Buddhism has played the most influential role in the history, art, heritage, literature and culture of Japan. Prince Shotoku based Japan's constitution on the Lotus Sutra - the most influential text in Asian and world history that has inspired the majority of works in Asian museums worldwide.... Though Japan has many different Buddhist sects, everyone is united in their love and veneration of Kannon - the most powerful and popular divinity in Buddhism. Similarly Shotoku and Daruma are popular with all Japanese Buddhists.
At Zenkoji - the oldest temple in Japan where the first statue of the Amida Trinity was brought from India and where they chant the Lotus Sutra as the Highest Text . The Lotus Sutra has inspired more National Treasures of India, Japan and China than any other text -- from the National Emblem of India to the Constitution of Japan.
The mascot of Japan is Daruma and his credo of "Nana Korobi Yaoki" or Fall 7 Rise 8 drives the Japanese spirit to bounce back from any adversity and was a major inspiration for the Samurai and Shaolin. The first Japanese text is Shotoku's translation of the Lotus Sutra from Sanskrit which is why we are the only temple in the world to chant full sections of the Lotus Sutra in Sanskrit, in honor of Shotoku. Furthermore, the Lotus Sutra was used for the Protection of Japan and ordination of every major monk including Saicho, Nichiren, Shinran, Honen, Dogen and monks of Todaiji.
In order to correct the many myths and misrepresentations of Buddhism in the West, Rev. Zenji Nio is authoring an actual Buddhist Bible where he is personally translating the most important scriptures from all texts written by his own ancestors and showing how all of the key themes are present in the Lotus Sutra which is universally known as the King of all scriptures. By bringing back authenticity to Buddhism and promoting the Mahayana doctrine which is far more influential and universally applicable than the Hinayana, we are honoring King Ashoka & Shotoku Taishi who changed the world with compassion and loving kindness.
By focussing on Kannon/Guanyin - the most popular and powerful God/Goddess of all Buddhist sects and the Star of the Lotus Sutra, we are promoting the Dharma in a non-denominational way. Also, by upholding the Samurai/Shaolin ideals, we are making spirituality cool and exciting for today's generations.
Mahayana (Mainstream) Buddhism is the world's most influential school of Buddhism and the majority religion of Japan and China which are 2 of the top 3 players on the world stage. Hence, this website is dedicated to the Motivational aspects of Mahayana Buddhism - the most influential and largest school of Buddhism worldwide. Its key text is the Lotus Sutra and other important sutras include the Srimala, Vimalakirti, Nirvana, Lankavitara, Amida, Heart, Suvarna Prabhasa and Shurangama. The key theme is that everyone -- lay people, women, youth et all have spiritual potential within them and that we can transform our lives and the world with compassion like Bodhisattvas with the grace, support and salvation of Kannon.
It is well-known that Japan took the best of India, Korea, China and became the crown-jewel of Asia and the only Buddhist nation in the G-7. Anyone who has been to Japan has marveled at the fact that the country can boast the most advanced technology on the one hand, and the world's oldest temples on the other. There are over 75000 Buddhist temples in Japan including the world's largest Todaiji in Nara, the world's most popular Sensoji in Tokyo and the world's most spectacular - Sanjusangendo in Kyoto. The people are also unerringly polite and refined in their behavior with a sense of honor permeating their conduct - the hallmark of a true Buddhist identity.
While there are many different sects of Buddhism in Japan, most Japanese today practice Buddhism in a mostly non-sectarian manner without engaging in doctrinal disputes. There are however 3 symbols of Japanese Buddhism that are popular with all Japanese and so we focus on these 3 pillars to be accessible to all Mahayana Buddhists in a non-sectarian way.
1] Kannon: The Goddess of Mercy Kannon is by far the most popular Divinity in Japan with more temples dedicated to Her than any other deity. Japan's most spectacular temples honor Kannon without exception -- from Sensoji and Sanjusangendo to Kiyumizu Dera and Shitennoji and Kannon pilgrimages are the most sacred. It is also pertinent to note that when Buddhism was suppressed in Japan, she suffered the darkest chapter in her history and yet when the tallest statue of Kannon was built in the ashes of the Second World War, Japan became the most industrialized nation in the world. Kannon is the most popular Divinity for all Buddhists and Chapter 25 of the Lotus Sutra is chanted at inter-sect Buddhist events. We honor Kannon-sama as our God and Chapter 25 of the Lotus Sutra as our Gospel.
2] Shotoku: All Buddhist sects honor Shotoku as the Father of Japanese Buddhism and Shotoku himself authored the first Japanese book by translating the Lotus Sutra from Sanskrit. Shotoku also used the Lotus Sutra as the basis for the Constitution of Japan. As Shotoku was an expert in Sanskrit recitations of the Lotus Sutra, we are perhaps the only temple in the world to chant full sections of the Lotus Sutra in Sanskrit, in his honor. The Lotus Sutra was also used for the Protection of Japan and the bible used to ordain Japan's most influential monks including Saicho, Nichiren, Shinran, Honen, Dogen and more. The Lotus Sutra upholds the Ichijo or One United Vehicle of Buddhism to find common ground between all traditions. We also discuss the Vimalakirti and Srimala Sutras also translated by Shotoku as they all uphold central themes.
3] Daruma: All Japanese love Daruma who is liked the mascot of Japan. Daruma is the founder of Zen Buddhism and the patron saint of the Samurai and Shaolin order of warriors and monks. His motto "Nana Korobi Yaoki" or Fall 7, Rise 8 is like the mantra for Japan and embodies the spirit of persistence and resolve. Almost all Japanese students, as well as CEOs, and even Prime Ministers honor Daruma when they make any resolution and we honor him as well as our Patron Saint.
By honoring Kannon, Shotoku and Daruma -- as well as the One Vehicle of the Lotus Sutra, we are able to promote the best of Japanese Buddhism without sectarian politics. We also organize pilgrimages to Japan's holiest sites and help Japanese youth connect to their heritage. As Japan and India are the closest allies, we also organize events to promote ties between these 2 nations that share a Mahayana Buddhist lineage.