Wat Paknam is located on the Thonburi side of Bangkok and is home to without a doubt one of the most stunning stupas in Thailand. The temple has a large population of monks and nuns and is famous for its methods of meditation — a practice that has drawn foreign visitors here year after year. One of the longest relationships is with Her Holiness Shinso Ito, the Head of the Shinnyo-en Buddhist Community based in Japan. Her family has had a connection with the temple since 1966 when her father received Buddha relics from the Thai temple. On this day, her 71st birthday, she was back to present a reclining Buddha image to the Abbot of Wat Paknam – Somdej Phra Maha Ratcha-mang-kala-jarn. The ceremony was conducted inside the temple’s magnificent stupa and the governing body of senior monks from throughout Thailand began with a ritual chant.
Shinso Ito, is the Head Priest of Shinnyo-en and is one of the few women to be granted the title of dai-sojo, the highest priestly rank in Japanese Buddhism. She was also the first woman to conduct such a ritual in Thailand. Her efforts to foster relations with Theravada Buddhism earned her an honorary doctorate from Maha-chulalongkorn-raja-vidya-laya University in 2002.
The Shinnyo-en faith is dedicated to helping people realize greater self-awareness, happiness, and harmony for the good of humanity. Shinnyo Buddhism is inspired by and rooted in the Maha-yana Nirvana Sutra, the last teachings of the Buddha, which emphasize the ability of anyone to achieve enlightenment. Followers undertake works of charity throughout the world including vital assistance during Thailand’s recent floods.
Shinnyo-en attracts people from all backgrounds and faiths. Founded in Japan in the 1930s it today has close to a million practitioners worldwide and over a hundred places of training.1500 worshippers were here to witness the unique event, 700 of them had travelled from Japan alone. For all, it was a day to remember.
For more information visit: www.shinnyoen.org