Shinnyo-en?

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TheSpirit
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Your opinion on Shinnyo-en

Post by TheSpirit » Wed Oct 09, 2013 7:46 pm

Image

Shinnnyo-en is an interesting sect of Buddhism. Currently being led by the founder's daughter, the priestess Shinso Ito. They've done a lot of charity work around the world, though their practice seems abit strange and almost business-like.

What do you think?
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Re: Your opinion on Shinnyo-en

Post by rory » Wed Oct 09, 2013 11:21 pm

New Agey cult. I went to one meeting in my area. It's Shingon-lite...
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Chih-I:
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58
https://www.tendai-usa.org/

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TheSpirit
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Re: Your opinion on Shinnyo-en

Post by TheSpirit » Thu Oct 10, 2013 4:14 am

New agey isn't necessarily bad I suppose. How was the meeting?
“To be fully alive is to have an aesthetic perception of life because a major part of the world's goodness lies in its often unspeakable beauty.”
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Re: Your opinion on Shinnyo-en

Post by Rakz » Thu Oct 10, 2013 6:12 am

Looks strange.

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Re: Your opinion on Shinnyo-en

Post by rory » Thu Oct 10, 2013 7:56 am

it's fake Buddhism just like SGI but in different clothes.
gassho
rory
Namu Kanzeon Bosatsu
Chih-I:
The Tai-ching states "the women in the realms of Mara, Sakra and Brahma all neither abandoned ( their old) bodies nor received (new) bodies. They all received buddhahood with their current bodies (genshin)" Thus these verses state that the dharma nature is like a great ocean. No right or wrong is preached (within it) Ordinary people and sages are equal, without superiority or inferiority
Paul, Groner "The Lotus Sutra in Japanese Culture"eds. Tanabe p. 58
https://www.tendai-usa.org/

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Re: Your opinion on Shinnyo-en

Post by Alfredo » Sun Oct 13, 2013 9:13 am

Thus spake Wikipedia:
The leadership is steered as a dynastic family legacy; two Sisters (Tomoji and Shinjō) daughters of the civilian/zaibatsu aircraft engineer, turned Shingon (Fire) priest founder and his wife as high priestesses. Another sister rejects and has no role in the new religion. Two other siblings however that perished early on as children, while the founder and his wife were promoting and perfecting the rites and esoteric narrative basis for the new religion are now deified in the teaching and exist as statues to be prayed to by followers.

[...]

Renosha, (Jpn. reinōsha), are members with higher rank who have trained and met certain Sheshin training criteria and tenure. They are spiritual leaders capable of performing so-called Shessin training and rituals of meditation. A trance-like state is entered into by the Renosha and then guidance and fortune telling to the follower with specific questions written, submitted and paid for beforehand are then focused on. Advice from Renosha is delivered and spoken while in trance or communication with whatever spiritual realm in alternate voices (pitch, tone cadence) or even foreign tongues to followers who have paid the fees and requested it.
How typical is this of Shingon in general? My initial impression (or second impression--I dimly recall looking this up before, after seeing a photo of their temple in the Christian Science Monitor) can be expressed as a mischievous analogy:

Shinnyo-en: Buddhism = the Unification Church : Christianity
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Son of Buddha
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Re: Your opinion on Shinnyo-en

Post by Son of Buddha » Mon Oct 14, 2013 12:03 am

(1)their founder was a legitamate Shingon preist so thats a PLUS

(2)their new leader is an legitamate ordained Shingon preistess so thats a PLUS

(3)they ask for donations of money for their meditation sessions and they have oracales.
(ive seen the same thing in Tibetan Buddhism so I cannot complain to much)...i however am not to big on those things..

(4)from experience talking with members they are very secretive......you cannot learn their meditation methods unless your a member. They rarely post their teachings and views openly...only to let you know they exist.

There meditation is very individualized,the oracles essentially tells each person what so work on and gives them a specific individual meditation practice......most members I have talked to have done some type of aspiration prayers while meditating....most reported lovingkindness types of meditations.

(5) I checked/became interested in them cause they claim to be a sect founded on the Nirvana Sutra......cool :twothumbsup:
However.....it seems that almost every single member I have talked too,has never even read the Nirvana Sutra or even opened up the book.... In fact many I talk to claim to have only read their founders commentary on the Nirvana Sutra.

(6)MOST of the members were very kind and friendly,probably some of the most gental people I have ever met.
With that said they do have some strange views.

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Shinnyo-en?

Post by DaftChris » Tue Dec 24, 2013 12:49 am

http://www.shinnyoen.org/index.html

Does anyone know anything about this organization? All I can figure out is that it is a lay organization which branched from Shingon and is sometimes referred to as a "cult" in some ways like how SGI is sometimes referred to as a cult.

Are the cult allegations warranted? Is it just simply another school/organization? Or is it something to steer clear from? Many don't like that the head of Shinyyo-en is referred to as "Her Holiness" and, while I can see how this can be an issue for many, is a title like that really that cult-ish? The Dalai Lama is almost always referred to as "His Holiness" and no one bats an eye.

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Re: Shinnyo-en?

Post by Son of Buddha » Tue Dec 24, 2013 6:40 am

DaftChris wrote:http://www.shinnyoen.org/index.html

Does anyone know anything about this organization? All I can figure out is that it is a lay organization which branched from Shingon and is sometimes referred to as a "cult" in some ways like how SGI is sometimes referred to as a cult.

Are the cult allegations warranted? Is it just simply another school/organization? Or is it something to steer clear from? Many don't like that the head of Shinyyo-en is referred to as "Her Holiness" and, while I can see how this can be an issue for many, is a title like that really that cult-ish? The Dalai Lama is almost always referred to as "His Holiness" and no one bats an eye.
Here is another thread on the subject
http://www.dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f=39&t=14251

If your interested in the group study their main Sutra the Nirvana Sutra and check out their groups and go to a meeting.......as far as "cult" goes they are not jim jones types.......they do have some strange views on some things but you dont have to accept everything a group believes to be able to practice and benifit from them.

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Re: Shinnyo-en?

Post by Seishin » Tue Dec 24, 2013 10:12 am

Topics merged :smile:

Gassho,
Seishin

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Re: Shinnyo-en?

Post by Karunamata » Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:33 am

Much of the commentary here about Shinnyo En has offered little insight into Shinnyo En as an authentic Buddhist lineage.I have practiced Shinnyo En for several years. Perhaps, I can offer some light here. Shinnyo En is a recognized expression of Shingon Buddhism. This lineage was founded in the 1930's by an ordained Shingon priest. The current leader of this lineage, Her Holiness Shinso Ito, is the daughter and direct disciple of the founder. She is also an ordained Shingon Buddhist priest.
The teaching of Shinnyo En varies little from the Koyasan Shingon lineage. The practice, however, differs markedly from traditional Shingon practice, as well as that of the other Vajrayana lineage, Tibetan Buddhism. Both the Tibetan and the Shingon lineages are thoroughly focused on monks and nuns. At least Tibetan monks travel and teach. But when you go to a venue to receive teaching, you risk getting a cramp in your neck, looking up to the monk, seated in an elaborate throne, high above us mere mortals. Shinnyo En was founded as an attempt to bring the treasures of esoteric Buddhism to lay people. Her Holiness Shinso Ito is respected and, sometimes revered, as a living Boddhisatva. She makes no claims to be a reincarnation of any great historic luminary. This lineage would not permit that. Her Holiness dresses in nice professional attire unless she is officiating at a service, when she wears the robes of a priest. (By the way, guys, what's with referring to her as a 'priestess?") Shinso is married. She lives a fairly normal life. Google the video of the Tricycle interview with her and ask yourself if you have recently encountered such an unassuming, open, and loving person as she is. However, she trained for fourteen years in mantras, mudras, chanting, ritual (including the homa -fire sacrifice). Sutras, and meditation. Twice, Her Holiness has officiated at the sacred fire ceremony at one of Japan's most revered Shingon temples.
What is so valuable about Shinnyo En to me is the rare opportunity to learn an ancient oral tradition of meditation and practice without becoming a nun or a monastic. One commentator referred to the members of Shinnyo En as "secretive." With all due respect, Shinnyo En is an expression of esoteric Buddhism. You cannot learn about this practice by reading books, even sutras, though you can learn about central doctrines, such as Kobo Daishi. This tradition is like Zen in that it is learned orally from teacher to disciple. There is no other way. Members of Shinnyo En will not share much about their beliefs and practice because there are no words to use to do so. Words help, but mantras, mudras, bowing, meditation practices, and selfless compassionate service are the ways to learn this expression of esoteric Buddhism.
The role of the oracle is unique in Shinnyo En. It might be better understood by contrast to the Tibetan tradition of the oracle. In Tibetan Buddhism, the oracle becomes temporarily possessed by the presence of a dharma protector, a deity-like being who gives teaching and advice to an assembled group of monks. For the lay people, the appearance of the Tibetan oracle is quite a spectacle. The oracle in Shinnyo En is quite different. The oracle is a senior practitioner who is regarded as having such purity of character and practice that he/she can give direct guidance to the individual practitioner. These encounters are regularly available to serious practitioners and they are known as "sesshin." Think something more like Zen sesshin, but available to lay practitioners.
Non-Buddhists encounter Shinnyo En in the public Fire and water ceremonies, set within inter religious and non religious public events. The largest is probably the lantern floating ceremony on Memorial Day in Hawaii. You can see excerpts from these ceremonies on YouTube. I especially commend the ceremony held at Olduvai Gorge in Africa. That ceremony gives you a good insight into the values of Shinnyo En.

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Re: Shinnyo-en?

Post by Meido » Tue Feb 07, 2017 3:49 pm

Karunamata wrote:These encounters are regularly available to serious practitioners and they are known as "sesshin." Think something more like Zen sesshin, but available to lay practitioners.
To be clear: what you have described is nothing like the Zen retreat practice called sesshin. And, Zen sesshin is open to lay practitioners.

I had heard or read in the past that Shinnyo-en offered retreats modeled somewhat after the Zen practice. However, if the focus of the Shinnyo-en sesshin is oracular encounters, as you describe, then the similarity is in name only.

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Re: Shinnyo-en?

Post by Malcolm » Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:01 pm

Karunamata wrote: Both the Tibetan and the Shingon lineages are thoroughly focused on monks and nuns. At least Tibetan monks travel and teach. But when you go to a venue to receive teaching, you risk getting a cramp in your neck, looking up to the monk, seated in an elaborate throne, high above us mere mortals.
A completely false mischaracterization of Tibetan Buddhism.
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Re: Shinnyo-en?

Post by DGA » Tue Feb 07, 2017 4:09 pm

Karunamata wrote: Twice, Her Holiness has officiated at the sacred fire ceremony at one of Japan's most revered Shingon temples.
Can you say which temple, and when this happened?
The oracle is a senior practitioner who is regarded as having such purity of character and practice that he/she can give direct guidance to the individual practitioner.
Would you please elaborate further on this point?

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Re: Shinnyo-en?

Post by eijo » Wed Feb 08, 2017 4:24 pm

Karunamata wrote: Shinnyo En is a recognized expression of Shingon Buddhism.
I'm wondering what "expression" means? Shinnyoen is not a form of Shingon Buddhism, and is not recognized as such by anyone. I'm thinking by "expression" you mean Shinnyoen bases its authority from the founder's study of Shingon Buddhism with the Daigo-ha (which has supported Shinnyoen for reasons I need not go into here), but as a New Religion it teaches basically nothing that Shingon teaches.
The teaching of Shinnyo En varies little from the Koyasan Shingon lineage. The practice, however, differs markedly from traditional Shingon practice, as well as that of the other Vajrayana lineage, Tibetan Buddhism.
The historical reality is that Shinnyoen has never had anything to do with Koyasan but rather had a connection with Daigoji temple, so why bring up Koyasan?

What among whatever Shinnyoen teaches is nearly the same as mainstream Shingon Buddhism? Or what Daigoji teaches specifically, which I have studied in its entirety? There is literally not a single sentence in this article that I can recognize as remotely related to Shingon Buddhism of any branch or lineage (https://nirc.nanzan-u.ac.jp/nfile/2193). Are you taught sadhanas and deity yoga? Having public "sacred fire ceremonies" that you just watch but do not yourself practice is just not how Shingon Buddhism is practiced.
Both the Tibetan and the Shingon lineages are thoroughly focused on monks and nuns. At least Tibetan monks travel and teach. But when you go to a venue to receive teaching, you risk getting a cramp in your neck, looking up to the monk, seated in an elaborate throne, high above us mere mortals.
This is just nonsense, and insulting to Tibetan lamas.
Shinnyo En was founded as an attempt to bring the treasures of esoteric Buddhism to lay people.


Oracles, mediums, and the rest of what is described in that article are not among the treasures of Shingon (or Tendai). Subverting traditional Zen terms like sesshin to mean something entirely different and unrelated is not good practice.
Shinso is married. She lives a fairly normal life. ... What is so valuable about Shinnyo En to me is the rare opportunity to learn an ancient oral tradition of meditation and practice without becoming a nun or a monastic.


No one has to become a "monastic" to learn Shingon (or Tendai). Your teacher is herself married (as was her father), so she is plainly not a monastic.
One commentator referred to the members of Shinnyo En as "secretive." With all due respect, Shinnyo En is an expression of esoteric Buddhism. You cannot learn about this practice by reading books, even sutras, though you can learn about central doctrines, such as Kobo Daishi.
Everything Kobo Daishi wrote is open to the public in Japan or anywhere else. If Shinnyoen is somehow a form of Shingon, then could you please explain which of Kobo Daishi's texts are specifically taught in Shinnyoen?

Shinnyoen serves many useful functions and certainly assists many people, that's a given. But I think claiming that because it grew out of Daigo-ha Shingon Buddhism and now imitates some external aspects of Shingon Buddhism in its public ritual, it is somehow a form of "lay" Shingon Buddhism instead deters from its credibility.

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Re: Shinnyo-en?

Post by Nyedrag Yeshe » Sat Apr 29, 2017 5:18 pm

Karunamata wrote:. The practice, however, differs markedly from traditional Shingon practice, as well as that of the other Vajrayana lineage, Tibetan Buddhism. Both the Tibetan and the Shingon lineages are thoroughly focused on monks and nuns. At least Tibetan monks travel and teach. But when you go to a venue to receive teaching, you risk getting a cramp in your neck, looking up to the monk, seated in an elaborate throne, high above us mere mortals.
Shingon has traditionally limited the access to higher practices and yogas to only ordained members. Besides also having a strong monastic basis, TB has normally given access to this type to both Monastics and laity! Many TB lineages are headed by non-monastics, such as Sakya tradition.

In Shingon the higher limit a lay can go is Kechien Kanjo. But in TB you can become a full-fledged Vajracharya. with all sorts of higher empowerments and retreats without being an ordained monastic!
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Re: Shinnyo-en?

Post by Nyedrag Yeshe » Sat Apr 29, 2017 5:19 pm

Karunamata wrote:. The practice, however, differs markedly from traditional Shingon practice, as well as that of the other Vajrayana lineage, Tibetan Buddhism. Both the Tibetan and the Shingon lineages are thoroughly focused on monks and nuns. At least Tibetan monks travel and teach. But when you go to a venue to receive teaching, you risk getting a cramp in your neck, looking up to the monk, seated in an elaborate throne, high above us mere mortals.
Shingon has traditionally limited the access to higher practices and yogas only to ordained members. Besides also having a strong monastic basis, TB has normally given access to this type to both Monastics and laity! Many TB lineages are headed by non-monastics, such as Sakya tradition.

In Shingon the higher limit a lay can go is Kechien Kanjo. But in TB you can become a full-fledged Vajracharya. with all sorts of higher empowerments and retreats without being an ordained monastic!

Its even possible that Shinnyo En took TB lineages as a model for doing this in Japan!
“Whatever has to happen, let it happen!”
“Whatever the situation is, it’s fine!”
“I really don’t need anything!
~Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje (1161-1211)
ओं पद्मोष्णीष विमले हूँ फट । ओं हनुफशभरहृदय स्वाहा॥
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Re: Shinnyo-en?

Post by jake » Sun Apr 30, 2017 12:51 am

Nyedrag Yeshe wrote:Shingon has traditionally limited the access to higher practices and yogas only to ordained members. Besides also having a strong monastic basis, TB has normally given access to this type to both Monastics and laity! Many TB lineages are headed by non-monastics, such as Sakya tradition.

In Shingon the higher limit a lay can go is Kechien Kanjo. But in TB you can become a full-fledged Vajracharya. with all sorts of higher empowerments and retreats without being an ordained monastic!
Can you elaborate a bit more? I don't understand the comparison as Shingon doesn't have a monastic tradition like Tibetan Buddhism. There is no vinaya lineage in Shingon. So, while it is true one needs ordination to learn some practices, one does not need to be a monastic.
Nyedrag Yeshe wrote:Its even possible that Shinnyo En took TB lineages as a model for doing this in Japan!
I seriously doubt this is the case. Shinnyo-en was founded in the 1930s.
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Re: Shinnyo-en?

Post by Nyedrag Yeshe » Sun Apr 30, 2017 1:18 am

jake wrote:
Nyedrag Yeshe wrote:Shingon has traditionally limited the access to higher practices and yogas only to ordained members. Besides also having a strong monastic basis, TB has normally given access to this type to both Monastics and laity! Many TB lineages are headed by non-monastics, such as Sakya tradition.

In Shingon the higher limit a lay can go is Kechien Kanjo. But in TB you can become a full-fledged Vajracharya. with all sorts of higher empowerments and retreats without being an ordained monastic!
Can you elaborate a bit more? I don't understand the comparison as Shingon doesn't have a monastic tradition like Tibetan Buddhism. There is no vinaya lineage in Shingon. So, while it is true one needs ordination to learn some practices, one does not need to be a monastic.
Nyedrag Yeshe wrote:Its even possible that Shinnyo En took TB lineages as a model for doing this in Japan!
I seriously doubt this is the case. Shinnyo-en was founded in the 1930s.
I'm talking about the TB model of opening the access to higher practices to non-monastics, or people who have not done an intensive training before receiving them. People without training would receive only jukai and kechien kanjo in traditional Shingon. He only became and Acharya and ended his own training in the 40's, as the organization claims!In fact he founded maybe founded properly Shinnyo En after the 40's, and in the 60's to a buddhist conference in Thailand (where he might have contacted TB). I used monastic as a Umbrella term for describing a non-lay practitioner.
“Whatever has to happen, let it happen!”
“Whatever the situation is, it’s fine!”
“I really don’t need anything!
~Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje (1161-1211)
ओं पद्मोष्णीष विमले हूँ फट । ओं हनुफशभरहृदय स्वाहा॥
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔ ཀརྨ་པ་མཁྱེན་ནོ།

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Re: Shinnyo-en?

Post by jake » Sun Apr 30, 2017 2:43 am

Nyedrag Yeshe wrote:I'm talking about the TB model of opening the access to higher practices to non-monastics, or people who have not done an intensive training before receiving them. People without training would receive only jukai and kechien kanjo in traditional Shingon. He only became and Acharya and ended his own training in the 40's, as the organization claims!In fact he founded maybe founded properly Shinnyo En after the 40's, and in the 60's to a buddhist conference in Thailand (where he might have contacted TB). I used monastic as a Umbrella term for describing a non-lay practitioner.
Thank you for the additional information, it is an interesting idea but I know very little about Tibetan Buddhism so I can't comment on the merits of your suggested link to Tibetan Buddhism.

I think it might be worth reminding readers, however, that Shinnyo-en is not a form of Shingon, nor is it recognized by anyone as such. It is a New Religion as they clearly state in their own history. This has been said in earlier posts. Further, its practices are not Shingon practices and in fact, earlier postings suggest Shinnyo-en's practices are unrecognizable to accomplished practitioners in several traditions. As a rough analogy, just because Jesus was a Jew doesn't make the Catholic Mass a Jewish ritual.

Therefore I fail to see how discussion on how Shingon transmits its practices sheds any light on Shinnyo-en as they are not the same in the least. Additionally, I find the whole "Shingon only teaches advanced practices to monastics" critique extremely puzzling as it is completely undermined by the history of Shinnyo-en. The founder was married when he began his study and received tokudo!

As was stated earlier, everything Kobo Daishi wrote is available to the public. But anyway, I feel I'm moving off topic. The original post was about Shinnyo-en. People have posted, several important questions have been raised and remain unanswered. As I can't really respond to your suggested link to Tibetan Buddhism I'll just stop here.

Thanks for the interesting chat!
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