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Greetings from Rev. Kanta

April 14, 2019 (Tenrikyo 182)
Honjima Grand Church Head Ministers’ Meeting

Let us look back on the origin of our faith with our children

Rev. Kanta Katayama
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister

katayama kanta

(Summary)

On April 28th this year, it was 150 years since the birth of our second grand church head minister, Rev. Yoshizo Katayama. That is why I have been thinking about the origin of our family’s faith. I feel that Rev. Yoshizo has been throwing various questions at me.

For example, have I been doing salvation work? Have I been praying for people to be saved from various illnesses and problems? Have I been making efforts in my mind in order for those prayers to be accepted by God the Parent? Am I not giving up?

The great mission for us Yoboku is to do salvation work. How seriously are we engaging in this salvation work?

My great grandfather Yoshizo was told by doctors, “He won’t be able to live much longer,” but was saved by the missionary Rev. Eisa Sato of Koshinokuni Branch Church.

At first, since Yoshizo did not believe in Tenrikyo, he did not accept the administration of the Sazuke when Rev. Eisa Sato asked to administer it. However, Rev. Eisa did not give up. He performed prayer services with all his might so that Yoshizo would listen to him and God the Parent could work for him. At times, he performed the Twelve Songs of the prayer service in the cold ocean of Kosho, and finally, he offered his life and asked that Yoshizo be saved. His will with such inscription still remains at Honjima Grand Church.

Saving someone is not an ordinary deed. Am I getting closer to such a state? I feel like I am being asked this question.

After that, due to Rev. Eisa’s sincerity, Yoshizo’s mind changed a little by little, and finally transformed into one of single-heartedness with God. Furthermore, God the Parent accepted Rev. Eisa’s sincerity and they received miraculous blessings, leading to the present state.

I hope that you will take this opportunity to look back on the day of origin of our faith and relay this to the head minister’s children and let us engage in salvation work.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Monthly Sermon

April 14, 2019 (Tenrikyo 182)
Honjima Grand Church Monthly Service Sermon (Summary)

Let us make an effort to continue to the next generation the blessings we have received from our forebears and predecessors

Rev. Takako Katayama
Grand Church Associate Board Member

Rev.katayamatakako

(Summary)

My father had the honor of attending the September Monthly Service of Church Headquarters in the Inner Sanctuary in the year of the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama, but fell ill after that and passed away about half a year later on March 20th.

When I went to go thank the Grand Church Head Minister for the funeral service, he asked me, “What will you do from now?” so I replied, “I would like to continue my father’s legacy and take on the responsibility of the head minister of Honsendo Branch Church.”

I received the sanction of head minister on June 26th. Soon afterward, I felt a strangeness in my right chest, and when I felt it, there was a sharp point like a pencil. “It might be cancer,” I thought, and my mind wandered indecisively at various things until finally it was August and it was time to be seen at the Shikoku Cancer Center in Matsuyama.

The result was, as I thought, cancer, but luckily, I was told that it was in its early stage. So I pleaded to hold off the surgery until my Church Head Minister Installation Service on September 9th was over.

The Installation Service was over and the breast cancer surgery went without a hitch, but the result of the CT scan revealed that there was a possibility of lung cancer. It was in a location where a biopsy was not possible, so it was recommended that I have endoscopic surgery and I was hospitalized for another 10 days.

I am grateful that I was able to go back to a normal lifestyle right away after leaving the hospital. On top of that, I had to move the location of the church, but due to a wonderful blessing, I was able to rely on the voice of the parent and perform the relocation service without having to worry about anything.

The origin of our family’s faith started with my grandmother who understood that her family was not settled and that her family had a causality of lung diseases. With Rev. Maki Nutahara’s guidance, she began her faith in this path. She lived and served at the Grand Church but before long, had trouble in her lungs and passed away, leaving behind her children.

My father married and was doing missionary work in the Kanto area but he, too, got tuberculosis and returned to the Grand Church when I was four years old.

In the Divine Directions, it says:

“What is painful is a knot, yet buds spout from knots. Have a spacious mind that allows you to accept your pain as a knot and a source of delight.” (Divine Directions March 5, 1894)

Also in the Doctrine of Tenrikyo, we read:

… all illnesses, calamities, and troubles are expressions of the warm parental heart of God to urge our self-reflection and are none other than guidance out of love to lead us to the Joyous Life.

Although I was diagnosed with lung cancer, I didn’t think it was frightening, and I was able to live without discomfort, and for that, I am truly grateful. Because God calls it “a guidance,” I believe God teaches us in the manner that is most suitable for our spiritual growth.

The Third Shinbashira likened our faith being passed on for endless generations to a long-distance relay race. He used the expression “passing the sash to the next runner” when speaking about relaying the teachings to those who follow in our footsteps. I hope to serve in a way that those who have received the sash to follow us will look to us some day in the future as we now look upon our predecessors, parents and forebears.

Accumulating virtue takes very quiet, steady efforts, but I don’t think there is anything more important. I feel like the foundation of everything lies in the virtue of each and every person.

In the Divine Directions we read:

We sow a seed on a stone. When the wind blows, it flies away. Birds will come and pick it up. It will not germinate. A seed sown out of the sincerity of the mind is buried. Even when it is dug up with a hoe, it will not grow there. It will grow outside. (Divine Directions September 30, 1890, private translation)

 

I would like to serve my duties so that I can bring joy to the parent, as our Grand Church Head Minister constantly reminds us, and with a mind that hopes to carry some of our parent’s burden. And I would like to connect with my church, the Grand Church and to the Jiba in body and mind, so that I can feel the Parent’s intentions.

Thank you.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Greetings from Rev. Kanta

March 22, 2019 (Tenrikyo 182)
Honjima Grand Church Head Ministers’ Meeting

Let us spread out our mind’s antenna

Rev. Kanta Katayama
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister

katayama kanta

(Summary)

What I want to relay to you today, is that we, and especially church head ministers, should all spread our antennas and make an effort to catch all kinds of information.

Whenever I go abroad for a missionary trip, I visit the Shinbashira and receive his approval before I depart.

In having a commemorative service to celebrate an anniversary of our church, I also receive the Shinbashira’s informal consent before I announce it.

On February 24, I was able to see the Shinbashira, who is recovering from illness, for the first time in a few months. I relayed to him that I wanted to go on an overseas missionary visit at the end of the month and that I wanted to perform the 120 Anniversary Commemorative Service in three years. He accepted both saying, “I understand.”

Having relayed to him what I had come for, I said, “Thank you. Excuse me,” and as I was about to walk toward the exit, the Shinbashira asked in a few short words, “How is your brother’s wife?”

My younger brother is currently serving as the head minister of Portland Church and his wife is fighting a disease. I reported her health condition to the Shinbashira a while back and he remembered it.

I was very moved.

There are more than 16,000 Tenrikyo churches and he has to give consultations on various church matters everyday. Yet, he cares about the wife of one church minister. For such a kind, caring heart, I felt the vast parental heart of the Shinbashira.

In order to respond to such a parental heart, I felt that I must sharpen the frequency of the antenna in my heart and care for all who belong to Honjima.

Thank you very much.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Monthly Sermon

March 22, 2019 (Tenrikyo 182)
Boys and Girls Association, Vertical Mission Seminar (Summary)

Let us relay the joy of faith to our children

Rev. Koji Terakado
Boys and Girls Association Headquarters Board Member

Rev.terakadokoji

(Summary)

This is something that happened to my wife more than ten years ago. She developed breast cancer and had to have a full mastectomy. She had a miscarriage of our 5th child who she was pregnant with at the time. After the surgery, she had continuous rounds of anti-cancerous treatment.

At that time, I was not able to be happy. Although I am a church head minister that was the state I was in. I just could not be happy. However, since we are people of faith, we talked about what God the Parent must be telling us.

It was then that my wife remembered. When our first child, our eldest son, was conceived, we were informed by the hospital that there was a lump in her breast and tests were conducted. She told me, “At that time we were informed that it was not malignant. However, if the breast cancer had occurred when we had conceived our first child, in other words, we had just gotten married, finally became pregnant with our first child, and if we were told that I had breast cancer, had a miscarriage, then gone through full mastectomy, and had to take the anti-cancer drugs-- I don’t think I would have been able to endure the chain of events at that time. But this time, we received the news already having been blessed with four children. I feel as though God the Parent had waited until now for this to happen. When I think of this, I feel so grateful.”

This sort of spiritual awakening is not possible no matter how others try to preach to you about the teachings. It is because we, ourselves realized that it was God the Parent’s blessing, because we realized that Oyasama teaches us that “… the concern of the Parent is only about the means to save you (Ofudesaki XIV:35),” and from that Parental heart, guides us from a large misfortune to a smaller misfortune, that although the circumstances were not a happy one, we were able to savor happiness and joy.

This is happiness that one is only able to savor through one’s faith.

Ever since then, my wife says, “I have one more story to tell to help people with cancer, this is the blessing,” as she walks around doing salvation work.

In order to relay the joy of faith to our children, it is an absolute prerequisite that we have joy that we savor so that we are able to relay it to them.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Greetings from Rev. Kanta

February 22, 2019 (Tenrikyo 182)
Honjima Grand Church Head Ministers’ Meeting

Let us build a family environment filled with Oyasama’s teachings

Rev. Kanta Katayama
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister

katayama kanta

(Summary)

I would like to talk about two things today.

On February 18 we had the “Taiboku-kai Gathering.” The Taiboku-kai Gathering is a group of Grand Churches that emerged from Kawaramachi Grand Church.

Exactly 130 years ago on February 18, 1889, the antecedent of Kawaramachi Grand Church, Kyoto Shidokai Bunkyokaisho, obtained sanction to be established. The present head minister of Kawaramachi Grand Church invited all of us Taiboku-kai members and we offered our prayers at Kawaramachi Grand Church. At that time we also visited a temple named “Jorakuji.” In fact, at the time of establishment of the Shidokai, the church was small and there wasn’t enough room to perform the service, so they had to borrow space at Jorakuji.

As soon as one enters the Jorakuji one can see a Buddhist statue. However, when the fusuma screen is closed, the main prayer room transforms into a large hall. So Jorakuji was renting out the space for people who wanted to teach flower arrangement, dancing, etc. Our predecessors borrowed this hall to practice the service -- surprisingly, six times a month. All of us felt the very strong single-heartedness of our predecessors in their attitude toward the service. Are we practicing the service daily? Let us learn from the attitude of our predecessors and build a mind that is directed toward the performance of the service.

Another thing that I want to talk about was the passing of Mrs. Naomi Nakayama, on February 11th at the age of 70. She was our fifth head Minister Yoshie Katayama’s brother Yoshizumi Nakayama’s wife.

Mrs. Naomi developed an autoimmune disease soon after she was married, and she had battled this disease for a long time.

According to Rev. Shokichi Nakayama (head of Akiyoshi Branch Church), who was the chief mourner, said that when he was a small child, he told his sick mother that he wanted to eat cake for his birthday. Upon hearing this, his father told him, “If you want the cake so much, first, you must have appreciation for the fact that your mother gave birth to the two of you despite her illness. To begin with, help your mother out by washing the dishes.” By relaying such episodes, he said in the very end, “She became ill with autoimmune disease before she had the two of us. Just the fact that we were born is a great miracle. Perhaps because of this knowledge, my sister and I never harbored ill feelings toward our mother.” Upon hearing this, I was so moved that I got goose-bumps and I felt how precious it was for a family to have faith.

At this year’s Boys and Girl’s Association Board of Directors New Year’s gathering, administrator-in-chief of religious affairs, Rev. Yoichiro Miyamori, spoke to us. In his talk, he said, “The way children grow up differ greatly depending on the environment that we create. What we do and how we think are reflected in our children. Relaying the teachings of Oyasama straightforwardly, nurturing the children with a unity of mind, and showing them our joyous and spirited attitude is important in our life of faith in whatever situations.”

It is important to tell children to do this or that or to use their mind in a certain way, but more than that, I think it is important to create an environment that is filled with Oyasama’s teachings.

I hope to move forward in nurturing human resources in this manner.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Monthly Sermon

February 22, 2019 (Tenrikyo 182)
Honjima Grand Church Monthly Service Sermon (Summary)

Let us take to heart the path followed by our predecessors who believed in Oyasama and let us follow in their footsteps

Rev. Kunimitsu Oiki
Grand Church Board Member

Rev.nishiyamamichinori

(Summary)

The very first time I experienced real salvation work was in my late 20s.

When I was volunteering as a live-in Seinen at the Grand Church, Rev. Noboru Katayama, who was the head of the Honjima Grand Church Young Men’s Association, said to me, “There is a high school student who was in a car accident. He is hospitalized so go take care of him.”

He was heading to school on his bicycle in the rain and was hit by a car that was on its way to work. I was told that his whole body was bruised, his legs were broken and he was unconscious and in a serious condition after hitting his head very hard.

When I went to go see him at the hospital, his head was all bandaged up and I could barely make out his face. When I spoke to the nurse, she said, “During the day, the staff is with him, so please come at night.”

Being an only child of a single mom, the mother had nurtured him with a lot of hope, so she was absolutely bawling.

I went to the hospital after having dinner at the Tsumesho. However, the patient was unconscious and bed-ridden with an IV, so I didn’t know what to do. I talked to the nurse again, and she told me, “Only press the button if there is some kind of problem, if the IV runs out, or if the bag of urine becomes full.” So I decided to stick by his side.

I had nothing to do, so I was staring at the IV or checking the bag of urine thinking, “What should I do? How can this person become well?”

From the second day, I went to the Main Sanctuary and decided to do a prayer service. After about two weeks of doing this, his hand started to move a little bit.

Right after the accident, the doctor had said that he could fall into a vegetative state, so I thought it was wonderful that his right hand moved a little bit. I continued to care for him during the night hoping that he would somehow receive blessings.

From about the third week, he regained consciousness and started to mutter incoherently. However, he still didn’t recognize his mother as such.

His mother became psychologically drained and started to say that she wanted to commit suicide and take him with her. I tried to encourage her by saying, “He is able to move a little. He is able to vocalize. It’s a great blessing. Let’s hang in there.”

About a month and a half after that, he regained complete consciousness, was able to have a friendly conversation and left the hospital. My job was over.

Presently, we are not able to see Oyasama with our eyes. We are also not able to hear Her voice. However, we read in the Divine Directions:

Although you cannot see My figure, you can see My working. Do not wonder whose words these are. It is the one who hid Herself twenty years ago. But I am working every day. There is no need to be anxious. If you undertake your work in high spirits, I shall work for you completely.” (Divine Directions May 17, 1907)

When we see miraculous blessings in our daily salvation work, we are able to feel our beloved, everliving Oyasama.

Our Grand Church has started its first year of the “three years, one thousand days” period leading up to its 120th anniversary since its establishment.

I believe it is the season for those of us connected to the path of Honjima to rise up spiritedly, with hands and minds united, in our various positions, toward our Grand Church’s goals for spiritual maturity.

Thank you for your kind attention.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Monthly Sermon

Honjima Grand Church Monthly Service Sermon (Summary)
January 22, 2019 (Tenrikyo 182)

Let us unite our minds toward the
120th Anniversary of Honjima Grand Church

Rev. Kanta Katayama
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister

Rev.katayamakanta

This is the 182nd Year of Tenrikyo. In three years, in the 185th Year of Tenrikyo (2022), Honjima Grand Church will be celebrating the 120th Anniversary since its establishment.

The date of the Anniversary Service has not been set yet, but I would like for us to begin our journey of spiritual maturity toward that day.

In his Instruction, the Shinbashira said, “Spiritual growth refers to the process of nearing the intention of the Parent. (Instruction Two)”

What does the “parent” refer to? In his Autumn Grand Service sermon, Rev. Yoichiro Miyamori quoted the Divine Directions (Osashizu, August 3, 1895) and taught us that there is the “Parent you cannot see with your eyes” and there is also the “present parent.” He made it clear that the “Parent that we cannot see with our eyes” refers to Oyasama, and the “present parent” refers to not only our spiritual parent but also the Shinbashira.

Presently, the Shinbashira is convalescing and we are not able to see him or hear from him directly. Because it is a time like this I think we need to make an effort to near his intentions all the more.

With these things in mind, I have published our new “Goals for Spiritual Maturity” which I will announce now.

========================================

Tenrikyo Honjima Grand Church
Goals for Spiritual Maturity
Towards our 120th Anniversary

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


Divine Directions, January 19, 1898
From the Shinbashira’s Spring Grand Service Sermon on January 26, 2018

  • Let us follow the Divine Model of Oyasama
  • Let us devote ourselves to perform the service
  • Let us dedicate ourselves to nurture people to listen to the Besseki lectures and have them continue listening to the Besseki lectures until they complete all nine.
  • Let us nurture those who will shoulder the future of the path.

January 22, 2019

========================================

First, the reason why it says “Towards our 120th Anniversary,” is because these goals are for the next three years leading up to the Anniversary Service.

Next, the Divine Direction that the Shinbashira quoted in his Spring Grand Service sermon last year:

“If you bind yourselves together in a unity of minds,
I shall provide any blessings for you.”
Divine Directions, January 19, 1898

Regarding this Divine Direction, the Shinbashira spoke about his thoughts concerning the grave incident in which the Kanrodai was knocked down on July 26th last year. I would like to read that portion:

The tenons that connect one layer with another were broken, making it impossible to put them back together even for the time being until its replacement. To me, that situation appeared to tell us that we were lacking some connections among our hearts. I saw the incident as God’s instruction for us to become one in mind.

It is for this reason that I would like for us to focus on uniting our minds going forward this next three years.

Next, I took up four items.

 

The first is to follow the Divine Model of Oyasama

The foundation of our faith is in Oyasama’s Divine Model. In order to follow Her Model, it is important to be clear about what that goal is and the means by which to reach it.

If I were to give my example, due to my father’s education plan, I went to America when I was 12 years old and studied there for five years.

What was my father’s goal? Studying abroad itself wasn’t the goal. He wanted me to learn English for the future. His wanted me to learn American culture and ways of thinking, and to attain this goal, he sent me to study abroad.

In the Anecdotes of Oyasama Foundress of Tenrikyo there is a story entitled “With round minds.” When a child returned to [Jiba to meet] Oyasama, he was staring at the bunch of grapes that was at Oyasama’s side. Seeing this, She quietly picked up a bunch and said:

It is nice of you to return. Here are some grapes for you. Like these, in the world, everybody is to relate to each other with round minds. This is a path to be followed joyfully by looking forward to the delight in the future. (Anecdotes of Oyasama Foundress of Tenrikyo #135)

The goal here is not to become of a round mind, but to “relate to each other.” If we try to relate to each other with minds like a chestnut, which has spiny burrs, what would happen? We would hurt one another. I think She is teaching us that in order to relate to one another, the means to attain the end is to become of a round mind.

 

The second is “Let us devote ourselves to perform the service.”

I would like for all of us to make an effort to be able to perform the service in such a manner that would bring joy to Oyasama.

I am aiming for the kind of service performance that will be the foundation for universal salvation; one that is deserving of receiving blessings from God the Parent. In this respect, I would like to study along with you.

 

The third goal is “Let us dedicate ourselves to nurture people to listen to the Besseki lectures and have them continue listening to the Besseki lectures until they complete all nine.”

Of course, it is important to receive blessings of first-time Besseki attendants. However, there are many people who have attended their first Besseki lecture, but have gone astray after that. Presently, the Sazuke bestowal is at a standstill due to the Shinbashira’s illness. However, I believe that the day will come when he is able to restart the bestowal of the Sazuke.

That is why it is important for us to nurture people to listen to all nine Besseki lectures, so that they can become Yoboku -- people who can do salvation work.

 

The fourth is “ Let us nurture those who will shoulder the future of the path.”

What I would especially like to emphasize is that church activities and activities of the associations all need to have the same end goal of nurturing human resources. As for hinokishin, we should seek the attitude of the original meaning of hinokishin, which is doing something from a mind of gratitude for our body which is a thing lent by God, a thing borrowed.

Through the three years one thousand days period from today, with a unity of mind, we should polish one another’s minds, and be able to welcome the Shinbashira to our commemorative service with cheerful minds.

Thank you for your attention.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

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