I am truly grateful that we have just concluded the joyful performance of the Kagura Service and the Teodori, the Dance with Hand Movements. I am also delighted that a great many followers, including church head ministers who have been allowed to be seated in close proximity to the dais of the Inner Sanctuary with their service garments on, returned here to attend the Monthly Service, which receives the truth of January 26. As I have been assigned to deliver the sermon today, I would like to share with you some of my thoughts. I humbly ask you for your kind attention for a while.
We thank God the Parent for having been able to engage in our pre-anniversary activities during the "three years, one thousand days" season to grow spiritually and bring joy to the everliving Oyasama by cultivating the mind of saving others and implementing salvation work. The Oyasama 120th Anniversary Service was cheerfully and duly conducted in January, and this, above all, is the most important thing to be thankful for. The Shinbashira said in his sermon at the Anniversary Service:
Today marks the end of the activities for which we set aside the pre-anniversary period. However, let us not forget that on the day of origin of Oyasama's anniversaries, She said, "[I shall] save the world from now." Likewise, today hardly represents the end of our path to spiritual growth. Rather, it marks but one milestone on our long journey toward the great goal of realizing the Joyous Life for all humankind as intended by Oyasama.
We made a decisive resolve and a determined effort to conduct our pre-anniversary activities in the designated period of time, but the observance of the Anniversary of Oyasama does not mean we have reached the great goal. Our quest for spiritual growth never comes to an end.
Rather, although the anniversary has been brought to a conclusion, I believe that we have just arrived at another starting point and are about to take a new step toward the next milestone. The Shinbashira went on to say in his sermon:
I would like to suggest that we take advantage of this important juncture represented by the 120th Anniversary to reflect on the way we have been performing our tasks, take a fresh look at our goal, and pledge together that we will walk the path spiritedly and with a fresh mind so as to respond to the Parent's intention.
As told by the Shinbashira, before making a new start, we need to straightforwardly reflect on the way we have performed our tasks. With a fresh mind, every one of us must take a step forward together in high spirits to follow the path of spiritual growth.
It is important for each one of us to return to the origin [of human creation] and take a fresh look at our goal. In order to accomplish this goal, we need to know that origin. In the Ofudesaki, we are taught:
Whatever may be said of things already seen,
What I understand from this verse is that we do not know anything unless we are fully aware of the origin [of human creation]. We need to return to this origin to make a new start. We must live each day based on God the Parent's original intention [behind the creation of humankind].
The term "origin" means, for us Tenrikyo followers, (1) the origin of human creation, (2) the day of origin of the Teaching, (3) the day of origin of Oyasama's anniversaries, and (4) the day of origin of our faith. In The Doctrine of Tenrikyo, we read:
In the beginning, the world was a muddy ocean. Tsukihi, God the Parent, finding this chaos unbearably tasteless, thought of creating human beings in order to see the Joyous Life and thus share in that joy.
From this passage, we are able to know God the Parent's original intention. God the Parent is Tsukihi, our original Parent. The intention behind creating human beings is that God the Parent wishes to see their Joyous Life. That's why our ultimate goal is realizing the Joyous Life.
However, there are many who do not know our original Parent and that original intention. In the Ofudesaki, we are taught:
Desiring to teach this origin to the world by all means, Tsukihi has become revealed.
On October 26, 1838, at the arrival of the promised time, God the Parent settled Oyasama as the Shrine to save the whole world, becoming openly revealed at the Jiba, the place of origin where humankind had been first conceived. God the Parent said:
I am God of Origin, God in Truth. There is causality in this Residence. At this time I have descended here to save all humankind. I wish to receive Miki as the Shrine of God."
The Doctrine of Tenrikyo, p. 3
That day marked the day of origin of the Teaching. God's purpose for becoming openly revealed was to save all humankind. Oyasama, as the Shrine of God, not only taught the teachings for world salvation by Her spoken word and Her written word but also demonstrated them through Her own example, and thus laid the path of the Divine Model.
Oyasama did not plunge into the depth of poverty and go through hardships for so many years for the sake of doing so. Rather, Her intention was none other than to save all humankind. I can say that the path of Oyasama's Divine Model is, therefore, the path to save people and also the path for people to be saved.
As a means of universal salvation, Oyasama taught the Service. Hastening the completion of the Service and the spiritual growth of human beings, Oyasama withdrew from physical life on January 26, 1887. That is the day of origin of Oyasama's anniversaries.
Although Her appearance is no longer seen, a Divine Direction teaches us:
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 remains alive now and forever at the Residence of Origin. Also, in The Life of Oyasama, it is taught:
[T]here was a thing I had intended to give to My children but I was not able. I shall bestow this truth on you step by step hereafter. Remember this well.
Oyasama, bestowing the truth of the Sazuke, which is also another means for the path of single-hearted salvation, on more and more people by virtue of Her eternal life, continues to watch over us day and night and work for salvation.
Let me tell you once more and reaffirm that the true Parent of us all is God the Parent, who is God of Origin. God the Parent created human beings to see their Joyous Life and share in that joy. The day of origin of the Teaching and the day of origin of Oyasama's anniversaries are one in truth in the sense that they are based on the parental love to save all humankind, which we can always find in the Divine Model of Oyasama.
It is an important task for us Yoboku to always aim at the realization of the Joyous Life, keep our thoughts and actions focused on saving the world at any time, and walk the path of salvation. It is also important to keep in mind the significance of the origin [of human creation] and take a step forward as we all stand on a brand new starting line.
The origin in a spatial sense is, needless to say, the Jiba, which is the concrete symbol for our faith as well. The Ofudesaki tells us:
This is the Residence where I began this world. Therein lives the original Parent of human beginnings.
Therefore, I began to set up the Kanrodai. It is for the place of the true origin.
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