As part of the integral and wholistic education at the Gakurin, “rice cultivation” is carried out on the Ome Campus. On June 16, 2023, a “Rice Planting Ceremony” led by Rev. Nichiko Niwano, the president of Rissho Kosei-kai and the first president of Gakurin seminary, was held. President Sugino remarked that rice (“ine” in Japanese) represents “the root of life” and cultivating rice allows Gakurin students to connect with the fundamental essence of life, serving as a cornerstone of wholistic education in Buddhism.
Rev. Nichiko Niwano mentioned the significance of rice planting in Japan, often referred to as the “Land of Abundant Harvest,” and expressed, “I truly enjoyed planting rice together with all of you.” Rev. Niwano spoke about the beauty of natural phenomena such as rain followed by sunshine, attributing them to the wonder of the natural world. He also introduced a poem by Ninomiya Sontoku, emphasizing the importance of caring for rice until harvest and conveyed the gratitude for the opportunity to diligently pursue studies in the blessed natural environment of the Gakurin Ome Campus. One Gakurin seminarian shared, “Engaging in rice cultivation and interacting with nature made me feel energized. Nurturing rice from seed to harvest allows me to savor the joy of daily growth, offering a glimpse into a parent’s love and inspiring my personal growth.”