Horai Buddhist No. 1

January 13, 2015 – To commemorate Zuiken’s 34th memorial day, we are happy to publish this inaugural issue.

Your kind support would be appreciated.

Editors: Zuio Hisao Inagaki, Japan

John Paraskevopoulos, Australia


The Horai logo was conceived and designed by

Laura Silvestri, Montoku Claus and John Paraskevopoulos.

The myogo at the center was Zuiken’s calligraphy.



On Shinjin

by Zuiken

Don’t chase your mind, for your mind keeps moving along with the myriad of objects.
Don’t be concerned with your acts, for your acts of body, mouth and mind are sunk deep in the abyss of evil.
Don’t be seeking to attain peace of mind, for peace of mind never takes you to the Pure Land. Mind keeps moving like a torrent of water.
Don’t wait until tomorrow. The devil of impermanence chooses no time to attack you.
How fearful is the law of karma! Karmic retribution never fails to visit you.
Don’t seek to grasp Shinjin. Just think who is the master of your mind. Isn’t it your defiled mind that seeks to grasp at Shinjin?
The pure and truthful moon cannot be grasped by a bombu’s hand of self-power. We cannot keep Shinjin to ourselves. We should not be misled by our own thought. Nor should we be concerned with what we have learned

Zuiken and Horai

Zuiken, ‘Auspicious Sword’, is the Buddhist name of Saizo Inagaki (1885- 1981). Born in Himeji, Hyogo Prefecture, he was the second son of a devout Shin family. His father, Kyutaro, used to hold dharma-meetings at his house for his friends and neighbors. Kyutaro studied under Master Dantoku, a holder of the highest scholarship at the Honganji.

Kyutaro used to tell Zuiken: “The Pure Land is not the place where you can go with the assumption that you will be born there.” When Zuiken was 36, he professed his faith to his father. Listening to his son’s remarks, he said, “Yes, indeed. you will surely go to the Pure Land,” adding, “But the Pure Land is not the place where you can go with your self-assurance.” Zuiken recollected that he had pondered on his father’s words for the next fifty years.

You expect to be born in the Pure Land.
You cannot attain birth there
With mere expectation.
Yet, I shall go there!
How inconceivable!

◇ Kyutaro was a myokonin (a wondrous Shin follower). He mumbled the Nembutsu continuously from morning till evening. One day, a thief broke into his house. Later, knowing that he had stolen from a myokonin’s house, the thief returned Kyutaro’s belongings to him.

The course of the boat is left to the sail,
the movement of the sail is left to the wind;
As for me, I leave everything to Amida.(Zuiken)

◇ Zuiken was educated in Kobe. After his five-year course at the First Kobe Middle School, he received higher education at the Kansei Gakuin. He left there after finishing the second year course and subsequently embarked on his military service, joining the tenth unit of the cavalry division in Himeji. In his third year, his unit moved to Manchuria where it was stationed for twelve months. He retired at the rank of corporal. He then approached the Kansei Gakuin for employment. The president appointed him to a teacher of English in the middle school division. He was 24 years of age and taught there for ten years.

His library was full of books on Buddhism, philosophy and English literature. Apart from many books on Buddhism, he also had the works of Plato, Kant, Schopenhauer and other Western philosophers. In the field of English literature, he was particularly drawn to Shakespeare. He not only enjoyed reading Shakespearean works but gave a series of lectures on them to a group of interested people. When Rev. Jack Austin came to Japan from England for his ordination, Zuiken enjoyed talking to him and even surprised him by reciting from memory a long passage from Macbeth. Rev. Austin commented on this, saying, “Even in England, very few can recite Shakespeare from memory.”

More difficult than grasping the whole earth
With bare hands and throwing it up in the sky
Is for a bombu to become a Buddha.

◇ Surprisingly, Zuiken was often invited to talk to Christian pastors in Kobe. He lectured on the Tannisho and generally on Mahayana Buddhism. At the Union Church, he gave English lectures to ministers from abroad.

Rev. Zuimoku Nose, Zuiken’s disciple, commented, “In the eyes of Zuiken Sensei, ‘heathens’ were equally beloved children of the Buddha.”

No me apart from Tathagata.
No Tathatgata apart from me.

◇ My mother, Shigeno, was a modest woman. Zuiken took her as his wife without meeting her before their marriage. He made this decision simply by hearing that she was the best temple-goer in her village.

Sure enough, my earliest memory of her was of us visiting temples together. This habit continued until she was too old to attend. I still remember the day my brother and I went to a nearby temple to hear the Dharma but there were no other listeners because of an imminent storm and so the Dharma-meeting was cancelled.

◇ Zuiken’s interest in Buddhism from childhood grew into a fervent desire to know more about it. He studied different schools under various masters. At the age of 38, he encountered Rev. Riken Katsura of Shiga Prefecture, who originally came from Yamaguchi Prefecture. When young, one night, Rev. Katsura left the temple and went to Kyoto. In Shiga Prefecture he became a disciple of Rev. Ryuei Uryuzu of the Hojoji Temple, a Honganji kangaku, and studied mainly Shin Buddhism for eight years. Rev. Katsura’s wife recounted, “When young, he diligently applied himself to his studies. Until about 40 years old, when he went out of his room, he used to talk to himself, ‘I am supposed to go there (the Pure Land), but I shan’t.’ He grumbled about the difficulty of attaining Shinjin.”

How great is the Vow-Power!
Leaving behind Shinjin here,
I shall be led to the Pure Land.

Time to fall is
time to float
for a lotus-flower.

Horai (Dharma Thunder) was originally the name of one of the academic schools of Shin Buddhism. Shinran’s teaching of Shinjin (Faith) appears simple but it is supported by the most sophisticated network of Buddhist doctrine. In order to unravel it, various scholarly priests developed their own theories. From around the 18th century, a number of such schools of Shin Buddhism emerged. When I was a postgraduate student at Ryukoku University, my supervisor, Prof. Junjo Ohe was known as belonging to the Sekisen School, while his colleague, Prof. Junnin Kiritani belonged to the Kuge School. Those two schools were the most popular ones.

The Horai school originated with Master Dangai (‘Cutting Down the Armor’; 1808-1869), who was succeeded by Ryuei Uryuzu (‘Thriving with Renown’; 1820-1903), Riken Katsura (‘Sharp Sword’; 1872-1944) and then Zuiken Inagaki. The teaching of this school is characterized by the emphasis on Amida’s Wisdom which constitutes the core of his saving activities. Zuiken devoted himself to the study of this school but, seeing that the traditional way of approaching Shin was not benefitting its general followers, Zuiken started the Horai Association in Kobe in the 1960s.

◇ Rev. Katsura once told Zuiken, “You are a promising scholar but your father was a greater person.” He gave Zuiken a letter for the New Year, “On the second day of the New Year, in the first dream of this year, I was talking with your father. He suddenly left his seat and rose up in the air. Then he assumed the figure of Kannon Bodhisattva. Now I understand. I thought he was no ordinary person.”

◇ Zuiken studied Shin Buddhism under Rev. Katsura’s guidance for twenty-one years. During the War, in 1944, Rev. Katsura passed away. I received notification of his passing on the telephone. I passed this sad news to Zuiken when he came home. I had never seen such a sad face before.

Next year, on August 15, he took his tokudo at the Honganji in Kyoto when rumors were around that Kyoto would be the next target of a large-scale air raid. He was one of the very few who received tokudo on the very day when the war ended.

◇ Zuiken’s interest in Buddhism was not confined to Jodo Shinshu. He had complete sets of books on Zen and Shingon as well. In his talks on Buddhism and in his books, he made frequent references to Zen in particular.

◇ Zuiken was a pioneer translator of Shin works. He produced one of the earliest English translations of the Tannisho in 1949. It was followed by the Light of the World (the life of Shakyamuni Buddha) in 1954.

◇ In 1980, Zuiken had a stroke and was hospitalized. As soon as the spring term at the University of London ended, I hurried back to Japan. When I entered his room at the Rokko Hospital in Kobe, Zuiken was lying in bed. Seeing me, he raised both his hands to welcome me home. What an unfilial son I was! Even for the sake of my university obligations in London and a number of duties for the enhancement of Shin activities in Europe, I had neglected my aging father and mother for such a long time – fifteen years! Zuiken was too weak to talk much but he was visibly happy to see me. For the last time…

I assured Zuiken of my return to Japan as soon as possible. He was very happy to hear that. When the autumn term began in London, I advised the head of the department of my wish to resign as soon as possible. The university regulations, however, required that I should stay there until the current term ended in July of the following year, 1981.

Embraced just as I am<
I go to the Great Birth.

◇ The year 1981 commenced quietly yet sadly. On the 13th of January, I received a call from Japan telling me of the passing of Zuiken! I took the first available flight back to Japan. His funeral service would have taken place on the 14th but it happened to be a tomobiki or ‘trail’ day on which a deceased person is said to draw their friends towards them), so no cremation should take place on such a day. I arrived in Kobe the next day in time for the funeral.

It was a cold, quiet day. When the coffin was brought to the crematorium at the foot of the mountain, white snow covered everything – it was very rare to see snow in the warm city of Kobe.

◇ The Japanese monthly journal, Horai, has been published for the past 39 years thanks to the painstaking efforts of Rev. Esho Sasaki , Zuiken’s life-long disciple and, formerly, professor of Buddhism at Kyoto Women’s University. The journal is widely read not only by Horai members but general Shin Buddhists in Japan. It mainly carries Zuiken’s dharma-messages. The most recent one, No. 457, has this poem by Zuiken:

Oh, that moon, that moon,
Oh, that moon, that moon,
Oh, that moon. The voice praising the moon
Comes from the moon-light

Transmission of the Horai Teaching

by Zuio


In the Horai Cave lurks a scaly dragon.
Swiftly riding on the cloud of
compassion, he flies across the
As Dangai’s supreme virtue of wisdom
and destruction of evils shone in
the four directions,
His body was adorned with the armor
of the Great Vow.


As Ryuei revived the teaching of the
One Vehicle based on the Buddha’s Wisdom,
He made his work of teaching people
with virtue renowned in the ten directions.
As Riken brandished in the air the
sharp sword of destroying wrong views,
All Maras were subdued,
thereby restoring peace across the four seas.


As Zuiken’s auspicious sword shone
in the great Void, it revealed the
right teaching.
He universally summoned the cloud of
compassion to bring down the rain of Dharma.
When the conditions for edifying
people came to an end, he returned
to his pedestal of light.
The castle of Bodhi protecting
the Dharma thus became all the more fortified.


The pure moon of True Suchness
hangs in the air,
Covering countless things with
fine silver white garments.
While the great river of Dharma-kaya
intones the sound of eternity,
The wind blows over pine trees in the
mountain, dispersing the scent
of flowers everywhere.

Horai Declaration

By Zuiken Inagaki, December 1931

Translated by Zuio Hisao Inagaki, January 2015

The boundless space of the ultimate dharma-nature1 is above the realm of our sensory perceptions. The sublime principle of the Middle Path2 is neither existence nor non-existence, neither arising nor perishing. It transcends verbal expressions and nullifies descriptions at the level of names and forms. Without awakening Enlightenment, how can one penetrate to the Ultimate Essence?

Hereupon, through the Great Compassion, the Buddha turned the Wheel of the Dharma on Vulture Peak3, where he manifested his glorious figure as if reflected in the clear mirror of the Eightfold Deliverance4. Herein lies the very origin of Shin Buddhism. The seven masters5 transmitted it to later generations and the founder, Shinran, revealed it widely for the benefit of the beings in this world of Endurance6. The succeeding masters7 developed it in their respective ways.

I wonder, however, who has properly received the authentic right Dharma and is teaching it to others?

“As I humbly contemplate, various teachings of the Path of Sages have long declined in both practice and realization, and Shin Buddhism of the Pure Land Way is thriving now as the path to Enlightenment.”8

What does this imply? There is much talk of propagating Shin Buddhism and works on its founder can be found overflowing on the shelves of book-shops and, yet, the decline of this school has never been so marked. Who is responsible for this? Alas, all we see is the making of profit in the name of the Dharma and the serious pursuit of the founder’s spirit is nowhere to be found. Those who dare immerse themselves in these writings often become lost in the vast expanse of profound teachings, thereby losing sight of Shinran’s vision. Those who attempt to study Shin vainly sink into literal surveys of the doctrinal labyrinth and very few penetrate to the reality behind it. How sad it is to see aging adepts make troubling remarks to win the favors of younger generations, thereby concealing the naked truth!

Formerly, the wise and learned presented their own views, competing with each other for supremacy in the world of scholarship. Nowadays, mediocrity prevails and, therefore, distinguished scholars are rare. Even if students seek to delve into the Shin teaching and practice it, there are no temples they can visit; even if they knock at their doors, there are no adept masters to guide them. Immature scholars are everywhere, bringing confusion and threatening to bring the authenticity of the Dharma lineage into decline. Who is there to stand up now and sacrifice themselves for the sake of the Dharma? Who will delve into its original purity and bring Shin studies back to the authentic path of ‘spontaneous development from the ocean of the Vow’ ? Who can dredge out a channel so that the fresh water of the Dharma – transmitted from the ancient sages – can flow again and benefit fellow beings in long ages to come? I cannot help but deplore our current situation!

Considering the shifts of time and taking advantage of favorable conditions, we intend to revive the Horai school, the unrivalled organ that will allow the highest and deepest scope in the study of Shin. This will permit us to explore hitherto untapped areas of research, so that we may ensure the Dharma’s longevity in the world. We thereby hope to repay the Buddha for his benevolence.

We sincerely hope that those priests and lay-people who have pledged to work for the Dharma, even at some risk to their lives, will come and embrace the Horai school!


  1. The ‘Dharma-Nature’ is the very essence of all that exists which is known only to the Buddhas and enlightened sages. In this case, ‘dharma’ means existence, not the Buddha’s teaching.
  2. The ‘Middle Path’ is the principle of ultimate reality which lies beyond existence and non-existence.
  3. Vulture Peak is a mountain in Magadha, India, where the Buddha expounded many sutras, including the Larger Sutra.
  4. The Eightfold Deliverance comprises the eight kinds of meditation practiced in order to eliminate the fetters which bind one to the Three Worlds of Samsara.
  5. The first two of the seven masters were Indians, the next three were Chinese and the last two were Japanese. 1) Någårjuna (2nd or 3rd century), 2) Vasubandhu (4th century), 3) T’an-luan (476-542), 4) Tao-ch’o (562-645), 5) Shan-tao (613-681), 6) Genshin (942-1017) and 7) Genku (1133-1212).
  6. Sk. sahå. Refers to this world where people must endure various afflictions and pain.
  7. Shinran’s successors. The well-known Rennyo (1415-1499) was the eighth chief abbot of the Honganji school and and Kojun (1977-) is the 25th.
  8. Epilogue to Shinran’s Kyogyoshinsho.