June 6, 2014
Today, according to my predecessor, Sokunyo Monshu’s wishes, I was inaugurated into the posts of Hongwanji jushoku, resident priest and Monshu of the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha institution.
On this occasion, I would like to extend my deep gratitude to him for his many years of nurturing and guidance. At the same time, I acknowledge the monumental responsibility of succeeding the Jodo Shinshu tradition and am resolute in carrying out my duties to the best of my ability.
The teaching on how we are saved by Amida Tathagata’s Primal Vow was set forth by Sakyamuni Buddha, and it was transmitted by the seven Pure Land masters to Shinran Shonin, who clarified it into the Dharma of Jodo Shinshu. That tradition has been passed down to us through the efforts of successive Monshu of Hongwanji, fellow Jodo Shinshu followers, and many people who have supported their work until today. In inheriting this illustrious tradition, I will exert every effort to convey the Dharma of Jodo Shinshu to the future.
Looking back on the past, there were occasions during which the Hongwanji institution addressed some issues in ways that contradicted the Jodo Shinshu teaching, sometimes by not questioning or doubting some common practices that were accepted in the society during a certain era, and sometimes by having to make harsh decisions in order to enable the Hongwanji to survive. Learning from such history, we must constantly keep a careful eye on social conditions and ourselves so that we will never again indiscriminately accept common, popular behavior and tendencies of a particular time nor return to the kind of society that would compel us to make painfully bitter decisions again.
In reflecting on the present circumstances of our organization, it is significantly important to consider how we can approach and reach out to persons who have never had any contact with a Buddhist temple, as well as those who are already involved with one. The nembutsu teaching that is based on Amida Buddha’s Primal Vow remains unchanged, regardless of the changing times and society.
However, the methods for transmitting and sharing it needs to evolve and adapt according to social changes. Now is the time for our Hongwanji institution to utilize our collective wisdom and knowledge for considering approaches to convey the Buddha Dharma to our contemporaries today.
There are also other numerous issues and problems that we must deal with, such as, “What is the most appropriate and effective manner we can offer support to the many victims and disaster-stricken locations of the East Japan Great Earthquake to facilitate their recovery?”
Let us always keep in mind the venerable words, jishin kyo ninshin, “secure our own entrusting heart to the Dharma, guiding others to the same path” as we cope with the various problems and hardships of the contemporary world, walking together towards realizing a society in which everyone is equally respected.
June 6, 2014
Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha