“Our wishes are endless; Our prayers are ceaseless”
Schedule for Buddhist Services Concerning 1200th Anniversary
Service celebrating the 1200th anniversary of the Shingon Sect of Buddhism
Service for dedicating sutras hand-copied by worshippers
|October 9||Dance, play and chanting of sutras, dedicated to the Shinto deities enshrined at Chinju Hachimangu House||Chinju Hachimangu House|
Dance, play and chanting of sutras, celebrating the 1200th anniversary of the Shingon Sect of Buddhism
Joint service conducted by Toji Shingon Buddhism and Koyasan Shingon Buddhism
|October 11||Prayers for the spiritual protection of the state||Kodo Hall|
|October 12||Memorial service dedicated to all of Japan’s emperors||Miedo House|
Memorial service for the repose of all souls
Toji Shingon Young Buddhist Meeting
|October 14||Grand Service and dance, play and chanting of sutras, celebrating the 1200th anniversary of the Shingon Sect of Buddhism||Miedo House|
2023 marks the 1250th anniversary of the birth of the monk Kukai (posthumously known as Kobo-Daishi) and the 1200th anniversary of his establishment of the Shingon Sect of Buddhism.
In celebration, we Toji Shingon Buddhism followers will hold a centennial grand Buddhist service.
In 823, at the age of 50, Kobo-Daishi was granted Toji Temple by the reigning Emperor Saga. Toji Temple was built at the order of Emperor Kanmu, in commemoration of the relocation of the capital to Heiankyo (present-day Kyoto City) in 794. Kobo-Daishi officially renamed the temple Yawatasan Konkomyo Shitenno Himitsudenpoin Kyoogokokuji. Making the temple the central seminary, Kobo-Daishi founded Shingon (or Esoteric) Buddhism at this location. The teachings of Shingon Buddhism have been transmitted without interruption down through the generations.
There are 365 days in a year, and 24 hours in a day. Accordingly, there are 438,000 days in 1200 years, amounting to 10,512,000 hours. All things are in flux, nothing is permanent. Life is subject to decay, and we meet only to part. The world’s social and economic conditions have continuously changed over the past 1200 years. People have been affected by natural disasters and by tumult in their lives. This ever-changing world has been full of rises and falls, and of meetings and partings. However, no matter the condition of the world, the vow of Kobo-Daishi and our deep faith in his teachings have never changed and are maintained at present. Buddha exists within the five senses and consciousness of monks, parishioners and adherents of Shingon Buddhism and within all living things. This explains why Shingon Buddhism has lasted for 1200 years.
If we liken the Shingon Buddhism sect to a tree, we can consider it to have been already a massive, mature tree when Kobo-Daishi founded it. We, Shingon monks, are roots supporting the tree. Branches, leaves, flowers and fruit are the teachings of Kobo-Daishi, his grace and blessings. Although the methods by which we spread his teachings have been revised, for 1200 years the monks who preceded us handed down the teachings of Shingon Esoteric Buddhism in their entirety. In their capacity as roots, they have protected the huge tree while supported by the faith of the parishioners and adherents who have sought, relied on, and been blessed by the teachings of Shingon Buddhism.
“When people are relieved from worry and suffering, the universe will reach its end, with supreme enlightenment attained by all living things. That is when my wishes shall finally cease.” This is a phrase in the prayer that Kobo-Daishi read at a Buddhist lantern and flower festival held at Mt. Koya. The vow of Kobo-Daishi is still maintained after 1200 years in the form of the principles of Toji Shingon Buddhism known as “Spiritual Protection of the State” and “Salvation of the All-Sentient Beings.” The slogan of the centennial grand Buddhist service (“Our wishes are endless; Our prayers are ceaseless”) is based on this phrase in the prayer of Kobo-Daishi.
On this occasion, I am awed by my responsibility as the Head Official of the Toji Shingon Sect of Buddhism. This service is held with many aims: praying for the spiritual protection of the state and the salvation of all sentient beings, appreciating the graces and blessings received from Kobo-Daishi, paying respect to the monks, parishioners and adherents of Shingon Buddhism who have continued worshiping and spreading the teachings throughout 1200 years, as well as wishing for world peace, the happiness of all, and the further development of the sect during the next one hundred years. I am determined to uphold these aims as my responsibility while preparing and enacting the service.
We at the Toji Shingon Sect of Buddhism will hold a series of services in commemoration of the 1200th anniversary of the establishment of Shingon Buddhism, not only during the grand Buddhist service but throughout 2023.
I hope as many people as possible, regardless of their Buddhist sect affiliation, will visit Toji Temple during the auspicious centennial occasion to learn about the 1200-year history of Shingon Buddhism and to be blessed with the teachings of Kobo Daishi.