January 20, 2017
Redwood City, CA
Every January, Shinnyo-en practitioners gather at their local temples and other locations around the world for Annual Training – a period about two weeks long dedicated to study, training, and reaffirmation of the founding insights of Shinnyo-en.
The theme of the 81st Annual Training is "Awakening Power of Chanting," and just as practitioners will receive guidance on enhancing their chanting experience, the annual training covers many other areas to help members properly settle their bodies and minds with positive feelings and the strengthening of faith.
Annual Training, originally called Winter Training, comes from the Japanese tradition of engaging in austerities during the coldest part of the year in order to develop oneself mentally, physically and spiritually. The intent of such practices is to aim towards a state of enlightenment and develop one’s heart and mind through tests of physical endurance. In Shinnyo-en, everyone has an opportunity to renew their determination to carry forth for the sake of others and society – a core tenant of Shinnyo principles, which guided the founders of Shinnyo-en on their spiritual journey.
Annual [Winter] Training is the oldest form of practice in Shinnyo-en, having been held continuously since 1936. This year, thousands will gather at more than 900 locations in 50 countries around the world.
At the White Plains temple, for example, Annual Training is just the first of several noteworthy engagements that will be occurring in the first part of the new year. Shortly after the Annual Training concludes, the White Plains temple will open its doors to the entire Westchester County community to celebrate the United Nation’s World Interfaith Harmony Week, aimed to help promote understanding and tolerance between people of all religions, with a special service held at the Shinnyo-en temple for the first time.
Shinnyo-en is pleased to participate and host the service. Indeed, it is an ideal occasion to commemorate harmony among faith traditions, and take the time to recognize that common values far outweigh any differences we may have.