One Heart

What is Shinnyo-en?

Basic Doctrine

The Founder's training in esoteric Buddhism emphasized becoming aware of the ever-present lovingkindness, compassion, and wisdom that fill the universe and inspire people at the deepest level.  In Buddhism, one way of referring to such consciousness is "buddha nature" (the potential for buddhahood), but traditionally, most who focused on cultivating this part of themselves became monks and nuns.  The Nirvana Sutra encourages all people–monastic and lay practitioner alike–to help themselves by helping others, as everyone has a buddha nature at their core, whether they are aware of it or not.  In summary, the Sutra's four major principles are:

  1. Everyone has a buddha nature, without exception.
  2. "Buddha" is always present and transcends the historical figure (Gautama).
  3. Even the worst wrongdoer (defined as someone who willfully tries to destroy people's faith) can eventually attain buddhahood.
  4. Nirvana is state of mind we cultivate in the here and now.  It is always available, joyful, a revelation of the true self, and pure.

In essence, the Nirvana Sutra contains a hopeful message: that all people, by acting altruistically and reaching into themselves through reflection and meditation, can bring forth the great joy, lovingkindness, and compassion of buddhas.  The Founder sculpted a statue of the Buddha giving his last teachings (a Parinirvana Buddha) as a symbol of the inherent buddha nature in all beings and the self-realization preached in the Nirvana Sutra.

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