April Sermon 2012 “Life of Oyasama, Early Childhood”

Good morning. I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to attend the April Monthly Service here at Pearl Church and thank you for your kind and sincere offerings. I am sure God the Parent and Oyasama are really happy to see you all here today and to have performed the service with joy and in high spirits!

Life of Oyasama, Early Childhood

April is the month of Oyasama’s Birthday which is on April 18th, 1798. In Tenrikyo we believe that She held three important positions: one is that she is the Shrine of Tsukihi or God the Parent, two that the 50 years She served as God living shrine was the Divine Model for us to emulate and third, She is ever-living. Even now She is working day and night for world salvation not physically, but in spirit. Shrine of Tsukihi, Divine Model and Ever-living. We wish Her a happy 214th birthday this year.

Oyasama was born in Sanmaiden Village, to parents Masanobu Hanshichi and Kinu Maegawa. Her father held a rank of samurai without a stipend and was privileged to wear a sword and to bear a family name. He also held the influential post of head of a group of local villages.

From about the age of three, Miki’s behavior was already so different from that of other children that Her neighbors spoke highly of Her as being a remarkable child, surpassing other children of Her age. When She was about six, She began to sew and to spin cotton thread by imitating Her mother. She knit money pouches and sewed small bags for holding rice bran, which She took pleasure in giving to the neighborhood children.

At the age of seven, whenever She found a child screaming and stamping its feet, She would give the child sweets given to Her by Her parents and would rejoice when the child stopped crying. At the ages of eight and nine, She would play with the small children in the neighborhood during the autumn harvest while their parents were busily occupied with their farm work. There was not a parent who did not admire Her conduct.

Her father taught Her to write with a brush and, from the time She was nine until She was eleven, She attended a private school for children at a neighboring village to learn to read and write.

Miki never took lessons in needlework but mastered the art by Herself, simply by sitting beside Her mother and watching her work. She was able to make handicraft items, duplicating what She had seen but once.

By the age of twelve or thirteen, She not only cut and made garments out of wide bolts of cotton but was also able to weave with more dexterity than the average person. It was during this same period that Miki, having been brought up in the tradition of a pious family, came to memorize and recite the Buddhist hymns known as the Jodo Wasan.

Bright and clever by nature, Miki eagerly learned everything that came Her way and became proficient in many skills. She was an obedient and dutiful daughter, always willing to help Her mother.

Her aunt Kinu, who had married into the Nakayama family of Shoyashiki Village and had long expected much of her niece because of Her extraordinary talents, asked Miki’s parents to give Her in marriage to her son, Zenbei. Miki’s parents told Her of this proposal but, having long cherished the hope of becoming a nun because of Her strong spiritual yearning, She was reluctant to give a favorable answer. Later, however, She agreed to the proposal, yielding to Her parents’ earnest persuasion that the essence of womanhood consisted in being married and serving her husband with love and fidelity. In consenting to the offer, She expressed one desire:

Even after I have gone there, I hope I shall be allowed to chant prayers to the Buddha when My work of the day is over.

After Her marriage, Miki lived happily with the Nakayama family, devoting Herself to Her husband, never once opposing his will, and discharging Her duties to the Nakayama parents with all Her heart.

She was regarded highly by Her relatives, acquaintances, and neighbors because of Her thoughtfulness. She also treated the servants and farmhands with deep consideration. She always spoke kindly of them and was willing to do anything on their behalf.

In every respect, She was a perfect wife, but She was late in having a child. Finally, at the age of 24, She gave birth to a son Shuji, daughter Omasa a year later, and 2nd daughter Oyasu two years later.

Before She became the Shrine of Tsukihi, Miki displayed acts of compassion beyond the normal. She forgave a man who came to steal rice and gave him some rice. She encouraged a lazy farmhand who initially took advantage of Her kindness, but later came to be a unusually hard worker. She also shared her breast milk to babies suffering from lack of milk. She took a seriously sick neighbor’s baby under Her care. When the baby’s condition worsened the doctor gave up all hope. She started a hundred day prayer walking barefoot to various temples and shrines to pray for the baby’s recovery. In Her prayer, she offered the lives of two of Her daughters in exchange for the baby to be save. The baby recovered, but later two of Her daughters passed away at an early age.

So even before Miki Nakayama became the Shrine of Tsukihi, She display acts of compassion and faith far beyond the average person. In 1838, at the age of 40, God the Parent spoke through Her mouth and established Her as the Shrine of Tsukihi through whom the teachings were conveyed.

Thank you for your attention.

Announcements

  1. I would like to thank those who came out to help at the recent BGA Spring Camp and General meeting, helping to setup the canopies, tents, driving shuttle vans, setting up & breakdown at the MHQ sanctuary for the General Meeting, food preparation, cooking, shopping, and serving as counselors and camp coordinators. A total of 67 children, 6 counselors and 20 adults leaders participated and helped at the camp, including 11 adult volunteers, 1 group leader, Marika, and 3 neighborhood children from Pearl Church participated. Thank you very, very much!
  2. This month being Oyasama’s birthday month, the MHQ April service will be held this Saturday at 9am.
  3. The annual BGA Oyasama Birthday Activity will be held on the 3rd Sunday from 9:30am.
  4. The annual all Tenrikyo Hinokishin Day will be held at Honolulu Zoo on Saturday, April 28 at 9am. There will be a chartered school bus pick up at 8:10 here at Pearl Church and 8:20 at Palolo Pool.
  5. The Women’s Association Oyasama Birthday Congratulatory Performance will be held this Tuesday night 7pm at Mission HQ.
  6. The YMA-WA-YWC Joint General Meeting will be held next month on Saturday, May 19 from 9:30am. We would like to ask for everyone to attend and participate in the service.

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