Shinnyo-en Buddhist Ceremony, Representing Altruism and World Peace, to be Held in the U.S. for the First Time

Shinnyo-en Head Priest Shinso Ito to conduct the annual Saisho Homa fire rite at the Redwood City, CA temple on Oct. 23

Oct 21, 2010, 08:00 ET from Shinnyo-en

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- For the first time, the Shinnyo-en Buddhist community will host its annual Saisho Homa fire rite ceremony in the United States, at the Shinnyo-en temple near San Francisco. Her Holiness Shinso Ito, head priest of Shinnyo-en will travel from her homeland of Japan to California to perform the interfaith ceremony for religious and thought leaders, and Shinnyo-en members, many of whom will come from around the US.  Saisho Homa will be performed in the Buddhist tradition which dates back 2,500 years and includes the complementary elements of fire which represents wisdom, and water which represents kindness and compassion. Shinnyo-en performs Saisho Homa with the intention of creating peace and harmony in a world rife with uncertainty and conflicts.

Shinnyo-en is an independent Buddhist community that practices Shinnyo Buddhism. Shinnyo Buddhism is a form of Buddhist practice that shows a way for every individual to train his or her mind so as to awaken his or her innate goodness or buddha nature. The result of this is a life of joyousness, compassion and profound meaning. Shinnyo Buddhism believes that Buddhist teachings and training should be accessible to everyone, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or religious background. People from many different faith traditions practice Shinnyo Buddhism, while still respecting their faith heritage. Shinnyo-en is practiced by more than 1 million people worldwide, and has a growing membership and awareness in the United States.  Shinso Ito, is one of the highest-ranking female Buddhist leaders  in the world, and brings a dynamic vision to Shinnyo-en  with a mission to break down barriers.

Saisho Homa 2010 will be held in a private ceremony at the Shinnyo-en temple in Redwood City, California on October 23rd at 1pm; and will be simulcast to the attendees at Canada College at 2pm.  Details of the program include:

  • Fire rite ceremony performed by Her Holiness Shinso Ito, which includes a blessing rite with pure water, guided meditation, and Buddhist chanting.
  • Interfaith leaders offer words of prayer, to promote harmony and world peace.  
  • Ceremony of water and candle lighting.

"The goal for a Saisho Homa ceremony is to empower people to have the courage to overcome difficulties they may be facing in life. The flames of the homa fire symbolize love and respect for all people of the world, and they also burn away negative attachments and delusions.  The Saisho Homa culminates in an inspirational wish for people to take altruistic actions in their own communities," said Reverend Nichelle Blanco, Shinnyo-en USA.

In another historic occasion, Her Holiness Shinso Ito conducted Saisho Homa in Berlin in 2009 where thousands of people from around the world came together to celebrate peace across religions and cultures. The theme of the ceremony was "Building Bridges," and it included choral performances across many religious traditions, symbolizing the peaceful coexistence valued in Shinnyo Buddhism and all spiritual paths.

For more information about Shinnyo-en and Saisho Homa please visit

About Shinnyo-en

Shinnyo-en is a Buddhist organization founded in 1936 by Master Shinjo Ito (1906–1989).  Master Shinjo entered the priesthood at Daigoji monastery (established in 794), 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.  The Mahaparinirvana Sutra has been widely acknowledged as the culmination of Buddha Shakyamuni's forty-five year ministry.  Shinnyo-en is now headed and represented by his successor, Her Holiness Shinso Ito.  

Shinnyo-en is practiced by around one million practitioners 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.

Shinnyo-en has been involved in philanthropic causes since its creation and today it works with several foundations and organisations worldwide.  In the process, it works closely with organisations 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.  

About Her Holiness Shinso Ito

Her Holiness the Keishu (Successor) Shinso Ito was born 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.  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:

Media Contact:  Casey Corrigan

C: 732-690-0871

W: 212-994-7530

SOURCE Shinnyo-en