SHAKU SOKUNYO, OHTANI KOSHIN,
MONSHU, JODO SHINSHU HONGWANJI-HA
would like to announce that as of today, June 5, 2014, I am
retiring from the posts of Hongwanji jushoku, the resident priest
and Monshu of the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha institution and
entrust them to Shimmon, the Heir-Apparent Monshu and Hongwanji
has been thirty-seven years and two months since I was inaugurated
into these posts, succeeding my predecessor in the Jodo Shinshu
tradition on April 1, 1977. I would like to say that the credit
for my being able to carry out the duties until today all should
go to the Buddha and masters for their guidance, as well as
the continuous support, understanding, and cooperation that
I have received from all individuals and concerned parties,
both within the Hongwanji organization and from the general
public. I would like to extend my heartfelt gratitude to all
my tenure, thanks to everyone's efforts, the Hongwanji was able
to undertake the restoration of the Amida-do Hall, the 400th Memorial
for Kennyo Shonin, the 500th Memorial for Rennyo Shonin, the great
restoration of the Goeido Hall, and the 750th Memorial for Shinran
Shonin. In addition, several decades ago we were able to acquire
the parcel of land on the north side of the Hongwanji precinct,
and we have been able to utilize it for a wide range of activities.
Furthermore, we have been able to develop and promote our equality
awareness campaign that was named the Core Program, as well as
initiate a variety of activities and projects. The circle of the
nembutsu teaching has continued to expand and the recitation of
Namo Amida Butsu can be heard in various places in the world.
Fortunately, I was enabled to confirm these facts for myself by
hearing the voices of my fellow nembutsu followers during my official
visits to every district of the Hongwanji institution. For this,
I am truly grateful to everyone. Compared with my predecessor,
Shonyo Shonin's turbulent fifty years, which included the period
of World War II, my thirty-seven year tenure can be described
as rather calm. During those years, however, domestically speaking,
there were a number of natural and human-made disasters that took
place one after another, and due to the exaggerated priority placed
on economic profit and status, issues concerning people's mental
health and well-being have become more critical. Worldwide concerns
include serious issues such as armed conflicts, economic inequality,
global climate change, and proliferation of nuclear materials.
Among them are ones that directly concern humanity's existence.
Unfortunately, amidst this, it is with regret that we, Jodo Shinshu
Buddhists are not able to say that we have satisfactorily demonstrated
our ability to cope with these issues.
sangha has a glorious tradition of upholding and transmitting
the Dharma from person to person. It is my hope that we will
keep this wonderful custom despite of the current social fluctuations,
and discover diverse potentialities in the teaching and tradition
of Jodo Shinshu so that we can share them with as many people
as possible and together follow the path toward realizing a
society in which everyone is mutually accepted and respected.
In order to realize that, I believe it is important to bring
out the individuality and conditions of each person and generation,
paying special attention to the young generations who possess
the sensibility and ability to implement concepts.
My successor, Shimmon Kojun, worked at Tsukiji Hongwanji in
Tokyo as an on-site leader of the temple for five years and
nine months. It is for certain that this experience has allowed
him to expand his knowledge. Upon accepting his new responsibilities,
he will be obliged to maintain the Jodo Shinshu tradition while
considering the organization in its entirety by constantly attending
not only to the Hongwanji institution, but also the whole religious
society. I would like to sincerely request that you continue
to provide your warm assistance to the new Monshu.
for myself, I will be turning seventy in a little more than
a year. Although nobody knows what the future holds, it is my
intent to enable the Hongwanji to survive. Learning from such
history, we must continue revering the Buddha Dharma as taught
us by our Founder, being conscious that I am always embraced
in the unwavering working of Amida Tathagata's Primal Vow, and
will carry out my duties as a Jodo Shinshu priest for as long
as I am able to the best of my ability.