On June 6, 2014, I came to inherit the legacy of the Jodo Shinshu tradition through receiving the transmission from the Monshu Emeritus Ohtani Koshin, succeeding to the posts of the resident priest of Hongwanji and the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha Monshu. Today, I would like to announce that the Commemoration on the Accession of the Jodo Shinshu Tradition (Dento Hokoku Hoyo) shall be scheduled for the years 2016 and 2017. My succession of the Jodo Shinshu tradition will be officially proclaimed to the Buddha and Masters, and through its observance, it is anticipated that the teaching of Amida Buddha’s Primal Vow shall gain prosperity and Hongwanji in its entirety shall achieve further growth.
Amida Buddha’s Primal Vow is directed without discrimination to every life and saves them just as they are. Despite our being filled with delusions and suffering, we are enabled to entrust ourselves wholeheartedly to Amida Tathagata’s great compassion and be born in the Pure Land, the manifestation of the Buddha’s true enlightenment. Although everything in this world, including ourselves, is unreliable, which Shinran Shonin expressed as “empty and false,” we are always able to realize the assuredness in the working of the Primal Vow.
Modern scientific and technological sophistication urges us to pursue convenient and luxurious lifestyles, thereby making our desires swell boundlessly. However, I feel that people have begun to realize the futility of these efforts. In addition, such factors as the nuclear family unit and demographic shift from rural to urban areas have forced the conventional social structure to change greatly. As a result, the bonds between people have become weak, causing new anxieties and feelings of uneasiness to arise. On the global scale as well, we can see that there are a number of issues that threaten humanity’s existence, such as armed conflict, economic imbalance, climate change, and the proliferation of nuclear materials, and it is anticipated that the situation will likely intensify.
Therefore, I believe it is important for us to listen to the Dharma. Listening to the Dharma clarifies for us the compassionate working of Amida Tathagata that always embraces us as just as we are and never abandons us. Hence, we should share our appreciation and gratitude for it with as many people as possible. As Nembutsu followers who are guided by the Buddha’s wisdom, it is important for us to take the initiative and actively carry out programs to cope with the numerous problems and issues in contemporary society. I feel that such efforts will contribute to the actualization of a society in which everyone is able to live a life of spiritual fulfillment.
It is my hope that this upcoming Commemoration of Accession shall become a significant event as the first major step of our organization. May this occasion serve as the impetus for the Hongwanji to effectively cope with the changing times while upholding the traditional religious
values based on Amida Tathagata’s unconditional compassion. The Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha administration is currently formulating new long-term plans in anticipation of the 850th Anniversary of Shinran Shonin’s Birth and the 800th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Jodo Shinshu Teaching. We kindly request your active cooperation and participation.
Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha