The Origin of the Seimeizan Schweitzer Temple




Dr. Albert Schweiter
This Buddhist temple is called the Seimeizan Schweitzer Temple - the Temple of Reverence for Life. It is named after the saintly physician of Africa, Dr. Albert Schweitzer (1875-1965), a lock of whose hair is enshrined at the temple as an object of religious reverence.

In accord with the moral principle "reverence for life", Dr. Schweitzer devoted himself to medically assisting people in Africa. Along with his self-sacrificing humanitarian life, he was an outstanding personality in the fields of theology, philosophy and music. His great life comprised multi directional activities, contributing to world peace, including his global call for an anti- atomic bomb movement. In 1952 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.



The founder of this Temple was Rev. Tairyu Furukawa (1920-2000). Throughout his life, he also appealed, in his role as a religious leader, to people to recognize the "dignity of life". His idea for establishing a new temple came about when he received a lock of the late Dr. Schweitzer's hair in 1969. This occurred in the midst of Rev. Furukawa's campaign for the release of two innocent prisoners condemned to death. Moreover, the gift was made in recognition of his humanitarian work on behalf of these prisoners, so close in spirit to that of the great Dr. Schweitzer. Because of the connection that was forged in this way, a new religious institution called Seimeizan (i.e. Mountain of Life) Schweitzer Temple was established in 1973. It is dedicated to endlessly carrying on the wishes of Dr. Schweitzer and Rev. Furukawa as the Temple of Reverence for Life.

The basic underlying principle of this temple is the teaching of *Mahayana Buddhism. It is an independent Buddhist temple belonging to no religious school or sect and is unaffiliated with any denomination.

We are seeking spiritual salvation in the law of lay Buddhism (i.e. Zaike Bukkyo) and aim to realize its accomplishment. At the same time, this is a temple of lay Buddhism, a family-based religious community searching for the way of living the religion of "the Oneness of Self and Society", as if the self and society are like two sides of the same sheet of paper. In other words, we are seeking a way of life, not indifferent to social concerns, but dealing with the real pains existing in our society as if they were our own.

We are against any action which disregards life, and we positively promote every movement that advances reverence for life. In accord with the principles outlined above and in order to put these principles into practice, the Temple is engaged in certain activities. Please see Our Work.



* Mahayana means 'the great vehicle' to the enlightenment and salvation of all beings, emphasizing 'benefitting others'. It is one of the two fundamental schools of Buddhism, in contrast to Hinayana, 'the lesser vehicle'.