During our preparatory webcasts for the One Peace Live event, we have been honored to hear from one of Agon Shu's monks, Brother Tomono. Here is what he has shared with us, in his own words...
The mantra, which is meant to purify and prepare for the reception of wisdom transmission:
On Sharei Shurei Juntei Sowaka
Repeat for 5 to 7 minutes a day. Enjoy!
Click here to hear the call recording from Preparatory Webcast 2:
About Kiriyama Kancho
When Kiriyama Kancho had a business a long time ago, he was met with a major failure and ended up with a huge amount of debt. Feeling completely at the end of the rope, he decided to kill himself. While looking for a place to hang himself, he found a small book containing Buddhist sutra. In it was written that if he kept chanting the mantra in the book, he would be able to escape from any difficulties no matter how big the size. Sensing the inevitability of him finding this book of sutra, Kiriyama Kancho decided not to kill himself. Instead, he put his faith in this sutra and made frantic efforts to pay back the debt, which he eventually did. He, however, became aware of his own bad karma (the cause for ill fate). Seeing his own bad karmahaving manifested in his life, he began to live with the goal of severing this karma. We call how one's karma manifests itself "Innen." Seeking ways to sever his bad Innen, he first started a religious faith designed to help people who suffer in this world with the power of Avalokitesvara, since the sutra which saved him talks about salvation by Avalokitesvara. He tried to sever his own Innen by accumulating virtuous acts of helping others who suffered like he did. Later, he came upon esoteric Buddhism propagated in Japan and delved into its secrets. However, esoteric Buddhism was not sufficient enough for the means to completely sever his Innen.
While desperately seeking ways to completely sever his Innen, he eventually came upon the Agama Sutra. While it was recognized that the Agama Sutra was the only sutra actually taught by Shakyamuni Buddha, Kiriyama Kancho is the first and only person who discovered the means to sever one's karma and Innen in the Agama Sutra, and who incorporated his discovery into actual practice and training. The method is called Jobutsuho or the means for the attainment of Buddhahood. Kiriyama Kancho trained and practiced this Jobutsuho and severed his own Innen. Based on his own experience, he founded Agon Shu to propagate to the world the Jobutsuho contained in the Agama Sutra enabling any person to sever his/her Innen, escape from suffering and become happy. The name Agon Shu is derived from the Agama Sutra.
About Agon Shu
There are 47 prefectures in Japan, and Agon Shu has one or more centers for praying and training, which we call Dojo, in each prefecture. At these centers, we try to teach people the Buddha's Jobutsuho, the means for the attainment of Buddhahood. At these Agon Shu centers, we study Buddhism, practice prayer and meditation, and hold goma (homa in India, a sacred fire ceremony) ceremonies. Agon Shu also has centers in London, Sao Paulo, and Taiwan.
We hold a big sacred fire ceremony for world peace every year in Japan as well as abroad. Most especially, we held a sacred fire ceremony in New York right after 9/11, one in Auschwitz in 2006, and one in Jerusalem in 2008 which stand out in our memory.
Based on the idea that education is vital for people to lead happy and peaceful lives, Agon Shu has established scholarship funds in Sri Lanka, Thailand, China, America, England, Italy and other countries. We have donated numerous buildings for elementary schools in the economically disadvantaged regions of China. We also internationally contribute to the fields of art, academia, and agriculture.
About World Peace
When we talk about world peace, the true sense of world peace cannot exist unless each individual possesses a happy and peaceful life and each household is happy. Our goal is for each individual to become happy and each household to be happy according to the Jobutsuho that the Buddha taught, which I mentioned earlier. At the same time, we recognize the great power of prayer. In May 1984 when Kiriyama Kancho held a sacred fire ceremony together with His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama in Tokyo, he declared, "Prayer purifies and enriches people. Prayer moves heaven and earth, and moves deities and buddhas. World peace is realized through prayers." That is why Agon Shu holds a big fire ceremony each year to pray for world peace.
We also discovered through practicing and training for Jobutsuho that the area of spirituality exists in humans’ diencephalon and hypothalamus. We believe that when the world is run by humanity, with the diencephalon and hypothalamus developed by special training and awakened to spirituality, a world without killing each other, hurting each other, and stealing from each other which transcends baneful influence of material civilization can be realized.
About the Aura Festival
Both Mayan Grand Elder Alejandro Oxlai and Kiriyama Kancho, who will preside over the November 7 fire ceremony, had a revelation and vision that humanity would reach a great crossroad in 2010. One path leads humanity to destruction and devastation, and the other path leads humanity to a bright future. Everyone can participate in the November 7 event to offer prayers so that humanity can embark on a path to a bright future. Participating in prayers will certainly open up the spirituality of the person praying. Most of all, it brings great happiness to be able to contribute to the realization of world peace through prayer.
It is the transmission of wisdom, but not just ordinary wisdom. It is a kind of power with vibration. The vibration is subtle, but it transmits to the diencephalon and hypothalamus, that is, it absolutely reaches deep in one's soul and provides an opportunity for him/her to open up his/her spirituality. In November 1980, when Kiriyama Kancho visited Sahet Mahet in India, he directly received this power through intense vibration, which felt like a brilliant and silvery vibration. He was instructed to transmit this vibration to people. November 7 is one of the opportunities to transmit this vibration to people.
I would like people to simply open up their hearts without thinking too much, and attune to the vibration that Kiriyama Kancho sends. By simply doing this, Buddha's thought will surely be received. It will open up your spirituality.
About Himself, Tomono
In 1975 at the age of 15, I read a book written by Kiriyama Kancho in which he wrote that he was able to light a goma fire with the use of mental power and without any matches or a lighter. Since then, I have read Kiriyama Kancho's books published one right after another. In 1981 at the age of 19, I joined Agon Shu. I was moved by the fact that reality could be changed with mental power and that Kiriyama Kancho was using his mental power to save suffering people in the world.
I have gone though the training that all Agon Shu practitioners go through. I then entered the training school to become an Agon Shu Buddhist monk. I was working for a company at that time, but I keenly felt that I was not contributing much to the society through the job I had. I thought I might be able to be more useful to the society if I became a Buddhist monk.
16 years have passed since I officially became a Buddhist monk in 1994, and I believe I took the right path. Being able to contribute to the noble idea of Kiriyama Kancho, which is realizing world peace, brings me the greatest happiness that is priceless.