Fundamentals Basic principles,
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The following is not an authorized nor formal advocation of the Shorinji Kempo organization, but the interpretation of its principles by the author of this web site. It is based on what the author heard from the founder, Doushin So, while the author was in Honzan camp and also on the textbook published by the Shorinji Kempo organization.

"Professions of the Shorinji Kempo" is newly added. (03.12.25)

darma Shorinji Kempo,
its Background and Goal

Right after World War II, the Japanese were deeply depressed. Many people thought that what had been thought important or precious in their lives no longer had meaning. Friendship, love of family, helping people and so on, these things were truly important in other times and seemed to have been discarded. Many seemed to seek their own interests by taking advantage of others. Those who had little money or power were suffered greatly.

The founder of Shorinji Kempo, Doushin So, wanted to do something to improve the spiritual wellbeing of these people. He knew that
regardless of how society worked, the key to personal development lay within each individual. He had learned from his experience in China that everything depended on the individual. Even in unfair system, it is up to individuals to show mercy and kindness to others. One can save others even if society does not provide ready made supports for every situation. For the most part, it is every individual's thought and action that make the world what it is.

Doushin So mixed this conviction with Buddhism and began teaching young people who had lost their way. He soon found it useless to try to make them listen to his philosophy or principle. They simply walked away. Just sitting in the class room and listening to principles, no matter how wise, sparked no interest of the youth of the day. He realized that he had to create the new philosophy, a "Kongo zen", or something relevant to attract the youth.

Before World War II, Doushin So had learned various Kempo in China and was officially designated the successor of the leader of the north Shorinji school. He cast his convictions into a system incorporating Kempo as a way of physical training and meditation. He began to teach youth how to practice Kempo. Soon those who were taught Kempo by Doushin So became enchanted by its wonderful techniques and, at the same time, deeply impressed by Doushin So's philosophy.

Today, Shorinji Kempo is widely spread all over the world and the world wide network of people who love Shorinji Kempo is growing rapidly.

Although Shorinji Kempo's self-defense techniques are superior, its ultimate goal is not to develop a skill to knock down a person by its techniques, but to help people establish themselves as kind, generous individuals.

darma What kind of individual to develop ?

Well, what kind of individual did Doushin So try to develop?

Shorinji Kempo, or Kongo zen's principle, is very simple: "Everything depends on individuals." Social systems or rulers may cause hardship and injustice, but even in such situation, well developed individuals can change any situation for the better. Furthermore, even within the best social systems people may suffer from selfish individuals. For these reasons, Shorinji Kempo does not support any specific political party or specific social system. It is not political in nature, focusing on developing dependable individuals who can lead themselves and others to a better society.

There is a phrase which states the essence of these principles simply and elegantly: "think of others' happiness with the first half of your being and think of your happiness with the remaining half". This can be interpreted in many ways. You may take it as: "try to make others happy by using half of what you have and try to make yourself happy by using the remaining half". Or you may take it as most important of Christian principles: "Do unto others as you would have do unto you."

Too simple? Simple in principle is often difficult to practice.

The goal of Shorinji Kempo is to develop dependable individuals who think of others' happiness as well as their own and, through harmonious leadership or influence, improve the world for better human relationship.

The Shorinji Kempo Association, in this its 50th anniversary, is putting special effort into expanding its network among those who love Shorinji Kempo as an activity. I am glad if my WWW page can contribute to building the network.

darma The Shorinji Kempo Organization

Currently there are four major organization of Shorinji Kempo. They are;

- World Shorinji Kempo Organization (WSKO) : Consists of Shorinji Kempo federations all over the world. About 28 countries have joined the organization.
- Shorinji Kempo Federation : University/High school clubs, Corporate clubs, and Culture centers are supposed to join this organization. Chairperson is Mr. Tsunihiro Arai.
- Kongozen Souhonzan Shorinji : Branches of Shorinji Kempo are supposed to join this organization. President is Mr.Yoshiaka Suzuki.
- Zenrin gakuen/Nippon Shorinji Budo Senmon gakko ( Shorinji Kempo School ) : Martial arts school dedicated for learning Shorinji Kempo. President is Mr. Hiromichi Yamazaki.

darma Professions of the Shorinji Kempo

While learning Shorinji Kempo, you may hear about "Seiku","Doukun", "Seigan" and "Raihaishi". These are the words, Doushin So wrote to remind us about the spiritual aspect of Shorinji Kempo. I was told that it was difficult to find out official translations of these, therefore I would like to give English translations below. However the followings are not word to word translation of them nor the official translations made by WSKO, but free translations by the author of this site.

Seiku Scripture
Do nothing wrong, put in practice right things, and keep our soul clean,
This is what Hotokes tell us.

I myself is what I can depend on, I can not depend on others. Well developed oneself is the ultimate goal to depend on.

If I do somethig wrong, I myself become sinful. If I do nothing wrong, then I can keep myself clean. Whether I am sinful or not, depend on my act. Others can not make me clean.
"Hotoke"; Hotoke has many meaning, sometimes it is Buddha himself, but enlightened persons are also called Hotoke. Here in Seiku, Hotokes mean wise people achieved enlightenment.
Doukun Instructive briefing
Michi is given by Ten and it shows a way all human being has to follow.
If we can find and follow it, then we can go forward and be safe.
If we cannot find the way, we will get lost in the world.
Therefore it is said that we cannot leave nor discard Michi.
While we are living, it is valuable for us to do our best to follow Michi.
If we are not shamed of our attitude in doing our best, we will be able to stand on the earth.
If there is a man who does not do his best in ethical life, it can be said that he is not alive in spiritual meaning.
Such man is said to be wasting his life.
Our sole is same to Buddha's in nature,
Kami lives in our mind. Therefore if we do our best and feel proud of doing the best, then we can stand in front of Kami with proud. Everything we do is observed by Kami, and any wickedness will not be overlooked.
If you respect Ten, appreciate mercy of Kami, respect your ancestors, believe your friends and your family, join with local people, love your spouse, help others in trouble or in emergent need, teach and lead others, do your best, reflect your behavior and make yourself new, abandon wicked thought, seek for good, then even if nobody noticed your goodness, Ten will acknowledge your effort and will bring you and your descendantfs happiness and prosperity, and Dharma will guard you from bad

The literal meaning of Michi is a road. But its philosophical meaning is the road human being must follow in their daily life. Sometimes it is same as ethics, morality and commandment.
The literal meaning of Ten is a heaven or sky. In Asian classic philosophy Ten is thought to be a source of almighty power.
Kami means a god. But it is different from the got in Christianity.
"Our sole is the same to Buddha's in nature"; In Asia, it is said that human being can be a god in nature, that is, we can have the tender mercy same to the divine mercy. This and the meaning of god are very different from the monotheistic religion in Europe.
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Seigan Profession
We swear that while we learn this way, Shorinji Kempo,

we will not disgrace our ancestors nor double-cross our instructors, and will show respect for the elderly, will not hold younger members in contempt, will make friendship each other and help each other, and will do our best for the way Shorinji Kempo shows.

We will not stick to our past, and as a infant baby learner of the Shorinji Kempo, purely seek to practice the way Shorinji Kempo shows.

We will practice the way Shorinji Kempo shows, not for our own fame but for helping other people.

"as a infant baby learner": We have to empty a bottle before we put something new in it.

Raihaishi prayer
We express our deepest worship to Dharma from far away.

We make a confession about all the sin we have made since our birth inspired by our earthly desire.

We will believe in Buddha, Teaching of Buddha and leaders, and obey the guidance.

Please give us good guidance and divine aid.

Buddha, Teaching of Buddha and leaders; Buddha, his Teaching and Buddhist priest are said to be the three treasures in Buddhism world. Original Raihaishi use the word gsanpouh meaning the above gthree treasuresh. The author of this site prefer leaders instead of Buddhist priest and is sure that Doushin So does not necessarily ment to Buddhist priest.
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(C)Copy right, K.Hayashi. This site was written and developed by Keijiro Hayashi in 1998. The same Keijiro Hayashi maintained and improved this site during the years: 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003 continues to do so, and reserves all rights associated with the structure of this site and the information available on this site.