A conference for all who seek truth and purpose in their lives

人生における真実と目的を探求するすべての人のための会議

The “Search for Truth” Conference

「真実を探す」会議

Held at Sekigane Hot Spring Resort District, Kurayoshi, Tottori Prefecture, Japan

鳥取県倉吉市関金温泉地区

April 3-5, 2020

令和2年4月3−5日

    About the Conference

    Venue: Kurayoshi Sekigane Municipal Exchange Center

    倉吉関金都市交流センター

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    Shared Origins: The Search for ALL Truth

    人類共通の起源:すべての真実の捜索

    Conference Background:

    会議についての背景

    Japan is a nation with a long history, deep in tradition and culture, having much to teach us. Both native and visitor can learn much from the ancient practices of "Bushido" and "Shinto," as well as more recent additions of Buddhism and other modern developments.

    日本は伝統と文化が深く浸透した長い歴史を有し、我々西洋人には学ぶところ多い国です。日本に生まれ育った人でも外国からの訪問者であっても、後に伝来した「仏教」やその他さまざまな「近代的な教え」より更に古くから実践されている「武士道」と「神道」から多くのことを学ぶことができます。

    Although generally recognized as a "Buddhist" country, Japan has a surprisingly deep history and relationship with both Christianity and Judaism. If one looks closely, one can also see interesting comparisons and similarities between the Shinto and Buddhist traditions of Japan, the mythology of ancient Japan that pre-dates the written record, and traditions from other parts of the world, such as Judaism and Christianity.

    「仏教国」と一般的には考えられていますが、この国にキリスト教とユダヤ教、双方との歴史上の重要さとつながりが見られることは驚くべきことであります。 良く見てみると、日本における「神道」と「仏教」にはおもしろいほど対照的な部分と似通った部分があり、また、日本の古代神話は文書化された記録(聖書)やユダヤ教的、キリスト教的慣習など世界の他の地域の言い伝えより以前から存在することがわかります。

    This conference will explore the history of religions in Japan, with speakers from several different cultural, religious and historical backgrounds offering their insights. The organizers of the conference are participants in a small movement of individuals hoping for a full restoration of original Christianity, and believe that Restoration is underway in our time. The main session of the conference will be held on Sunday April 4, which is Palm Sunday in the Christian tradition. Palm Sunday refers to the triumphal entry of the Savior Jesus Christ into Jerusalem prior to his great sacrifice for mankind, and we feel the date is significant as followers of a great many traditions and beliefs will come together to share their wisdom on that day. No matter whether one is Christian or Buddhist, Japanese or Canadian, we all have something we can teach each other, and learn from each other as well. We hope this conference is a true international cultural exchange opportunity.

    この協議会はいくつかの異なる文化的、宗教的そして歴史的背景を有する方々に独自の見地からのご提案をいただき、日本の宗教の歴史について探求します。 この協議会の主催者はかつて属していた、キリスト教宗派からの完全復帰を望む者や現時点で復帰の途中であると信じて小さな活動に参加している皆さんです。 メイン会議はキリスト教の伝統から4月4日、Palm Sunday(しゅろの主日)に開催予定としました。 Palm Sunday(しゅろの主日)とは救世主イエスキリストが人類のために生贄になる前にエルサレムに凱旋した日を意味し、多くの伝説や信念を信じる者として重要な日となっており、信者たちの知恵を分かち合うために私達は毎年4月4日に集まることになっています。

    説明: Palm Sunday(しゅろの主日)受難を前にしたキリストがエルサレムに入城したとき,民衆がヤシの葉を道に敷いて彼を迎えた故事から,英語では復活祭直前の日曜日を〈パーム・サンデー(枝の主日)〉または<エルサレム入城の日>と称し,この日にはヤシの小枝(じつは葉)を手に持つことになっている。

    キリスト教徒であろうと、仏教徒であろうと、いかなる人種または国籍であろうと、すべての者には教え合えたり、学び合えたりできる要素を持ち備えています。私たちはこの協議会が真の国際文化交流の機会となるよう希望します。

    The conference will feature cultural events, delicious local foods, speakers, exchange sessions, homestay and experience travel opportunities, and excursions to locales of religious, cultural and historical significance. Although the conference is primarily to serve the needs and purposes of the Asia region, ALL are welcome to attend and participate. For those who wish to attend from overseas, additional information regarding travel and accommodation will be available shortly. Please do not feel under any obligation to travel to Japan if your circumstances to not comfortably allow. We will make every effort to record and make as much of the conference available online as possible. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible next April, peak cherry blossom viewing time in Japan!

    この会議では、文化的なイベント、おいしい地元の食べ物、講演者、交流会、ホームステイや体験旅行の機会、宗教的、文化的、歴史的に重要な場所へのツアーが行われます。 この集会は主にアジア地域のニーズと目的を果たすためのものですが、アジアに限らず、すべての方々の参加をお待ちしています。 海外からの参加を希望する場合は、旅行と宿泊に関する追加情報がまもなく利用可能になります。 もし今回の参加が何らかの事情で不可能なら、日本へ旅行する義務を感じないでください。 できる限り多くの会議を録画し、オンラインで利用できるようにあらゆる努力をします。 来年の4月、日本の桜の季節に、できるだけ多くの皆さんにお会いできることを楽しみにしています!

    Schedule

    Overview:
    ARRIVE: Overseas travelers, we recommend you arrive at least two days prior to the start of conference, to familiarize yourself with neighborhood, and get a little adjusted to time. You may want to walk around the area, visit the hot springs resorts, and so on.


    Friday, April 3
    Small Welcome Party: Held at the small English school belonging to the organizers, adjacent to the conference venue. Inasmuch as the conference is being held during the sakura (cherry blossom) season, there will likely be a number of already planned festivals and cherry blossom viewing events this evening. If you don't wish to attend, we will hold a small gathering that will be a mellow atmosphere, a time to meet new friends and catch up with old ones. More details will be forthcoming.


    Saturday, April 4
    Morning: Exchange breakout sessions: meet with representatives of other faiths and historical experts, as you learn of Japanese and Asian history, records, burial sites, temples and shrines, as well as culture and history of other nations and countries. This will be an opportunity for interaction between all participants and presenters.

    Lunch: a catered, Japanese lunch, prepared by the hot springs resort cafe.

    Afternoon: Culture and History Session

    Several speakers will address topics such as the history of religion in Japan, Buddhist Tradition, Shinto, and more. The primary purpose of this session is to provide historical and cultural background for the session which will take place on Sunday.

    Evening: Open for now.


    Sunday, April 5


    Early Morning: Meditation Hike and Breakfast

    Mid Morning: Keynote Session: This session will conclude the conference with messages of hope and unification for believers of all faiths. Speakers from several countries and backgrounds will be on hand to tell their personal stories and give insights as to their belief systems. This session will also feature a video presentation by Mr. Denver Snuffer, Jr., an eloquent speaker well-versed in the history of Christianity and comparative religions.

    Afternoon: Several events are available, including cherry blossom viewing as well as Christian ordinances such as sacrament and baptisms. Please consult with conference organizers for more details.


    Timeline:

    FRIDAY
    Small Opening Party at School or other Cherry Blossom events around the city

    SATURDAY
    Morning Gathering
    9:00am

    Workshop Session 1
    9:30-10:30

    • Culture Track
      Yoshida

    • History Track
      Adrian Larsen

    • Religion Track
      Zenkou Kuki

    Workshop Session 2
    10:45-11:45

    • Culture Track
      TBD

    • History Track
      TBD

    • Religion Track
      Louis Naegle

    Lunch in the Exchange Center
    12:00

    Workshop Session 2
    1:00-2:00

    • Culture Track
      Yoshida

    • History Track
      TBD

    • Religion Track
      Zenkou Kuki

    Speakers Session
    2:30-5:00

    Opening Event (Traditional Japanese Music)
    Mr. Yoneda (?) (40 min +)
    Pastor Hatakeda (40 min +)
    Closing entertainment (Taiko)


    SUNDAY
    Meditation Hike and Breakfast
    Meet at Jizoin Buddhist Temple at 7:00 AM. Short hike to top of the mountain at Kamei Park, which overlooks Sekigane Onsen District. Meditation session led by Chief Priest of Jizoin, Mr. Zenkou Kuki, followed by a box traditional Japanese breakfast meal. Walk back to Jizoin Temple for tour and viewing of the nearly 1000 year old Buddha statue in the relic hall, which has been designated for preservation by the Japanese government. There will be a small fee for the meal and for Mr. Kuki's appreciation. Event will be held at Jizoin Temple in event of bad weather.

    Main Conference Session
    10:00

    Speakers: Randy Albalate, Bobby Seno, Noriko VanCampen, Chris VanCampen, Denver Snuffer (Video Pres.)

    1:00 Adjourn

    Possible Activities:
    Sacrament
    Flower Viewing Picnics
    Baptisms in Sea of Japan

    Incoming Travel

    If you are coming from overseas, we recommend that you make your reservations to the Tottori Airport. This is a small, regional airport, closest to the venue. It is served only by ANA (All Nippon (Japan) Airlines), from Tokyo Haneda airport. There is a full range of services here, including bus and rental cars, to enable you to get to Kurayoshi, the city in which the venue is located. Please visit the Tottori Airport website for a lot of valuable information on your inbound trip.


    https://www.ttj-ap-bld.co.jp/ (please look in the top right corner for a link to the English site)

    If you are planning to be in Japan for an extended period of time, and visit other areas, we suggest you fly into Kansai International Airport (KIX) in Osaka. Tickets from the US are generally less expensive to this airport than to Tottori; however, costs and complications of getting from Kansai Airport to the conference venue are tricky. This airport is over three hours drive from the conference venue, but is very centrally located to many tourist destinations, such as Osaka, Kyoto and Nara. From Kansai, you can rent a car, take a train, or take a bus to just about anywhere in western Japan. There is a great deal of information here:

    https://www.kansai-airport.or.jp/en/

    From Tottori airport you can either rent a car (there are four rental agencies at the airport. See the website for name and number, under "Access" tab located lower on the main page), or ride a bus to Kurayoshi Station, which is in the same city as the venue.

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    BUS:
    The bus you'll need is also listed on the airport website: Kurayoshi Station bus, leaving from position #2. There are approximately 7 departures daily.

    At Kurayoshi Station, if you haven't made other arrangements for transport, you'll need to catch a city bus to the venue. The bus departs from Stop #2, and the destination will indicate "Sekigane Onsen." Our venue is at Sekigane Hot Springs (Onsen).

    At Tottori airport, please check at the information desk. We have made them aware that a number of you will be visiting their airport, and they've prepared English language maps for you, as well as other travel assistance. Additionally, please feel free to reach out to us as you plan your travel, and we'll try to assist you in any way possible.

    RENTING A CAR:
    If you plan to rent a car in Japan, be aware of a couple of important things. First, the steering wheel is on the right side of the car, and you drive on the left, which is backwards to the American highway system! It takes a minute to get used to, so exercise great caution as you ease into driving. Also, there is NO turning on a red light. Anytime, anywhere. Seatbelt laws are strictly enforced. And, speed limits are unnaturally low. It is all designed to be super safe, and eliminate the possibility of accident and injury. Please be respectful of the laws and other drivers. Also bear in mind that as Japan's population ages, the elderly driver comprises the bulk of the folks on the road, so an added level of caution is advised.

    Prior to coming to Japan, please obtain an international driving permit, available at your local AAA Office. If you have a valid US or other nation's operating permit, plus the international permit, you can rent a vehicle and operate it legally for the first year you are in Japan. Visit AAA for more information:

    https://www.aaa.com/vacation/idpf.html

    Lodging:
    We have arranged a block of rooms at two different Japanese inns within walking distance of the venue. We have also appointed a Travel and Lodging Coordinator, Roy Moore, who will be happy to assist you to reserve lodging. Both inns have websites, but both are all in Japanese. Further neither inn has an English speaker on site. Thus, it's probably easiest to just get with Roy, and he will give you all the information on the available rooms, as well as get you reserved in those rooms.

    Roy Moore, Travel and Lodging Coordinator: Phone #: 435-896-3353


    Yurari Sekigane
    This is an extremely affordable smaller inn at the top of the hill behind the conference venue. Japanese style rooms, which means sleeping on "futon" pads on the straw mat floor, which are surprisingly comfortable. Usually staff will appear in the evening to make your beds, and then appear again in the morning to put them away. No rooms have food built into the rates, food may be available in room. The inn has a common kitchen and dining area, which makes it possible for all to gather together for meal prep and eating! A small grocery store is within easy walking distance. Also features hot spring bath area (gender separated), open till 11 PM. The women's side features an outdoor jacuzzi. Rooms do not have showers.

    http://www.sekigane-yurari.com

    "A" type rooms: Japanese style room, 12.5 mats in size, sleeps up to 4, western toilet, futon sleeping. Has balcony. TV, A/C, hot water pot, microwave, small refrigerator.
    "B" type rooms: Japanese style room, 10 mats in size, plus small kitchenette; sleeps up to 4, western toilet, futon sleeping. TV, A/C, hot water pot, microwave, refrigerator, toaster oven, kitchen tools.
    "C" type rooms: Japanese style room, 10 mats in size, plus kitchen/dining area. Sleeps up to 5, futon sleeping, western toilet. TV, A/C, hot water pot, microwave, refrigerator, toaster oven, kitchen tools.
    "D" type rooms: Japanese style room, 15 mats (large) in size, good family room, sleeps up to 6 (possibly 7 if children), features kitchenette and dining space, futon sleeping, western toilet. TV, A/C, hot water pot, microwave, refrigerator, toaster oven, kitchen tools.


    Green Squalle Sekigane
    Japanese style inn, meals available with rooms with prior notice, larger bathing facility, some (limited number) rooms have showers in rooms. Western rooms available. Please specify if you'll want a shower in your room, as well as if you'll want to take advantage of meals in room.

    We have a minimum of six rooms available through our reservation, and it's best, and least confusing for you, if you'll reach out to Roy and reserve through him.

    https://www.green-squalle.com/

    Excursions

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    Izumo Grand Shrine visit

    Monday, April 6, 2020
    Cost: approx. $35-40 USD per person
    Duration: 10 hours
    Please RSVP by email at: japanconference2020@gmail.com

    We will gather at the conference venue in the early morning of Monday, April 6, for a pilgrimage to the Izumo Grand Shrine, Japan's second most important and historic shrine, which features prominently in Japan's history and mythical storytelling. We have chartered a bus, and the tour will be led by a local experienced guide. There may be a few special surprises along the way! This tour is sure to be informational, spiritual, and a peek into ancient Japan.

    About the Izumo Grand Shrine:
    Izumo Taisha (出雲大社) is located in the city of Izumo in Shimane Prefecture. It is one of Japan's most important shrines. There are no records of exactly when Izumo Taisha was built, but it is often considered the oldest shrine in Japan, being already in existence in the early 700s as revealed by the nation's oldest chronicles.

    Izumo used to be ruled by a powerful clan in pre-historic times, and the region plays a central role in Japan's creation mythology. The main deity (kami) enshrined at Izumo Taisha is Okuninushi no Okami. According to the creation myths, Okuninushi was the creator of the land of Japan and the ruler of Izumo. He also became known as the deity of good relationships and marriage. Visitors consequently clap their hands four times instead of the usual two times during their prayers: twice for themselves and twice for their actual or desired partners.

    Outside the main hall of worship, the Oracle Hall, are massive straw ropes - shimenawa - good fortune falls on those who can toss a coin that lodges in the cut ends of the ropes.

    Also on the grounds of Izumo Taisha is a Treasure Hall - a small museum of historical artifacts including a silk map and an illustration of the shrine in its heyday, when Izumo Taisha was the tallest building in Japan at 48m, taller than Todaiji Temple in Nara.

    Izumo Taisha Festivals
    On the east and west sides of the shrine precincts are two, long, wooden buildings, called Jukusha, believed to house the Shinto pantheon of around 8 million kami. These deities are thought to return to the shrine in October, which is called kannazuki (month without gods) in the rest of Japan and kamiarizuki (month with gods) in Shimane.

    Izumo Taisha's main festival is thus from the 11-17th day of the 10th lunar month, the Kamiari Festival, when the gods return. This usually falls in November. Other important festivals are the Imperial Festival on May 14, followed by the Grand Festival on May 14 and 15.

    For more information on the history and mythology of Izumo Shrine, please visit: http://www.japanesemythology.jp/izumo-taisha/

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