About Higashi Honganji

Higashi Honganji

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Higashi Honganji & its History

The Early Days Before the Dōbō-kai Movement

In the time of confusion after World War II, the Shinshū Ōtani-ha created the Dōbō (lit. those following the same path) Life-Sharing Movement in 1947. From this, in the same year, a "dōjō for volunteers at Shinshū Honbyō" was set up so as to inspire followers to embody the Nenbutsu in their daily lives.

In 1951, to recover the denomination's direction as a "Dōbō sangha," the chief administrator at that time, Reverend Haya Akegarasu, asked ministers and followers from throughout the country to gather at Higashi Honganji. They brought miso paste and rice, ate and stayed together while devoting themselves to temple cleaning and listening to the Dharma. This was called the "Dōbō Life Movement."

The entrance to the Dōbō Retreat Center

The Birth of the Dōbō Retreat Center

As a commemorative project for Shinran's 700th Memorial Service (Goenki), the Dōbō Retreat Center was built on the premises of Higashi Honganji in 1959. This is not merely a lodging facility for all those who come here to clean the temple complex, but serves as a "dōjō for listening to the Dharma," where people are able to listen to the teaching of Jōdo Shinshū, reflect on their everyday lives, and participate in religious discussions.

The hall in the Dōbō Retreat Center

The Shinshū Dōbō-kai Movement

In 1961, Shinran's 700th Memorial Service was observed. The Shinshū Dōbō-kai Movement was formed in the following year, where each person had the opportunity to re-establish themselves on the path as Shinshū followers and so return to the teaching of Jōdo Shinshū as clarified by Shinran. It began with the self-awareness that "there is not even a single Shinshū follower," based on the social conditions of postwar Japan and the reality of the Shinshū Ōtani-ha denomination.

"Dōbō" does not simply mean people coming together in common fellowship. Shinran persistently perceived all people as fellow-beings and fellow-travelers and treated all equally with respect. We live in a world where all people are interconnected and each one of us will be called upon to be a Nenbutsu practitioner.

Thus, volunteering at Higashi Honganji creates a history for all those who, at the same time, receive the teaching of Shinran and entrust themselves to the Nenbutsu in front of his image. Even today, people visit this temple to spend time in self-reflection and appreciation.

Volunteers' cleaning
Children's volunteer group
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