This year is the commemoration of the 60th Anniversary on the unveiling of the Shinran Shonin statue that once stood in a Hiroshima park when the first Atomic Bomb was dropped. It witnessed the mass killings and horrific destruction of what mankind created and released on humanity. The Shinran Shonin statue is a reminder for "no more Hiroshimas." The statue came to New York City because the donor Mr. Hirose Seiichi wanted it to be in a city that symbolized the "cross roads of the world" as well as being the home for the United Nations.
Shinran Shonin was the founder of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism. Jodo Shinshu is one of largest practiced religions in Japan today and there are over 300 Jodo Shinshu Buddhist temples throughout the world. The statue represents the epitome for wisdom, peace, compassion, and harmony. When the Shinran statue first arrived in New York City it stood quietly in the American Buddhist Academy garden on the upper west side.On September 11, 1955 an unveiling ceremony took place the keynote speaker was D.T. Suzuki who gave a powerful message:
"The present state of things as we are facing everywhere politically, economically, morally, intellectually, and spiritually is no doubt the result of our past thoughts and deeds we have committed as human beings through the whole length of history, how many years we cannot count, through eons of existence, not only individually but collectively… we are, every one of us, responsible for the present world-situation filled with awesome forebodings."
To honor this historic event the American Buddhist Study Center and the New York Buddhist Church will be cohosting the 60th Anniversary on the exact same date 60 years later, September 11, 2015.Our distinguished keynote speakers will include leaders in Japan and US relations as well as Buddhist ministers and Professors.
The 60th Anniversary program will be held at the New York Buddhist Church starting at 6:30pm.We will begin with a rededication of the Shinran statue followed by our keynote speakers.There will entertainment followed by a getting to know each other reception.
This event will be free and open to the public for all to attend an evening of celebration and reflection of gratitude for the Japanese men and women who had the vision of bringing Shinran Shonin to America.
I am calling on the Japanese business community to come together and help us make this Anniversary a most memorial event for all.
All donors will be prominently listed in the category of their donation as sponsors in the commemorative program booklet.Plus each donor will have reserved VIP seating for the program.Plus a commemorative gift will be given in remembrance for this historic event.
So please help us make this an event that all Japanese and Americans will remember and all share in a commitment for "NO MORE HIROSHIMAS."
We continue to provide meaningful Buddhist programs for the community on a consistent basis. Pictured here is Dr. Richard Payne, Dean of IBS (Institute of Buddhist Studies) from Berkeley giving a talk on the Buddhist practice. Others speakers we hosted include Roshi Gentoku Kobayashi a Zen master teacher from Kyoto, Dr. James Dobbins, Religious Professor from Oberlin College and well known Shin Buddhist professor and author, Dr. Alfred Bloom.
"What is most significant about this volume is Monshu Ohtani wrote it in the context of the various problems and crises that have beset humanity in Japan and the world during his tenure. He looks beyond the simply personal nature of religion and its otherworldly character to see the Buddha calling modern people to take the teaching seriously and grip their responsibility to care for the world and society." – Rev. Dr. Alfred Bloom
Today, more than ever, people are seeking inner peace and a path to happiness. In turbulent times when traditional values are in flux, Buddhism can provide spiritual development that can lead to discovery of insight into the true nature of reality.
The American Buddhist Study Center is creating a Buddhist community center for Buddhist seekers and teachers who value the pleasure of the learning process, the importance of inter connectedness and necessity for knowledge.