The Saving of Grace of the Truth of Oyasama

TENRIKYO PEARL CHURCH
Monthly Service Sermon 2006 February

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 very happy to see you all here today.

The Saving of Grace of the Truth of Ever-living Oyasama

The 120th Anniversary of Oyasama was sincerely conducted at Jiba on January 26th. An estimated 170,000 worshipers returned to pay their respects. The Service began at 10:30 a.m. and was completed in three hours at 1:30 p.m. During the Kagura Service, here in Hawaii, we witnessed a miraculous blessing of the ever-living Oyasama’s Truth. During the 120th Anniversary Service, on the 26th 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Japan Time and the 25th 3:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. Hawaii Time, our son Lucas who suffered a painful sprained spine injury two weeks prior received a miraculous blessing in which the pain was relieved. It was on January 11th, that Lucas suffered a back injury during wrestling practice at UH Lab School where he helps with coaching. After coming home from the practice, he couldn’t walk upright due to the pain and he wondered whether he could go to work at his part time job as a bus person which starts at 6:30 a.m. the next morning. The next morning, sure enough, his back was so painful that he couldn’t get up from his bed so he called in sick. His pain continued for a long time, even after 2-3 days. So we called Dr. Chow who is a spine specialist and also happens to be the assistant instructor at Tenri Judo. He said to bring Lucas to Tenri Judo.
There, Dr. Chow checked Lucas’ back and said that there is no fracture so it wasn’t that serious, but that Lucas should take it easy for about a week and it should be ok. However, after one week, his symptoms didn’t get any better. He was in bed for two weeks without being able to get up from his bed due to pain.
     We thought we should make an appointment and see Dr. Chow in his office. So we called Dr. Chow’s wife Robin and she said to call Dr. Chow at home at night. So Lucas called Dr. Chow at his home and after talking to him, he said that he will go wrestling and judo practice tomorrow. The next day, the 25th, around 3:30 p.m. my wife took him to wrestling practice. Then, after practice he caught a ride to judo and then my wife went to picked him up at Tenri Judo at 7:30 p.m. When my wife went to pick him up at 7:30 p.m., she was really surprised to see him doing judo. He has been in bed with pain up till yesterday and all of a sudden now he’s up and training! She couldn’t believe this was happening!
Since then, Lucas tries not force himself, but now although he has some pain, he is generally back to normal. When my wife thought about the time he became well, it was the same time the 120th Anniversary Service was being performed at Jiba!

     In the Ofudesaki we read:
          Though there are many leagues in between,
I shall work even in a single night.          XIII: 78

Next, our daughter Annabella just graduated from college with a degree in architecture in December. During her final studies, she lost her USB flash memory card that contained all her architectural drawings that she worked on throughout the whole semester and which she wanted to include in her portfolio when searching for a job. She thought that she left the memory stick at the school workshop where she worked on her projects, but she couldn’t find it there and gave up hope of ever finding it since she thought that someone picked it up and kept it. She accepted the situation and decided to work on her projects from scratch. In January, near the time of Oyasama’s 120th Anniversary, Annabella called us from her apartment in Texas and said that she performed the seated service and right after, as she was unpacking the boxes that she sent from her school in Chicago she found her memory card in her pencil case! She received a marvelous blessing right after performing the service and was able to experience the Truth of the Service which cleansed her mind. Oyasama rewarded Annabella for the sincere performance of the Service which Oyasama constantly urged us to perform till her last request when She withdrew from physical existence 120 years ago. Through the purification of the mind Annabella was so blessed.

     In the Ofudesaki:
          If only the mind is purified completely,
there will be nothing but delight in everything.     XIV: 50

     Everyday, all kinds of things happen. The body is borrowed, but our minds are given to us to be used freely. Therefore, we have all kinds of use of mind. Our surroundings vary. We could become happy or we could use the mind for dark side. In the Star Wars movie, they talked about the dark side of the force. The character Anakin Skywalker chose to embrace the dark side of the force. I think there is a similarity here. The way we live our life all depends on the use of our mind. Our mind can be heaven and our mind can be hell. It is how you decide to use it.

As mentioned in the Mikagura-uta Song Four we sing:

‘Ninth, Here is paradise on this earth.’

But how can we live happily and cheerfully to create this joyous world? Here is a book I would like to share with you written by Dr. Nobuo Shiotani, who worked as a physician and now he is 104 years old. Dr. Shiotani is not a Tenrikyo member and is not connected with Tenrikyo. So you will see how amazed we were with the similarity between the Tenrikyo teachings and his findings. The title of the book is called ‘The Power of Self.’ In this book, Dr. Shiotani tells us how we can live our life with a correct and proper use of our mind. There are three tips to use: 1. Think positive no matter what happens, 2. never forget to appreciate things, and 3. do not complain.

     There is a Tenrikyo minister who received a digital camera as a birthday gift from his son last summer. He took the camera to the mainland to take photos of his grandson. When he came back home to Honolulu, he couldn’t find it and thought someone might have stolen it during the baggage security check. He called the airport to see if someone turned it in. But they said that nothing was turned in. With that he reluctantly gave up looking for the camera. For Oyasama’s 120th Anniversary he returned to Jiba and in front of Oyasama’s sanctuary he prayed that he was so thankful for being able to return to Jiba in good health. He reminded himself that although he was sad that he lost the camera, he was thankful that he had his good health and was able to return to Jiba safely. He thought that something worse could have happen that could have resulted in injury or loss of his life. In this way he happily accepted the fact that his camera was gone. After the Jiba Pilgrimage when he return to Hawaii and unpacked, miraculously, he found his camera in the side of his suitcase! On top of that he was able to recover the photos he took of his grandson. He was so happy! I believe this minister applied the three tips prescribed by Dr. Shiotani: 1. Think positive no matter what happens, 2. never forget to appreciate things, and 3. do not complain.

     I’m sure all of you here today, due to your faith, coming to church and joining in the service, have received some kind of blessing from God the Parent and Oyasama. By following the tips given by Dr. Shiotani: Think positive no matter what happens, never forget to appreciate things, and do not complain, we can nurture the mind of gratitude. And it is through this mind of gratitude that we can easily and naturally return to Jiba in this season of Oyasama’s 120th Anniversary through which we can be granted the rich harvest of the saving grace of the Truth of the Ever-living Oyasama.

     After Oyasama withdrew for physical life, She spoke through the Honseki Izo Iburi and said,

     ‘Sah, sah, I am still living here. I have not gone anywhere, not gone anywhere. You must look at the path of daily life and ponder.
                                             Osashizu, March 17, 1890

     Oyasama, whose parental heart is dedicated solely to the salvation of all her children, underwent every kind of difficulty and trial in high spirits to open a path of salvation for all humankind, and, in order to hasten their spiritual growth, cut short Her own physical life by twenty-five years. But the heart of Tsukihi remains alive now and forever at the Residence of Origin, providing for the growth of all humankind to spiritual maturity. The miracles of salvation, which occur daily, stand as proof of the continuing life and work of Oyasama.

          ‘To Tsukihi, all of you in the world are My children.
          Love for you fills Me: this is My single heart.

                                        Ofudesaki XVII: 16


Announcements
1.     Thank you all for your support as I was able to return to Jiba and participate in Oyasama’s 120th Anniversary services at Tengen Bunkyoykai on the 23rd and at church headquarters on the 26th. 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.
2.     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.
3.     The YMA & YWC will be having their annual general meeting on Saturday March 18th.
4.     The BGA will be conducting their annual Spring Camp on March 25-27 (Sat-Mon) during the Spring Recess.

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