2019 Annual Training
Reflect ・ Recharge ・ Refocus
Adherents of religious traditions commonly set aside a period for intense religious practices to nurture their spiritual growth. In Japan, winter austerities are practised by the martial arts and by various religions. Often, this involves undertaking some form of a regimen involving mental and physical discipline that seeks to cultivate determination, humility, and find a new perspective in order to make a fresh start. During the coldest time in the Northern Hemisphere, coinciding with the closing of the lunar year, many Buddhist monks go through a period of austerities that include alms-begging, waterfall ablutions, and prayer offerings.
Shinnyo-en Annual Training began in early January 1936. Shinjo and Tomoji Ito, the founders of the Shinnyo Path, resolved to live a life based on loving compassion, selflessly seeking the wisdom of buddhas to find a path to help others live life to the full.
The Annual Training period at Shinnyo-en is an opportunity to actively reflect on our own mindset, drawing inspiration from the lives of Shinjo and Tomoji as spiritual teachers. It is through participation in the Annual Training, that we aim to recharge ourselves, so we can set out with a renewed determination to refocus on the roles we play in society, and actively find our individual ways to act for the welfare of others.
Annual Training is designed to be an inclusive programme, accessible even to those who are new to Buddhist practice.
The Programme for 2019
For 2019, our Annual Training programme consists of the following: chanting, practitioners experiences, a special programme sharing “many paths to shinnyo”, and a period of guided meditation.
The programme for chanting has been designed to accommodate all levels of Shinnyo practice from non-members to experienced practitioners.
The daily Annual Training programme includes listening to the stories shared by members of our sangha: their own experiences of walking on their path toward shinnyo; finding buddhahood through moments of insight and awakening.
“Many Paths to Shinnyo”
This year’s Annual Training programme is designed so that participants can deepen their practices and discover what is fundamental to their spiritual growth on the Shinnyo Path through chanting, reading The Path of Oneness(a collection of teachings compiled by Master Shinjo and the principle text of Shinnyo Buddhism) and by meditating on Oyasono, the origin of the Shinnyo Path.
This portion of the programme focuses on daily efforts that are integral in providing insights to experiencing and expressing shinnyo so that we can build our own paths towards a truly meaningful life.
There will also be talks given by Prof. Duncan Williams (University of Southern California, USA ) exploring the concept of a bodhisattva and Prof. Michiaki Okuyama (Nanzan University, Japan) who talks about the significance of religious sacred sites in relation to Oyasono. In addition Dharma talks will be given by senior members of the sangha who have received direct guidance from our founding Masters and have been contributing to the Shinnyo-en community for many years.
Period of Meditation
Each day of the Annual Training programme ends with a period of guided meditation, we will listen to words drawn from past teachings of Shinnyo Masters to inspire and guide our meditation.