The 2,000-Mat Hall is Filled with Earnest Followers

Participants Pledge to Attain the True and Real Faith

Ho’on’ko for Master Shinran was held on October 11 and 12 at the Headquarters (Imizu City, Toyama) and the 2,000-Tatami-Mat Hall was bustling with Shinran Followers from all over the world. Takamori-sensei delivered a lecture on Goshouki from The Letters of Master Rennyo (Fascicle 5, Letter 11) to teach us the meaning of Ho’on’ko.

Master Rennyo wrote in The Letters that the purpose of participating in the Ho’on’ko event is to attain true faith. We cannot go to the Pure Land after we die unless we attain true faith in this lifetime. Master Rennyo repeatedly emphasizes that attaining true faith is the “most urgent of all urgencies” and that we must therefore achieve this quickly.

Nevertheless, some Pure Land Buddhist teachers instruct that anybody can go to the Pure Land once they die without even mentioning the phrase “attaining faith” (settlement of true faith). Despite this situation, several Pure Land Buddhist monks attended our Ho’on’ko this time. The rapid change in the trend of Pure Land Buddhism was evident from people’s reactions during the event. Some people said with admiration that this was the first time they’d heard The Letters explained so clearly, and others stated that they immediately felt the event embodied proper Pure Land Shin Buddhism when they saw just how many young people had come to the Hall with their children.

Speech Contest

On the first day, Jinpachi Tsukagoshi from Gifu and Ri Isei from Taiwan gave testimonials. In the evening, Shinran Followers dined together in the 2,000-Tatami-Mat Hall. During the dinner, young followers from abroad were introduced to the participants. They presented their passion to convey Buddhism to people in their native countries.

The 154th Speech Contest was then held in the afternoon of the second day. Seven contestants used their oratory skills to compete. The Buddhist teacher Shingo Maekawa won the first prize with a speech entitled “Tears”. He mentioned the history of Kakure Nembutsu, or Secret Buddhist invocation, and moved Shinran Followers to tears.

Yuki Oui from Saitama won the second prize. She was criticized by passersby, yet she did not quit handing out flyers. In her unique speech, entitled “Why we walk”, she gave a personal account of these kinds of struggles to share Buddhism. As she talked, laughter and applause erupted from the audience in turns. She expressed her joy, saying, “Now I know why I walk,” and she shared with us how Amida’s incredible drama unfolded as she engaged in handing out flyers.

Misa Nakano, who represented Shinran Followers abroad, won the fighting-spirit prize with the speech “Peach and chestnut trees bear fruit in three years; persimmon trees take eight years.” While she devoted herself to various translation projects, she was moved and motivated by Shinran Followers in Taiwan who overcame their language barrier to listen to Buddhism. Through the course of her presentation, she expressed the importance of conveying “why we live” to all humanity.

Source: The Buddhist Village Times #47 | 2015, The 2,000-Mat Hall is Filled with Earnest Followers

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