Monthly Sermon

October 22, 2023 (Tenrikyo 186)
Honjima Grand Church Autumn Grand Service Sermon

“Spread the fragrance of the Teachings daily, don’t miss the opportunity to help others be saved and receive the truth of Jiba”

Rev. Yoichiro Miyamori
Grand church counselor


The Shinbashira announced Instruction Four at the Autumn Grand Service last year in October.

Please take a moment to reflect on how this past year went for you, and I also have three wishes for you today.

The first is “Spread the fragrance of the teachings to others daily.”

The second is “Engage in salvation work proactively.” Let us not miss opportunities to help others be saved.

The third is “Let us receive the truth of Jiba.”

I hope, in the remaining two years, that you take these three things to heart and turn them into action.

The first one is, “Spread the fragrance of the teachings to others daily.” What exactly is fragrance? What kind of fragrance makes you think, “That’s a nice smell.” It could be a faint fragrance that you suddenly notice. Something that is wafting by. I think this is a good fragrance.

Even if you have a wonderful perfume, if you put on too much, no one will think it smells good.

When I first started to do missionary work, my father gave me some advice. “If you find someone who you can talk the teachings with, go to them every day. However, don’t talk too long. Say, “Hello, how are you? How have you been?’ and then leave.” He then said, “Instead, go often. If you think you can just start talking, you talk too much. You want to tell them everything and won’t leave until they understand it all. If you go with that determination, that good fragrance won’t be seen as such.”

“It’s just right if they think, “Oh, he left already?” even if you visit them every day. It’s much better than staying too long that they say, ‘Is he still here?’ If they see your face every day, they will eventually get used to you. Once they are used to you, there may be some time they might want to listen to your talk. At times when they are sick or come across some sort of problems, they might want to seek some advice from you. So go visit them every day but leave soon after. That’s good fragrance.” If you are too persistent in conveying the teachings, it will not help to spread the fragrance of the teachings.

In the Ofudesaki, we are taught,

Day after day, the concern in the mind of Tsukihi
is the innermost hearts of a great number of people. (Ofudesaki X:57)

Make your minds spirited step by step and day by day,
and teach joyousness to all of you.(Ofudesaki X:61)

Day by day, calm your minds firmly, My intermediaries.
and begin quickly.(Ofudesaki X:97)

Build up small things every day—this is very important. Spread the fragrance every day, and the fragrance is a talk that will uplift someone’s heart cheerfully and joyfully. Let us convey something joyous as we are taught, “teach joyousness to all of you.” It also says, “calm your minds firmly, My intermediaries.” All Yoboku are intermediaries who convey the intention of God the Parent and Oyasama. It can be simple. Let us spread the fragrance that is light and wafting but let us do that every day.

The first wish I have for you is “spreading the fragrance of the teachings to others daily.” In Instruction Four, it says, “spread the fragrance of the teachings to others, starting with those around us including family members and coworkers.” I would like you to spread the fragrance that makes others feel good.

The next is “Engage in salvation work proactively.”

In the Divine Directions given on April 17, 1889, it says,

If you understand the teachings theoretically but do not understand the truth behind whatever presents itself each day, this will not do, will not do, will not do. I have entertained you with the teachings of the parent, the teachings of Oyasama. If you understand the teachings theoretically but do not understand the truth behind whatever presents itself each day, there is no knowing when the sluice will begin to crumble or collapse. (Osashizu: April 17, 1889)

Even if you understand the teachings theoretically; understand the teachings that is difficult to grasp the meaning; understand what Tenrikyo is, it does not help if you don’t put into action every day. I would like you to build up every day.

Further, the Divine Directions teaches us,

The tiny truth that can save you from danger is called the truth of daily life.(Osashizu: April 29, 1893)

There are times when we are saved from danger just barely. We are taught that it is the truth that we build up daily that saves us from the danger. The seed that we sow daily blooms at the most crucial moment. We all have crucial moments when we need God’s blessings to help others be saved. During this “three years, one thousand days,” when we want God to save this person or when we want to bring this person back to Jiba, it is the truth that we build up daily that works. Therefore, I would like you to engage in salvation work proactively now. If you build up the truth daily, your salvation work at the crucial moments will be well taken care of.

Lastly, I would like to talk about “receiving the truth of Jiba.”

The Verse One of the Song Seven reads,

First, A single word can be hinokishin.
I simply sprinkle My fragrance around.

What does it mean? It sounds like it means, “Telling others the story of God can be hinokishin,” but actually, by reading further, you will notice that the song is about a field.

Third, There is no one in the world,
Whose mind does not desire to own a field.

Fourth, If there is a good field,
Everyone equally will desire to own it.

Fifth, It is the same with everyone,
I, too, wish to own such a good field.

Seventh, I wish to get the field by any means,
No matter what the price may be.

This field is a piece of land where we sow seeds and receive the blessings of harvest.

For people of this faith like us, where, then, is this field? The place where we harvest blessings is Jiba. We sow seeds at Jiba, they are nurtured there, and we reap the blessings. This is our faith. So, I believe that the meaning of:

A single word can be hinokishin.
I simply sprinkle My fragrance around.

means, “To speak a single word is to sow a seed at Jiba. Speak those kinds of words.” In other words, I think it means that (Oyasama) wants us to speak words such as this: “There is a place called Jiba. This is our home, and this is where we can be saved.” I think that’s what it means.

Song Seven continues:

Eighth, As this Residence is the field of God,
Every seed sown here will sprout.

Ninth, Since this is the field of this world,
I, too, will sow the seed devotedly.

Finally, This time, I am glad to see that all of you equally
Have come here to sow the seed;
Those who have sown the seed,
Shall reap a rich harvest without fertilizing.

The field refers to the Residence, and the Residence means Jiba. Song Seven speaks about sowing seeds of sincerity at Jiba and keeping our minds connected to Jiba. This is what is meant by, “A single word can be hinokishin.”

The term “Hinokishin” appears in the Mikagura-uta in different Songs. However, surprisingly, it does not appear in the Ofudesaki.

In Song Three, Verse Eight, it reads:

Eighth, There is nothing so trying as illness;
So from now on, I, too, will devote myself to hinokishin

This means, “There is nothing so trying as being ill. I became ill as a guidance, so I will now go to Jiba and be saved,” and that is hinokishin.

In Song Eleven, it reads:

Second, Husband and wife working together in hinokishin;
This is the first seed of everything.

Third, I behold more and more people coming from the world,
And bearing straw baskets in hinokishin.

Fourth, Forgetting greed we work in hinokishin.
This becomes the first fertilizer.

Seventh, How remarkable this carrying of earth is,
When it serves as a contribution to God!

Other than Song Seven, the term, “Hinokishin,” appears in Song Three and Song Eleven. The Song Three and Song Eleven begin with the verse, “At Shoyashiki in the homeland of the Sun.” What does this verse indicate? It indicates Jiba. Hinokishin appears in both Songs. This is because all is connected to Jiba and you receive the truth of Jiba. That is how you attain salvation.

The third thing I would like to ask you today is “Receiving the truth of Jiba.”

In the Divine Directions, we are taught:

What is called the origin, Jiba, is not found anywhere else in the world. The more thought you give to this truth, the deeper the truth will become.(Osashizu: October 11, 1895)

There is nowhere else other than Jiba. There is only one Jiba. The more thought you give to this truth, the deeper the truth will become. The truth is the desire of God the Parent. God the Parent desires to save us. The more we think about Jiba, the more profound God’s desire to save us become. I think this is the source to receive the blessings.

What I would like to ask you today, first, is about “sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings to others every day.” It can be light and wafting but we should all be mindful of sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings to others every day.

The second is to “engage in salvation work proactively.” If there is someone who is suffering from illness, offer to administer the Sazuke with the desire of saving this person in that critical moment. If there is a person who is struggling with problems, offer to perform the prayer service.

The third is to firmly connect our hearts to Jiba, the source of salvation, and to make every effort in bringing this person back to Jiba.

I would like to conclude my sermon today by asking you to keep these three things in mind in the next two years leading up to the 140th Anniversary of Oyasama.

Just like today’s crisp clear sky, I would like you to be in high spirits, as followers of this faith, and I ask all of you, who are connected to Honjima, to be united in mind to advance in the remaining two years.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)


September 22, 2023 (Tenrikyo 186)
Head Ministers’ Meeting

“Dancing at the knot of three years, one thousand days”—Let us walk the path of spiritual maturity

Rev. Kanta Katayama
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister



The Rugby World cup 2023 has begun.

Although I was concerned if Japan can compete well against other countries in the world. However, indeed united in mind, they seem to improve a game after a game.

Speaking of rugby, in January 2021, Tenri University won their first ever collegiate national title.

Four months prior to winning the national title, there was a Covid-19 outbreak in their dorm and as a result, they were forced to suspend their activities for a month, which has made a big news.

Because of that, their training time decreased significantly and also, there was a talk about cancelling the collegiate nationals at that time. Because of that, the team was worried whether the season might end only with practices. However, with the team captain Matsuoka, the team was determined to improve themselves after each game and they climbed the stairs all the way to the collegiate national championship. I am pretty sure this is fresh in your memories.

Likewise, we are facing a special period, called the pre-anniversary activity period for Oyasama’s Anniversary. It is a big knot in our path of spiritual maturity.

There are many events that appear—small and big, easy and difficult. I would like for us to take each of these events to heart and advance on the path of spiritual maturity with the Divine Model of Oyasama as our goal.

The memorial services for our Third Grand Church Head Minister and his wife are just around the corner.

Despite his busy schedule right before the Church Headquarters Grand Service, our church counselor Rev. Yoichiro Miyamori is coming to Honjima to serve as the chief officiant.

In one of the calligraphy inscriptions he wrote before his passing, Rev. Yoshitsugu Katayama, our grand church third head minister, wrote, “Dancing at the knot of three years, one thousand days.”

The word “dancing” has the sense of dynamism, of “leaping to one’s feet” or “leaping up and down.” Taking Oyasama’s pre-anniversary activities as a knot, let us encourage and inspire one another in this “three years, one thousand days” period. Our hearts dancing, let us reflect this image to others in our community, and in unison, let us advance in our activities throughout the pre-anniversary activity period.

The Ofudesaki teaches us:

However difficult things may appear,
I shall save you all by the Joyous Service.
(Ofudesaki XII:61)

It means that no matter how difficult a situation may seem, when we perform a joyous and spirited service, God saves us all.

Relying on these teachings of our Parent, let us leap spiritedly into taking action toward Oyasama’s pre-anniversary activities.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Monthly Sermon

September 22, 2023 (Tenrikyo 186)
Honjima Grand Church Monthly Service Sermon

Let us sprinkle the fragrance of the teachings to one person, and engage in the pre-anniversary activities cheerfully and spiritedly

Rev. Haruo Yoshida
Grand Church Associate Board Member



At the 100th Anniversary of Honchiyo Branch Church, which was held three years ago, the grand church head minister gave us a greeting that I want to treasure for the years to come.

He said, “In the beginning, the distinguished Church Headquarters reverends returned to Jiba for the first time after they heard about the teachings from an ordinary person. In fact, all churches and all distinguished reverends were guided into the faith by someone. Thus, let us also be someone who can say a few words, like, ‘Would you like to return to Jiba?’ or ‘Would you like to visit our church?’ whenever we see someone who is facing difficulties, having problems, or hitting a rock bottom.

Everyone has ups and downs in their lives. Therefore, I would like you to keep in mind to speak to those people who are facing difficulties or having problems, saying, ‘Why don’t you visit Honchiyo Branch Church?’ I believe this was the spirit of our predecessors in early days.”

From the stories of how our predecessors were drawn into the faith, for example, it was a non-Tenrikyo follower named Kisaburo who started to talking to Rev. Izo Iburi.

In Yokota town in Yamato Province, there was a tea shop owned by a person named Shingoro Chatani. He was a devoted follower and he talked about the stories of Oyasama to his customers. Kisaburo, a carpenter from Tsubakio Village, happened to stop by at the tea shop, and then, he visited his fellow carpenter, Izo, in Ichinomoto Village, on the way home.

There, Kisaburo learned that Izo’s wife, Osato, was not feeling well after miscarriage, and so he shared the story he just heard at the tea shop to Izo, saying, “the living god in Shoyashiki Village can heal any illnesses.” Desperate for any help, Izo visited Oyasama and received the blessings.

Excerpts from “Let’s do Nioigake” by the Mission Department of the Church Headquarters:

“When Rev. Rin Masui, the first female to become a Honbu-in, was 30 years old, she lost her father and her husband one after another. She then was diagnosed as having only three years to live, after suffering from severe pain in her digestive systems. She also lost her visions and was at the bottom of misery. During such time, her eldest son, Ikutaro who was 12 years old at that time, was on his way home from Tatsuta Village in Yamato Province, and he happened to hear something from someone who was walking along with him—'god from Shoyashiki Village can heal anything. Anyone can be healed after three-day, three-night prayers.’”

Excerpts from “Visiting the heart of the tales”

“Let us always have the mind to help others be saved. Let us put out antennas of salvation work. Within the circle of your family, at work, the community or someone close to you, if you hear of someone who is having illnesses or other problems, let us invite them to the church, to Jiba, and/or to the Spiritual Development Course.”

It is my hope that such actions spread widely within Honjima.

Further, the grand church head minister stated the following in his greetings at Hojima’s 120th anniversary:

“This is about Rev. Eisa Sato, who was the missionary who conveyed the faith to Rev. Yoshizo Katayama and many other predecessors. Having had many problems and illnesses of his own, Rev. Eisa Sato began his missionary work at Honjima. The following are words that was in the mind of Rev. Eisa Sato.

‘If I can relay this faith to at least one person, I truly would like to pass this on, and die.’

Just one person. It does not have to be a large number of people. The path of Honjima started from a desire to ‘truly pass on the teaching to one person.’ Of course, we must go out into the world, making effort to reach out and connect with as many people as possible. However, on this occasion of this commemorative celebration, I would like each of us to make a resolution to relay the faith to at least one person.”

There is only three more months remaining of the first year toward the 140th anniversary of Oyasama.

Together, let us exert efforts in the pre-anniversary activities in high spirits.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)


August 22, 2023 (Tenrikyo 186)
Head Ministers’ Meeting

The Parental love that impatiently awaits the “children to awaken to the truth”

Rev. Kanta Katayama
Honjima Grand Church Head Minister



In the Ofudesaki, we are taught:

I wait impatiently for My children to awaken to the truth.
There is nothing else in the thoughts of God. (IV:65)

In God’s eyes, these “children” refer not only to those in the age of the Boys and Girls Association membership, but to all of us human beings.

Usually, the word “shusse” means that one’s societal standing goes up or that their responsibility increases. However, the Ofudesaki records God the Parents intentions, so in this case, the word “shusse” means to get closer to the intentions of the Parent, to understand the parental love of Oyasama, and to grow spiritually so that one can become a Yoboku who can be used as Oyasama’s instruments for God’s service.

Moreover, as this Ofudesaki verse indicate, “There is nothing else in the thoughts of God,” let us, the followers who follow this faith ahead of other people in the world, strive each day to be able to be “awaken to the truth” as God the Parent desires.

Further, as an extension of this effort, let us understand that each of the natural disaster that are shown to us often recently is from God’s desire to save the minds of the children, and let us take it as our own matter to grow spiritually by helping one another.

In the Ofudesaki, we are taught:

If you quickly unite your minds and do the Service correctly,
the world will settle. (XIV 92)

Whatever it may be, Tsukihi will never say that it cannot
be realized. It all depends on the mind of each of you. (XIII 120)

We are taught that if we (the human beings) perform the Service with our minds united, then the world will settle (God will settle the world.)

We are also taught that “Tsukihi will never say that it cannot be realized.” Let us try not to think that our wishes cannot be granted or it is impossible. God the Parent teaches us that it depends on the mind of each of us.

The period of the pre-anniversary activities is an important time to take a step or two more to advance more than usual.

For instance, when we return to Jiba, we will attend the Church Headquarters for not only the morning service, but also the evening service. Moreover, we will attend the daily services from the beginning to the end. Currently, Mr. Daisuke Nakayama serves the core of the morning and evening services on behalf of the Shinbashira. Since the daily services are from the time when Mr. Daisuke Nakayama arrives at the sanctuary until the time he leaves there. Let us attend the service from the very beginning to the very end to advance our spiritual growth.

Let us motivate and encourage each other to make the pre-anniversary activities fulfilling for one another.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)

Monthly Sermon

August 22, 2023 (Tenrikyo 186)
Honjima Grand Church Monthly Service Sermon

Let go of the mind of greed and enjoy your life with a heart of abundance

Rev. Tatsuo Okumura
Grand Church Associate Board Member


The biggest incident I went through recently was an illness that befell my wife.

A couple of years ago, on December 25th, my wife of close to 28 years, who had never been sick with any type of illness, called me while I was on duty at the followers’ dormitory. “I was diagnosed as having angina, so I’m going to be admitted into the hospital.”

Then, the doctor at the hospital came on and said, “Your wife has suffered an angina and has a clogged artery. She may suffer from a myocardial infarction, so I’m going to perform surgery to place a catheter. The chance of success is 99%.”

As it was so sudden, I was so surprised, but I immediately made my way to the hospital in Osaka. I was able to administer the Sazuke on my wife before she went into surgery. The head minister of my supervisory church was also able to perform a prayer service at the Main Sanctuary of the Church Headquarter, and fortunately, the surgery went well and my wife was able to be released from the hospital the very next day.

Although there was 99% chance of success, I was very worried after all.

As I look back, around that time my wife complained about a minor chest pain and went to a local clinic. The doctor said, “although nothing showed up on an electrocardiogram, but if you are still concerned, I encourage you to go to a major hospital.” So she went to a checkup at a hospital nearby just in case, and it turned out to have an operation immediately. Her life could have been in danger by myocardial infarction if she was late to go to the hospital. Also, what if something had happened to my wife, it is so terrifying that I can’t even imagine. I really think she was saved by the blessings of God the Parent.

In the Doctrine of Tenrikyo, Chapter Six: Divine Guidance; it says,

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.
But those who do not know of this deep love of God the Parent deal only with the surface of their sufferings and, by the shallowness of human thinking, are apt to blame others for their misery, to curse the heavens, to tire of life, or to dream of a better life in the world beyond.

Because of my weaknesses, I dare say, I was probably like this.

I will never forget the blessings my wife received for her illness, and with gratitude and a joyful heart, I will go through the “three years, one thousand days” towards the 140th anniversary of Oyasama. I would like to rid the mind of greed, and spend the rest of my life living joyfully, with a heart of abundance.

I thank you for your kind attention.

(Edited by Honjima Tsushin Editorial Staff)