Good morning. I would like to thank all of you for taking the time to attend the March Monthly Service here at Tenrikyo Pearl Church and thank you for your kind and sincere offerings. I am sure God the Parent and Oyasama is really happy to see you all here today and to have performed the service with joy and in high spirits!
Importance of the Service by Carl Nakao – Revised 3/11/10
As you all know, I was diagnosed with colon cancer a few years ago. It's already been three years this month since the surgery. The date is easy for me to remember because that was the year Karen turned 50 and it was during March Madness. There was college basketball everyday on TV while I was in the hospital.
The cancer and experience was such a blessing. We hear all the time, how everything works out of for the best. In Tenrikyo we've learned that, “fushi kara me ga deru – from a knot bud sprouts.” It's funny how everything does work out. How something new will come out of a hardship. I guess that's why in Tenrikyo they always say in time of illness or hardship, “goshugo o moraimashita – I received a blessing.” It's a chance to grow.
The support I received from the start has been incredible. Although I did have a lot a vacation time to use, my office instead placed me on medical leave with full pay. My boss even went to some of my meetings and he didn't even know what to do!
At the hospital, there was a floor supervisor who I became acquainted with through my job many years ago. Although we hadn't talked in years, she recognized my name and upgraded me to a large room, which turned out great when family came to visit. Pastor Owen would visit everyday to administer the sazuke.
In the years prior to the diagnosis, I've strayed a little from the path. Coming to the monthly service maybe once or twice a year. But at least I would mail in my monthly offering. Since God The Parent's blessing, I think I've might've missed only one or maybe not even one monthly service. Karen and I had planned on going to Vegas that year for her 50th Birthday class reunion, but she sacrificed her trip as I was going through Chemo therapy at the time. Instead, because of God's blessing, I was able to return to the Jiba that year after about 15 years since my previous trip to Jiba.
God the Parent has lead me back to the path, I believe to live a happier life through religion. I've known about the otsume – the morning and evening services as being one of the most important or if not the most important teaching in Tenrikyo. My Dad would always yell at me to do the evening service – “ostutome shinasai!” instead of watching the “shomonai bangumi” or stupid show – Gilligan's Island. So I knew that it was important but I really didn't understand until recently.
“Ashiki o harote tasuke tamae Tenri-O-No-Mikoto. Sweeping away negativity, please save us, Tenri-O-No-Mikoto.” I thought I knew the meaning and translation of this but again really I didn't. If I recall correctly, the original Honbu headquarters' translation was “sweep away all evils.” Like a ghost or the devil or something right? Of course not, it's more like bad energy or thoughts in our minds. “Ashiki” is our mental dust. None of us are perfect. We'll accumulate mental dust daily – some us more than others. We're taught that we must sweep away our mental dust daily before it becomes too cloudy, otherwise we'll be sure to receive a blessing or a sign to lead us back to the path. We wouldn't want to receive a blessing or sign would we? Now, when I do the service, instead of just singing the words, keeping count and daydreaming, I'll literally ask god to sweep away my mental dust and bad thoughts. Believe me, I sure have a lot of them. As they say, hokoridarake – very dusty.
Among all humankind, there is no one who is evil.
It is only a bit of dust stuck on.
Ofudesaki I: 53
If only the dust are cleanly swept away,
Then I shall work marvelous salvation.
Ofudesaki III: 98
“Just a word, listen to what God says. I never tell you anything wrong. Representing heaven and earth, I have created husband and wife. This is the beginning of the world.” This is a much condensed version of the truth of origin, one of the cornerstones of the teachings.
“Sweeping away negativity, hasten to save us. All humankind equally purified. The Kanrodai.”
Again, we’re asking God to sweep away our mental dust and bad thoughts, but this time with the goal of world salvation and a reference to the birthplace of humankind.
I now truly believe that the service is the most important teaching in Tenrikyo. It refers to mental dusts, the truth of origin and world salvation. All cornerstones of Tenrikyo. Much more important than watching Gilligan's Island.
Thank you for your kind attention.
I would like to thank everyone for your hinokishin at the All TCC Hinokishin Day at the Tenri Cultural Center on February 15th, last month.
Thank you for bringing your deposit cans and bottles for our fundraising drive. We are still continuing our fundraising efforts for our next project which is the repainting of Pearl Church this summer. Please continue bringing your deposit cans and bottles and any yard work referrals.
This past Thursday, we held our first service practice this year with 13 people, and we would like to continue every month on the Thursday night prior to the monthly service at 7pm. Please join us so that we may give our best effort in performing the monthly service.
The Women’s Association 100th Anniversary Pilgrimage will be held next month with 6 + 2inf attending from Pearl Church. If anyone still wants to join this group, please let us know as soon as possible.
The BGA Oyasama birthday activity will be exact on Oyasama’s birthday, Sunday, April 18, at MHQ from 9:30a.m.
The all Tenrikyo Hinokishin Day will be on Saturday, May 1st at Honolulu Zoo and again we will be chartering a bus from Palolo pool. Since 55 people went last year, our goal this year will be 75.
Just a reminder that this year’s BGA camp will be held in May, the Memorial Day weekend, instead of in March due to schedule conflict with MHQ activities.
We would like to welcome Lucas Nakao back from TLI and wish him the best when he goes back for the Oyasato Fusekomi Course and also Lewis Nakao as he departs for the TLI Japanese Language course.