Through the benevolence of the International Association of Buddhist Culture I will be able to attend, together with three members of Romanian sangha, the 750th Memorial of Shinran Shonin and the European Conference that will be organized on this occasion between 8th to 11th September in Kyoto.
The whole year of 2011 is under the auspicious celebration of Shinran Shonin, the Founder of Jodo Shinshu school. Many ceremonies take place in Japan and everywhere.
These religious ceremonies are beautiful and have their utility, but most important is teaching and listening the Dharma. Thus, I encourage all priests and lay members to use the 750th Memorial of Shinran Shonin to first meditate on the Teaching, share the Teaching in accordance with the sutras and commentaries, clear the doubts, ask questions and answer to questions. The goal of this year when we comemorate Shinran Shonin is to receive shinjin and help others receive shinjin. Nothing else.
I will go to Japan with this single goal in mind. I hope to meet there people who are dedicated to the Dharma and wish to understand the Dharma. To venerate Shinran Shonin means not only to make many ceremonies in his name, but to be faithful to his Teaching, to guide our lives and teaching activities according to what he taught.
I will not go to Japan because there are many old statues, temples and his tomb. In Japan or in my own room I feel the same. Amida Buddha, Avalokitesvara, Mahasthamaprapta, Shinran Shonin and all the Masters of the past walk with me everyday. I have my personal relation with them. So, I don’t really feel that going to Japan adds something special to my faith.
Such pilgrimages are useful only if they help people to be more concentrated on the Dharma, receive shinjin and help others receive it. I hope this pilgrimage will be this way.