SOTOZEN-NET > What’s Sotoshu? > Message from the Head Priest of Sotoshu in 2016

Message from the Head Priest of Sotoshu in 2016

We are now being asked about our way of life by the many challenges facing us.

Five years have passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake, the great tsunami, and the accident at Tokyo Electric Power Company's Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant and yet there remain many people who are in the midst of much sadness and anxiety. In addition, the grave problems of climate change and disaster, war, conflict, terrorist activities, poverty, discrimination, suicide, and bullying are spreading.

Looking squarely at this reality, we hope for the fulfillment of a society in which people are compassionate to each other and where there is no conflict, a society that does not rely on nuclear energy, and a society which is mutually-energizing and which values life, all of which is based on the pillars of our efforts to "respect human rights, establish peace, and conserve the environment" and on the teachings of "do not kill and do not allow others to kill."

In The Meaning of Practice and Verification (Shushogi), there is the teaching, "The ocean does not reject any water; this is Cooperation. It is because of this that water collects and becomes an ocean." "Cooperation" is this aspect of the ocean not rejecting any water. This is a way of living in which we can accept the sadness and suffering of each person and where we support each other by experiencing the sadness and suffering of others as if it were our own. This is a way of living that is harmonious because we do not build fences in the space between us and all other people and things.

This year, let us study the wisdom of "Cooperation" found in the teaching of The Bodhisattva's Four All-Embracing Methods and proceed with the vow to bring comfort to others by "Aspire together, Stand together, and Walk together."

In this ephemeral human life, let us receive the teachings of the Buddha and the Two Founders by quietly sitting in front of our ancestors with an upright posture, regulating the breath, and harmonizing the mind. The great kindness and great compassion of zazen will become the power of "Cooperation" by itself.

Each day, let us practice the bodhisattva's vow to be compassionate to others and to live together with others.

I take refuge in Shakyamuni Buddha.
I take refuge in Koso Joyo Daishi Dogen Zenji.
I take refuge in Taiso Josai Daishi Keizan Zenji.

Fukuyama Taiho
Head Priest of the Sotoshu
April 1, 2016