We hope to see you at the San Mateo Buddhist Temple on May 21, 2023 at 9:30 a.m. for our Gotan-e Service celebrating the 850th birthday of Shinran Shonin, the Buddhist teacher who we look to as the founder of our Jodo Shinshu tradition. This year also marks the 800th anniversary of the founding of the Jodo Shinshu teaching.
Shinran was born in Hino near Kyoto on May 21, 1173 during a time of great social turmoil in Japan when warlords battled for control of the country, severe famines caused widespread starvation, and epidemic disease took many lives. As a young boy, Shinran surely encountered a great deal of suffering and sadness in the world around him. At the age of nine, he became a Buddhist monk and sought refuge in the Dharma. He arrived just before sunset on the day he was to be ordained at Shorenin Temple. As night was beginning to fall, Jien, the head priest who would perform the ordination, told him to return the next day for the ceremony. At that time, the young Shinran is said to have recited the following poem:
“For him who counts on tomorrow,
Like the fragile cherry blossom,
Tonight, unexpected winds may blow.”