Tenrikyo Europe Centre

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2018 October Grand Service Sermon

by Yoshihisa Hasegawa (Head of TEC)

Well, there are passages in the Ofudesaki which we all know,

Reason Tsukihi began human beings
was the desire to see you lead a joyous life.(XIV 25)

Because the world does not know this truth,
Everyone sinks only deeper into depression.(XIV 26)

The significance of performing the Autumn Grand Service is praying for world peace and at same time as followers we think about the day of the founding of the Teachings. We all remember that the husband of Oyasama, Zenbei, on October 26, 1838 decided to believe the words of God the Parent. Remembering this I think now is the day that we should take a step with new determination.

Oyasama, Miki Nakayama as the God the Parent to true happiness to the people who were suffering from hardship. During 50 years she told us by word of mouth, in the books left to us, and most importantly though her life she herself showed us a model of the path for us to follow, and even now she is closely watching us with her ever living spirit.

In Osashizu it is said,

I speak of nothing difficult. I do not tell you to do anything difficult or to do something without a model to follow. There is the path of *Hinagata for everything.(7, Nov, 1889)
> *hinagata: literally, "model": referring to the fifty years in the life of Oyasama from the time She became the shrine of God the Parent until the time She withdrew from physical life.

If you do not follow the path of hinagata, there is no need for hinagata. It will not do to change the hinagata.(7, Nov, 1889)

But there is no path but the path of the hinagata.(7, Nov, 1889)

There are 3 important points in this model of life "Hinagata", in my opinion following "hinagata" means that we follow the path in daily life in keeping with these points firmly.

The first point is to have a warm parental heart to any kind of person. That affection is usually unconditional and unlimited like parents have toward their children. As a mother of all human beings, Oyasama poured affection to anyone, like the warmth of the sun warming our body from the core.

160 Selecting a persimmon

It was autumn, the season of persimmons. Osame Masui happened to be in the presence of Oyasama and there was a tray full of persimmons in front of Her. In trying to select a persimmon from the tray, Oyasama looked at them from this angle and that. Observing this, Osame thought, Even Oyasama chooses the best in selecting a persimmon. But the persimmon that She selected appeared to be the worst of the lot.

She then offered the tray with the other persimmons to Osame and said:

"Now, please take one."

Observing Oyasama`s actions, Osama thought, It is true that Oyasama makes Her selection, but what She chooses in different from that which we humans choose. She chooses the worst one for Herself. This is Oyasama's parental love. She leaves the tastiest ones for Her children, wishing them to have the pleasure. This is truly the parental love of Oyasama. ` Osame was impressed by Oyasama's thoughtfulness and she ate her persimmon as told by Oyasama, while Oyasama ate another.

Osame said that she would never forget for the rest of her life the way Oyasama was on that day.

And secondly, one day the daughter of Oyasama Kokan said to Oyasama "there is no more rice to eat in the house". Then Oyasama told Kokan "In this world there are those who are suffering, unable to eat or even to swallow water despite food piled high at their bedsides. If we think of them, how blessed we are, for when we drink water, it tastes of water. God the Parent has blessed us with exquisite gifts". It means whatever the situation we can go through with a bright and spirited mind. In the Tenrikyo teachings it is fundamental that in our daily life we should not focus on what we do not have, but be happy with and enjoy what we are given.

The last point is to have the spirit to lean on God the Parent totally.

When you read the anecdotes of Oyasama, there are episodes in which followers solve various problems, in a way far removed from the thought of Oyasama. When the followers tried to solve a problem in a way that was usual at that time, that is, the reasonable way of thinking of that era, Oyasama strongly urged followers to take the method of the teachings of God the Parent.

To have a spirit to lean on God the Parent actually means that we always try to live asking ourselves `What would Oyasama do in this case? Which is opposite to the way of living aimlessly and drifting to the lifestyle of modern society and the way we relate to each other?

Please think of those three points when you hear the word "hinagata", "Parental heart" and "brightly spirited mind". "Live in accordance with the criteria of the teachings".

Well, at present, our headquarters most important activity is "Nurture successor of the path". The Shinbashira mentioned and asked us on the day of Oyasama’s anniversary, "I strongly feel the need to develop human resources that will be responsible for the future of the path more than anything else. We should work on getting fruit from the seeds which we sowed 1000 days in 3 years for the Oyasama’s anniversary. And I ask you to take a steady step  spiritedly forward to the realization for the joyous life, and begin to work on nurturing people with long term vision in the future activities."

There is one anecdote of Oyasama from which we learn how Oyasama was with children.

193. By Himself Soon

These are incidents reminisced by Sotaro Kajimoto:

Receiving some cookies or candies from Oyasama, we children at that time, went toward the Main Sanctuary and ate them while playing together. When the sweets were gone, we ran back to Oyasama. We held out our hands and She gave us more. We ate them and ran back to her again. We must have said, “Grandma, may we have some more?” and I believe we ran back to Her three of four times.

However, She never once said, “Didn’t I just give you some?” Neither did She give the sweets to us all at once to avoid the bother. She gave us just enough to eat, a little at a time. Oyasama loved children very much. When I asked Hisa Yamazawa, my wife’s mother, she agreed.

Now and then Oyasama visited the Kajimoto family in Ichinomoto. On such occasions, she brought some sweets in Her purse to give to the children of the family and to the children of the neighborhood.

Among great-grandchildren of Oyasama, I was the first born of the boys. Among the girls, there was Omoto. Now, it is said that Oyasama said of me:

“Oh, I hope that he will be able to come by himself soon!”

It is also said that when my younger brother Kunijiro Shimamura was born, Oyasama said:

“My, what a fair- complexioned fine boy!”

And held him in Her arms. I often heard of these incidents from both my mother, Uno, and my mother-in-law Yamazawa.

Once Oyasama carried both Manjiro Yoshikawa and me on Her back at the same time. There was a time when She came to the east side of the Nakaminami-Gatehouse wearing zori similar to fujikurazori (thongs which are knitted with rush at the front).

Oyasama’s voice was sweet and gentle. She had a slender figure. Her face was oval and Her mouth and chin were identical with that of Her daughter, Omasa, although Omasa’s face was a little rounder. Now in regard to their figure, Omasa was on the masculine side but Oyasama was on the feminine side. Oyasama’s back was not bent.

Recently I have got to know that 50% of new born Yoboku is younger than 30. I imagine that is because most of them are the children of the followers. If our children would not walk on the path, Tenrikyo’s future could be uncertain.

About the training policy of the Boy’s and Girl’s association our second Shibashira asked us to bring up children to become human beings that will practice the Joyous life with three creeds. The three creeds are “The spirit of single-heartedness with God.”, “Attitude of Hinokishin.” and “The harmony of minds in unity.” And he was hoping to install these three creeds firmly as a habit rather than as a theory of teaching when children are small. In addition, he was looking forward to see the day when in 50 years the 15 year old captain of the Boy’s and Girl’s association will take on this responsibility.

In the Boys and Girls association, there is a wonderful thing called words of oath. It goes like this...

“I am a member of the Boys and Girls association. I will grow into a fine Yoboku by keeping the teachings and practicing the Hinokishin and helping each other.”

When you compare this with the three creeds we can conclude that this will make those phrases easy for the children to understand. So “ The spirit of single-heartedness with God” is equal to adhering to the teachings, “Attitude of Hinokishin” is equal to practicing Hinokishin, and finally “ The harmony of minds in unity” is equal to helping each other.

Each child has a difference in personality and their environment. It is also important to get into their world and get their interest but more importantly we should not be negligent to acquire the joy in faith in ourselves as Shinbashira repeatedly told us. If you want our children to lead a happy life having this faith, first of all parents need to say consciously ‘How grateful. How fine. It’s too good for me’ at any time in daily life.

In the Ofudesaki it says,

Even between parent and child, husband and wife, and brothers and sisters:

their minds all differ from one another.(V 8)

Without efforts of parents to pass on the faith to the children, there is no passing down the tradition of the faith.

And in number 196 of the anecdotes of Oyasama it says:

Maturing of the Child

Oyasama taught us again and again:

“It is not that the incorrigible child does not understand. It is that the teachings of the Parent have not reached him. If the teachings of the Parent reach every nook and corner, the maturing of the child can then be seen,”

Through the grace of Oyasama, the path was made in which those who could not understand would be able to understand, those who could not be saved would be saved, and those who were suffering would not suffer.

We as vanguard of the faith, before we mourn about the dullness of growth of others should certainly ask the question about our own spiritual maturity.

In Osashizu,

“About the truth of tenacity in following [the path] in the face of whatever happens, the generation of parents should be followed by later generations. As far as concerns your inquiry, children will follow in the footsteps of their parents so long as they have seen the truth of their parent’s sincerity. So long as children perceive the truth of sincerity in their parents, they will follow in their footsteps.(M26.6.21)

The truth of sincerity is consistency of our words and mind and action.

As it is said in Ofudesaki, VII 17 “When Tsukihi enters these trees and brings them to completion step by step, they will become pillars of nations.” as a result of the efforts of the parents, these children who are brought up the way God the Parents and Oyasama would be pleased would become not only the support of the path but also become the possible human resource of supporting the world society.

Our truth of mind for the spiritual maturity will be the best source of the seeds for expanding the teachings of Oyasama steadily in Europe in the future. We would like to continue putting our efforts together for performing an even better Monthly Service in the eyes of God the Parent aiming for the 50th of anniversary of Tenrikyo Europe Center, by do not forgetting the origin of the faith and at same time seeking the guidance of the church to which we belong.

Thank you very much for listening.