Gakurin’s Mission and Vision
In January 1964, Rissho Kosei-kai’s Founder Rev. Nikkyo Niwano announced the establishment of the Gakurin Seminary as an engaged Buddhist educational institution. He also extolled the importance of the youth to “broaden their horizons and hold ideals of a larger scale,” and to “work toward the great ideal of transforming the spirit of humankind for the realization of world peace, not by wriggling within the narrow confines of our religious order or our religion, but by understanding each other, joining hands, and combining forces for the wellbeing of humankind as a whole. The words of our founder, Rev. Nikkyo Niwano, were a high-minded statement of the mission given to the Gakurin Seminary and its seminarians, both at home and abroad, of “engaged Buddhism” and “interfaith action” for peace. Rev. Nichiko Niwano, the President of Rissho Kosei-kai and the first President of the Gakurin Seminary, emphasized the importance of refining and polishing one’s Buddha Nature, that is, one’s “Kan-sei”, “Chi-sei”, and “Hin-sei”, as the foundation of holistic and integral education based on Buddhism and the Lotus Sutra. “Kan-sei” is cultivating the mind of appreciating the kindness of others, perceiving the kindness of people, the beauty, mystery, and wonder of things. “Chi-sei” means to grasp the structure of the universe, life, and human beings. “Hin-sei” is cultivating the virtues of humility and modesty, overcoming self-centered views and the tendency toward affectation. Through practical study and training of Buddhism and the Lotus Sutra, lectures by world-leading scholars and practitioners of philosophy, the world’s religions, diverse subjects and fields of practical application of Buddhist teachings, advanced Buddhist practical training at dharma centers, specialized research, as well as dormitory life in a multi-national and multi-generational environment, Gakurin Seminarians learn to look deeper at themselves, to manifest their own Buddha Nature, and to flourish their own potentials to contribute to society, the nation, and the world. The core of Gakurin education is to find True-self, develop the advanced knowledge and skills to become Buddhist practitioners who can contribute concretely to society, the nation, and the world.
The Gakurin’s holistic and integral education and human development is based on the convergence of “Personal Transformation” (to know one’s true self and reveal one’s Buddha nature), ‘Societal Transformation’ (to transform and create society and nation), “Global Transformation” (to create the future of the world and contribute to world peace). The goal of the Gakurin Education is to acquire the ability to be a “Pioneer of the Bodhisattva Way,” which is a simultaneous deepening of the three aspects of Personal, Societal and Global Transformations. This is the path of becoming a leader who can accompany and listen to people’s suffering, offer the light of wisdom, give hope and courage to live, transform and create society together, and contribute to world peace.
Young men and women who aspire to study in the Gakurin, now is the time to stand at the forefront of the 2,600 years of the Buddhist history and, feeling the winds of the future, and to lead the efforts of “tradition-ing” the “tradition” of Buddhism to serve people, to transform societies and to create the future of the world. Let us proudly lead our lives as “pioneers of the Bodhisattva way.”
President’s Short Biography
Rev. Kyoichi Sugino
President, Gakurin Seminary
After nearly 30 years of experience at the intersection of humanitarianism, conflict resolution, and multi-stakeholder diplomacy in peacebuilding based in New York and Geneva, Rev. Kyoichi Sugino became the 5th President of Gakurin Seminary on December 1, 2021.
In his earlier career, Rev. Sugino worked at the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and was appointed as the Deputy Secretary General at the WCRP International Executive Committee meeting held in Marrakech, Morocco, on November 18, 2011. Rev. Sugino facilitated the formation and equipping of representative and action-oriented Interreligious Councils in 90 countries across the globe, including those in conflict situations, as instruments of mediation, reconciliation, peace-building and integral human development. Rev. Sugino also served as a member of the U.S. Department of State’s Religion and Diplomacy Taskforce, a member of the international eminent persons’ group on Sri Lanka, and served on advisory boards of gov-ernments, UN agencies, and other organizations as a civil society representative.
Rev. Sugino graduated from Gakurin Seminary in Tokyo (1991) to become an ordained Dharma Teacher in Rissho Kosei-kai, an international Buddhist movement headquartered in Japan. Rev. Sugino received his LL.B from Chuo University in Tokyo (1989) and M.L.I. in International Law and International Human Rights Law from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1993). His recent pub-lication includes “Buddhism and the Common Good” in “Ethics in Action for Sustainable Development”, forward by Pope Francis and edited by Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, Columbia University Press, December 2022. A well-cited historical perspective on the role of humani-tarian agencies in complex emergencies (The “Non-Political and Humanitarian” Clause in UNHCR’s Statute, Refugee Survey Quarterly, UNHCR/Oxford University Press, Volume17, no.1 ) is one of his many articles on humanitarianism and peacebuilding.