We, the All Japan Young Soto Zen Buddhist Priests Association(ZENSOUSEI), are a group of young priests of the Soto sect whose main temples are Eiheiji and Sojiji, and currently have about 2,700 members.
Established in 1975 with the aim of "creating a spiritually enriched society through free and creative activities, striving for self-improvement based on the teachings of Kokyo Shoshin, working together with each other, and engaging in free and creative activities." did.
“Research on contemporary issues and their responses”
“Collaboration and support with the activities of each Soto sect Youth Association”
“Research, development and implementation of educational activities and promotion of cultural projects”
"Publication of public relations magazines and publication and introduction of books and materials"
We are working on various activities together with member organizations and related organizations nationwide.
General Planning Committee
The General Planning Committee plans and introduces the production of handouts to familiarize people with temples and Zen, as well as initiatives that make use of them.
The handouts produced are used in events held at temples in various places and in ordinary households. In addition to the production of handouts, we also dedicate handwritten sutras to pray for the recovery of victims of natural disasters, and engage in activities to spread the flower festival every year. The activities of the Comprehensive Planning Committee are providing time to come into contact with Buddhism widely in various places.
ZENSOUSEI has a variety of distribution materials, such as sutra copying paper, Buddha copying paper, coloring paper, books that help young monks in their activities, video works such as Buddhist memorial service guides, etc. The handouts we have produced are used by many people through Buddhist events held in various places.
Sutra copying project
Shakyo is the copying of Buddhist scriptures. Copying each letter carefully leads to forgetting the trivialities of everyday life and working wholeheartedly on one thing. Also, it is very meritorious to work on copying sutras with each thought and wish. Every year, the ZENSOUSEI receives copies of sutras from all over Japan with the hope of memorial service and reconstruction, and dedicates them to the land of Fukushima. More than 10 years have passed since the occurrence of the Great East Japan Earthquake. In addition, devastating natural disasters have occurred all over the world, and many precious lives have been lost. In response to the great earthquake and other natural disasters around the world, we have sent sutras to our association with our condolences and thoughts on the recovery of the affected areas. We would like to dedicate the sutra copying papers that you have sent to the land of Fukushima, and continue to tell everyone's thoughts and wishes to the future.
Vesak Festival Campaign
April 8th is the day of the Vesak festival to celebrate the birth of Buddha. The ZENSOUSEI is developing a Vesak festival popularization campaign entitled the Hana Matsuri Campaign. As part of the popularization campaign, we distribute the "Hana Matsuri Set", which is used by many people every year to help promote the spread of the festival. A coloring postcard is included in the set, and we receive colorful coloring postcards from many people every year. The coloring postcards sent to us are kept at Eihei-ji Temple and Soji-ji Temple. In addition, we will send you a commemorative gift by lottery from those who sent us a coloring postcard. The creator of the coloring book illustration changes every time, so you can enjoy various types of coloring books. In addition, the set is individually wrapped, so it can be used hygienically and safely in educational and nursing facilities. Please use it to promote the spread of the Vesak festival and strengthen the propagation of the Vesak festival at various events such as Vesak festival memorial services, schools, and kindergartens.
Public Relations Committee
The Public Relations Committee conducts activities to widely publicize the activities of ZENSOUSEI.
The activities of ZENSOUSEI are wide-ranging, and each member is enthusiastic about their activities. However, if you don’t disseminate your enthusiasm and achievements, you won’t see them. The Public Relations Committee uses the following media to visibly disseminate ZENSOUSEI‘s activities.
PR magazine "SOUSEI"
This magazine introduces not only the activities of ZENSOUSEI, but also the activities of affiliated Member organization and related organizations throughout Japan. In addition to introducing our activities, we plan and publish our own feature articles in each issue of our public relations magazine. In the feature article, we deliver information that will be a hint for young monks' daily study and temple management.
Development of web media
ZENSOUSEI currently operates the official website “Hannya” and various SNS. In addition to announcing and reporting on our activities, we also publish content for web media. The Public Relations Committee is also in charge of updating and maintaining them. For SNS, we use Facebook and Instagram to deliver content tailored to the user base of each medium. In addition, we have created an official YouTube channel, where we publish videos produced as a project of ZENSOUSEI as a whole, videos produced by each committee, and videos produced by affiliated Member organization.
The Indoctrination Committee is a committee aimed at exploring and practicing activities that can only be done by young monks. In line with the state of modern society, we practice Buddhism in modern ways, such as Shojin cooking classes and online zazen.
The society that surrounds us is changing at a dizzying pace. While changes have made our lives more convenient, social problems have also diversified. It is a committee that thinks about what is required of monks in such a complicated society and acts accordingly.
Shojin Cooking Class “Mirai Shokudo”
The aim of the Shojin Cooking Class “Mirai Shokudo” is for participants to cook together with monks and become familiar with Zen through Shojin Ryori. Shojin cuisine is carefully prepared one by one. In the process, appreciating the ingredients and thinking about how to eat will lead to learning the teachings of Zen.
As a workshop to support temple management, we held an information transmission support course for temples online. We hold SNS courses to let many people know about our temple in a global and borderless era. In addition, we have various workshops such as how to interact online with the temple members.
Zen is now recognized all over the world as “ZEN”. “Zazen” practice as part of meditation, Shojin cuisine as part of Japanese culture. The ZENSOUSEI has established an international committee in order to disseminate Zen within the context of international cultural exchange, both domestically and internationally. We also participate in the activities of the All Japan Youth Buddhist Association and the World Federation of Buddhist Youth. Bringing Zen to the world, taking the world standard to ZENSOUSEI, and promoting educational activities in line with modern society, where globalization and networking are progressing.
Participation in the JYBA International Committee
ZENSOUSEI is affiliated with JYBA. In cooperation with the Jodo sect Youth Association, we have participated in the international committee and carried out various international activities.
We have actively participated in WFBY activities. In addition to conferences such as EXBO, we are responsible for the participation of IBYE in other countries and the management of events held in Japan, and we are promoting international exchange based on Japanese culture and Buddhist culture.
Disaster Reconstruction Support Department
The Disaster Reconstruction Support Department is a support organization for disaster volunteers established by the National Soto Zen Youth Association.
Based on the idea of ” ZENSOUSEI Volunteer Charter”, we are working with members nationwide to realize a society where they support each other. In addition to our support activities, we will make use of our experience so far to consider and propose what kind of response temples should take in order to prepare for future earthquake disasters and storm and flood damage. As countermeasures against the Nankai Trough megathrust earthquake are urgently needed, we will expand the stockyards at temples and promote information sharing using the Internet.
In order to make reconstruction support activities in disaster areas functional, we are also a member of the “National Disaster Volunteer Support Organization Network (JVOAD)” for the purpose of information sharing and coordination with each organization.
ZEN culture school
This is a large-scale event held by the ZENSOUSEI with the aim of spreading the spirit of Soto Zen throughout the country. The founding philosophy of the ZENSOUSEI was to ” I want to spread the teachings of ZEN to Buddhists”. ZEN culture school is now held.
Member organization and related organizations
There are 49 regional youth associations affiliated with ZENSOUSEI Qing. We are expanding our activities in cooperation with various organizations, including the World Fellowship of Buddhist Youth (WFBY), the All Japan Young Buddhist Association (JYBA), and the KANZE PHONE Telephone Counseling Association.
“SOTO ZEN CEREMONIES” web application
Recently, we heard that there were Soto Zen Buddhist priests serving overseas that were experiencing some difficulty with the movements of the different roles during ceremonies. Therefore, the current International Committee of Zensousei decided to translate Zensousei’s official application into English.
For the first round, we have made recordings of the “Offering to the Main Object”(Honzon Jogu ) and the “Ceremony of Taking Lay Precepts”(Tokudoshiki).
Everything has been translated into English. The application includes the sajyo -ceremony program, a description of each haiyaku – the different roles of each ceremony, and a glossary for the specialized vocabulary used in the ceremony.
In addition, you can watch videos that are only available on this app, which makes it easier to understand how the priests move during the ceremony.
Please use this app by all means.