Horai-kai, or the Horai Association was founded by Zuiken S. Inagaki (1885-1981). It originally comprised a group of students who were devoted to the teachings of Shin Buddhism (Jodo Shinshu) based on the writings of the Horai School, which was founded by Dangai (1808-69) who was succeeded by Ryuei Uryuzu (1820-1903) and Riken Katsura (1872-1944). Zuiken was the fourth master in the lineage.
‘Horai’, literally “Dharma thunder”, is a word that appears in the prefatory part of the Larger Sukhavativyuha Sutra:
“As Shakra and Brahma request him to turn the Wheel of the Dharma, the Buddha visits various places and preaches the Dharma in his thunderous voice. He beats the Dharma-drum, blows the Dharma-conch, brandishes the Dharma-sword, hosts the Dharma-banner, rolls the Dharma-thunder, hurls the Dharma-lightning, brings the Dharma-rain, and bestows the Dharma-gift.”
Zuiken’s vision of Shin was informed by the living reality of the Buddha’s Vow and its spontaneous working. It was also universal in scope in that he presented its teaching, not as just one among many Japanese Mahayana schools (such as Zen, Kegon, Tendai, Shingon) but as embracing the fundamental insights of the entire Buddhist tradition (including the Theravada).
The transition from the ‘Horai School’ to ‘Horai Association’ reflects the need to bring the breadth and depth of Mahayana wisdom closer to ordinary religiously-minded people. Horai publications mainly appear in Japanese and English but those in other languages are under consideration.
Zuiken’s son, Zuio H. Inagaki (1929-), succeeded Zuiken in the Horai lineage. On one hand, Zuio has deepened the Horai teaching with his knowledge of Sanskrit and Tibetan. He has also broadened the scope of the Association world-wide through his publications including: “Anjjn: Zuiken’s Sayings” in 1988, “Nembutsu and Zen” in 1995 and “The Way of Nembutsu-Faith” in 1996.