NEW YORK, June 25 /PRNewswire/ -- Her Holiness Shinso Ito, Head Priest of Shinnyo-en, an international Buddhist order, visits New York City on the occasion of the opening sessions of the 2010 National Conference on Volunteering and Service (June 28-30), the world's largest gathering of service and volunteer leaders, of which the Shinnyo-en Foundation, a secular and philanthropic arm of Shinnyo-en, is a lead sponsor.
On June 28, Her Holiness will address the conference in a speech about service to community and the values of an altruistic spirit, which are keystones to Shinnyo-en's teachings and core to ancient Buddhist wisdom. Her Holiness will illustrate Shinnyo-en's role in bridging these messages as part of its humanitarian mission to promote social change by fostering compassion and universal sense of service.
Her Holiness Shinso Ito will also present a gift to the City of New York, the statue of Prince Shotoku, which symbolizes a universal wish for peace. Master Shinjo Ito, the founder of Shinnyo-en, cast the statue in 1967. A small version of the statue will be presented at this time, while the original life-size version of the Prince Shotoku statue will be brought to New York City for public display when a location is confirmed. Prince Shotoku was a seventh century Japanese prince credited both with expanding and supporting Buddhism in Japan as well as incorporating Buddhist teachings into governing principles and promulgating a constitution.
Her Holiness Shinso Ito strives towards greater harmony between different cultures and religions. She meets regularly with religious leaders from other faiths. In 2002, in cooperation with the Catholic Church in Japan and in Europe, religious concerts with Buddhist chants ("Shomyo") were held in churches in Krakow, Cologne, Paris, Milan and Rome. In 2008, for the first time, Shinso Ito performed a Buddhist ceremony in at St. Peter's church in New York City as a prayer for world peace. In 2009, she officiated an ancient Buddhist fire rite at the interfaith ceremony in Berlin, bringing together groups from different faiths such as Judaism, Moslems and Christianity.
Shinnyo-en is a Buddhist organization founded in 1936 by Master Shinjo Ito (1906–1989). Master Shinjo entered the priesthood at Daigoji monastery, home of the Daigo school of Shingon Buddhism, where he mastered and succeeded to all the dharma streams of traditional Shingon Buddhism. After profound study of the sutras, Master Shinjo founded Shinnyo-en with the Mahaparinirvana Sutra, the last will of Buddha Shakyamuni, as its canonical scripture. Shinnyo-en is now headed and represented by his successor, Her Holiness Shinso Ito. Shinnyo-en values practice that embodies the altruistic spirit described in the Mahaparinirvana Sutra through the efforts made in everyday society. Shinnyo-en's philanthropic and charitable activities are one step towards realizing the world of peace and joy for humanity that was the Founder's greatest wish.
Shinnyo-en is practiced by around one million members worldwide and has 168 temples in sixteen countries. The first Shinnyo-en temple in the United States was opened in Honolulu in 1971, the location for Shinnyo-en's world famous lantern floating ceremony where every year tens of thousands of people from various cultures and religions gather on the beach in Honolulu to send lanterns across the water in memory of their loved ones and ancestors, images which travel around the world every year. Today Shinnyo-en has temples in Chicago, Hawaii, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, and Seattle and training centers in Washington, D.C. and other cities.
The Order has been involved in philanthropic causes since its creation and today it works with several foundations and charitable organizations worldwide. In the process, it works closely with organizations such as the Red Cross and the UN, for example. Under Her Holiness Shinso Ito's leadership, Shinnyo-en has established and supported a number of foundations that promote education, health, the arts, economic empowerment for the underprivileged, environmental awareness, and interfaith dialogue. The Shinnyo-en Foundation, under its Six Billion Paths to Peace initiative, promotes individual, local, and global peace through service. In line with this mission, the Foundation is sponsoring the largest gathering of service and volunteerism in the United States NCVS.
About Her Holiness Shinso Ito
Her Holiness the Keishu (Successor) Shinso Ito was on April 25, 1942, in Tachikawa, Tokyo, Her Holiness became a dedicated student of Buddhism from an early age. Following the passage of Master Shinjo Ito in 1989, Her Holiness succeeded him as head of the Shinnyo-en order. As one of the first females to head a mainstream Buddhist order, she has consistently encouraged women to take a more engaged role in the Buddhist world. Her Holiness is also committed to the global promotion of education, service to others, and religious exchange and dialogue as a positive way of ensuring a peaceful and productive future for our planet.
For more information: www.Shinnyo-en.org