“We cannot live solitary lives. The effort to reach out and connect to others is itself a spiritual practice.”
—Her Holiness Shinso Ito
At Shinnyo-en, we walk the path to enlightenment hand in hand with others.
Sending Off the Spirits of the Dead
Temple Staff Member
In this article from a 1954 Shinnyo-en newsletter, a member of the temple staff describes an early lantern floating officiated by Shinjo and Tomoji Ito. Despite the many decades since it was written, the account will be remarkably familiar to participants of contemporary lantern floatings.Read the story
View more stories of fellowship, encouragement, and inspiration
The Spirit of Gassho: Cultivating Gratitude as a Spiritual Practice
By Her Holiness Shinso Ito
Her Holiness likens living a true spiritual life to greeting others with a reverent expression of appreciation. A spirit of gratefulness for others and all that we have cultivates contentment and joy within us. It is a simple practice that we can only experience in the company of others.
Walking on My Own with Others
By Takako Masuda
Takako Masuda, whose disability once made her introverted and aloof, describes how a warm, encouraging gesture from Her Holiness helped her realize we never truly walk alone.
Healing Bitterness with Joy
By Tracy Yang
Tracy Yang, who lives in the United States, shares the story of her family breaking apart, the hardship of emigrating to New York with her mother, how sesshin helped her to uproot feelings of anger toward her and truly see her for who she is, and how with practice, her bitterness turned to joy.
Kindling the Warmth of Shinnyo in One’s Heart
By Nicolas Simonet
French practitioner Nicolas Simonet shares how, even after being a member of Shinnyo-en for a long time and feeling he knew more than others, a crisis in his relationship provided him a mirror to see his own failings, and finally ground his practice in his heart.
Practicing from the Heart
By Lisa Bandiera
Lisa Bandiera, a member of the Shinnyo-en temple in Sydney, Australia, describes how sesshin invigorated her spiritual practice within her family, and how studying at Shinnyo-en has deepened and enriched her understanding of the faith tradition she was raised in.
Spiritual Training in a City Full of Potential Buddhas
By Ai Yamanaka
Shinnyo-en practitioner Ai Yamanaka, from New York, finds spiritual inspiration, a happy life, and encouragement in the joyful open-heartedness hidden beneath the city’s superficial gruffness.
Steadfastly Walking the Path with Others
By Master Shinjo Ito
Master Shinjo Ito, the founder of Shinnyo-en, shares how the image of Achala (“the immovable one”), inspires development of a spirit of loving kindness and compassion toward others in one’s practice that remains steadfast, regardless of circumstances or recognition.
Taking What Is Left
By Her Holiness Shinso Ito
Her Holiness Shinso Ito shares a childhood memory of celebrating “Boy’s Day” with her mother, illustrating how she skillfully taught by example how to express qualities of buddhahood in everyday life.
The Longest Journey Begins With the First Step
By Robert Mize
Shinnyo-en member Robert Mize of the temple in Redwood City, California, reflects on how his practice fits into his Christian background, the healing power of mentorship and community at Shinnyo-en, and on how the long-term perspective fuels his practice of small acts of kindness.
The Transformative Effects of the Shinnyo Path
By Guillaume Riou
French practitioner Guillaume Riou shares his very personal story of practicing Shinnyo‑en, and how the simple act of praying for a cousin’s premature baby opened his heart to an estranged family member, and helped to heal the whole family.
Touching Our Buddha Nature
By Mark S.
Shinnyo-en practitioner Mark, from the United Kingdom but practicing in Japan for the last 20 years, explains how getting in touch with his “buddha nature,” his natural goodness within, helped him recognize the support and friendship of others around him and really be himself.