Fire and Water Ceremony in Taipei

For the third time since 2011, Shinnyo-en conducted one of its iconic ceremonies in Taipei for a large and enthusiastic and local audience. Over 3,000 international visitors joined along with notable representation from the Taiwanese interfaith religious, cultural, and business communities.

The theme of the ceremony was "The Awakened Mind Sees in All Directions," and the ceremony itself was a hybrid of several ancient observances that Her Holiness Shinso Ito and Shinnyo-en create for participants around the world in the 21st century. The ceremony included elements of the traditional "homa" (fire) ritual to purify the mind and awaken our innate Buddha nature along with elements of the lantern floating ceremony (water) which promotes consolation and peace, embracing the past, present, and future.

The Shinnyo ceremony was scheduled this year in conjunction with the traditional Qingming Festival (Tomb Sweeping Day), a tradtional holiday in Chinese culture observed at the fifteenth day after the Spring Equinox, when there is often the first signs of spring plant growth and greenery. The holiday is traditionally observed by cleaning up the graves of departed family members while remembering and celebrating their lives (an observance similar in impulse to the tradtitional American Memorial Day holiday).

As part of her remarks during the ceremony, Shinso Ito said: "Having gratitude for your orgins and beginnings will help all life to grow and expand. . . . Think of the love you feel in your family. They illuminated you so that you could shine and be who you are today. That being the case, don't be satisfied just being illuminated - let your buddha nature shine on its own and become a person who illuminates others . . . . Try to figure out what your purpose in life is, pray and meditate to figure out how you can help peole, and then take action. . . . The light you share with others is infinite, limitless."

The ceremony was complemented by performances by  Yu-Chien Tseng, the internationally acclaimed violin prodigy, a Taipei native and winner performance competitions through Asia and Europe and by Jo-Pei Weng, Taiwanese mezzo-soprano, winner of several international youth perfermance competitions and with opera, oratorio, and solo credits throughout Asia and North America.

The ceremony was also graced by a performance of the Taipei Philharmonic Chorus, one of Taiwan's most prestigious performing arts ensembles and theTaipei Philharmonic Youth Orchestra (which has been supported by Shinnyo-en for many years).