Tenrikyo Services (Omichi no saiten)

by Yoshikazu Fukaya

Autumn Grand Service (Shuki Taisai): October 26

The Autumn Grand Service commemorates October 26, 1838 (lunar)--the day of origin when the Teaching was first begun. (It is also called "aki no taisai" in Japanese.)

"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"--Nakayama family members and their relatives were startled by God the Parent's first words. While not completely understanding the implications of these words, the family attempted to refuse God the Parent's request and negotiated over a period of three days and three nights until, at last, Zenbei Nakayama determinedly gave the reply, "I offer Miki to You." Tenrikyo marks its beginning at this moment, at eight o'clock on October 26, 1838 (lunar). For this reason, the Autumn Grand Service on October 26 begins at 8:00 A.M.

Spring Grand Service (Shunki Taisai): January 26

The Spring Grand Service commemorates January 26, 1887 (lunar)--the date when Oyasama withdrew from physical life to hasten the spiritual growth of humankind, Her children. (It is also called "haru no taisai" in Japanese.)

By showing a sign through Her physical condition, Oyasama hastened to bring the Service into realization in the midst of police oppression and interference out of Her parental love to save the world. Followers firmly solidified their resolve and single-heartedness with God and began the Service. However, no one came to stop its performance. Oyasama quietly withdrew from physical life after hearing the entire performance of the Service being smoothly completed. We are told this occurred approximately at two o'clock in the afternoon.

The Spring Grand Service begins at 11:30 A.M. so that Song Twelve, the last of the Songs for the Teodori, ends at about 2:00 P.M.

Oyasama Birth Celebration Service (Oyasama go-tanjosai): April 18

The Oyasama Birth Celebration Service is a "Grand Service" that celebrates the birth of Oyasama into this world on April 18, 1798 (lunar). It is often shortened to "Birth Celebration Service" (go-tanjosai).

While spring and autumn grand services (January and October grand services in the southern hemisphere) are conducted at churches in each region, the Birth Celebration Service is only conducted in Jiba, the Home of the Parent, where the everliving Oyasama lives. The Service begins at 10:00 A.M. The Shinbashira brings Oyasama's lunch immediately after the Kagura Service is finished. (The Shinbashira also brings Oyasama Her lunch on Grand Service days as well.)

Before the Service begins, students from kindergarten to university who attend school in Jiba gather in the Inner Courtyard to sing "Oyasama's Birthday Celebration Song." Other activities are also held on the same day, helping make it a lively occasion.

Monthly Services (Tsukinamisai): 26th of each month

The 26th is considered a highly important day in Tenrikyo. This is because both the faith's founding and Oyasama's withdrawal from physical life occurred on the 26th--the former on October 26 and the latter January 26 (lunar dates). Even during Oyasama's physical lifetime, numerous followers would gather at the Residence on the 26th, referring to it as "go-ennichi" (literally, "related day") or "go-meinichi" ("anniversary day"). Presently, with the exception of the 26th of the Grand Service months of January and October, Monthly Services are conducted at the Main Sanctuary of Church Headquarters beginning at 9:00 A.M.

New Year's Day Service (Gantansai): January 1

The New Year's Day Service at Church Headquarters--the Service at the beginning of the year that expresses appreciation for the arrival of the New Year and prays for God's blessings to continue throughout the year--begins at 5:00 A.M.

All the Services mentioned above--the three Grand Services, Monthly Services, and New Year's Day Service, which are all conducted at Jiba--include the performance of the Kagura Service and the Teodori or the Dance with Hand Movements.

Churches in various countries and regions each conduct their own New Year's Day service on January 1 and grand services as well as monthly services on assigned days in accordance with the truth of Jiba. However, instead of conducting the Kagura Service, regional churches conduct the seated service, which is then followed by the Dance with Hand Movements.

Memorial Service

Memorial services are conducted at Church Headquarters twice a year to pay respects to the memories of those who have passed away for rebirth. The Spring Memorial Service is conducted on March 27 and the Autumn Memorial Service is conducted on September 27. Regional churches also conduct memorial services in March and September on their respective assigned dates. Neither the Kagura Service (Jiba) nor the seated service (churches) is performed at these memorial services. The Dance with Hand Movements (Teodori) is conducted before God the Parent and followed by memorial ceremonies in front of the memorial altar.

Other Services held at Church Headquarters on top of the ones mentioned above are the Service for Safe Childbirth (Obiya Zutome) and Service for Germination (Haede no Tsutome). These Services happen to be Kagura Services performed with kagura masks. Yet they are conducted as prayers for specific blessings, and their respective hand movements and song for the Kagura are different from the hand movements and song for the Kagura of the Services detailed above. Since they are performed with the Jiba-Kanrodai at center, neither can be performed at regional churches.

The Service for Safe Childbirth is performed on a selected date at night as needed. The sacred rice that is prepared as offerings at the Kanrodai for its performance is later bestowed as the sacred rice for the Grant of Safe Childbirth [5.90].

The Service for Germination is performed to pray for the budding of rice plants to ensure a rich harvest. It is presently conducted once a year on the night of April 16 or later depending on the weather.