In Japan and throughout the world, the New Year is a very special, celebratory time. It is a time for reconnecting with one’s roots, and for renewed positive energy and commitments to attaining one’s goals.
At Fuji Sanctuary, Byakko Shinko Kai holds a special ceremony in early January for members to welcome the New Year by generating waves of light and peace that are sent out to the world, where they can merge with the hopeful, positive waves that others have created.
Several thousand people gather from across Japan to attend the ceremony. The mood is joyful and expectant, with the feeling that all is possible. In the Prayer Field, the national flags are replaced with red and white banners. A special scroll is brought out for this ceremony alone, serving as a focal point for participants in their prayers and INs (mudras), which are guided by Chairperson Masami Saionji.
Mrs. Saionji often talks to participants about the year to come and sometimes gives guidance in the form of a certain spiritual activity to be performed as part of one’s daily life — for example, writing a mandala with a particular theme, or reciting a special prayer. These activities serve to further one’s spiritual growth and provide support in everyday challenges and circumstances.
Shishin: New Year messages of guidance
Another important aspect of the New Year ceremony is drawing a shishin, or message of guidance for the new year. These messages, beautifully written on special Japanese paper, offer words of wisdom that are meant to inspire and to engage the receiver in self-reflection throughout the year. Shishin are said to be the perfect message at the perfect moment. Even if the message is severe or not to one’s liking, its aim is always one of love — to encourage inner peace, spiritual growth, and greater fulfillment in one’s life.
Obtaining a shishin: Shishin messages can be requested from Fuji Sanctuary, usually starting in early December (please see the News blog for information on availability). They are available in Japanese and English. You may order one or more shishin, depending on your needs. Special shishin are available for children as well. Shishin are offered free of charge, although a small donation is welcome and appreciated.
To request one or more shishin, please click here to use our online request form.
In many cases, groups outside Japan who hold gatherings in connection with the New Year Ceremony will order shishin for the entire group. Please visit the Outreach page for a list of groups holding prayer link gatherings.
We recommend posting your shishin in a prominent place, where you will see it often. Some have also chosen to inscribe their shishin in a mandala. Before receiving a new shishin for the coming year, you may wish to reflect on the year that has passed and whether your shishin for that year was helpful to you.
Please note that membership in Byakko Shinko Kai is required to attend this ceremony. Membership is not required to obtain a shishin message.