Her Holiness Shinso Ito, Head Priest of Shinnyo-en and One of the Highest-ranking Woman Buddhist Leaders in the World, Will Deliver Message of Peace to New Yorkers and the World


One of the highest-ranking woman Buddhist leaders in the world, Her Holiness Shinso Ito, will lead the first-ever “Shinnyo Lantern Floating for Peace” ceremony on Sunday, Sept. 22 at Trump Rink in Central Park, and deliver a message of peace to thousands of New Yorkers and the international community on the eve of the United Nations General Debate.As a part of the “Shinnyo Lantern Floating for Peace” – the first ceremonial Lantern Floating bringing Buddhist teachings to the uniquely international, interfaith and multicultural setting of New York City – Trump Rink in Central Park will be transformed into a large reflecting pool filled with thousands of lit paper lanterns set afloat throughout the day. An ancient tradition in many cultures, the lantern floating is a symbolic ritual in which participants float lanterns on water to honor those who have passed away, and represents the interconnection of the past, the present and the future. It also carries with it a message of hope toward a harmonious and peaceful world.The Shinnyo Lantern Floating for Peace will be led by Her Holiness Shinso Ito, head priest of Shinnyo-en, an international Buddhist community. A female Buddhist master, Her Holiness is renowned for her pioneering approach to making ancient Buddhist teachings and customs relevant and accessible to lay audiences so that any individual, regardless of faith or background, can cultivate their true self and apply those principles in their everyday lives. Her Holiness is one of the few women to be granted the title of diasojo, the highest priestly rank in Japanese Buddhism. She is also the first woman ever to officiate at a Buddhist ceremony at the Daigoji Monastery in the 1,100 year history of the temple in Japan.

To illuminate the message of the Shinnyo Lantern Floating for Peace – at a time when there is heightening concern about the progress of peace in crisis spots around the world – Her Holiness will honor four prominent women peacemakers whose courage and leadership have contributed to important advancements towards promoting peace and reconciliation and defending the rights of individuals. These peacemakers, who will be recognized during a special Closing Ceremony led by Her Holiness, include:

  • Ms. Zainab Hawa Bangura, U.N. Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict
  • Ms. Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary-General of the United Nations and Deputy Executive director of U.N. Women
  • Ms. Anne-Marie Goetz, Chief Advisor of Governance, Peace and Security at U.N. Women

Shinnyo Lantern Floatings are a part of a symbolic fire and water ceremony: the fire symbolizes an awakening and the water represents compassion, healing and life. Given the theme of the Shinnyo Lantern Floating for Peace, which is “Be a Light for Peace,” Shinnyo-en is making the event free and open to the public throughout the day, so that all visitors can take part by writing their own personal message of peace on a paper lantern and setting it afloat in honor of individuals who have devoted their lives to promoting peace. The event will culminate in the special Closing Ceremony, held at dusk, and led by Her Holiness.

** B-roll and Photo Opportunity: Media are invited to attend the Lantern Floating events, and film and photograph the floating of LED candle-lighted paper lanterns throughout the day and at dusk during the Closing Ceremony. U.N. peacemakers, VIP guests and representatives of Shinnyo-en who are participating in the event are available for interviews.


Sunday, Sept. 22, 2013The “Shinnyo Lantern Floating for Peace” is free and open to the public. In addition to the Lantern Floating, there will be music and cultural performances by local artists throughout the day and during the Closing Ceremony.Daytime Event:

1:00 p.m. – 5:00 p.m. – Shinnyo Lantern Floating for Peace is free and open to the public.

Evening Event:

7:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. – Special Lantern Floating Closing Ceremony at dusk.


Trump Rink in Central Park (formerly Wollman Rink). Central Park South at 59th Street and 6th Avenue is the best entrance to Trump Rink.


Shinnyo-en is an international Buddhist community dedicated to helping people realize greater self-awareness, happiness, and harmony for the good of humanity. Shinnyo-en began in 1936 as a community rooted in Shingon Buddhism, a lineage started in Japan more than 1,100 years ago. Shinnyo-en’s founder, Master Shinjo Ito, was trained in the Shingon Buddhist Daigo School and worked to adapt the esoteric teachings of the Buddha with people from all backgrounds and faiths. Shinnyo Buddhism teaches that anyone regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or religious tradition has the potential to awaken to his or her Buddha nature to attain enlightenment. Today,Shinnyo-en has more than 100 temples and Buddhist training centers located around the world including Japan, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, France, Italy, Germany, Hong Kong, Korea, Singapore, Spain, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, United States (Chicago, Honolulu, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Seattle), and the United Kingdom.


For more information about Shinnyo-en, please visit To see the full schedule of the “Shinnyo Lantern Floating for Peace,” visit, and @BeALight4Peace and @ShinnyoNews on Twitter.



Sakura Amend


The organizations and/or individuals who submit materials for distribution by Religion News Service are solely responsible for the facts in and accuracy of their materials. Religion News Service will correct any errors brought to its attention.