First Mother of All Human Beings

TENRIKYO PEARL CHURCH
Monthly Service Sermon 2006 May

Good morning and Happy Mother’s Day to all mothers. I would like to thank all of you taking the time out to attend today’s monthly service at Tenrikyo Pearl Church. I am sure God the Parent and Oyasama is really, really, really happy to see you all here today. My wife and I are very, very, very happy to see all of you today.

FIRST MOTHER OF ALL HUMAN BEINGS

70,000 people attended Oyasama’s Birthday Celebration Service on April 18th including about 150 members from Hawaii. After the Service, a musical event called the ‘Joyous Chorus’ was held in the inner courtyard. Thousands of followers joined in the singing of songs including Oyasama’s Birthday Celebration Song, with performance by the Tenri High School Orchestra and singing by Tenri Elementary School students. Some people were really impressed and moved to tears.

     The next day on the 19th, the Women’s Association Convention was held with many people attending from throughout Japan as well as the U.S. mainland, Hawaii, France, Australia, China, Brazil, Philippines, Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Nepal and Africa.

In the afternoon, those who came from overseas had an opportunity to do Hinokishin at the Foundress’ North Garden, weeding and cleaning. While I was pulling the weeds, there was a gardener who told us to leave the weeds with the small flowers because Oyasama likes to see them when she takes her walk around the garden. This reminded me that we were working right under Oyasama’s living quarters and I felt that I was physically very close to Her and I was deeply moved.

     In one corner of this big garden there were many brightly colored tulips, wonderfully blooming. So I ran toward the fence with the camera in my hand, but I was told not to go there. This garden is normally not open to the public so we were very privileged just to be where we were.
     Today is Mother’s Day. We believe that Oyasama has the soul of the very first mother of all human beings. In the Ofudesaki we read:

          This place, the place for the service,
Is the very place where I began human beings. VIII: 36

This means that the place for the service is where God created human beings. And that this Jiba is the place where all salvation can be realized.

Further in the Ofudesaki, it continues:
          This Parent, who began human beings, lives.
          This is the truth.                                                       VIII: 37

This means that the Parent, Oyasama, is presently living and exists in this world. This is the real and absolute truth, without a doubt. With Oyasama as Shrine, God the Parent was revealed through her.

There is another experience that I can never forget which happened during one of my pilgrimages to Jiba. This is during the time when my four children were still in elementary school. Our family returned to Jiba for the summer children’s pilgrimage. Before departure, I was very busy with preparations for the summer program in Jiba. I didn’t have enough sleep and on top of that, I was getting ready late at night on the day before departure. I was so exhausted and thought that I should stay home instead of joining the group to go to Japan. However, on the day of departure at the airport gate, while waiting to board the plane, the bishop’s wife began to massage my shoulder and said, ‘Your shoulder is so stiff. I give you a lot of credit.’ After we boarded the plane, my kids, still being very young, I couldn’t really relax and I couldn’t sleep. After a long flight we finally landed in Japan. I was still very anxious because of the intense schedule for the Hawaii group and wondered whether I would be able to keep up. We finally arrived at Jiba from the airport. We worshiped at the Main Sanctuary and checked into the 38th Moya dorm and had dinner. The group leaders including myself had a meeting to go over the next day’s schedule after which I took a bath and finally was able to go to sleep.

     The next day starts early. In bed I was again worried, whether I could keep up with the group the next day. But when I woke up the next morning I felt much rested. I felt as if I was wrapped in something warm and comfortable and held in God’s warm bosom. My body felt very light and the stiffness in my shoulders was gone. It was like a dream. It is really difficult to describe in words what really happened but I felt really relieved and it was beyond what I had expected to happen. I realized that if we rely on God, there is nothing that we should worry about. God will lead us and make it easy for us to follow. It was a gift, a precious treasure I received from Oyasama.
If we obediently believe in God without any doubt, God will bless us with free and unlimited working.

     In the Ofudesaki we read:
          If only your mind is truly accepted by Tsukihi,
          You will be assured of any salvation whatever.               VIII: 45

From this one mind, when God accepts it, we will be blessed with any kind of salvation. (Unofficial translation of excerpt from Rev. Yoshinaru Ueda’s ‘Explanation of Ofudesaki’)

Thank you for your kind attention.


Announcements
1. I would like to thank those who came out to participate in this year’s All Tenrikyo Hinokishin Day which was held successfully at the Honolulu Zoo on May 6, with six participants from Pearl Church and 100 overall. Also the YMA went to Sandy Beach for park cleaning hinokishin at the same time.

2. I would like to thank you all for your support last month as three persons: My father, my wife, Mrs. Taeko Nakao and I were able to return to Jiba and worship.

3. Coming up this Saturday will be the Women’s Association annual General Meeting and Mini Bazaar on Saturday, May 20 at Dendocho. The proceeds from the mini-bazaar will be donated to help with the Children’s Pilgrimage this year, so please encourage your friends and family to attend and support the mini bazaar.

4. This year as one of the activities of Oyasama’s 120th Anniversary, church headquarters will be conducting Tenri Forum 2006 from July 15-17 at Jiba. Everything will be done in English so I encourage all English speakers to take the opportunity to participate in the discussion which will broaden your understanding of the teachings and its application.

5. The Shinbashira has allowed us to observe the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama throughout the year and I encourage all of you to participate by returning to Jiba in 2006. We hope to form a pilgrimage group for the children’s summer pilgrimage and hope that many of you can join us. However, you can return anytime during the year. The next scheduled Jiba Pilgrimage is this April. If anyone wishes to join us on this trip, please let me know.

6. There is an essay contest sponsored by Dendocho with a 1,000 1st prize, $500 second and $300 third prize to encourage people to put their faith on paper.

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