(Bishop Hiroshi Tajima is Chief Administrator of Shinshū Ōtani-ha (Higashi Honganji)
To everyone in our overseas districts, I wish you a Happy New Year. I’d also like to express my appreciation for the continued support and understanding you give our Sangha.
The COVID-19 pandemic is a grave situation to everyone worldwide. I’ve heard many temples and sangha groups in our overseas districts still managed to conduct Hōonkō (Shinran Shonin memorial) services and other events via the Internet and have shared them with their members.
Although we’ve faced many challenges caused by the pandemic, this difficult situation has given us an opportunity to deeply reflect on the meaning and significance of our services and temple events. It makes us realize we shouldn’t take these activities for granted. From that perspective, we must think about the direction of our sangha as we move forward in the future.
This year in April, we’ll hold a special observance called “Preparatory Event for the 2023 Celebration and the 750th Anniversary of the Establishment of Shinshū Honbyō (Honganji temple),” which will be held at our mother temple in Kyoto. This is a preview event for the 850th Celebration of Shinran Shōnin’s Birth and the 800th Anniversary of the Establishment of Jōdo Shinshū, which will be held in 2023. The theme for these events is “Namu Amida Butsu: Discover the Meaning of Being Born a Human Being.” We will Live stream this event on the Internet in order to comply with public health guidelines. This online event also enable us to share this observance with people throughout Japan and the world.
It’s my sincere wish even though we’re facing difficult times, we’re united wherever we live, continuing to listen to the Dharma and following a Shin Buddhist way of life.
In conclusion, I ask for your continued support as we begin the new year. Thank you very much.