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A Message from the Head Priest of Sotoshu in 2024

Every year the Head priest of Sotoshu gives an official message, we have translated this years one for you.

The various issues facing the world today are complex and layered. It is not an exaggeration to say that there is a crisis where the basic human rights of a peaceful and dignified life and the sanctity of life are threatened and the threat is expanding.

As followers of One Shakyamuni Buddha and Two Ancestors, we must be aware of the true Way.

Shakyamuni Buddha taught the principle of dependent origination and demonstrated through his own life the wisdom of observing everything correctly, and cultivating compassion in order to live in harmony with others. This way of life involved distancing oneself from self-interest and desire.

Dogen Zenji advised, "Learn the backward step that turns the light inwardly." He urged us to stop, adjust our breath, take two or three steps back, and reflect humbly on our actions in the light of the Buddha's Way.

Keizan Zenji stated, "Nurture thoughts of harmony and unity without fail." The disruption of harmony is always caused by human self-interest and desire, in other words, by greed. This greed is the source of suffering and the root of conflict and struggle.

In the transient and egoless world, the sun and moon illuminate everything without discrimination. We too should engage sincerely with all things and all connections from our innermost hearts.

The gesture of gassho, of putting our palms together, represents merging oneself with the Buddha. By familiarizing ourselves with zazen, receiving the Buddha within ourselves, praying, and sincerely wishing that people all over the world can live peacefully, let us progress together on the bodhisattva path. Living according to the bodhisattva vow is the true path to transform the world of suffering into a world of comfort.

On the occasion of Great Memorial Ceremony for 700th Anniversary of Daihonzan Sojiji’s founder Taiso Keizan Jokin Zenji the founding ancestor, Keizan Jokin Zenji, let us, on this significant memorial day, receive the teaching of harmony, and harmonize our conduct and actions with this teaching. Let us envision the presence of the founding ancestor among us.


Homage to the Buddha Shakyamuni
Homage to Zen Master Dogen, Great Master Joyo, Eminent Ancestor
Homage to Zen Master Keizan, Great Master Josai, Great Ancestor

1 April 2024
Rev. Minamizawa Donin
Head Priest of the Sotoshu

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