What is Tenrikyo?



The teachings of Tenrikyo came into existence on October 26, 1838, in a small village in Central Japan. God was manifested through the body of a woman named Miki Nakayama. The basis of our teachings arises from the principal teaching that we are all created by God, our Parent, to mutually live a joyous, peaceful, and harmonious life. Each human being is equally a dear child of God; thus, God is the Parent who wants nothing more than for all humanity to live the Joyous Life and to share in that joy. The living of the Joyous Life is, therefore, the purpose of our existence. Due to our Parent and child relationship, we refer to God as God the Parent.


God’s intent that humans live a joyous life is applicable to all, not just to a chosen few. It is not intended to be a world where some people save themselves at the expense of others, but rather where people mutually help one another to become joyful and spirited. It is a life of helping and respecting one another, a life where we are free from self-centered thoughts and one in which we can find joy in whatever we see, hear, and do. If we live in this way, we have the ability to live in utter joy and contentment.


If the purpose of life is to live joyously and harmoniously with others, how did we get to where we are now; why are we beset by illness, anxiety, troubles, and misfortunes? The reason is that—unaware of the existence of God the Parent and the divine providence which enables us to be alive—we imagine that we live by our own power, thereby getting ourselves caught up in self-centered thinking. It is this mistaken use of our minds that manifests itself as illness and misfortunes

Tenrikyo teaches that any thoughts that differ from God’s intention can be regarded as mistaken. Comparing such thoughts to dusts of the mind, Tenrikyo teaching encourages us to sweep away any accumulated dust of the mind daily. Further, our troubles can also be seen as “divine guidance,” whereby God the Parent alerts us to our mistaken thinking and seeks to awaken us to the divine intention, thereby guiding us toward a life of joy. Through divine guidance, which flows from God’s parental love, we can reflect upon the daily use of our minds and change it to accord with the intention of God the Parent.

When God created us, God endowed us with free will. This freedom allows us to use of our minds in any manner we choose. The ways we use our minds will determine whether we live a life of joy and harmony or a life filled with discontent and suffering. Trusting completely in the providence of God the Parent, we are capable of maintaining a joyous perception in all circumstances, remaining spirited even when faced with difficulties in our lives. This way of affirming all things with contentment is taught as “joyous acceptance.”


We are created by God the Parent and are able to live by the divine providence. By settling this truth in our minds, we can truly experience a life of joy. We can then express this joy in our daily lives through selfless and thankful action. Leading our lives in gratitude, we should work to help others in accord with the teaching of universal brotherhood as taught by God the Parent. We should strive each day to sweep away our dust of the mind and dedicate ourselves in selfless and thankful action with our minds settled in joyous acceptance. If all of us throughout the world make a sincere effort to understand and help one another, then God the Parent will accept our minds of sincerity and manifest free and unlimited workings.