As part of the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist Temples of Canada (JSBTC), we are affiliated with the Nishi Hongawanji of Kyoto, Japan, the mother temple of the Jodo Shinshu (True Pure Land) sect of Buddhism.
The Gomonshu is the spiritual head of our denomination based in Kyoto, Japan. The current Gomonshu is His Eminence Monshu Kojun Ohtani, the 25th-generation descendant of Shinran Shonin to head the Hongwanji.
2021 New Year’s Greetings
Happy New Year, everyone! At the beginning of this New Year, I would like to extend my best regards to you all.
Throughout the last year, the world suffered from the pandemic of COVID-19, which brought tremendous hardship to many people, and we still are not able to see when normalcy would return to our world. On this occasion, I would like to offer my deepest condolences to those who fell victim to COVID-19 and express my sympathies to those who are currently undergoing treatment.
When social activities have been largely restricted as measures for preventing the spread of infection and protecting people’s lives, many temples have been struggling for continuing their propagation. It concerns me that many people have been left isolated in the midst of hardship.
‘Dependent origination’ is a universal truth that Buddha Sakyamuni presented. This fundamental Buddhist principle expresses that every thing, matter, and phenomenon arises from various causes and conditions. None of us lives by ourselves. We are living being interconnected and mutually supported by one another.
Here in Japan, a new type of lifestyle called the ‘new normal’ has been introduced to protect people, their loved ones, and communities from infection. Considering the reality that we cannot even fathom when the pandemic will decline, it is important that everyone deeply reflects on the principle of Dependent Origination that represents the true state of the world.
Even though having been introduced to the truth by Buddha Sakyamuni, ordinary people like us are still not able to accept it as it is. Therefore, to guide us to cope with the suffering caused by our own ignorance, Shinran Shonin clarifies Amida Buddha’s compassion that always embraces all of us. When the world is facing this unimaginable crisis, it is crucial that each of us experiences Amida Buddha’s great compassion ourselves, and live each day to the utmost, having that joy and sensation in our hearts as the basis of our life.
It is my hope that your temples will continue serving as your spiritual home, and therefore, I sincerely ask for your understanding and cooperation to allow them to be so. With my heartfelt appreciation for each one of you, I would like to conclude my new year’s greeting.
January 1, 2021
Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha