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Tenrikyo (天理教)
When are the times when life gets us down the most? Aren't those the times when we can't find joy in anything we do, when we can't manage to put our heart into anything, and when nothing seems to interest us? Life can, in fact, be happy even in sad or unpleasant situations as long as we take a positive attitude and stay on the lookout for the bright side of things.
The Joyous Life is a way of living in which people help each other while keeping their minds joyous, bright, and spirited.
A family is the smallest unit of the Joyous Life, so let us strive to build joyous families that can laugh together, talk over everything together, and help one another.
That is the starting point to spread the Joyous Life to others.
Tenrikyo tract: "The Joyous Life"

Tenrikyo is a Japanese religion founded in the 19th century that emphasizes salvation through good works, sacred dance, and healing. It is a non-exclusive religion and its leaders commit themselves to interfaith dialogue. It is centered in Tenri City, once a rural village home to its founder Oyasama, and now one of the modern spectacles of Japan built to her specifications.


Tenri City

Tenri City is the best place to see Tenrikyo in implementation. It is home to the Djiba, a post which marks the origin of humankind, and which all Tenrikyoists are expected to return to sometime in their lives. The main sanctuary centered around the Djiba also includes the home of Oyasama (Miki Nakayama), the founder of Tenrikyo who is believed to inhabit the building in spirit, and a memorial to Tenrikyo's founders and followers.

Surrounding the main sanctuary is the Oyasato-Yakata, a twenty-five wing complex almost a kilometer to a side. The Oyasato-Yakata includes a seminary, a secular university, a high school and middle school, a multipurpose hospital, a superb museum of world cultures (containing rare prehistoric artifacts and a real Egyptian mummy, among other things), and classroom facilities for Tenrikyo followers and visitors alike. Tenri Hospital is widely acknowledged as one of the best in Japan.

The path from the main sanctuary to the government train station is the longest shopping arcade in Japan.

History of Tenrikyo

In 1838, when inadvertently asked to take over during a shugendou exorcism, a Japanese housewife named Miki Nakayama became possessed by Tenri-Ou-No-Mikoto, the Cosmic God of Creation. After three days of persuasion during which Nakayama did not eat or drink, her husband allowed her to become the Shrine of God, but the teachings of Tenrikyo did not begin immediately. For several decades Nakayama, who was given the honorific Oyasama ("the Parent"), did not try to persuade anyone to convert, but only ordered her husband to give away their possessions, plunging the family into poverty. Eventually God saw fit to give Oyasama the power to grant safe childbirth, and she began attracting female followers who wished to have that grant.

Tenrikyo was thus originally a religion of healing which answered the needs of the impoverished Japanese farmers living in Oyasama's village. The early anecdotes of her life have three major themes: her healing powers, her prophetic powers, and her quite unfeminine demonstrations of God's omnipotence and perfection. Eventually she began transcribing the words of God in the Ofudesaki, a collection of over one thousand traditional waka poems that begin with the transient concerns of Oyasama's family and end with the long-term concerns of the Tenrikyo faith and the universe.

After Oyasama's death crackdowns on Tenrikyo became even more severe. It applied to become a branch of State Shinto emperor worship. Local authorities, uncomfortable with this idea, made its uneducated rural leaders jump through endless hoops, requiring them to modify their teachings about the origin of the universe and open one of the first orphanages in Japan, among many other things. Through perseverance it was eventually made official.

After World War II Tenrikyo was revitalized as a progressive and positive religion, emphasizing Oyasama's command to "save yourself by saving others". It has arguably developed the most sophisticated theological tradition of any post-Kamakura Japanese religion.


If you are interested in fashion, you may find yourself checking out how passersby are dressed. If you are fond of eating, restaurants will naturally attract your attention when you walk down the street. If you are on your way to meet your boyfriend, you will probably be able to spot him even in a crowd.
This goes to show that you tend to become aware of the things you like or take interest in, because part of your consciousness is focused on those things. By making a conscious effort, therefore, you might start noticing things that hadn't come into view before.
Why don't you make a conscious effort to look for kindness and joy? That effort will allow you to become aware of the kindness and joy shown by people around you, which will surely bring you a sense of happiness.
You can easily notice things you like or dislike without even trying, because part of you is preoccupied with them.
If you find something unpleasant in others, you should first reflect upon yourself. Surely, you will find the same thing in yourself as well. If you manage to remove it from yourself, the sense of dislike you felt about others will disappear of its own accord.
If you want to become happy, you should consciously try to look on the positive side of people.
Tenrikyo tract: "Things that come into view"


When we perform acts of hinokishin, our minds spontaneously become clear and bright.
If you ever feel worn-out or find that you are getting less and less joy out of life, why don't you try doing something for others and see if that doesn't brighten up your life?
Tenrikyo tract: "Showing Our Joy and Gratitude"

Note: This is true


The body is a "a thing lent, thing borrowed" from God. Only your mind is truly under your control.

Human beings are essentially good, and they cannot damage their goodness. Suffering is caused by "dusts" or bad habits that accumulate on the mind, and this dust is impermanent and can be swept away.

The best way to sweep off dust is to live the Joyous Life: learning to be thankful for what one has and joyously accepting the challenge of any situation.

Tenrikyo humor

Even Tenri believers like to burlesque the opening line of the Dancing Psalm, converting it to "Clear away our homes and sell our paddies, oh parent god of divine wisdom." (Ashiki o harote tasuketamae becomes Yashiki o harote ta-uri tamae).
Sensei and his People, p. 181 (translator's afterword)


Splinter groups

As should be expected for a religion with two million followers Tenrikyo has several splinter groups. These groups mostly developed from the teachings of their own charismatic leaders. Only a few, like Tenrikyo Toyofumi Church, are critical of the management of Tenrikyo.


External links

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