Shinnyo-en Head Priest, Shinso Ito, Reflects on Working toward Global Cooperation and Harmony at University of Southern California

October 22, 2017
Los Angeles, CA

The University of Southern California (USC) Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture recently welcomed Her Holiness Shinso Ito during her visit to USC. On Sunday, October 22, Shinso Ito addressed an audience of 1,200 people in the USC Bovard Auditorium on the topic of “Letting Your Inner Light Shine Through.”

Shinso Ito used the occasion to reflect on the Shinnyo Buddhist perspective on being a vehicle for awakening others’ inner light. Her talk described the Shinnyo-en founder, Shinjo Ito’s, determination to find and share the ways that others can overcome their suffering and sadness and find peace, healing, and happiness.

Commenting on the current world situation, Shinso Ito said: “We now live in a time distinguished by division. Seeing one’s own views as the only one that is just and right—such divisiveness will breed even more conflict and fear. We all hope for peace rather than war, harmony rather than dissension. And yet, it is truly difficult to realize such goals. The real hurdle, however, is the darkness we harbor inside ourselves. This inner darkness is characterized by a hopelessness, antagonism, and hate that arise from despair. Just as the blessings of fire and water can also be life-threatening and damaging depending on how we use them, we must learn to channel our feelings and abilities toward positive purposes. Shinjo did not allow such moments of despair to hold him back, nor will I. Like him, I try to begin from where I can. His example was to innovate one step at a time, empathizing with the person before him, sharing his inner light, kindling it with courage, and passing it on to others.”

In March 2014, Shinnyo-en and USC announced significant Shinnyo-en support for the university and the re-naming of the USC Japanese studies center to become the USC Shinso Ito Center for Japanese Religions and Culture.

The initiative continues a long-standing commitment by Shinnyo-en to support institutions of higher education that serve a global community of scholars and students of religion, culture, and international affairs.