Tenrikyo is a religion of Japanese origin founded in 1838. It was founded by a female peasant, Nakayama Miki, who designed two of the three influential doctrines used in this religious movement’s daily devotion.

Miki’s first revelation came in 1837 when a priest was called to perform a “mystical ritual” to cure Miki, her husband, and son Shuji of sudden attacks of extreme pain.

According to Tenrikyo legend, “‘God the Parent'” possessed an entranced Miki and announced his intention to use her as the “Shrine of God” and a median between God and humans.

The kanji, or Chinese characters, which spell Tenrikyo connotate the group’s encompassing goal: ten means “heavens,” ri means “truth” or “reason,” and kyo means “teach.” When combined, Tenrikyo means “Religion of Divine Wisdom.” The central idea behind this Tenrikyo is Kashimono- karimono- things lent, things borrowed. According to this train of thought, man controls his mind alone, and his body is on loan.

This temporary vessel should be used to serve God in order to avoid the accumulating hokori (the dust that settles on a person when they lead a self-serving life) on the mind and soul.

Through daily reflection on one’s thoughts, man can sweep away this dust. There are eight kinds of hokori mentioned in Tenrikyo writings: greed, stinginess, partiality, hatred, animosity, anger, covetousness, and arrogance. The focus of the religion, therefore, is to attain a joyous life on Earth through charity and abstention from greed, and to live a non-self-serving life free from the eight hokori.

Tenrikyo focuses on life on earth, so there is very limited discussion about the afterlife. Death is defined as taking off of old clothes and putting on of bright new ones, which suggests the belief in reincarnation. Because illness is only a reminder from God that one has strayed from the true path of serving God, salvation entails a healthy, long life.

There are various new religions that have come on the scene in Japan but none have had as much success as Tenrikyo.

They have over 2,350,000 members and approximately 15,000 churches. They are found in Japanese American communities across the United States and Canada. All members are to be Missionaries and are sent out all over the world to help spread their message.

Along with the churches in Japan and North America, there are several congregations in Hawaii, Brazil, Korea, China, the Philippines, and other countries. The movement’s headquarters are in Tenri City where 50,000 residents live.

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