Jodo Shinshu Sect Shinrankai (浄土真宗親鸞会)
Jodo Shinshu Shinrankai (founded in 1958) is a new sect of the Jodo Shinshu (the True Pure Land Sect of Buddhism) Sect.
It was founded by Kentetsu TAKAMORI, a former monk of the Hongan-ji school of the Jodo Shinshu Sect (TAKAMORI is the incumbent President). The headquarters are in Izumi City, Toyama Prefecture (formerly named as Kosugi-machi town, Izumi-gun county). Ichimannendo Publishing, Inc is an affiliated firm. The officially announced membership is 100,000 ('Shinshukyo no fudo' (spiritual features of new religion) authored by Hiroshi OZAWA).
The sole aim of the sect is to propagate the teachings its founder Shinran Shonin by faithfully interpreting the writings of Shinran, Kakunyo and Rennyo. This aim being the substance of Buddhist dialogue sessions held in various locations. Jodo Shinshu Sect Shinrankai highlights the differences in doctrine from other schools of the Shinshu Sect, especially the Honganji school (Nishi Hongan-ji temple) of the Jodo Shinshu Sect. Shinrankai criticizes that the teachings of the Honganji school make you do nothing.
It preaches the importance of shukuzen (good from past lives), and claims the pursuit of 'shinjin ketsujo (salvation by Amida).'
On the other hand, the way of interpreting the words of Shinran and Rennyo such as 'You must reject zogyo (miscellaneous practices) to seek salvation by Mida' is different from the interpretation in other schools in the Shinshu Sect, including Higashi and Nishi Hongan-ji Temple. Some regard it as heterodoxy.
Shinrankai preaches 'People must seek shukuzen in this world.;
If this is not the case, the time will never come for exploiting meritorious acts that lead to enlightenment.
Eiken KOBAI of the Honganji school of the Jodo Shinshu Sect disagrees with Shinrankai's argument by saying that 'The school does not preach that people seek Jiriki Shozen in order to obtain the faith of other power'
Amida Nyorai (Amitabha Tathagata) (Namu Amida Buddha)
There are absolutely no major wooden statues nor images etc that are commonly seen in temples. Instead, it designates the Rokuji Myogo (six characters) of 'Namu Amida Buddha' as its principal image. Shinrankai uses 'Mongo Myogo (name of the Buddha)' in the Hongan Joju Bun of Amida Buddha to substantiate this practice.
It explains the practice specifically follows the word of Rennyo, who said 'The school prefers portraits over wooden statues, Myogo over portraits.'
Also, the principal religious objects within Shinrankai are always 'on loan' from the sect so, objects must be returned if separating from the sect.
Original Vow of Amida Buddha
It claims that 'the original vow of Amida Buddha' is the only thing taught by Shaka and Shinran. The top priority of Shinrankai is to listen to Buddhist sermons, in which the original vow of Amida Buddha is preached. Most significantly, it translates the Hongan bun as 'to save and carry everyone to absolute happiness' in modern Japanese.
Expressing gratitude by chanting 'shinjin shoin' (true is the faith)
It denies the widely known teaching of 'chanting Buddhist invocation for salvation.'
Shinrankai preaches that it is important to obtain 'Tariki Shinjin' in this world, and that Buddhist invocation is something to be chanted to repay the favor of salvation.
This is Shinran's 'the path to true means of salvation is by means of a believing heart' (in Shinran's magnum opus work 'Kyogyoshinsho') and
The monk Rennyo's thought that 'those that just solely intone the name Amitabha are base.'
They will never be reborn in heaven' (the third letter of the third folding book of Gobunsho (Ennyo Shonin's letters for propagation)).
Standardized Use of Titles in Shinrankai
Members of Shinrankai call themselves 'Shinrangakuto,' rather than 'members.'
Shinrangakuto Jokun (teachings for Shinrangakuto)' states 'We, as Shinrangakuto, do not seek further unique teachings.
We solely believe in and propagate to others the teachings of Shinran Shonin.'
This is derived from Shinran's saying 'Shinran does not seek further unique teachings; Shinran solely believes in, and propagates to others, the teachings of Nyorai.'
Believers are faithful to the teachings of Shinran and, there are no ideas or ideology that is unique to Shinrankai.
In Buddhism, teachers who properly preach Buddhism are called kalyaana-mitra. Shinrankai emphasizes the importance of listening to kalyaana-mitra's teachings.
Kentetsu TAKAMORI was formerly ranked as 'the one and only kalyaana-mitra.'
However, it is not put in the statutory form in recent years.
Issai Shujo Hitsuda Muken
Shinrankai preaches that Shaka says 'Issai Shujo (all creatures) are destined to go to Muken (the Avici hell),' indicating that people without true faith will go to Mukenjigoku after death.
It actively conducts missionary work throughout Japan and worldwide. Shinrankai members come from diverse age groups, regions and lines of work. The group has also been successful at recruiting individuals with a dislike of traditional religious organizations and younger people. However, there is criticism on propagation geared towards the youth. Especially, it forms fictitious circles to recruit university students. The method is similar to those used by other new religious groups such as The Holy Spirit Association for the Unification of World Christianity and Setsuri (providence) cult group. Therefore, activities conducted by Shinrankai at various universities across the nation are viewed as a problem. Media representatives and people with critical views on religious cults treat the group as a cult.
Also, a related company comprised mainly of younger group members called Tulip Co. produces animated videos about Shinran and sells them door to door.
Donations are called 'zaise (the giving of wealth)' in Shinrankai. Members are ranked into 12 different categories called 'To' based on the amount of donation they make. When attending events, members wear name tags which clearly state their own 'To' (inspiration). When listening to sermons, the congregation sits down in order starting with the most senior ranked individuals sitting first.
Offerings consist of a donation each month called a 'membership fee.'
Donations are also raised according to need in order to publish TAKAMORI's books, to purchase expensive paintings, and construct new buildings. It never reports its financial statement to the members who made donations.
The group was formed by Kentetsu TAKAMORI as its leader who gathered 68 members to form 'Tesshinkai.'
Tesshin kaikan hall was built in Takaoka City, Toyama Prefecture. In the following year, the group became a religious corporation and changed its name to Jodo Shin Sect Shinrankai.
Eiken KOBAI of the Honganji school of the Jodo Shinshu Sect published his article titled 'Research on different doctrines in modern times - arguments and problems of TAKAMORI Shinrankai.'
Shinrankai repelled the article and repeatedly sent questionnaires, leading to a negative campaign against the Honganji school.
In relation to the above, approximately 1,500 members of Shinrankai held a sit-in protest at the Goei-do Hall of the Nishi Hongan-ji Temple because they felt the so-called Kobai faction had not responded sincerely.
The headquarters were relocated to Kosugi-machi town, Izumi-gun county, a neighboring town of Toyama City. There are branches across the country as well as in Latin America, North America, Taiwan and Korea.
The existing headquarters meeting hall lacks sufficient capacity for present needs. Therefore, they built the Shohon-do hall (Jodo Shinshu Sect Shinrankai) with a 2,000-jo Kodo Hall (one-jo means a space of one Japanese tatami mat) on neighboring land.