About Jōdo Shinshu

Tri-State Denver Buddhist Temples

Our History

Tri-State / Denver Buddhist Temples are members of the Buddhist Churches of America and a part of the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-Ha school of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, headquartered in Kyoto, Japan.

Founded 850 years ago, the Jodo Shinshu school of Pure Land Buddhism is Buddhism for all people, just as they are.  All people are embraced by the Vow of Amida Buddha, and we invite you to come and experience the teachings just as you are.

Otani Hombyo Temple in Kyoto, Japan.

The Essentials of Jodo Shinshu

These are the Principles of the Hongwanji-Ha Jodo Shinshu School.


The Essentials of Jodo Shinshu — My Path

Name of Teaching:   Jodo Shinshu (The True Essence of Pure Land Buddhist Teaching)


Founder:   Shinran Shonin
Date of birth:   May 21, 1173
Date of death:   January 16, 1263
Name of School:   Jodo Shinshu Hongwanjiha
Head Temple:   Ryukokuzan Hongwanji (Nishi Hongwanji)
Object of Reverence:   Amida Tathagata (Namo Amida Butsu)
Sutras: The Three Pure Land Sutras Delivered by Shakyamuni Buddha

  • Bussetsu Muryōju Kyō [The Sutra of the Buddha of Immeasurable Life]
  • Bussetsu Kammuryōju Kyō [The Sutra of Contemplation of the Buddha of Immeasurable Life]
  • Bussetsu Amida Kyō [The Sutra on Amida Buddha]

Shinran Shonin’s writings

  • Shōshin Nembutsuge [Hymn of True Entrusting Heart and the Nembutsu], excerpt from the “Chapter on Practice” of Kyōgyōshinshō
  • Jōdo Wasan [Hymns of the Pure Land]
  • Kōsō Wasan [Hymns of the Pure Land Masters]
  • Shōzōmatsu Wasan [Hymns of the DharmaAges]

Rennyo Shonin’s Gobunshō Letters

Attaining the “entrusting heart”–awakening to the compassion of Amida Tathagata (Buddha) through the working of the Primal
Vow–we shall walk the path of life reciting Amida’s Name (Nembutsu). At the end of life, we will be born in the Pure Land and attain Buddhahood, returning at once to this delusional world to guide people to awakening.


Way of Life:      
Guided by the teaching of Shinran Shonin, we shall listen to the compassionate calling of Amida Tathagata and recite the Nembutsu. While
always reflecting on ourselves, amidst our feelings of regret and joy, we shall live expressing our gratitude without depending on petitionary prayer and


The Hongwanji school is a community of people joined together revering the teaching of Shinran Shonin and saying the Nembutsu. We
seek to share with others the wisdom and compassion of Amida Tathagata. By doing so, we shall work toward the realization of a society in which everyone is able to live a life of spiritual fulfillment.

Jodo Shinshu Holidays

Come Celebrate with us!


Bishops’ Memorial Service (Socho-Ki)
We gather for a memorial service to express or gratitude for the contributions made by the bishops of the Buddhist Churches of America.  The Tri-State/Denver Buddhist Temple generally combines this service in Memorial of all TS/DBT Ministers and especially Rev. Tamai in October.


January 1st – New Year’s Day (Shusho-E)
This is a day of dedication. With renewed resolution we dedicate ourselves to the way of the Nembutsu.

January 16th – Shinran Shonin Memorial Day (Hoonko)
Hoonko, meaning a gathering to express our gratitude, is a service in memory of Shinran Shonin (May 21, 1173-Janaury 16, 1262), the founder of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism. 


February 15th – Nirvana Day (Nehan-E)
On this day, we solemnly observe the passing of Sakyamuni Buddha into Nirvana. Although the Buddha attained enlightenment and became the Buddha, they was still in his earthly form, subject to birth and death, but their teachings embodying the spirit of Buddhahood is eternal.


Beginning of March – Dana Day
Dana is one of the Six Paramita or Six Perfections in Pali. Dana is an act of selfless giving. This service reminds us to gratefully acknowledge the selfless acts of giving we have received and also encourages us to put forth this practice in our daily lives.

Middle of March – Spring Ohigan (Higan-E)
Higan, meaning, “Other Shore,” is a service conducted during the Spring equinox. At this time, the weather is neither too warm nor too cold and the days and nights are of equal length. Therefore, we gather together and turn our minds to the harmony of nature and devote ourselves to the realization of this harmony in our inner lives while concentrating on the Six Paramita or Six Perfections. They include selfless giving (dana), discipline (sila), patience (ksanti), endeavor (virya), meditation (dhyana) and wisdom (prajna) and we humbly put them into practice.


April 8th – Buddha Day (Hanamatsuri)
Hanamatsuri, which literally means, “flower festival,” is a service held to commemorate the birth of Siddhartha Gautama in Lumbini Garden. Amida, the Buddha of Infinite Wisdom and Compassion, manifested themselves among all sentient beings as Siddhartha Gautama.


May 21st – Shinran Shonin Day (Gotan-E)
The birthday of Shinran Shonin is commemorated on May 21 st by followers of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism throughout the world. This day is also referred to as Fujimatsuri or Wisteria Festival Day at some of the temples. For Jodo Shinshu followers, this day is most important as it was Shinran Shonin who propagated and shared the focused Nembutsu teachings.


July 15th-August 15th Gathering of Joy (Obon)
The Obon service and Obon Odori (folk dancing), which accompanies it, are observed between July 15 th and August 15 th in the Buddhist temples and communities. The Denver Buddhist Temple often celebrates in late July or early August. Together they form a mixture of solemn respect and reflection and a time of rejoicing in the teachings. The true significance of the Obon service and festival lies in the rededication our ourselves to the Buddhist way of life by reflecting upon the love, affection, compassion, and virtues that our parents and others who have passed before us, have given to us while they were still alive.


September 1st
Buddhist Churches of America (BCA) Founding Day (Beikoku Bukkyo Kaikyo Kinenbi)

Reverend Shuei Sonoda and Reverend Kakuryo Nishijima, dispatched by the Nishi Hongwanji in Kyoto, Japan to minister to the Buddhists in America, arrived in San Francisco, California on September 1, 1899. This day marks the official introduction of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism into the mainland United States. Thus, September 1 st has been designated as the BCA Founding Day by the Buddhist Churches of America.

Middle of September – Fall Ohigan (Higan-E)
It has been a long Buddhist tradition to gather in or temples twice a year during the Spring and Fall equinox to recall the Six Paramita, which include selfless giving (dana), discipline (sila), patience (ksanti), endeavor (virya), meditation (dhyana) and wisdom (prajna) and humbly put them into practice.


October – Eshinni-ko Memorial Service
Eshinni-ko was the wife of Shinran Shonin. We observe this memorial service to express our gratitude for her dedication and contributions to Jodo Shinshu Buddhism.


November – Perpetual Memorial Service (Eitaikyo)
The Eitaikyo service is a special memorial service held for all of our loved ones who have departed this universe. The Eitaikyo memorial service embraces all of our departed loved ones and is a time set aside to pay resect and remembrance for our beloved ones who have returned to the Pure Land before us. It is a day when our thoughts may reflect to happier days and the impact of sharing life with those who have passed and to realize the impermanence of this world and the importance of the Nembutsu in our every day lives.


December 8th – Bodhi Day (Jodo-E)
Siddhartha Gautama meditated under the Bodhi Tree (Tree of Enlightenment) and became the Buddha, perfect in Wisdom and Compassion. This historic event took place on December 8 th as the first faint light of day began to glow in the eastern sky. By his example, he showed us that it was possible for human beings to become a Buddha, which is a fully enlightened person. Therefore, we are in possession of this potentiality called Buddha-nature, which awakened and cultivated, will enable us to achieve supreme Wisdom and Compassion.

December 31st – New Year’s Eve (Joya-E)
At the end of each year it is a custom to attend the New Year’s Eve service to bring the year to a close. It provides us with an opportunity to quietly contemplate on the events of the past year and to rejoice in gratitude for the many opportunities we were able to enjoy.

  • Taken from the following sourcesThe Berkeley Buddhist Temple WebsiteThe Buddhist Holidays illustrated by Setsuko Takemura, The Buddhist Holidays by Rev. George Shibata, and Buddhist Holidays/Services by Mike Shibata

For More Information

Check out the TS/DBT and BCA Bookstore

Tri-State/Denver Buddhist Temple has a great bookstore with plenty of books about Jodo Shinshu and its place in Buddhism.  Along with the books there are many other items such as O-Nenju and Butsudan supplies.  Don’t know what those are?  Thats great!  Come and ask a TS/DBT member or one of the Ministers at a service and they would love to tell you.

If you can’t find what you are looking for at the TS/DBT bookstore or you can’t make it down to they temple then please check out our friends at the Buddhist Churches of America Bookstore, where they have a wide variety of books about both general Buddhism and Jodo Shinshu.