1. Home Altar
Kami is everywhere. The entire universe is Kami’s home, thus you can worship Kami from anywhere. While Kami is everywhere, it is useful to find something concrete to help you focus your prayers.You may choose to use a wall, a tree, or a packet of sacred rice (“Goshinmai”) to help you focus. However, to help you to focus your prayers it is better to have an altar in your home. Obtain the finest home altar that you can afford.
Devoting your attention and care to the upkeep of your home altar,helps deepen your sincerity. Carefully maintain your home altar by not letting it get dusty or by using your home altar and nearby areas for storage of clutter.
Offer the basic necessities of life, such as water, freshly cooked rice, evergreen branches, flowers, and even your paycheck in appreciation to Kami. Use your home altar as a symbol for Kami and Konko Daijin, and live believing that you are allowed to live in Kami’s home. Greet Kami at your altar as you would greet your parents. Pray at your altar every morning and every evening. Trust in Kami today and every day.
2. Monthly, Memorial and Grand Services
Services play a vital role for religions that focus on an individual’s relationship with the Divine. In Konkokyo, services are held to rejoice and worship Kami within one’s heart. It is an occasion where Kami and people meet. Services are also held to dedicate one’s heart to Kami. Becoming the faith and doctrine in physical form, these services are created for believers to “see,” so that they can confirm or reshape their faith accordingly.
Services provide a place and time for believers to gather and pray together. This facilitates vital discussions, time for sharing, and aids in the development of faith within the believers. By voicing their experiences and listening to others, believers can see how others are benefiting by faith. Through this, they can reflect upon themselves, their own faith, their actions, and recent experiences. The highlight of the Monthly Service is the sermon. Most ministers
tell personal, spiritual-growth experiences or various revelations as their sermons. Being able to hear, step by step, how ministers were able to overcome adversity and grow spiritually, these sermons give believers guidance in their own faith. It gives them strength and hope in their lives. Ministers also take the teachings of the Founder and translate them from words on a page into a tool that can be used in the believers’ lives. Very much like
Mediation, sermons are not delivered, but are born as the words form within the minister’s heart.
As a support system and stepping stone, services pull together the hearts of the believers. With prayers and actions in unison, believers will be able to realize Kami’s wish of relieving all living things from suffering.
This section is titled “Monthly Services.” However, the meaning of the service applies to all of Konkokyo’s services.
Konkokyo holds Memorial Services to pray for the eternal spiritual peace and happiness of all those who have passed away. The names of believers’ ancestors are read by the officiating minister, in order to be recognized.
Those people who died in wars, those who suffered through their deaths, and those who no longer have people praying for them are also embraced in the prayers. We believe Memorial Service days are much like birthdays for spirits. This is because it celebrates their return to Kami.
The Memorial Services are held to remind us of the people who worked hard to sustain and nurture our lives; the people we could
not have existed without. It is a time to show our appreciation for their efforts and support by praying for their spiritual well-being. We hold Spring and Autumn Memorial Services, as well as Monthly Memorial Services. We believe that it is important to stay connected and take good care of the roots that support us.
There are two annual Grand Ceremonies. One is in spring, and the other is in autumn. Like the Monthly Services, the Tenchi Kane No Kami Grand Ceremony is celebrated to show our appreciation to Kami for the blessings we receive. In the spring, when we can see life bursting forth from the dormant winter, it is an ideal time to express our gratitude for the blessings that sustain our lives, and to acknowledge the beauty of nature.
The Ikigami Konko Daijin Grand Ceremony, which is held on the passing date of our Founder, celebrates and acknowledges the following:
1. Our Founder’s return to Kami, which enables him to guide us. Our Founder said,“Having a physical body makes it difficult for me to see people’s suffering in the world. When my body is gone, I can go to where I am requested and save people” (GII: KarahiTsunezo, 4:2). His dedication to helping others extends beyond his physical life, and for this, we wish to express our deepest gratitude.
2.The continuous work of the Mediation of the Living Kami.
3.The living kami that each of us has inside of ourselves.Both of the Grand Ceremonies are very festive and colorful. The rituals in the ceremony are mainly derived from Shinto rituals and ceremonial dress. Many churches still have the sacred music and the dance performed as an expression of our gratitude to Kami.Each movement of the officiating ministers and each item placed on the altar are symbolic in meaning. These symbolic rituals
become guides for our hearts to follow in our daily lives.