Unified in one heart as successors to our founders’ sacred wishes for the awakening of all far and wide, may we be inspired to spring forward into action, like the powerful dragon that symbolizes this year. With heartfelt prayers for the peace, harmony, and happiness of all.
This year—2024—is the Year of the Wood Dragon. Wood signifies beginnings, and the dragon is associated with burgeoning growth and expansion. We should see the coming year as an opportunity to soar like a dragon in flight.
To share my hopes for our community for this year, I have composed this verse:
Basking in the merit of shinnyo ever-present do we live,
turning to the treasured sanctuary of sesshin do we practice,
hopeful and in sincerity.
As we work to complete the preservation of our traditional head temple so it may become an enduring place of spiritual refuge for posterity, we should also cultivate reverence for ever-present shinnyo as a means to further beautify our home. When we practice namu shinnyo, “namu” refers to turning to someone or something for spiritual refuge with a sense of reverence and trust. “Shinnyo” refers to the light of wisdom that permeates everything and the wellspring of compassion by which all life is nourished. Master Shinjo taught that we beautify our hearts and minds by acting in ways that uphold and share that Dharma.*
At this time when we are witnessing many terrible conflicts and environmental disasters that bring great suffering to the world, we must work for the benefit of all others with genuine care. We must embody compassion and emulate the gentleness that our spiritual teachers exemplified by putting our good intentions into practice through small acts of loving kindness in our immediate lives, contributing to peace and harmony in our local communities, and supporting our ongoing philanthropic efforts around the world.
The strength of our faith and confidence in the interconnectedness of everything, the effects of our actions, and the potential for goodness within all living beings help us to behave in ways that promote honesty. This is why we should strengthen the pillars of our convictions. Diligent, daily practice of sesshin meditation allows us to reflect on our convictions so we can further better ourselves, building integrity in our practice by engaging in service, joyous giving, and spiritual care.
This is a time for strengthening our efforts, like a dragon in flight builds up strength. Setting out to fulfill our bodhisattva vows, made for the happiness and liberation of all others without any discrimination, requires great strength of will. May we be inspired in the coming year to act vigorously for the well-being and spiritual liberation of humankind, the myriad living beings that share our world, and our entire cosmos.
Head Priest of Shinnyo-en
*Buddhist concepts such as “Dharma” and Shinnyo-en-specific terms like “sesshin” are defined in the FAQ and Glossary of our website. Learn more here.
View more news and events
Her Holiness Shinso Ito speaks to the Shinnyo-en community in earthquake-struck Ishikawa Prefecture
Her Holiness Shinso Ito paid a special visit to Hokuriku Head Temple in Kanazawa in Ishikawa Prefecture to offer words of gratitude, admiration, and encouragement to the community following the January 1st earthquake. Her remarks to Shinnyo-en leaders from regions affected by the earthquake and tsunami are shared below.
Shinnyo-en contributes to relief efforts for the 2024 Noto Peninsula Earthquake
Shinnyo-en has contributed monetary and volunteer resources in response to the January 1st earthquake that severely damaged buildings and displaced many in Ishikawa Prefecture.
Shinnyo-en Contributes to Preservation of Angkor Wat, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
Representatives attended ceremonies to mark the completion of a restoration project at Angkor Wat, which Shinnyo-en has supported since 1996.
Cultivating Unwavering Regard for Others in the Face of Conflict
Her Holiness encourages the practice of positive regard for others in the face of conflict and urges us to practice it unconditionally.
Shinnyo-en and Nā Lei Aloha Foundation offer donation to Maui United Way
Shinnyo-en and Nā Lei Aloha Foundation made a donation of US$100,000 to Maui United Way in response to the wildfires that devastated the community of Lahaina.
Shinnyo-en Lanka Preschool hosts 32nd annual blood drive
A Sri Lankan preschool operated by Shinnyo-en successfully organized their 32nd annual blood donation campaign.
Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawaiʻi returned to Ala Moana Beach for its 25th year
Tens of thousands gathered at Ala Moana Beach to participate in the 25th annual Memorial Day event organized by Shinnyo‑en.
Donation of 20 million yen toward emergency earthquake relief in Turkey
In response to the devastating earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria, the Shinnyo‑en community offers significant monetary donations toward relief efforts.
Shinnyo Lantern Floating Hawai‘i 2022 offers “space to heal”
For a third year, a limited Shinnyo Lantern Floating is held due to COVID pandemic; Her Holiness addresses attendees live from Tokyo.
Prestigious Sri Lankan university awards honorary doctorate to Her Holiness
Buddhist and Pali University of Sri Lanka recognizes Her Holiness’ lifelong commitment to educating underserved children with honorary PhD.
Her Holiness Shinso Ito conducts rites for peace in Ukraine crisis
Her Holiness publicly states her wish that the conflict in Ukraine will swiftly end and Shinnyo-en makes a substantial offering for humanitarian aid.
Shinnyo-en joins global COVID-19 response
Shinnyo-en has made substantial donations to the UN, to Ecuador, and to community service programs in Hawaii in response to the COVID outbreak.
Our human challenge
In the wake of protests following the murder of George Floyd, Shinnyo-en issues a statement regarding racism and the harm it brings to society.
Head of Shinnyo-en shares message in response to Novel Coronavirus outbreak
Her Holiness Shinso Ito offers words of encouragement and advice for spiritual practice in response to the Coronavirus outbreak.
Shinnyo-en offers donations to Australian bushfire relief efforts
Shinnyo-en has joined other international organizations to offer funds to agencies responding to continent-wide bushfires.
Shinnyo-en supports recovery efforts after Typhoon Hagibis
Shinnyo-en joins efforts following the largest and strongest typhoon in the history of meteorological records in the country.
Volunteers in Singapore help Muslim neighbors during prayer gathering
Members of Shinnyo-en Singapore helped their neighbors, a Muslim mosque, manage traffic during a busy Eid celebration.