The Oldest Indo-Japanese Buddhist Tradition presented for today's demographics in a spirit of Yamato or Great Harmony between all sects. By venerating Kannon/Guanyin, Shotoku and Daruma we can bring together all Buddhist sects in a united and non-denominational manner.
Real life Buddhism
Like Tokyo, Hong Kong, Shanghai and influential Asian nations, we blend the old with the new. To ensure authenticity, we actually discuss sutras of all traditions with Sanskrit references for authenticity. We also honor Kannon/Guanyin as the Highest Divinity as Kannon is clearly the most beloved of all deities in all Buddhist nations across the world. In addition, we have great love for Bodhidharma/ Daruma-san as he is the most popular of Buddhist monks in history and we honor the spirit of the Samurai and Shaolin monks that continued Daruma's lineage. As per the Lotus Sutra, Vimalakirti and Srimala Sutra, we believe that women, children and all lay people can find salvation - not just monks -- and that both grace (faith in Kannon) and works (Bodhisattva based charitable outreach) can lead to a purpose-driven life. We are the only temple in the world that teaches mantra meditation based on the original Sanskrit verses and we believe in both visiting temples as well as keeping small altars in our own homes to spread the Light and Love to all.
In order to cater to all Buddhists without sectarian discord, we venerate Almighty Kannon as the Supreme Divinity and Chapter 25 of the Lotus Sutra and the Karandavyiha Sutra as the Cardinal Gospel. In accordance with the Skillful Means teaching of the Lotus Sutra, we use various creative vehicles such as films, art exhibits, comic books and multimedia projects to promote Buddhist principles around the world. We also arrange for translations of the key texts in different languages to ensure authenticity is maintained.
In accordance with the Lotus Sutra, the head priest wears red and black robes or antique wagesas from Nara, Kyoto or Kamakura. Furthermore, as per skillful means teachings, we also honor the Samurai tradition and so our priests may also wear jinbaoris and Samurai kimonos when representing the Dharma. However, as per the Vimalakirti sutra, the emphasis is not on priestly robes and both the priests and congregation can dress in a modern manner to blend in and show that the Dharma can be practiced wherever we live and work, not just in temples. As per the Srimala Sutra, we believe in female empowerment and as per the Amida Sutra we try to make the world a Pure Land for everyone.
Similarly, we do love Buddhist temples and make annual pilgrimages to the holiest temples of Japan and India as well as pilgrimages to Buddhist temples and museums across the world. However, we are encouraged to make our own Butsudan or Buddhist altar in our own homes where we can direct our prayers and meditation. A Gohonzon or altar with an image of Kannon-sama or a stupa or the Title or copy of the Lotus Sutra is all you need to have a temple in your own home and your friends and family can join you to create a sangha.
As per the Mahayana, we believe the laity and women and youth can all be spiritually empowered and the high position of nuns is also reiterated in the Srimala sutra. Hence, we focus on female empowerment and the encouragement of youth and people in the real world as opposed to the monks alone policy of the Hinayana.
In honor of Kannon-sama, we also uphold the Bodhisattva Vow by conducting social-service projects for the benefit of all sentient beings. A Bodhisattva is one who puts the needs of others before his or her own and sacrifices his or her own comforts for the greater good. A Mahasattva Bodhisattva is a celestial or heavenly Bodhisattva who is able to save us from the higher realms. We all try to be earthly Bodhisattvas in this lifetime with a view to becoming heavenly Bodhisattvas after death to continue to be of service to all beings across all lifetimes.
We promote friendships with all peoples and communities as long as they do not go against the teachings of the Lotus Sutra which include universal salvation for all beings including women as opposed to monks alone and salvation through grace in Kannon-sama and works as Bodhisattvas. We also must respectfully bring back authenticity to Dharma by discouraging certain authors and monks from "making up their own Dharmas" in violation of the original sutras. We strive to treat all beings with kindness and compassion in the spirit of Kannon - the most widely worshiped Being in all Buddhist nations.