Tenriism, or Tenrikyo, is one of the growing religious faiths in Japan, and in the world as a whole. Having been originated by Japanese woman named Nakayama Miki in the 19th Century, the religion now has over 1.75 million followers in Japan and over 2 million worldwide.
5. History, Sacred Texts, and Overview of Beliefs
The story of the origins of the religion is dated back to 1838 when Nakayama Miki, or Oyasama as she is called by her followers, was possessed by the One god (Tenri-O-no-Mikoto), who demanded her husband that Miki be given to him as a human shrine. After three days, her husband accepted the proposal and Miki then turned to a shrine of god through whom God himself spoke. The sacred texts of Tenrikyo are Ofudesaki, Mikagura-Uta and and Oshashizu. All these books contain either poems or songs regarding the words of the god told through the possession of the religion's founder, Nakayam Miki.The primary book is considered to be Ofudesaki. The religion is neither strictly monotheistic nor pantheistic.. The adherents believe that one can control his mind but not the body. The religion does not tell negative behaviors as sins but rather as "dust" which can be cleansed off through proper service. The ultimate aim of Tenrikyo is the salvation of all human beings through proper service to humankind itself and the attainment of "The Joyous Life" . "The Joyous Life" in Tenrikyo is considered of charity and free from greed,selfishness,arrogance,anger and hatred.
4. Global Presence and Notable Practitioners
The religion is one of the many "new religions" of Japan, and has grown significantly over the past one hundred years, with over 1.75 million followers in Japan and over 2 million followers worldwide. Considering the fact that the religion and its preaching began in the late mid 1800s the number of followers it has is simply astounding. The simple yet noble principals it believes in has led to its prominence and increasing number of followers. The most notable practitioners of the religion are Avram Davidson the science fiction writer, Naoki Matsuyo the Japanese footballer, and Ayaka Hirahara, a Japanese pop singer.
3. Development and Spread of the Faith
Tenrikyo was named as one of the thirteen groups included in Sect Shinto between 1908 and 1945 under the State Shinto classification. The main operations today are conducted by 16,833 churches in Japan, as well as many other community based organizations such as Jiba and Oyasato-Yakata. Due to the prestigious Tenri university and Tenri Foreign Language School the religion has made a name for itself although less than half of the students there are the followers of the religion itself. In the past few years the religion has grown significantly even outside Japan. There are 22 centers of the religion outside Japan with many of them being in Southeast Asia and the Americas. These centers mostly focus on preaching the teaching of the religion and teaches people to live "The Joyous Life".
2. Challenges and Controversies
The religion, being quite new, has not stirred up many major controversies up to the present date. However, it has faced one major challenge. Its identity has been commonly mistaken for either Shintoism or Buddhism.Although the religions may have similar background and practice method the organization of Tenrikyo has been completely separated from both of the other religion. So making an identity of its own has become quite a challenge for the religion itself.
1. Future Prospects
The religion is full of future prospects given the fact that the teachings are simple yet influential, common to other religions yet unique in their own way, and easy yet noble. Soon will seek change form the conventional religious practices that have been on going for centuries but have brought nothing forth except for violence and war. Tenrikyo actually may be a religion that the world needs and seeking. Due to its increasing influence in Japan and in other countries as well Tenrikyo may very well be one of the major religions of the coming future.