The Childrens Pilgramage

Good morning. I would like to thank all of you for making the time to attend today’s monthly service 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!

THE CHILDREN’S PILGRIMAGE

July was probably the most hectic month this year as we had three major events one after another. The Tenri Forum 2006, the YMA International Hinokishin Corps, and the BGA Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba, not to mention the Oyasato Seminar Course I and Course III.

The Tenri Forum 2006 ‘ New Frontiers in the Mission sponsored by the Overseas Department, was a great success. It was held for three days on July 15-17 with over 260 participants from 19 different countries. As one of the major events held in the Home of the Parent to mark the year of the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama, the forum featured four plenary (or general assembly addresses), 26 section meetings, eight regional meetings, and a symposium.
The participants spent the three days discussing how to internalize Oyasama’s teachings more deeply and how to focus Tenrikyo’s resources more effectively to address a range of key issues facing the world today, such as human sexuality, caring for the aged and afflicted, conflict and violence in the community and medical technology. The forum was conducted entirely in English.

The YMA held their 6th International Hinokishin Corps on July 18-24 (six days) with 270 participants. Lewis and Lucas participated from Pearl Church.

The annual Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba is always a special time for children from all over Japan as well as for children from others countries. From Pearl Church we had a group of nine, including two boys from our Japanese class, Edwin Li and Dylan Uno and also Marika.

The Children’s Pilgrimage provides activities for children to enjoy as well as learn about the teachings of Tenrikyo. The children learn about the Jiba, about Oyasama, about doing the service and about doing Hinokishin, such as the earth carrying Hinokishin and the corridor wiping hinokishin. In the Yakata lecture, they learned about helping and praying for others. Not only for the children but the adults as well learned a lot about themselves and the teachings first hand in a very easy to understand manner. As chairperson of the Hawaii Boy’s and Girl’s Association, it was a very meaningful and learning experience as it was the first time for me to be in charge of such a large group. I am thankful that all the adults pitched in in various ways to help. Long time members were given opportunities to share their faith with others in the morning and evening assemblies.


WHEN THE ROOT DRIES UP THE BRANCHES WITHER

During Oyasama’s time, the early followers asked Oyasama many questions. The replies to those questions are called Osashizu or ‘Divine Directions.’

     In the Ofudesaki III: 45:
          This salvation is not brought about by formulas of worship,
or by exorcism, or calling on oracles.

This teaching is not just about praying for requests or superstitious beliefs. When the people asked Oyasama a question, God the Parent gave a direction through Oyasama such so that they won’t go on the wrong path. This is the Osashizu.

Separate from the Osashizu is the Kokugen Banashi or ‘Timely Talks.’ It is in the book of Osashizu. These are talks given by Oyasama which was initiated by Oyasama without an inquiry from the early followers. The following is from Kokugen Banashi or Timely Talks:

When the root becomes loosened, the branches dry up. When the branches dry up, the leaves fall off and buds, also, dry up.

     These are the words given by Oyasama so that we won’t go on the wrong path. For instance, in a family, the root of the tree trunk is the parent, the children are the branches. The branches spread out and are thickly covered with leaves. The prosperity of the children is represented by the leaves thickly covering the tree. However, if the root of the tree becomes loosened, naturally, the children dry up and the leaves will fall down and buds will also dry up.

     Therefore we as parents should always be thankful for the blessing of the warmth of the sun, water and air. Because of these blessings, the crops are able to grow. We should always appreciate the fact that the crops grow due to the sun, water and air. We should always fulfill our obligations to God by complying with the will of God the Parent in gratitude for these blessings. By doing this we can experience, healthy branches, the budding of leaves and eventually bear fruit. (This talk is from Aihikari Bunkyokai publication: Issue 171, Rev. Ohno, Sahichi).

     In the Mikagura-uta, Song Seven, ninth verse:
          Since this is the field of this world,
          I, too, will sow the seed devotedly.

As a metaphor, God is teaching us that this world is a field. We sow a seed and we will see an abundant harvest. However, seeds are very honest. We will only reap the seeds we have planted. The seed is the way we used our minds, what we say and our behavior.
     A joyous mind or a negative attitude will show on our faces and will influence the functions in our body. Therefore, the parent which is referred as the root should always be positive and accept things and situations joyously.

     Next, we should become persons who save others. We should appreciate God blessings and do Hinokishin. This will be the source of prosperous offspring who are the branches and leaves of the tree.

     Aihikari Bunkyokai’s first head minister, Rev. Ohno, Sahichi; as the first generation believer of this path, he saved many people and brought them up into good yoboku. He brought in people who were suffering to the church and helped them. He firmly believed with confidence that the sincere seeds of truth that are sown will bear fruit in children who are prosperous. The sincere seeds of devotion and dedication will never disappear and he believed that that person’s children will be prosperous and in good health.

     Not only people with children, but people who are single will also be blessed with good health and happiness in this and next life.

In the Ofudesaki unnumbered set from Life of Oyasama page 91:
          Meiji 7 (1874), December, it says:

The seeds of your sincere devotion sown day after day, I have certainly accepted.

The seed which God truly accepts will never decay through all eternity.

When these seeds sprout in the course of time, it will be the talk of all ages to come.

The seed refers to something that grows and we will reap it when we really need it in God’s perfect timely fashion.

Thank you for your kind attention.


Announcements
1.     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. The next scheduled Jiba Pilgrimage after the summer will be in October. If anyone wishes to join us on this trip or anytime during the year, please let me know.

2.     The annual bazaar will be held on August 27, the last Sunday of the month from 8:30am-3pm. As always we kindly ask for your continued support with scrip sales and hinokishin help.

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