Kodo Kyodan members have formed many associations and groups to propagate the teachings of Lord Buddha and assuage the suffering of the people.
Kodosan Maitri Movement
The Maitri Movement is an appeal to everybody to come forward and work for a harmonious and peaceful society through mutual respect, help, and sympathy/compassion. Maitri is a Sanskrit word meaning “genuine fellow-feeling” or “compassion”. The five precepts of the Maitri Movement sum up the teachings of Buddhism:
- Realize that your existence is part of nature
- Accept responsibility for your family
- Share grief and joy with others
- Sympathize with all living creatures
- Use your talents for the benefit of others
The Maitri Movement is defined as a spiritual campaign for social purification and happiness. The fast pace of modern life has led to serious social and psychological problems. The root cause of such problems is our self-centered outlook and lack of feeling or sympathy for the other. This psychological aberration cannot be rectified unless attention is paid to the condition of others. Maitri teaches how to empathize with the other and inculcates the feeling of fellowship, compassion, and love for everyone. In 1987, a Maitri Center was set up to spread the movement. Since then the Center has been holding “Maitri Meetings” all over Japan at our branch temples.
The Buddhist Culture lecture series was initiated in 1981 to inculcate human values and attract the people’s attention towards environmental destruction, regional conflicts, and other global problems. A similar lecture series—One Day with Buddhism—is held at the Tohoku Branch Temple.
Kodo Youth Association
The Kodo Kyodan Youth Association was founded in 1947 to spread Lord Buddha’s message of world peace. Under the leadership of the Junior Vice President, the members of the Association have dedicated themselves to the propagation of Buddhism. In the past they collected funds for various religious activities like the construction of the Tower of Peace Bell. Members of the Association participate in all major events like Flower Festival (hanamatsuri) and the summer Obon Dance. They set up reception counters and soft drink stalls, guide visitors, and help in parking.
Kodo Boy and Girl Scouts
The motto of the Kodo Boy and Girl Scouts—“Travelling along with the Buddha” —underlines their aims and objectives. These groups were founded to create enlightened and disciplined youth to spread the true spirit of Buddhism throughout the world. Since their inception, they have been instrumental in promoting many activities of the Kodo Kyodan. Their participation in the Yokohama Port Festival and the Flower Festival is well known. Kodo Boy and Girl Scouts are affiliated with the Japan Boy and Girl Scout Federations and have visited many countries like USA, Canada, the Philippines, and Taiwan.
Kodosan Women’s Association
The Kodo Women’s Association forms the nucleus of various propagations and philanthropic activities initiated by Kodo Kyodan. The members visit rehabilitation centers for mentally and physically handicapped children and also engage in campaigns to collect funds for the victims of natural disasters. The Association is the main force behind the Mahakala Festival held in November.
Kodosan Men’s Association
The members of the Kodo Men’s Association play an important role in the propagation of Kodosan’s philosophy and in the execution of all major events. The objective of the Association is to increase the knowledge and enrich the experience of its members so that they can carry out bodhisattva activities efficiently. The Association holds monthly meetings to discuss Buddhist teachings.
Young Mothers’ Association
For easier communication within the Women’s Association, a group was set up for the young ladies in 1974. The Association organizes activities relevant for young mothers.
Society of Senior Citizens
Wagenshu, the Society to Honor Senior Citizens, was inaugurated in 1978. It celebrates and prays for the long life of the followers who have attained the age of seventy.
Kodosan Children Sangha
The children’s sangha or Sunday School for Elementary Students was inaugurated in 1986. The activities of the Sangha, like excursions, overnight stays, and training camps are designed to impart the Buddhist virtues of compassion and friendship in the minds of the children. In these programs, the children chant the Lotus Sutra, participate in meditation sessions, listen to Buddhist stories, and play sports.
Kodosan Child-Parent Circle
The Child-Parent Circle (ko-sodate) was formed in March 2001 to develop better communication between children and parents, and to guide the parents in raising their children. Specialists are invited to give lectures on how to raise a healthy child. Puppet-shows conveying Buddhist messages are held for the children.