Tenrikyo (天理教; lit. Teaching of Divine Reason) is a religion of Japanese Shinto origin with some Buddhist influence. It was founded by a female peasant, Nakayama Miki, who underwent a revelatory experience from 1838 onwards. After this date she is referred to as Oyasama (lit. Honoured Parent) by followers. Tenrikyo is estimated to have about 37,000 followers in Japan.
The focus of the religion is to attain the 'joyous life' on Earth through charity and abstention from greed, a self-serving life, hatred, anger and arrogance.
Adherents believe in a single god, Tenri-O-no-Mikoto (lit. "Lord of Divine Reason", but the term is used as a name-label rather than as a description), who is defined as the creator and caring parent of all mankind. Continuing reincarnation is part of the religion, but is not a major emphasis. Key teachings include: Moto-no-Ri - the principle of origin; Kashimono-Karimono (a thing lent, a thing borrowed) - the nature relationship between the human body and God; Hinokishin - voluntary effort (often charitable or public-service); Tanno (true acceptance) - a constructive attitude towards troubles, illness and difficulties; and Juzen-no-Shugo - ten principles or providences involved in the creation which exist in Futatsu Hitotsu (two-in-one relationships).
In Tenrikyo there are three successive levels of understanding of the nature of God: the first is Kami which is God as understood in every day terms, the second is Tsukihi (lit. Moon Sun), or God as the creator of nature and natural laws, and lastly Oya (Parent), or God as the parent of human beings. It is important to note that these terms refer to three successive levels of people's understanding of one single God as they grow in spiritual maturity.
The spiritual center of the religion is in what was formerly Shoyashiki Village, now part of Tenri city in the Nara prefecture. The main shrine complex centres around the Jiba, believed to be the central point of the creation. The senior religious leader is referred to as the Shimbashira (lit. Main Post). Many metaphors from building and carpentry are used in Tenrikyo teachings which view the construction of a better, joyous world as a step-by-step process in which people can make small steps towards progress through working together collaboratively.
Tenrikyo teachings, despite emphasising group effort, allow for a significant degree of individuality among different followers - differences are seen as complementary, and the overall organisation is subdivided into many different groups with common goals but differing focus. These range from different regional Daikyokai (lit. Great Teaching Groups), to disaster relief corps, medical staffs and a hospital, a university, an extensive museum, one of the largest libraries in Japan, various schools and several others.
Tenri Judo is renowned as a successful competition style of Judo that has produced many champions, and there are also other sporting and arts interest groups within Tenrikyo.
See also: Religions of Japan
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04