Tag Archives: Tenri Forum 2006

Blog (17 July 2009)

Marking three years since Tenri Forum 2006

It’s exactly three years to the day since Tenri Forum 2006 ended. Although it was an inspiring three days, I have not seen any signs of a comparable coordinated effort in the English-speaking congregation since then. I honestly must say there is much to be desired from anyone who is in the position and authority to bring together another such event, even one much smaller in scale, in the future.

The wonderful people who helped put together this grand event appeared to have been burned out in the process of preparing and carrying it out so much that it took more than two years just to get the “book” (Tenri Forum 2006: New Frontiers in the Mission — Compiled Speeches & Summaries) together.

In some ways, I sympathize, but in other ways, it’s just another source of extreme frustration that comes with the territory of being a Tenrikyo follower. Not to mention they messed up my presentation in print format… grrrrr… (Please click here for the authoritative version, if you’ve yet to read it.)

For those who don’t have the book, the Tenri Forum 2006 entry at the Tenrikyo Resource Wiki is a good place to start.

Uh, by the way, what happened to the TF 2006 book blog?

I had a grand ambition when the TF 2006 book first came out: I was going to read and blog the entire thing (613 pages) here on Tenrikyology.com! I was really serious about this: I even wrote and posted the Intro to this series! But as you can see, I haven’t added anything else in the six months since then. Which kind of begs the question: What happened?

I think the most honest explanation I can give is twofold:

  1. I got lazy, and
  2. I chickened out a bit, realizing I may have bit off more than I could chew

Before I went on to post the next blog after the Intro, it occurred to me that maybe it wasn’t a hot idea to start blogging on Tenri Forum 2006 without letting people know what I was going to do it. I composed a mass e-mail announcing my intentions to all the contributors but I never got around to sending it. I admit it: I chickened (or maybe flaked?) out.

I’ve only started reading the book about a month or two ago, but I’m still on the afternoon session from the first day.

I honestly can’t say if I’ll get around to blogging the TF book. I might finally blog it sometime later on a much smaller scale, just mentioning and maybe summarizing the presentations I happen to like instead of the full-blown analysis that I originally had in mind. But I’m not making any promises at this point.

*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication.

Blogging Tenri Forum 2006: Intro

Well, here we are, nearly three years after Tenri Forum 2006. Since a thick book entitled Tenri Forum 2006: New Frontiers in the Mission — Compiled Speeches & Summaries that has collected “all the speeches, summaries, plenary addresses, slides, and symposium of this historic Tenrikyo event” (from back cover) came out on November 26, 2008, I can finally read the printed versions of the section meetings I was not able to attend and get a better grasp of what was covered during this three-day event.

To describe Tenri Forum 2006 briefly, it was an event held between July 15 and 17, 2006, at Jiba (Tenri, Nara, Japan, where Tenrikyo Church Headquarters is located). I guess it would be best described as an event organized in the style of an academic conference that was held entirely in English.

The Forum as a whole was divided into three thematic “units” on each day. Two of these units — held on the first two days — had two “subunits” comprising the morning and afternoon sessions.

The third and last unit simply comprised the morning session of the third and last day. Each “subunit” or morning and afternoon session on the first two days began with a 45-minute “plenary address” which all participants were encouraged to attend. This was followed by one of several two-hour “section meetings,” which participants chose beforehand when making their applications online.

On the third and last day, participants went to “regional meetings” with a (bento/packaged) lunch after their morning section meetings. (There was no “plenary address” on the last day.) The afternoon of the third and last day was concluded with a “public symposium,” “special lectures,” and a “panel discussion.” My description might sound a little more complicated that it actually was, but here is a link to a visual diagram of the Forum program to help those of you who weren’t there to get a better idea of what it was like.

I am honestly not sure what I am getting myself into by beginning this blogging project. I might get myself into some tangled messes with this new feature blogging the content and expressing my opinions thereof since I personally know many of the people who pontificated at the three-day event (which includes yours truly, who pontificated like no other).

Will my blogging become an entertaining, spectator’s sport? (More tangled messes I get into = More fun, right?) Or, will I even have anything to say at all about certain presentations? We’ll wait and see.

In any case, one of my main motivations on doing this is to get a general sense of where Tenrikyo is at this moment and time, in terms of where those following this faith stand when it comes to certain issues or what concrete problems are on the minds of the English-speaking congregation at large. Since the Forum covered such a large spectrum of topics, I imagine it will be difficult to come to a comprehensive, representative picture of Tenrikyo at the first decade of the 21st century. But I don’t really expect to. I have been waiting for this compilation for some time, and I am just excited about digging into it and finally discovering what I missed out by attending the particular “section meetings” I chose.

My plans are at this time is to read Compiled Speeches & Summaries bit by bit and blog my thoughts as I go along. I honestly am not sure whether or not I will be able to post for this new feature on a regular basis, some of the presentations may require some digesting on my part but I do hope to be comfortable enough to speak my mind on whatever happens to come up.

Before I end this inaugural post for this new feature, I’d like to add an excerpt I posted over two years ago at Tenrikyo Forum (the online community, not the one-time event I have writing about thus far and main subject of this new feature on Tenrikyology.com. I know, it’s easy to get them mixed up.)

Posted: Fri Nov 03, 2006 8:23 pm

Post subject: general comments

The Forum was so big in scale that it was difficult to keep track of all the things that were going on. It is going to take a lot of time just to put together a book (currently in the works) with all the presentations and discussion summaries not to mention tons to time to digest all the information. Some of the topics were great, but I think one of the major problems was that there was not enough time for discussion in the different sessions. I hear that one of the goals of the Forum was to arrive at some kind of consensus on some issues, but we’re still trying to find our footing on many of them. Most of the topics themselves seemed to have come top-down instead of considering what all the participants were looking for. I actually walked out in the middle of one because it was not what I thought I signed up for.

I don’t know how many of you saw the questionnaire they circulated in 2003 or 2004 with a long list of potential topics. I only checked the boxes about environmental issues and translating Tenrikyo into English and this second topic wasn’t really represented. But all that said, I really did not know what to expect from this event. I could not have imagined the energy level and the really positive vibe that was constant throughout the three days.

It’s interesting to reread what I wrote about Tenri Forum 2006 more than two years later.

*Note: This post has been revised since its original publication. The Tenrikyo Forum site was, unfortunately, taken down a few years after this post was published. Lastly, I abandoned this Blogging Tenri Forum 2006 project not long after I posting this (for reasons explained here). I have left this post up mainly for archival purposes.

Bibliographic info of quote cited in first paragraph:

  • Tenrikyo Overseas Department. 2008. Tenri Forum 2006: New Frontiers in the Mission — Compiled Speeches & Summaries. Tenri, Japan: Tenrikyo Overseas Department.

Tenri Forum Presentation on July 17, 2006

Taking Cues from Oyasama’s Divine Model in Creating an Environmentally Conscious Culture

(This is my manuscript from my presentation at Tenri Forum 2006 at the Section Meeting Tenrikyo and Its Approach to the Environment)


Hello everyone. Although I fear that I am by no means an expert and lack a background in environmental activism which our two previous presenters—Mr. Cedric Noto and Ms. Amira Dali—have, I hope to use the best of my limited background in what I call “Tenrikyology,” or Tenrikyo studies, to approach the subject of this section meeting.

Continue reading Tenri Forum Presentation on July 17, 2006