(Overseas District Abbot Yul Ōtani was installed last summer)
To my fellow followers in overseas districts, I wish you all a Happy New Year.
Throughout the previous year, all of us have struggled amid the coronavirus pandemic and it’s still uncertain what the future will bring. Despite the challenges, our overseas district temples devised ways to hold Hōonkō (Shinran Shonin memorial) services last fall. I appreciate your efforts to observe this most important service. I deeply missed the opportunity to attend services in your districts and to see you in person.
Jōdo Shinshū teachings clarified by Shinran Shōnin have always reminded us of the truth of equality of all people, regardless of nationality, ethnicity, gender, and age.
As the newly installed Overseas District Abbot, I’ve renewed my commitment to share the joy of encountering the nenbutsu teachings. They are the embodiment of the Buddha’s original vow, which enables us to realize the equality of all people worldwide, beyond our linguistic and cultural differences.
In sharing the joy of encountering this teaching with each other, we can realize a world where all people are accepted as they are and treated with mutual respect. Such a world will enable us to discover the meaning of having been born as human beings and find true joy of living. I believe this is how we may find a ray of hope for the future of humanity.
On April 5th, 2021, we’ll hold the “Preparatory Event for the 2023 Celebration and the 750th Anniversary of the Establishment of Shinshū Honbyō” at our mother temple in Kyoto. My wish is that this event will be an opportunity for all around the world to celebrate together the birth of our spiritual forebear, Shinran Shōnin. For myself, it’s a chance to reaffirm my commitment to listening to and learning from the teachings.
In closing, it’s my sincere wish our world will return to normal soon so that we may meet once again. Thank you