Monthly Sermon

October 22, 2021 (Tenrikyo 184)
Honjima Grand Church Monthly Service Sermon

“Receiving Knots With a Unity of Mind, the Joyous Life are Smiling Faces and Words”

Rev. Kanta Katayama
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister



This month again, together with a great number of congregation present, we were able to complete the grand service smoothly. I sincerely express my gratitude.

According to the original plan, we were to have our church counselor, Rev. Yoichiro Miyamoto present to deliver today’s sermon. However, it was changed to the next month, so I will be delivering the sermon. I ask for your kind attention.

Do you recall the sermon given by Rev. Miyamori a year ago today?

The sermon was about happy hormones like Serotonin, Dopamine, and Oxytocin.

I am sure you have heard about energy drinks on the market that contains the ingredient Taurine. Apparently, Taurine is an amino acid that aids in the creation of Oxytocin.

In other words, if you drink that energy drink, it will promote the secretion of happy hormones. However, the effects are only temporary.

If you think the effects of happy hormones feels joyful, don’t you agree we can change this to a continuous state of happiness called joyousness?

In the Ofudesaki is says,

When this main path is truly opened,
Thereafter you will lead a life full of joy and promise.
Ofudesaki IV:77

We are taught, if you settle the teachings of this path in your mind, joyousness will surely emerge.

So today, I would like to proceed with talking about “knots,” “alteration,” and finally, the “mind.”

First, in regards to the “knots,” I will refer to three Divine Directions.

“A knot, a knot. Settle the mind in oneness. Why is this happening: here a knot, there a knot, all kinds of knots? They offer truth for settling the mind, truth for encouraging the mind to settle.”
(Osashizu: September 10, 1888)

When you are shown a knot, resolve your mind. We are taught that these knots are shown to us to make a spiritual resolution.

On October 26, 1838 was a huge knot for the Nakayama family. As Miki had become Oyasama, her husband Zenbei, who had received the will of this God of Origin, God of Truth, whom he had never heard of before then, after working through the anxieties for three days, responded resolutely, “I offer Miki to You.”

Without this firm resolution of Zenbei at that time, this path would not have started.

Even during times of knots, face God the Parent and resolve your mind, making a resolution in your heart first.

Further, in the Divine Directions, we are taught:

“In the absence of a knot, everything goes in one ear and out the other. You cannot listen or understand unless faced with a knot.”
(Osashizu: October 9, 1889)

We are protected by God the Parent everyday through the blessings of “reducing a great misfortune to a small misfortune and a small misfortune to no misfortune at all.” Based on this teaching, if we have no hardships then that must mean that we have had some sort of hardships before, whether big or small.

However, even with God the Parent’s guidance, in terms of the misfortunes that are presented to us as divine guidance, we often, without realizing it, let this divine guidance pass us by and continue with our lives without a second thought.

In order to acknowledge the blessings we receive every day, we are shown hardships. For that reason, shouldn’t we also be grateful for those hardships?

The third Divine Directions I would like to quote is,

When you find yourself in a situation where you think this may be your end, recall that it is a knot. Make a commitment of spirit and stand firm. If you stand firm, the Truth of Heaven will work for you. This I teach.
(Osashizu: August 23, 1904)

Sometimes we say “I feel helpless” or “I could be at a dead end,” unknowingly. We are taught that those are the times of “knots.”

We shall not give up easily. We are also taught that the Truth of Heaven will work for you if you stand firm and make a commitment to stand firm. If you cannot do it alone, contact your head minister or fellow followers, and/or talk to many different people to stand firm.

Through these three Divine Directions, we are taught that, in the face of knots, we are to make spiritual resolution, rediscover the blessings we receive daily and have the mind of gratitude, and to persevere and stand firm.

There is also a phrase, “From a knot, buds will sprout.”

Knots are the opportunities for new beginning. As Yoboku, let us have big hearts so that the knots we may encounter will bear fruits.

Five years ago on January 26, 2016, the 130th Anniversary of Oyasama was conducted.

A year and a half later, on July 26, 2017, there was a major knot of incident in which the Kanrodai was knocked down. At the time, the Kanrodai could not be restored since the mortise were broken. As a result, there was only the only first two layers of the Kanrodai for about a month.

Further in the following year on June 7, 2018, we were shown another major knot in which the Shinbashira has come down with an illness.

For us, the Shinbashira is our spiritual parent who is connected to the everliving Oyasama.

When my father came down with illness, I often received some advice from a reverend, “the illness of a parent urges spiritual growth of children.”

The illness of the Shinbashira is a major knot for us Yoboku to grow more spiritually. Let us accept it as such and strive to grow more spiritually.

Furthermore, in the world, there is Covid-19 pandemic, which has become another major knot today.

Through the series of major knots both within Tenrikyo and the world after the 130th Anniversary of Oyasama, I have contemplated number of times to seek the truth contained within these knots and I have reached a following word, which is “alteration.”

In Tenrikyo Encyclopedia, “alteration” is defined as following:

Alteration: Also used as a general term. In Tenrikyo Scriptures, especially in the Divine Directions, the term is used in as it generally means, however, it is also used to point out how the history of Tenrikyo changes.
You never know how the world changes.
(Osashizu: November 2, 1893 / Trial translation)

“Alteration” as a Tenrikyo terminology, it is used as following: The Songs for the Service were composed from 1866 to 1875, and in 1882, “Oyasama altered the phrase “Ichiretsu sumasu” (Purifies all humankind equal) to “Ichiretsu sumashite” (All humankind equally purified), without altering the original hand movements. In conjunction with this, the wording “Ashiki harai” (Sweep away evils) was altered to “Ashiki o harote” (Sweeping away evils).” (from the Life of Oyasama)

Further, another interpretation includes not only above but also the confiscation of the stone “Kanrodai” in 1882, in which, the divine intention of God the Parent was altered due to circumstances newly added. As such, it is also said that the alteration of the Songs for the Service is expressed as “alteration.”

In 1882, the construction of the stone Kanrodai came to a halt after completing the first two base layers and the phrase from the Songs for the Service was altered from “Ichiretsu sumasu” (Purifies all humankind equal) to “Ichiretsu sumashite” (All humankind equally purified)

The term, “Ichiretsu,” means from one end to another, all, equal, equally.

Sumasu” means to sweeping the dusts of the mind such as greed and be purified in mind, cleanse the mind, and/or to clean.

In my own opinion, we can say that the “alteration” was to change the order from “constructing the Kanrodai to purify the minds of all humankind” to “purify the minds of all humankind to construct the Kanrodai.”

Due to Covid-19 pandemic, many events were canceled.

According to the announcement by the Church Headquarters, next year’s Sechi Festival will be canceled for the second year in a row.

Further, the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba was also canceled, but the Students Spiritual Development Course will be held on a much smaller scale.

As for monthly services at local churches, it will be continuously difficult to perform the service with many people in attendance.

What we can ponder, under such circumstances, is that, I think, there may be God the Parent’s divine intention for us to rather purify the mind of each, rather than focusing on how we conduct activities or inviting many people

In order to purify the mind, the important thing is to connect our hearts with one another and become united in mind.

If each of us use the self-centered mind, then our minds become unclean, and it will not help to become united in mind.

If we focus on connecting with one another and/or put yourself in others’ shoes, then, I think, we will naturally step closer to become united in mind.

In the Goals for Spiritual Maturity, it says:

“If you bind yourselves together in a unity of minds, I shall provide any blessings for you.”

This passage from the Divine Direction was cited by the Shinbashira, in his Grand Service sermon, before he became ill.

I think the Shinbashira was looking ahead of our future and delivered these words for us.

At the time of alteration, both in the world and within Tenrikyo community, it is essential to make effort to unite our minds.

Purified mind is a clear mind. By purifying the mind, I think, you will be able to see and feel more of the kindness and sincerity of others. Then the joy will be bigger than present, and the mind will be brighter as well. This brightness in mind is indeed the “state of full joy.”

There is Main Sanctuary Counseling Section at West Worship Hall of the Church Headquarters.

One day when I was on duty, working as Honbu-seinen, a female reverend told me, “Joyous life is your spoken words and your smile.”

In order for us to bind ourselves together in unity of minds, smiling faces and words are essential.

We only have 7 months until the Honjima Grand Church 120th Anniversary. In order to accelerate our spiritual growth, let us unite our minds and uplift one another with positive words and smiling faces.

Thank you very much for your kind attention.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)


September 22, 2021 (Tenrikyo 184)
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister’s Meeting

Let us utilize suitable resources such as social networking services to nurture someone.

Rev. Kanta Katayama
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister



First, I would like to make an announcement. Rev. Miyamori, the counselor for Honjima Grand Church, was scheduled to do the mission visit to Honjima on October 22, the day of Honjima Grand Church’s autumn grand service. However, his mission visit is postponed to November 22. As such, I will deliver the grand service sermon next month.

Now, I would like to talk about three things today.

First, I would like to talk about “All Tenrikyo Nioigake Day.”

This year, it is scheduled for three days from September 28th to 30th and all Yoboku are encouraged to take part proactively.

The theme is “Let us spread the teachings to people around us.” Sample activities are administration of the Sazuke; carry out missionary work by utilizing pamphlets, by writing letters and postcards, by utilizing video and audio on the Internet and/or by using social media.

I personally think not to limit carrying out missionary work only during these three days. I think it is very important to continue to utilize aforementioned methods in order to nurture our fellow followers.

The younger generation are very familiar with SNS. I would like you, especially the older group, to do your best to familiarize yourself with it in order to connect better with younger generations. In order to convey our will, it’s important to adjust yourself for them. So please try your best.

The second point is about higher education. In Japan, fall is an important time for many students as they prepare for entrance exams and which courses they will need to take. Students in their final year of junior high school are deciding whether to continue on to high school. Seniors in high school are making decision on whether to attend college or vocational school, and what kind of careers to pursue, among a lot of other things to think about.

There are options like staying close to home and attending school or finding a job, or even in schools or jobs in Jiba, but please consider the options to perform Hinokishin services at the Church Headquarters.

Young people can experience being in Oyasato, the Home of the Parent, being around kind and thoughtful people, and being in the atmosphere of Jiba. I’m sure this will bring strength and support to the person throughout his/her life.

I would like to ask you to make effort for the young folks to connect themselves with Jiba while they are young.

The third point is the returning of the church shrines to Church Headquarters.

On September 9th, there were 12 churches from Honjima Grand Church that were returned to the Foundress Hall in the Church Headquarters. The next day, after evening service, there was a ritual procedure and with that, these 12 churches were removed from the church roll.

Besides those, because of the current immigration restrictions into Japan, there are six overseas churches that are also marked for return. In all, please note that there are a total of 170 local churches under Honjima.

Nine years ago, there were three churches that were returned to the Church Headquarters from Honjima, I received these words from the Shinbashira, “I will take on your load in order for you to be able to diligently conduct the activities for the anniversaries of Oyasama and to further the spiritual growth of your followers.”

This may not be the best example to illustrate, but in nature, sometimes you need to thin out the unhealthy trees in order to encourage growth in surrounding trees.

I would like to make sure that we do not just dismiss so lightly of this knot of returning these 12 churches and their sacred symbols of worship. I would like for all of us head ministers to reaffirm the purpose of our churches, the nobleness of our churches’ names, and the importance of connecting to others. Savor the gratitude and for the 12 churches we have lost, please give your efforts toward the spiritual growth of all.

Thank you for your kind attention.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Monthly Sermon

September 22, 2021 (Tenrikyo 184)
Honjima Grand Church Monthly Service Sermon

“The anniversary is a knot of milestone we decided on.” Let us take one step at a time towards this milestone.

Rev. Satoshi Inoue
Board of Director, Honjima Grand Church



Today, as we welcome next year’s celebration for the 120th anniversary, I would like to start by looking back on the 100th and 110th anniversary.

The 100th anniversary commemorative service was conducted on May 21, 2002 in conjunction with the current grand church head minister, the 6th head minister’s, installation service.

According to the Honjima Newsletter, the Shinbashira, and his wife, Mrs. Nakayama, accompanied by Church Headquarters executive board member Rev. Zentaro Tanaka attended the service with clear blue skies, temperature of 83F degrees (28.4 Celsius), and with 3,344 people in attendance.

The next anniversary, the 110th anniversary, was held on June 21, 2012, with honorable attendance by the Shinbashira, his wife, Mrs. Nakayama, accompanied by Church Headquarters executive board members Rev. Yoichiro Miyamori and Rev. Harunobu Nakayama. On this day, it was raining very hard with 1,782 people in attendance.

And this time, with the 120th anniversary commemorative service as the next milestone, we are in the midst of our journey, being led by Rev. Kayatama, our grand church head minster.

Today, I would like to talk about this “milestone.”

For Oyasama’s Anniversaries or anniversaries for our churches, we often use this term “milestone” in reference to during these periods. A milestone is a stone set up beside a road to mark the distance in miles to a particular place

My birthplace is Kishiwada City in south-central Osaka.

The road in front of the church used to be called Kishu Kaido, and when I was in elementary school, my schoolteacher explained to us in front of one of the remaining milestones on the road. I still remember the excitement I felt at that time.

The milestones were placed along major roads in the Edo period in Japan, and were placed at intervals of one ri (about 4 kilometers/2.5 mile) to guide travelers.

For example, Tokaido that connected from Nihonbashi in Tokyo to Sanjo Bridge in Kyoto was 492 kilometers (305 miles) long. There were total of 124 milestones, and the journey took about 15 days on foot.

I'm sure that from the time they left their inn in the morning till they reached the inn they would stay that night, travelers in those days looked forward to reaching the destination, passing milestones one by one and saying, "How many more milestones to go, how many more...”

I believe the milestones were important signs that encouraged and uplifted the heart of travelers. Also, back then, traveling to unknown places must have been difficult because they traveled not knowing what kind of mountain roads, rivers, or dangerous places they may encounter along the way. Maybe some trips were fun and joyful with a large group of people, and maybe some were lonely and uncertain.

In present times, these types of milestones have become unnecessary. All the necessary information needed to reach your destination are readily available. There are smart phones and car navigation systems with maps that provide accurate information about your present location and destination.

Nonetheless, it is important to focus on the milestones of critical turning points, then on to the next milestone, and furthermore again, to the next. I feel, constantly advancing in this way, will surely bring us closer to our goal of the Joyous Life.

As both eyes can see far into our aims and goals, it is located at the highest point of the human body. However, the only way to attain those goals are by going toward it one step at a time.

I am sure our predecessors referenced in their talks, the small junctures along the path toward the huge goal of the Joyous Life world, as “milestones.”

Here, I would like to share with you the words from the sermon given by Rev. Yoichiro Miyamori, Tenrikyo Church Headquarters executive board member, when he visited Honjima for the spring grand service in 2012, which was 5 months prior to the 110th Anniversary of Honjima Grand Church.

“Through the commemorative service, it is time for Honjima Grand Church to take a bigger leap forward. Going through illnesses or other problems is a knot, and the commemorative service is a knot of milestone that you all set as you decided to celebrate the 110th anniversary. It is a knot of milestone you all set to welcome the Shinbashira and Mrs. Nakayama, his wife, to Honjima to show them who much spiritual growth you have attained for this anniversary.

In the Divine Directions, we are taught:

When you find yourself in a situation where you think this may be your end, recall that it is a knot. Make a commitment of spirit and stand firm. If you stand firm, the Truth of Heaven will work for you. This I teach.(Osashizu: August 23, 1904)

I would like to conclude my talk today by asking you to exert all your strength during this seasonable time to make the commemorative service a fulfilling one.”

“The commemorative service is a knot of milestone we all set.” Let us reaffirm these words, aim for the next milestone, the 120th Anniversary, and make progress one step at a time toward the realization of the Joyous Life world that God the Parent wishes to come true.

Thank you very much for your kind attention.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)


August 22, 2021 (Tenrikyo 184)
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister’s Meeting

Let’s make hinokishin part of our daily lives.

Rev. Kanta Katayama
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister



On June 27th, the Convention to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Tenrikyo Disaster Relief Hinokishin Corps was held at the Yoki Hall.

At the convention, Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs Rev. Zensuke Nakata read a message from the Shinbashira.

I’d like to read the last part of that message.

“In your daily lives, I’d like you to devote yourselves to proactively implement the practice of Hinokishin and continue to develop the Hinokishin spirit. With this, we can look to the goal of receiving blessings of a world with no disasters.”

Every year, many places suffer from damages done by natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes. There is no shortage of disasters.

This year, there has been a lot of rainfall in Japan, however in Brazil, there have been droughts and frost damage that has greatly impacted the production of coffee beans.

It is gratifying if we can receive blessings of fire, water and wind in good balance, but that is not how it always is.

God the Parent, with the Parental heart to save humankind, must be frustrated with the slow spiritual maturity of us children, and with a deep regret, shows us these disasters as guidance for us to “build up your minds and hearts.”

Through this, I feel the Shinbashira is saying to “proactively implement the practice of hinokishin within our daily lives.”

The “implementation of hinokishin" is also “practicing the teachings.” This is also to be carried out “within your daily lives.” This is not hinokishin to be carried out during a special gathering, when on duty or during a disaster relief, much less to say, words alone would not serve its purpose.

I feel we are being taught, that if not carried out with an “attitude of hinokishin,” or the “spirit of hinokishin” on a normal basis, it will not be hinokishin in its true essence.

Prior to implementing hinokishin, it is important to feel gratitude toward the daily blessings received from God the Parent. It is hinokishin to repay the blessings we receive. I want to reflect my gratitude to God the Parent for the blessings received with the manner in which I do hinokishin.

Finally, so that we can receive the blessings of a world without natural disasters, let us always strive to do hinokishin daily.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Monthly Sermon

August 22, 2021 (Tenrikyo 184)
Honjima Grand Church Monthly Service Sermon

“Let us engage in salvation work spontaneously, giving out all the sincerity we have.”

Rev. Mitsuharu Takagaki
Associate Board Member, Honjima Grand Church



Last year in March, the World Health Organization, WHO, declared that the novel coronavirus infection had reached the level of the pandemic. Since then, its fury has not abated, and our lifestyles have been changed. Today, we have more than 20,000 new cases of coronavirus each day, and a state of emergency has been declared in many places.

Looking back the history, humankind has repeatedly battled with numerous epidemics.

Cholera, which was prevalent during Meiji era, in mid-1800s, infected more than 160,000 people in Japan in 1879, and about 105,000 of them lost their lives (Report from the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare).

In the Ofudesaki, we are taught,

The world is saying that it is cholera, but it is
Tsukihi informing you of the regret. (Ofudesaki XIV:22)

The “regret of Tsukihi” is interpreted as the divine will of God that was in connection with the state of the world, and, through the cholera epidemic, God wishes humans to change such state of the world.

I believe, through this knot of the pandemic, we are being urged to ponder over our state of mind and how we should live each day.

In the following Ofudesaki, we are taught:

The reason Tsukihi began human beings
Was the desire to see you lead a joyous life. (Ofudesaki IV: 25)

As you can see, the reason why God the Parent created human beings is so we can live the Joyous Life, and God the Parents wants to see us live the Joyous Life and share in that joy.

This “Joyous Life” would be the ideal life blessed with health, prosperity, and peace all the while forgetting greed.

This novel coronavirus could not be contained in one country’s epidemic prevention, and the infection spread to the world in a blink of an eye. On the other hand, I was surprised and filled with hope when humankind was able to develop a vaccine within one year and vaccination efforts began nationwide.

The world is working together to overcome the woes of coronavirus. The world may be united by the coronavirus crisis. If we think of it that way, we can ponder that the coronavirus crisis is a divine guidance from God the Parent.

In the Ofudesaki, we are also taught:

Illness and pain of whatever kind do not exist.
They are none other than the hastening and guidance of God (Ofudesaki II: 7)

In the face of illnesses and injuries, in general, people say it’s just an illness or pain but it is not. We can interpret as it is the hastening of God, given through God’s profound divine intention.

However, human tend to be self-centered and fall into use the mind in a way, “all is well if the present is well.”

Currently in Japan, the 4th declaration of the state of emergency was announced. However, people are like “I understand the importance of refraining from doing things but...” and use the “pandemic exhaustion” as an excuse to justify themselves, “I deserve a break.”

Such perspective, “even if I refrain from doing things but what if others are not?” is a manifestation of a self-centered thought, which occupies the minds of many.

We are given the freedom in the use of our minds from God the Parent. Although we can use our minds freely, often times we find it easy to be frustrated and find it difficult to be joyful in our minds.

I believe that, in order to have joyful mind, we must take action proactively

One of the religious belief I learned from my father, late Rev. Masuo Takagaki, a grand church board member, that I cherish is “Give it out,” “Give it completely,” and “Give it unconditionally.”

For instance, when you buy something, since you paid for it first, the item becomes yours. If you pocket the item without paying, it is a crime.

Also, if you get a job and work for a month, you will get paid for the month worked. You won’t get paid one month in advance if you haven’t done anything.

In the world, things start from “giving.” We must “give completely.” Giving completely would mean to do things with all of one’s true sincerity. Further, let’s talk about “giving unconditionally.” Giving unconditionally is a mindset that doesn’t think about, or hope for, something in return.

That is to say, during the coronavirus pandemic, or even in normal times, we must constantly make an effort to give our sincerity to salvation work, give fully and not seek anything in return. I believe that that will be an effort to near the intention of our parent, not waiting for something to be given to us, but to take actions ourselves, find joy, and be able to accept all things that come about as “blessings.”

We are celebrating the Grand Church’s 120th anniversary on May 21st next year.

In everything that we do, let us have our mind’s antennae up so that we don’t miss the voice of our parent, and take unmistaken and certain steps one after another, getting closer to our parent’s intentions, so that we can welcome the grand milestone together.

Thank you for your kind attention.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)