may not necessarily have the same meaning in Europe due to different social context. Bearing this in mind, we may have to look for better terminology to use in the future.

Oyasama wrote in the Ofudesaki,

The reason God the Parent created human beings
was to see you lead a Joyous Life.14-25

For the world and human to reach current state, it took over billions of years, described by Oyasama to be “9 hundred million, 99 thousand, and 999 years” Through these years and God the Parent has guided us with utmost patience and care.  The key to find any solution to the problems we may encounter in our life, is to realise this truth.

On the other hand, if people do not know this truth and think that "paradise" is waiting for them after death, they may mistaken life on earth to be priceless and carry out selfish and short-sighted actions.  It is hard to explain to people who mistakenly think that life is a part of death, that in fact death is a part of life.

This concern of God the Parent is very carefully explained in the following Ofudesaki

Because the world does not know this truth,
everyone sinks into deeper depression.14-26

At our Mission Stations, we have a neighbour who had complication while giving birth –on 30 November 2014, a lady gave birth to her first daughter, but became unconscious, and have been paralysed ever since. My wife and I attended the lady for over 2 years every week in order to administer the divine grant. The daughter is now 2 years old but the she does not recognise her mother. I feel this is the most difficult situation any family could experience. As we undertake this salvation work, we have been carrying out Hinokishin in our street and have been delivering the Oyasama’s message through Songs for the Service.

Since the discovery of DNA in 1953 in Cambridge University, which was 115 years after the original revelation by Oyasama, we have a better understanding that all people in the world are brother and sister. We also know that our body consists of over 50 million cells which continually renews itself every second. However, people do not apply this awareness to our everyday life, yet. This is very strange. This may be likened to the fact that for many years the general public did not know about gravity, even though law of gravity was discovered by Isaac Newton in 1666.

Although we have differences among us, it is important to recognize this truth of DNA and unite our minds in order to return our gratitude to our Creator and Protector, God the Parent. The Service which Oyasama taught is the very means to show our appreciation and gratitude for the life we are provided by our original and true Creator for 24/7 since the original creation - our life is in fact over billion years old!  Because Oyasama taught the workings of God during creation, we now know why and how the creation took place! When we carry out this act of appreciation, we will have all problems resolved by the free and unlimited workings of God.

About 100 years ago Rev. Michioku Masuno explained that there are missions which we can see and the mission which we cannot see with our eyes . To share this understanding with others we must digest the teachings and truly understanding their meaning.

The truth of ever living souls
Although at the time we did not understand DNA like we do now, Oyasama showed us many instances by which we can comprehend that our soul is ever living, Oyasama had 5 daughters (Kokan was first born as Oyasu, then reborn as Otsune before she was eventually born as Kokan). Shinbashira was also initially born as Kamezo. Oyasama has written about Oshu and Tamae in the Ofudesaki.

Therefore this rebirth has huge significance.

Shuji’s daughter, Tamae had been initially born as Oshu, who was also Shuji’s daughter. However Oshu was born between Shuji and his mistress, which mean that her life was not celebrated, and she was short lived.

You say that you wish to train the children for two or three more years.
But she is no longer in the hands of God.

Ponder well: however dear she may be to you, her parent,
you can do nothing if she is out of the hands of God.

This world is mixed with wrongdoing.
You must not attach yourself to bad causasion.

You are thinking that you are already near fifty.
Yet in the eyes of God you have many years ahead of you.

Sixty more years from this year,
God promises you with certainty.

From now on, replace your mind firmly.
Sweep away the wrongdoing and take a young wife.

I bring you together according to the causality of your previous lives and protect you.
This settles the matter for all time.Ofudesaki Chapter 1 60-67 & 74

Having received this one four years ago,
God is holding her in the tight embrace. This is the proof.3-109

These verses explain that Oshu and Tamae has the same soul, but born at different time. This helped illustrate that our soul is ever living.

Part 1 of Songs for the Service (Ashiki o harote tasuke tamae) was taught to us in 1866, when the Japan was facing huge revolution. During this time of social unrest, Oyasama began teaching this Service, which involves repeating the verse 21 times to remove the dusts of mind as well as eradicating human egos.

Even today, in the wake of the Middle East problem especially that of Syria, it is difficult to say that paradise is here on Earth. However, Oyasama explained through the Service that paradise is indeed on Earth, not after death.

It is often said that 10 represents completeness, therefore 21 times signify completeness twice, and sweeping yet again. The word, A-shi-ki is very important, meaning “evils” not to be mistaken with “evil spirit”. Oyasama taught that there are no evil spirits in the world. Since the world can be dark, one may think that darkness exists, however darkness is only lack of light. Similarly, evil is only lack of blessing. Since A-shi-ki is dusts of the mind, you and I can remove them through the Service.

As we perform the Service, we request God the Parent to enter our mind. With the presence of God the Parent, we become one with the Creator and Protector, and salvation is realised. During the Service around the Kanrodai, the Service performers represent the 10 divine providence. When I was teaching at Shuyoka in Tenri, I had the privilege of seeing the Kanrodai Service from inside the barrier, and I was able to see the hand dance very clearly. God the Parent is able to completely remove the human dusts and human egos. When we are in the presence of the Creator, the dusts are within our mind. In Jiba, the Shinbashira reads the prayer and then begins the most important Service, the Kanrodai Service straight away.

Part 2 of the Service (Choto hanashi) was taught in 1870, which could be interpreted in relation to Oyasama’s eldest son Shuji. Shuji was 49 years old at the time, and although he had a misterss, he did not have a legal wife. It is sometimes said that Oyasama had shown disapproval of this situation by giving Shuji lameness (cripple state) on his leg. Oyasama taught that God the Parent began the world with husband and wife, representing the heaven and the earth. This is the most significant core of the world. In modern times idea of sexual diversity is widely recognized, however this idea needs to be looked at carefully in relation to the teachings of husband and wife.

We practice part 2 of the Service after we remove our dust in part 1. Like wearing shoes after wearing socks, it is important to follow this order.

Part 3 of the Service (Tasuke sekikomu) is about Kanrodai. Kanrodai symbolises the workings during creation and perpetual development of mankind.

Part 4 of the Service (Yorozuyo) is about the revelation of the origin

Part 5 (Chapter 1 to 12) was taught from 1867, one year before the end of the revolutionary era. Oyasama taught about paradise in verse 9 of Chapter 4: “Ninth, Here is paradise on this earth. I, too, wish to go quickly to worship.” In verse 10 of Chapter 12 Oyasama taught: “Finally, This time, all the members of carpenters have assembled.” In other words all master carpenters were assembled, ready to construct the world of Joy.

Oyasama constantly provides everybody in the world with unlimited blessings. We see this in the form of the truth of the Sazuke, the truth of the safe child birth, in addition to the infinite other examples we experience in our everyday life. We must remember that the truth of the Sazuke was first given to only 4 disciples in 1874. The Sazuke was once forbidden by law in Japan, preventing Oyasama to continue her mission to save the world. We were able to receive the Sazuke again after Izo Iburi became Honseki on 25 March 1887.

Thanks to ever living Oyasama, we are able to carry out the Service through which we appreciate the truth of origin, and the world is able to advance closer to Joyous Life.