2020 New Year’s Greetings from His Eminence Gomonshu Kojun Ohtani

The Gomonshu is the spiritual head of our denomination based in Kyoto, Japan. The current Gomonshu is His Eminence Monshu Kojun Ohtani, the 25th-generation descendant of Shinran Shonin to head the Hongwanji. Here is his New Year’s message.


New Year’s Greeting

Gomonshu Kojun Ohtani

Happy New Year, everyone! At the beginning of this New Year, I would like to extend my best regards to you all.

Last year again, following the year before, Japan, as well as many other countries in the world, was struck with multiple natural disasters. I would like to convey my deepest condolences to those who lost their lives through those disasters and express my sympathy to everyone affected. In addition, we must never forget that armed conflicts and terror attacks as well as severe starvation is making it difficult to live, and lives are being lost every day.

Last September I had an opportunity to make an official visit to the temples of the Buddhist Churches of America as Monshu for the first time. This allowed me to complete the first round of visitations to all of the overseas districts which include Canada, Hawaii, South America, and the US mainland.

Although every temple and district has its own history and background, many of the overseas Jodo Shinshu temples were established and have been cherished by the Japanese immigrants and their descendants. Reflecting on how sincerely our predecessors entrusted themselves to the Buddha Dharma and how importantly they thought of their temples while facing many difficulties such as World War II, I cannot help but feel grateful and even awe for their tremendous efforts as well as many other wondrous circumstances that have allowed the Jodo Shinshu teaching to be handed down to us today.

However, a considerable amount of time has passed since the Japanese emigrated overseas, and the lifestyle of their descendants, as well as the world situation have changed greatly. In accordance with these changes, quite a few people who are not of ethnically Japanese origin have also come to appreciate the teaching clarified by Shinran Shonin, and attend our overseas temples.

What caused this is nothing but the universality of the Jodo Shinshu teaching that transcends time and space. In other words, Amida Buddha’s compassion equally reaches and nondiscriminatively embraces everyone in the midst of all sorts of pain and agony.

In this year, let us continue to listen to the Dharma, considering it is directed to each one of us, and keep moving forward to share it with many other people as possible.

January 1, 2020

Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha


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浄土真宗本願寺派 門主 大谷光淳