Senkouji Temple

Senkouji Temple  飛騨千光寺


This senkouji mountain is said to have been settled 1600 years ago by Ryomen Sukuna, whose family possessed great military power and wealth. The temple was built as a Buddhist Temple by one of the ten disciples of Kobo-daishi, Shinnyo Shinno (the Emperor’s son) about 1200 years ago. During the most prosperous period, there were 19 Buddhist buildings on the mountain. But they were burnt down when the army of the Takeda attacked them in the 7th year of the Eiroku period (1564). The lord of Takayama castle, Kanamori who later became the king of Hida area, built a new castle in remembrance of the old one. This new castle has remained until the present day. It is now a temple of the Shingon Denomination.

Enku, Enku-butsu
Senkoji Temple is closely connected with Enku Shonin (a virtuous and high-ranked priest)
Enku was born in Gifu prefecture in the 9th year of the Kanei period (1632), the early period of the Edo era. He entered the priesthood in his youth and trained in the field of Mikkyo. He is then said to have carved 120000 images of Buddha in his life, while travelling throughout the countries. He visited Senkoji Temple during Jokyo period and stayed there for a while. 63 statues have been preserved in Senkoji, which he carved in his old age.

Treasures of Senkoji Temple 
The majority of the temple property was burnt down during a war 400 years ago but Gohon-sugi (a cedar with an 11.5m circumference at the base and five trunks which are 54 meters high) survived the fire. It is designated as one of the natural monuments of Japan.
9 fusuma pictures of Sakura (The important cultural property of Gifu Prefecture)
Painter is Shiko Mikuma. He was born in Kyoto prefecture. Shiko was one pupil of Gekko lived in Nagasaki. He is known that having been absorbed in drawing cherry blossoms (Sakura) during all of his life
Hondo, Ryu-tenjyo 
(The important cultural property of Gifu Prefecture) 
The ceiling of Dragon
Painter is Tansetsu Kano. His patron was the Tokugawa shogun ate.
Primarily this ceiling was flooring soaked up the large quantities blood of the peoples who killed themselves in Sengoku period. For the repose of their souls, flooring was moved to the ceiling of Main temple in Senkoji Temple. Tansetsu drew two Dragons there after that. 

About Buddhist Meditation (Meditative Concentration)
Meditation is not exclusive to the Buddhist tradition. In exists in each and every religion and almost every person influencial in the history of humankind has engaged in contemplation and informed their spirituality and deep consciousness with it.
Buddhism has, over its 2500 years, taught traditional forms of meditation, endowing the practical wisdom that leads towards a state of perfect tranquility or peace of mind, overcoming the dissatisfactions associated with the states of existence we experience as human beings.
Our mind, that conscious as well as unconscious whole called the heart or body/mind, is always changing. Thoughts, sensations, feelings, memories and dreams all are the function of the heart or body/mind and these functions are divided into two broad categories: sense consciousness (sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch) and mind consciousness (the subconscious and unconscious mind and its contents.) 
Buddhist meditation (meditative concentration) is the function of the mind consciousness: the process and working of one aspect of the mind as it observes, contemplates and analyzes the other remaining aspects and contents.
The meditation practice of Shakyamuni Buddha, while founded on Indian yogic principles, consists of knowledge of The Four Noble Truths: that all existence is suffering; that the cause of suffering is illusion and desire; that enlightenment is the realm free from suffering, and that the means for attaining enlightenment is the Eight Fold Noble Path (right view, right thinking, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right meditation); precious teachings that are guides to enlightenment that is realized in one’s daily life.
These carefully considered teachings lead from the resolution of one’s internal troubles, to the exquisite development of consciousness that nurtures a heart of loving kindness extending to all beings, culminating in practice for peace and tranquility.
Accordingly, Buddhist meditation ends not in simple relaxation, but leads to deep spiritual insight, and it is in meditation, that a method of learning and awakening is found.
(Meditation instruction is offered for those who wish to practice; please contact Senko-ji for further information.)

JAPAN  〒 506-2135  Hida Senko-ji Temple Meditation Center
1553 Shimobo, Nyukawa-Cho,Takayama-shi, Gifu-ken
Telephone: (81)-577-78-1021 Fax 81-577-1028

JAPAN  〒 506-2135 岐阜県高山市丹生川町下保1553  
 TEL0577-78-1021 FAX0577-78-1028


38 快晴!霧の海








19th IAVE World Volunteer Conference
When: November 10-14, 2006 Where: New Delhi, India
Theme: Volunteering for Peace in Multi-cultural Societies
Organized by: People’s Institute for Training and Development (PIDT)
In collaboration with: IAVE, India Chapter Website:
11月11日(土)11:30~13:00 Rev, OSHITA DAIEN (A director of IAVE JAPAN)

Toward Establishment of “Spirituality Network”for Contribution to the Peace of the World

I am grateful from the bottom of the heart to the persons concerned for the opportunity to talk here at the World Conference as a member of IAVE Japan today.
I have visited India may times because I am a Buddhist. Another reason is that India is the sacred birth ground of Buddha who taught “the way to spiritual enlightenment”, the worldwide religion since 2500 yeas ago.
I’ve learned Indian philosophy which had been passed along the Silk Road as well as Asian spirituality at a university in Japan.
India, the venue of this IAVE World Volunteer Conference, is the very place where the philosophical idea of life originated in the form of the teachings of UPANISAD and VEDA.

This philosophical idea is to analyze relationship between universal life and human being from various angles. It is also the view of the world which recognizes the existence of a multitude of gods.

In India, Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, discovered a way to grasp the fundamentals of universal life in the inner consciousness of human being. Buddha, who expounded dharma or universal law, called for the prohibition of the merciless killing of creatures, the abolition of the caste system which prevailed all over the Indian society then and advocated the equality of all human being. In the light of the Indian social order commonly understood in those days, this was a revolutionary idea. In deed, such advocacy of Buddha brought about a revolution of consciousness inside the Indian society.

The teaching of mind which is really free and peaceful without being controlled by anybody, started from India and has spread out to the East and the West and eventually to all over the world during the period of 2,500 years. It reached Japan 1,400 years ago. The ruler of Japan at that time, Prince Shotoku promulgated for the first time the country’s “peace constitution” based on Buddhism which emphasized harmony of mind as its core philosophy. The constitution aims at building up a harmonious society recognizing each other’s belief and even allowing conflicting ideas.

If we look for the source of spirituality underlining the Japanese society, it may be stated as the “spirit of harmony”. Japan, all surrounded by the oceans, absorbed cultural currents from Asia and during the period of 1,200 years created a culture of its own in harmony with the ecological environment.

Japan, however, has undergone a radical transformation in her way of life in the course of her rapid modernization since 100 years ago and, unfortunately, involved not only her own country but also other countries, especially Asian neighbors in the First and Second World Wars, resulting in untold disasters. Japan alone has lost 3 million lives and even now 60 years after the last war is suffering from incurable wounds. Lust for survival on the part of a small minority of leaders produced such a horrible effect over mankind.

Such virtues as thrift, honest poverty and modesty as traditionally esteemed in Japanese society have been gradually given way to selfishness prevalent in modern society. Lately, however, Japan is beginning to awaken to revive herself and call for the “establishment of spirituality”.

The three principles of “truth, goodness and beauty” have been traditionally treasured by the Japanese. “Truth” is reflected in the way of life truly pursuing the purity of mind. “Goodness” is a great principle of doing good conduct, doing no evil and doing no mischievous deed to others. “Beauty” is a virtue as reflected in the love of nature, animals and plant life. All these result in harmonious relationship with one another.

In 1994, the 13th World Conference of IAVE was held in Tokyo. The key-note speaker invited then was Dr. A.T. Ariyaratne, the founder of Sarvodaya Sharamadana Movement in Sri Lanka and the father of volunteer movement in Asia. In his speech, Dr. Aryaratone quoted Mahatma Gandhi as saying that “There is enough in the world to satisfy the needs of all people, but the world does not have enough to satisfy the greed of even one person.” This was mentioned as a warning to mankind that the organized greed of a few people brings about suffering to millions of others. Furthermore, he emphasized what is important about volunteer movement is to heed the physical and spiritual pains of the living being and extend one’s helping hand to eradicate the suffering of people on the basis of Buddha’s teachings.

The volunteers of Japan at the height of prosperity at that time were astonished to hear this message from Dr. Ariyaratone as they came to realize that mankind cannot be cured by scientific technology or economic power only. What is meaningful in volunteering is inner self-reflection as to whether one finds oneself approaching close together to the pain of others. Dr. Ariyaratone appealed to “build up refinement of spiritual infrastructure through spiritual resources”, thus instilling many a lesson in the minds of Japanese volunteers.

After this conference, I myself had a number of occasions to visit Sri Lanka and actually observed in a village in the north of Kandy how people from varied cultural backgrounds practiced the program advocated by Dr. A. in their village constructions overcoming the different backgrounds. 
In addition I visited the hospice for the patients of AIDs in Thai and also supported by a scholarship system of Burmese for excellent youths. Besides I made every effort to promote the interchange program between Korea and Japan. Fortunately I have a lot of precious friends in Asia.

At about the same time (in 1998), the WHO passed a resolution amending its health charter at its 101st Council Session in1998. In that resolution, the past wording was amended to the effect that health is a completely desirable and dynamic condition physically, psychologically, socially and spiritually, and that it never means non-existence of disease or handicaps. In that sense the word spirituality was incorporated in the amended charter.

The word “spiritual” has varied implications. It may be understood to mean “something other than physical” or something that controls one’s spiritual or mental life “ within one’s human body”. In other words, spirituality needs to be understood with reference to quality of life.

Recently Japanese volunteer activities have been moving toward applying spiritual care to the fields of medicine, social welfare and education.

Maslow, a psychologist advocated the five-stage theory of one’s need which was the noble aim set by the volunteers; physiological need, the need for the safety, the need for belonging to somewhere, the need for approval by the others, and the need for self-realization. The fifth need has proved that their efforts worked good not only for the others but also for the volunteers themselves. 
We have the similar Eastern phrase meaning the above; “Jiri, Rita” or “being of benefit to oneself, being of benefit to the other” quoted from Buddhism. To ennoble oneself immediately means to give life to the other. The expression “immediately, or Soku” is the traditional Buddhistic word meaning truth of the two sides of the same coin, that is to say, the philosophical expression meaning “being two but being not two”. We have considered “harmony or reconciliation” really important in the East. In another way, we don’t precisely distinguish oneself from the others. It is called monism: the gods and me, the nature and me, the earth and me, the others and me, all own jointly “inochi or life” which has been passed on everlastingly. Therefore we have interpreted the malicious people to us significant in a way and kept in mind to find a clue to the solution even on such hard occasions. When you are offended at others you simultaneously get anger with yourself, too. Other’s agony is my agony. Likewise other’s joy is my joy. These teachings are written in “Yuima-stura” which Prince Shotoku adopted 1300 years ago as the nurturing of talented people. 
The ultimate state of mind sought after by A. H. Maslow、a psychologist, is “transpersonality”, a central theme of psychology which has come to be widely accepted in recent years.

For the last 20 years, I myself have been applying this spiritual volunteering at the bedside of the sick in Takayama City at the foot of Japan Alps. At first, this volunteering was all done myself, but as time went on I organized a number of fellow volunteers for spiritual care. In the meantime, I came to realize keenly the necessity of training spiritual care workers, and for the first time in Japan set about developing a program of training such workers at a college level. This is the philosophy of my volunteering.

I’ve talked a little about spiritual care. And furthermore I’ll explain showing the pictures to help you understand thoroughly now.
①②③—These are the sceneries of my hometown, mountainous “Hidatakayama”, located in just the middle of Japan which has “Shirakawago”, the World Heritage.
④⑤⑥—This is Senkoji Temple where I work as a Buddhist priest. 
⑦⑧⑨—I also work at the hospital in the city. I carefully listen to the patients as a psychological care worker.
⑩⑪⑫—I can realize the blessing of my job listening to them at the patient’s bedside now thanks to 20 years assiduous efforts with my fellow volunteers. 
⑬⑭⑮—I teach spiritual care at the Koyasan Universities. Sometimes I take them along to the hospital or other medical facilities, which fortunately cultivates me, too.
This is the activities to reconfirm “mind care” and “spiritual care”. We have reluctantly regarded them as significant until now.

According to Ken Wilber, recent American transpersonal psychologist, the spiritual space time is watching all living beings in the universe not as something to recognize merely oneself among others but as something to recognize each other’s greater self.………Evolution seeks this intangible supreme goodness. . Evolution, however, always develops within the physical world. Cosmos moves forward eternally seeking timelessness in the chronological world. Thus palingenesis continues without ceasing.

Life’s activity and its probing as something already linked together, are spreading out not only to the East but also to the West. The activity to seek for peace of the world is not merely to make up for the two conflicting parties on the ground that quarreling is something bad so that they should be on good terms with each other. What is important, however, is to go back to the fundamentals of human being, feel the groaning pains of the earth and engrave them deep inside their hearts if they seek true peace. Outwardly, human being looks different, but deep inside their lives are bound together.

In the disputed areas of the world today, people see no end of violence and domination. Is there any way out to settle the conflicting structures of the world today?

In India, Buddha expounded the way of non-violence and caring love for others by consciously eradicating feelings of resentment inside one’s heart. It is spirituality which has been propagated from India to Japan. It is Mahatma Gandhi who put into practice spirituality in recent years, and Dr. Ariyaratne then succeeded the movement into volunteering. 500 years after death of Buddha, Jesus Christ propagated the practice of “Love thy enemy”, while in modern India Sister Mother Teresa practiced it and proved its truth.

Now we must not only love thy neighbor but also love “thy earth.”

At this juncture, I like to propose “revival of international peace education.” 
The future education must not think only the interest of one country nor the seeking individualism or nationalism as we have come to the stage where the survival of the earth itself cannot be solved merely by the survival of one country Without peaceful relationship worldwide and educational backing up, the survival of mankind is not possible environmentally and spiritually.

For this purpose the philosophy, of education to realize the peace of the world must be established. This is the spiritual education and is the ultimate purpose of spiritual movement.

Globalization beyond national borders is recently advocated to call for an international network, but it tends to give preferrence to the will of the strong and to ignore that of the weak, which needs to be noted with concern. What is desirable in this connection is to promote human activity flexibly and positively with due consideration to the voice of the weak. The political control exercised by some countries by means if IT, is something one needs to be mindful about lest the weak might be left out.

I firmly believe that we have to take highest priority to establish the new theory, “spirituality” which links the whole world overcoming every ideology or religions. It does promote volunteer activities accepting each other’s sense of values.

I would like to propose here the development of program which is a universal support system or “mandala” system. Let each volunteer take up his activity locally with the consciousness that all other volunteers are linked up with him for the peace of the world.

Volunteer leaders from different parts of the world, who are here today for this significant gathering in India, let each one of you ask questions yourself.. Where would you turn your anger? Your sorrow? Your hostility.? To tell the truth, clue to the solution of all these problems lies right inside your own heart.

Let us overcome selfishness on our part, and feel our lives bound together with the world. Close your eyes and feel the warmth of the hands, the soul and the love of your neighbors sitting next to you. Let us join hands and pray to protect our earth tenderly with loving care. Let us do what we can for peace of the world.

Breathe deeply and slowly open your eyes.
Thank you very much for your patience listening to me.

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