Today Shinnyo-en is led by Her Holiness Shinso Ito, Shinjo’s direct successor. Shinso was born in Japan in 1942, the daughter of Shinjo and Tomoji. She began her formal Buddhist training as a child under the care of her parents, who were also her primary spiritual teachers, and eventually became their formal and spiritual successor. She was ordained in the Shinnyo tradition in 1966 and undertook her initial priestly training between 1970 and 1982. In 1984, Shinjo announced Shinso’s accomplishment as his discipleand future successor. She is one of the few women to become a Buddhist master and attain the highest priestly rank of daisojo. Shinso has twice conducted important services at Daigoji, the 9th-century Shingon monastery in Kyoto where Shinjo trained as a priest.
While Shinso draws inspiration from Buddhist tradition, she is profoundly aware that the teachings must be meaningful for people living today. She teaches an engaged form of Buddhism, that guides both the individual and Shinnyo-en as a whole. Shinso preserves the spirit of the founders of Shinnyo-en and guides people with her warmth and conviction. Her inspiring message of peace and enlightenment is infused with palpable joy and gentleness.
In recent years, Her Holiness has conducted ceremonies dedicated to peace and harmony between cultures and religions. She has also partnered with secular philanthropic foundations throughout the world, acting on her belief that all life is interconnected, and that Buddhism should actively engage in serving the global community. Shinso is also committed to assisting with disaster relief, humanitarian and medical aid, social welfare, women’s empowerment, environmental protection, educational aid, the preservation of traditional culture, and the promotion of innovative artistic and cultural programs.