News & Event


Tradition-ing the Tradition of Buddhism: Gakurin seminarians undertake meditation training at ancient Buddhist temples

Engakuji-Temple, Kamakura

The 59th Class of Gakurin Seminarians visited Engakuji-Temple with a 750-year history of Rinzai Zen tradition and conducted a zen meditation training under Ven. Matsubara and received special lectures on Zen Buddhism and D.T. Suzuki, who resided at the temple and later went to the United States to spread the teachings of Zen Buddhism globally.

Horyuji-Temple, Mount Hiei, Nara, Kyoto

The 57th Class of Gakurin Honka Program and 28th Class of International Program visited Horyiji-Temple in Nara with a 1300-year history, Todaiji-Temple, and conducted meditation practice and dharma walking in Mount Hiei.

The Tendai Buddhism was founded by Saicho 1200 years ago and Mount Hiei is called “Mother Mountain of Japanese Buddhism.”

The Founder of Gakurin Seminary Rev. Nikkyo Niwano and Chief Abbot of Tendai Etai Yamada developed friendship and partnership which evolved into Tendai’s active participation and leadership in interfaith dialogue and cooperation, including the organization of Tendai Summit of religious leaders.

In Nara, the sacred place for traditional Buddhism in Japan, the Nara Religious Forum was established with Rissho Kosei-kai as secretariat, and Horyu-ji, Todai-ji, Kofuku-ji, Yakushi-ji, and other Buddhist temples participating.

Gakurin Sacred Mount Minobu Training: Vowing to spread the Lotus Sutra through traditional sacred  mountain climbing while chanting practice

On November 12, the Gakurin Honka Prgram seminarians held a training session at Mt. Minobu. The purpose of the training was to learn from the “filial piety” and “gratitude for Saint Nichiren, who lived the Lotus Sutra, to become aware of our own mission as disciples of Shakyamuni Buddha, and to make a vow to propagate the Lotus Sutra throughout the world. The group, which included President Sugino, five 58th Class seminarians of the Honka Program, and two 30th Class students of the International Program, marched in procession chanting  “Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo” and visited Kuon-ji Temple and Shichinkaku, the inner sanctuary of Minobu-san, the head temple of Nichiren Shoshu.

Kuon-ji Temple is where Saint Nichiren spent the last nine years of his life reciting the Lotus Sutra and training his disciples, and Shichinkaku is where he remembered his parents and teacher Dosenbo in Kominato. Rissho Kosei-kai pays tribute to Saint Nichiren as the great teacher who overcame many difficulties to preach and spread the Lotus Sutra. Furthermore, during the early days of Rissho Kosei-kai, Founder Niwano promoted inter-buddhist dialogue with Minobu-san by advocating the “Hokke-kyo” as the scripture of choice and the great movement of monks and laity united by the sects that recite the Lotus Sutra, and this spirit has been carried forward to the present.

Referring to Nichiren Shonin’s legacy as a practitioner of the Lotus Sutra, Shichinkaku Betsudo, Ven. Sato Junko, said, “Nichiren Shonin wished for the salvation of all living beings through the chanting of Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo. The Gakurin, a practical Buddhist educational institution founded by Founder Niwano, emphasizes education for the whole person, honing Kan-sei, chi-sei, and hin-sei. One Gakurin seminarian commented on Nichiren Shonin’s great compassion, saying, “Through his thoughtful attitude toward even the invisible through the chanting of the Buddhist sutras, I renewed my appreciation for the many lives, including those of my parents, that have kept me alive.

President Sugino concluded, “Nichiren Shonin and Founder Niwano share the same spirit in that they both devoted themselves to the Bodhisattva practice, thinking of their country and people, and not sparing their lives, based on the spirit of the Lotus Sutra. Let us follow their example and pledge to spread the Lotus Sutra to serve humanity and world peace.

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