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the NC Tenrikyo Northern California Church 2840 Davis Road West Sacramento, CA 95691 Phone: 916-371-9419 Fax: 916-371-4418 E-mail: Joyouslifeline@gmail.com We’re on the Web! www.tenrikyo.or.jp www.tenrikyo.com Or join us on Facebook: Tenrikyo Nc Church

ncchurch joyouslife

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F E B RUA RY 2 0 1 2

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Rev. Aiko Hasegawa

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January Speech

I’d like to start off by wishing everyone a very Happy New Year for 2012! The first monthly service of the new year is always filled with exciting and hopeful thoughts for what may come for the rest of the year. Someone commented that perhaps not many people would show up today because everyone had already come for the New Year Service only one week ago. I just said that those who felt serious and earnest enough towards their faith would show up. So for those of you who made the efforts to be here for the second week in a row have expressed your level of sincerity towards your faith and it is definitely noticed by God the Parent. In Africa, there is a Tenrikyo Church. There was a story I heard where many of the local people there were looking into the windows of the church watching a service being performed. They definitely thought that it was a strange sight for them when rumors started spreading from the local residents about how silly this religion is because they were seeing the people praying to

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pineapples and bananas. It made me realize that many people who are not familiar with our teachings may wonder why there are foods and drinks always being placed on the altar of God the Parent, Oyasama, and our ancestors. When we bring ourselves to the shrines of God the Parent, Oyasama, and our ancestors, we are here, I hope, to learn something about ourselves and our spiritual well-being. One of the basic things we are always placing on the altar is water. Water is the ultimate metaphor for our minds. Water can take any shape or form that we put it into. We look to water for cleansing, quenching our thirst, for tranquility. If we agitate it, it can create turbulence and destruction. If we neglect it, it can become muddy and stale. We must consistently keep up with our efforts in order for water to stay pure, clean, and desirable. The same goes for our minds. The other basic offering is Sake. That is an alcoholic drink that some may think is controversial for different reasons but with Tenrikyo, it is not the drink

In This Issue

January Speech Page 1-2 Why Spring Grand Service? Page 3


that makes the person behave in a certain way but the person’s mental attitude. In general, to drink Sake was used for celebratory reasons and to create a joyous atmosphere. So Sake is placed on the altar to pray for a joyous heart and reasons to celebrate life. We also have salt placed here. Salt is something that can either overpower anything if we put too much of it in or it can enhance the flavor of anything if we put the right amount. Salt is about understanding the importance of balance in your life, your heart, your mind. It is also to know how to sprinkle your efforts not to overpower others but to enhance the lives of others. Finally, we have the various foods you see such as the pineapples and bananas that the local residents in Africa were referring to. Those are placed on the altar to give thanks to God the Parent for being blessed with the things that sustain us. Not only do they feed us for sustenance, these are the abundances and varieties of life that touch our different senses and appetites. The colors, the smells, the flavors that create the interests and diversities that bring us joy. These are all the literal and metaphoric objects of what keeps us alive and feeling alive. They sustain our bodies to function properly but they also can metaphorically remind us of what we should be striving for in our hearts and our lives. That is why they are placed with such reverence on our altars. Many church services may try to entertain people to keep their attention and to keep you coming back. On the surface, the Tenrikyo service may seem like it is some simple song and dance

form just sung over and over again every month. But when you delve your mind beyond the surface of what you see, you realize the level of detail and depth inside of the actual service that is being performed in front of God the Parent. It is done with the utmost thoughtfulness of what parts of your mind need to be polished and brought to the forefront for attention. The constant same phrases to the songs are things we need to be reminded of because we humans forget easily. The coming together to play instruments are valuable to life not only because each instrument represents a vital body function but because we need to understand not only how much focus it takes to stay in harmony with others but what kind of focus and mindfulness it takes to create harmony amongst different people and with those in our own community. When you understand the meanings and symbols behind every aspect of the service, there is much to take in and learn from every time you attend. God the Parent does not bless us just because we will lower our heads to pray for a small moment. God the Parent blesses us according to how our attitudes, our hearts are aligned with the intentions of God. It is too easy for us humans to forget what our priorities should be to make this a Joyous Life. That is why there are so many different parts of the service we can learn from, to engage in for practice, to ponder on, and to be mindful of in our daily lives. It’s not flashy or exciting, but take a deeper look and you will realize that there is a depth that God seeks from your hearts to bring out to the forefront if you choose to learn.

Oyasama’s desire in teaching the Teodori was to symbolically portray a joyous and festive meaning at one and the same time...Thus, through this ritualized use of the body, dancers are reminded of and depict the many religious symbols conveyed in the Teodori - the origin, the seed, the fertile field, the carpenter, to name only a few. It becomes a “model of” cosmic reality and a “model for” social reality for the group who come together to perform it - a model of and for the Joyous Life. - Tenrikyo: The Path To Joyousness, p. 39-40 When Oyasama was teaching Her disciples the songs and dances, she was reported as saying: “Thank you for your dancing, but no one danced the truth...You should not just dance, you should dance the truth.....Hands that are limp in the performance of the Service betray a mind that is undisciplined. Also, it will not do to make even a single mistake in the manner of moving your hands. Through this Service, one’s life can be renewed. So important is this Service.” - Tenrikyo: The Path To Joyousness, p. 19 - 20


JOYOUS MIND

JANUARY SPRING GRAND SERVICE:

JOYOUS LIFE

The story and the significance

January is the month that the Spring Grand Service is performed. The significance of this month’s service is because Oyasama removed herself from her physical body at the age of 90 on January 26, 1887 (Lunar Calendar). In Chapter 10 of “The Life of Oyasama” the complete story is told about the days leading up to this. Oyasama and the devout members had been, up to that point, constantly under attack by the local law enforcement because officials were beginning to feel threatened by this new movement towards the teachings which attracted thousands from all parts of the area. Oyasama and those closest to her were sent to prison numerous times for one small reason or another to prevent them from spreading the teachings. However, though the intentions of God the Parent continued to spread far and wide, the members closest to Her were still hesitant on performing the Service for fear of more oppression and attack by the police. As 1886 ended, on the evening of New Year’s Day of 1887, Oyasama came out of Her bath and staggered momentarily. When She was asked at the time, her comment was: “It is a sign that the world is going to move.” Then on January 4th, she said: “Sah, sah, the time is fully ripe and pressing. I have already told you everything but you have not understood at all. No matter how much I explain, there is no one who understands. This is My regret. You must reflect deeply on the life of doubt which you lead. Sah, if the words of God were false, this path would not have continued for forty-nine years until now. What I have told you until now has been shown. With this in mind, reflect. Sah, shall I withdraw? Shall I end it all? Oyasama stopped breathing and grew cold at that moment. With shock, everyone hastened to perform the Service that they had stalled on doing under her direction. They did so, but only in the dark of night and without all the required instruments. On January 9th, Oyasama’s condition improved. However, fear continued of reprimand and oppression from the local law. Shinnosuke said to Oyasama: “You taught us that the souls of the instruments and models of human creation were born at this Residence, that You descended to this Residence because it is the Jiba where the creation of human beings and the world began, and that the souls of the rulers and our souls are the same. If we are asked about these points, how are we to answer? We do not know. We cannot defy the law.” Oyasama responded in kindly and simple terms: “Sah, sah, because Tsukihi exists, the world exists. Because the world exists, things exists. Because things exists, your bodies exists. Because your bodies exists, law exists. Although law exists, to resolve your mind is primary.” Though with still some hesitations, the performances of the Kagura and the Teodori continued and Oyasama continued to improve. However, she asked Izo Iburi a question: “Sah, sah, I shall begin to level the ground completely. Sah, sah, with the portals opened, I shall level the ground all over the world. Sah, I shall step out to level the ground. Sah, sah, shall I open the portals and level the ground? Shall I close the portals and level the ground?” At this, all who were present replied, “Please open the portals and level the ground.” At that moment, a fan used for the invocation flew open. On January 26, 1887, because of continued insistence by Oyasama to properly perform the service regardless of the risks, all performers who were willing to risk being taken to jail performed the Service in complete open and full form. On the last line of the last song, Song 12, as the words, “all the carpenters have assembled,” was ending, with members overflowing from all parts to be in attendance, Oyasama suddenly took her last breath. It was 2:00pm. Shock overcame the thousands who gathered in support for they remembered Oyasama’s direction of a life span being 115 years yet she had passed on at the age of 90. Looking for answers to understand, through Izo Iburi (a dedicated member who later became the second spiritual leader), an answer came: “Sah, sah, I shall level the ground. Has everyone assembled, has everyone assembled? Listen and understand well. All that I have said until now was put into a container of truth. But now God has opened the portals and stepped out. Because of My love for you, My children, the Parent shortened Her life by twenty-five years to step out and save the world from now. Observe well. Observe will what the path has been and what the path will become. When I asked whether I should open the portals or keep them closed to level the ground, you answered, “Please open the portals and level the ground.” I have done as you wished. Sah, there 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.” On that day, January 26, 1887, the Shrine of Tsukihi was opened upon the request of it’s devout followers. Oyasama now continues the salvation work for the Joyous Life without the constraints of her physical form.


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NC newsletter

Unite your minds and construct a path of hope. You must reflect it to the world so the world will be convinced that it is the true path to follow. Osashizu, September 6, 1902

Please join us on Sunday, February 12th, at 10am! To receive this newsletter via e-mail instead, notify us at Joyouslifeline@gmail. com

2840 Davis Road West Sacramento, CA 95691 (916) 371-9419

TENRIKYO NC church

February 2012 NC Newsletter  

speech translations; Tenrikyo teachings; information

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