The term "contribution and dedication," which is often used in Tenrikyo, is sometimes divided into two parts, which are then used independently.
First, let us consider "contribution."
Tenrikyo's use of the term is based on two of the four meanings of "tsukushi," the Japanese word translated as "contribution"--namely "exhausting something or using all of it so that none is left" and "working for another or exerting oneself for others." For example, followers might use phrases like: "to contribute to the path," "to contribute sincerity," "to contribute labor," "to contribute things," and "to contribute money." Offering money to God the Parent is sometimes simply referred to as "contribution."
Contributing labor, money, and material things is by nature easy to notice and might sometimes be regarded as a yardstick for measuring the entire "contribution" someone is making. In fact, however, it is not the tangible contributions but the true sincerity embodied in them that is by far the most important.
In a Divine Direction, God the Parent says in effect: "I do not bless you for the things you offer. It is the mind filled with gratitude that I accept. . . . Offer to Me your minds filled with promise. Then I shall accept. If you do it with tears, God cannot accept" (Osashizu, July 20, 1902).
As indicated by this Divine Direction, it is our daily contribution of sincerity that God the Parent awaits eagerly, the sincerity with which we do whatever we can to help others be saved and make ourselves useful to the work of God the Parent. This contribution of sincerity can come from our deep appreciation to God the Parent for lending us the body and enabling us to be alive day after day. It will be an embodiment of joy and gratitude for these precious blessings and an expression of our wish to make repayment for them. Then in response to our sincerity, God the Parent will enable us to experience ever greater joy.
Again, "contribution" is not something we do because we have the time and energy to do so. Rather, the term connotes doing our very utmost and giving all we have. Far from being something we do because we can, contribution is something we try to do even if it is hard to do; it involves doing whatever it takes. Contributing such sincerity is, indeed, of utmost importance.
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