Minister (Kyoto)

by Yoshikazu Fukaya

A kyoto or minister refers to a Yoboku (see previous entry) who has completed the Head Minister Qualification Course One and has registered so with Church Headquarters. Further, Yoboku who have completed one of the following--the missionary program at Tenri University, Tenri Junior Seminary, the first half of Tenri Dai-ni Junior Seminary, or the first-year studies at Tenri Graduate Seminary--are also able to register as kyoto with Church Headquarters without enrolling in the Head Minister Qualification Course.

Until World War II, Tenrikyo was supervised by the government as a part of "Sect Shinto" and followers were divided into three main categories: instructor, adherent, and believer. Further, the category and occupation of "instructor" consisted of several ranks.

However, following the end of World War II, the second Shinbashira announced the "restoration" of Tenrikyo in form and in spirit based on Oyasama's teachings. "The Constitution of Tenrikyo" was reviewed so all matters would conform to the Divine Model of Oyasama and be decided and carried out based on the intention of God the Parent. The categories of "instructor, adherent, and believer" were replaced with "kyoto (minister), Yoboku, and follower."

It should be noted that a "minister" first and foremost refers to someone who seeks the teachings on his or her own and implements the Divine Model in his or her life rather than an "instructor" who teaches and guides others. A "minister" is not an "instructor" of "adherents" and "believers" but a Yoboku, who has received the truth of the Sazuke, and is a building material used by God the Parent to build the world of the Joyous Life.

In Tenrikyo, it makes a large difference whether or not one has received the truth of the Sazuke, in other words, whether one is a Yoboku or not. A minister refers to someone among Yoboku who has especially firmly settled the teachings in the mind, is in a position to serve the path on a deeper level than others, and has been formally recognized as having the credentials to become a church head minister someday. It may be appropriate to say that a "minister" is a Yoboku among Yoboku who is to blaze the trail ahead in the name of single-hearted salvation.