By Chief Administrator Hiroshi Tajima, , Shinshū Ōtani-ha (Higashi Honganji)
I extend my warmest New Year’s greetings to all of you in our overseas districts, which includes North America, Hawaii and Brazil. I also thank you from the bottom of my heart for the support and understanding you continue to give our Sangha.
Our denomination already is preparing for the 850th Celebration of Shinran Shōnin’s birth and the 800th Anniversary of the Establishment of Jōdo Shinshū, planned for the year 2023. I have come to realize the purpose of celebrating the Shōnin’s birth and the establishment of the teachings is that I, myself, must become one who can truly appreciate the meaning of my life and share that appreciation with other people. I believe this is the only way I can live up to the wishes of the Shōnin, who expressed his gratitude for Amida Buddha’s Original Vow of liberating all sentient beings through the words, “I am convinced that it was for me, Shinran, alone!”
In other words, for us who have been so fortunate to encounter the Shōnin’s teaching, the celebration of those anniversaries is none other than the act of repaying our debt of gratitude to him. I sincerely wish this auspicious occasion will become an opportunity for all of us to deepen our appreciation for the Shōnin’s birth and his establishment of the teaching of Jōdo Shinshū as the broadest path to Buddhahood, together with our sangha members.
It’s no exaggeration to say those events will play a crucial role in shaping the future of our denomination. Each of us, as one who has encountered the teachings, needs to take the responsibility as a member of the denomination to truly realize a sangha of the nenbutsu, where everyone can live together with mutual respect.
In closing, I ask for your continued support and cooperation. Thank you.
Rev. Hiroshi Tajima is Chief Administrator of Shinshū Ōtani-ha (Higashi Honganji)