sitepolicy Site map Access Site map Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha Hongwanji International Center

News & Events

Torikoshi Hoonko


Torikoshi or Otorikoshi means “to be held prior to or in anticipation of” an actual event. Hoonko is a Buddhist memorial that is conducted to honor the founder of a Buddhist school, held on the anniversary of his death. Although Hoonko itself is not exclusive to Jodo Shinshu, it has become closely associated with it since this type of memorial service is conducted annually to honor our founder, Shinran Shonin. The Honzan or “mother temple” of Otani-ha (Higashi Honganji) observes this service for eight days and seven nights according to the lunar calendar, from November 21–28, while that of Hongwanji-ha (Nishi Hongwanji) follows the western or solar calendar, conducting it from January 9–16.


Hoonko is also conducted at all of the individual Jodo Shinshu temples. Generally, they hold this service a month or more prior to the service at their respective Honzan. Depending on locale or rural customs, this service is also conducted in followers’ homes, with family members, relatives, neighbors, and close friends in attendance around the Buddhist altar enshrined in the home. In some instances, these same people go to each other’s home to take part in the service for it is a wonderful opportunity to hear Dharma Talks and share the teaching with each other. Likewise, regardless of the temple being affiliated with Nishi Hongwanji or Higashi Honganji, groups of followers will go from temple to temple night after night to attend the Hoonko service being conducted there. Foremost, the reason Hoonko is conducted early is so that those Nembutsu followers who are able, journey to Kyoto to attend the week of services at Honzan. In addition, the Betsuin (regional headquarters for Honzan) in some rural areas will conduct Torikoshi Hoonko, then another Hoonko service at the same time of year as their respective Honzan for the benefit of the area’s members who are unable to journey to Kyoto.

(Gene Sekiya)