The 2020 Annual Guidance by the Head of Shinnyo Buddhism

January 04, 2020
Tokyo, Japan

“To those entrusted to carry on the vow of guiding all to awakening, may our Praise of the Ever-Present inspire us to act with renewed determination for others’ well-being.”

Each New Year’s Day the Head of Shinnyo-en provides an Annual Guidance which establishes a few themes and emphases for Shinnyo practice throughout the coming year.

For 2020, Shinso Ito, Head of Shinnyo-en, provided her Annual Guidance based in part on the symbolism of traditional Chinese astrology that designates this as the year of the Metal Rat. The Chinese ideogram for “Metal Rat” has two components signaling beginnings and ends, symbolizing the circle of life in all its forms.

Shinso Ito said: “I view the coming year as an opportunity both to return to our origins and begin anew in keeping with the connotations of this astrological year. United as one, we vow to uphold the ultimate, profound Dharma as we mark a new beginning in renewed efforts of sincerity and reciprocity in the coming year.”

Remembering Beginnings

In that spirit of honoring beginnings, Shinso Ito used the 2020 Annual Guidance to acknowledge the many improvements underway at Oyasono, the temple complex and world headquarters of Shinnyo-en built around the site of the first Shinnyo-en temple. Along with reporting on the physical enhancements, Shinso Ito also initiated a new verse for the morning and evening Shinnyo-en chanting: “Keeping Oyasono close to heart / As a spiritual home will a way unfold” (translated from Japanese).

Ends (Objectives): Loving Others without Bounds

Shinso Ito reemphasized the Shinnyo foundational concept that asserts an ineradicable link between following the Shinnyo path and being personally committed to helping others. She said: “Recent years have seen the pace of global climate change quicken, creating an ecological crisis on an unprecedented scale that threatens the sustainability, and even the existence, of the many forms of life that make up our world. This environmental destruction also devastates us spiritually and emotionally. In these trying times, I believe it is all the more vital to look to the example of the Shinnyo Parents, who both taught and embodied the idea of loving others throughout their lives, and widen our perspectives as we continually act with care and compassion for others’ well-being.”

Shinso Ito enumerated the wide variety of ways that Shinnyo-en and Shinnyo practitioners “continually act with care and compassion for others”, from the many philanthropic and charitable initiatives worldwide supported by the Shinnyo-en Headtemple to locally organized community services provided directly by temples and communities.

Ends (Objectives): Sharing in Our Path

Finally, Shinso Ito encouraged that the Shinnyo path entails three fundamental practices: 1) sharing our experiences of practice with others, 2) joyfully practicing generosity, and 3) sharing one’s time and energy in service to others.

She concluded: “The rat that leads the procession of twelve animals comprising the Chinese astrological cycle also appears prominently in mythologies around the world as a sacred messenger. Befitting the connotations of this year’s astrological symbol, may we be inspired to act similarly as sacred messengers who take the lead in actualizing the bodhisattva vow made by our spiritual teachers and strive further to enhance our spiritual home of Oyasono so that all may experience the journey of awakening to a blissful state of lasting happiness through our path to shinnyo.”