- Often translated 'Religion (kyo) of Divine Wisdom (Ten-ri)'. Tenri is actually the name of the deity worshipped—Tenri-o-no-mikoto. Tenrikyo is the largest of the pre-Meiji 'new religions'. It predates the Meiji revival of Shinto and since 1970 has distanced itself from the label of 'sect Shinto' (kyoha shinto) acquired in 1908, in order to clarify its universal mission. It shares features with Shinto such as a type of mythological kagura performed at the jiba or central place of creation in what is now Tenri city. It also incorporates Buddhist concepts such as the notion of rebirth and the centrality of innen (causation) as an explanation of suffering. Tenrikyo traces its origins to 1838 when the foundress Nakayama, Miki began to pass on revelations from the universal 'parent god' Tenri-o-no-mikoto. Central to Tenri teaching is the idea that our body is on loan to us from the parent god. This knowledge and the resultant attitude of humble thankfulness to Tenri enables us to live a joyous and selfless life. After Miki the role of shin-bashira or 'true pillar', the leader of the movement, has been passed down through male members of the Nakayama household. Tenrikyo has had considerable success in overseas missions particularly among emigrant Japanese communities.
A Popular Dictionary of Shinto. Brian Bocking.