At the beginning of this New Year, I would like to extend my warmest greetings to you.
From October 1, 2016 until this past May 31, the Commemoration on the Accession of the Jodo Shinshu Tradition was conducted at Hongwanji in Kyoto, Japan with attendance of about one hundred fifty thousand people from throughout Japan and our overseas sanghas. Since the days of our founder Shinran Shonin, for nearly 800 years, the Jodo Shinshu teaching has been cherished and carefully handed down to us today by our predecessors. Reflecting on this, I am truly grateful to have been able to recite the Nembutsu together with many of you who took part in the services whether it be in person or through the internet.
Being enabled to hear the working of Amida Buddha’s voice calling to us, we become aware of our true self, in which we have the difficulty of accepting things just as they are, and being caught up in our own selfish mindset. That is why it becomes all the more important that we continue to listen to the teaching of Amida. As we appreciate the Buddha’s great wisdom and compassion, we are naturally guided to care for and aspire to live together with one another.
In this New Year, let us continue to listen to the teaching while following the Nembutsu path together with everyone.
January 1, 2018
Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha