The Foundress' Sanctuary (Kyosoden 教祖殿) is the building dedicated to Tenrikyo’s founder, Miki Nakayama (Oyasama) located within the main complex of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters. The building is located north of the Main Sanctuary and has corridors running in the east and west. It is roofed with copper plates.
Although Oyasama withdrew from physical life on lunar 1/26/1887 (Feb. 18), she is considered everliving. Followers come to the Foundress’ Sanctuary to pay their respects to her. The building that is also set aside as her living quarters, where Sazuke bestowals take place, and where followers can come to receive the Grant of Safe Childbirth and Proof Amulet.
Women staff members of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters serve as Oyasama’s personal attendants in the Foundress’ Sanctuary in a similar manner when she was physically alive. These women serve Oyasama her meals and prepare her bath and bedding. There are also special occasions such as the Oyasama Birth Celebration Service when the Shinbashira serves Oyasama her meal and reads a prayer to her.
Marriage ceremonies occasionally take place in the Foundress’ Sanctuary.
The Foundress’ Sanctuary is made up of three sections:
- Foundress’ Hall (go-Yoba 御用場)
- Connecting Hall (aiden 合殿)
- Foundress’ Residence (also Kyosoden 教祖殿)
The Foundress’ Hall is 414 tatami mats in size. It is the section facing south toward the Inner Courtyard. This hall is used for the service dance practices held after morning services and service dance lessons after evening services. It is also occasionally used for lectures and seminars.
The Connecting Hall is 96 tatami mats in size. As its name implies, it connects the Foundress’ Hall and Foundress’ Residence.
The Foundress’ Residence is 446.5 tatami mats in size. It is the northernmost portion of the structure.
Previous buildings used as Foundress’ Sanctuary
The first building used as the Foundress’ Sanctuary was the Resting House of Oyasama, built in 1883. This is the building Oyasama lived in until her withdrawal from physical life. This building is presently preserved as one of Tenrikyo’s historical buildings.
Temporary Foundress’ sanctuary
In 1895 followers expressed a wish to build a sanctuary for Oyasama on the occasion of her Tenth Anniversary (1896). However, resulting Divine Directions instead urged the construction of followers dormitories to accommodate the many pilgrims that were expected to return for the event.
The Divine Direction of November 14, 1895 did permit the construction of a “temporary building for those who work on the premises” and as a result, a “temporary Foundress’ sanctuary” was completed on December 2 that year.
Coinciding with the construction of the present North Worship Hall (the “Taisho Construction”) in 1913, a new Foundress’ Sanctuary was completed in April 1914. This building is currently used as the Memorial Hall of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters.
The present Foundress’ Sanctuary was built during the Showa Construction in the years leading up to the “dual-anniversaries” or the 50th Anniversary of Oyasama (1936) and Centennial Anniversary of Tenrikyo (1937).
The groundbreaking ceremony for the Showa Construction took place on June 26, 1931. The beam-raising ceremony for the Foundress’ Sanctuary took place on September 26, 1932. An enshrinement ceremony took place on October 24, 1933 and the dedication service of the new sanctuary was held the next day.
In regards to the present sanctuary, A Historical Sketch of Tenrikyo reads:
- “The Foundress’ Sanctuary was designed in the style of a home so that the faith in the everliving Oyasama would be thoroughly demonstrated, and so that we could offer our services to the living Oyasama. Cooked meals began to be offered, rooms warmed, and bath water heated.”
- Yoboku’s Guide to Tenrikyo, pp. 124–5.
- The are some days when the Grant of Safe Childbirth and Proof Amulet are given in Foundress’ Hall No. 2 instead of the Foundress’ Sanctuary.
- Tenrikyo Online: “Tenrikyo Celebrates Oyasama’s 211th Birthday” (2009)
- Tenrikyo: The Path to Joyousness, pp. 97.
- 『改訂 天理教辞典』 Kaitei Tenrikyo jiten, p. 277.
- A Historical Sketch of Tenrikyo, p. 78.