Founding Philosophy

The founding philosophy and educational goals of Kyoto Joshi Gakuen (Kyoto Women's Educational Institution) are based on Buddhist principles espoused by a Japanese monk named Shinran Shonin (1173-1263). These principles advocate the fostering of human spirituality through learning and through enhanced sensitivity towards the lives of others.

The humanistic principles presented by Shinran Shonin involve nurturing intelligence and pure sentiments alongside a deep awareness of one's own imperfect nature—in the process, cultivating equal love and compassion for all living things. The ultimate truth revealed by Buddha, the enlightened one, teaches us that this is the true path human beings should follow. According to Buddhist teachings, humans must overcome self-attachment, perceive the foolishness of egocentric passions, recognize their own shallowness, and rid themselves of all such distorted notions.

Shinran Shonin's teachings were derived from those of Buddhism, but he did more than just clarify the Buddhist path. He became deeply aware of his own shortcomings, admitted them, and demonstrated that even the ignorant can obtain the Buddhist spirit. However, it is not in matters of spirituality alone that human endeavor is important. It is also equally important to apply our unstinting efforts to the pursuit of knowledge in an educational context.

In such pursuits, we should not rely solely on our own individual efforts. Nor should we focus our energies on doing good deeds through "self-power" alone. If we are excessively self-reliant and self-focused, distortions can occur. The path to correcting such distortions requires the realization of one's own egoism.

Realizing one's shortcomings requires a deep spiritual awareness. We can only be humble when we reflect upon ourselves. This is how we come to realize the infinite presence that envelops all of our efforts and gives us power.

When people become aware of the wonders of life itself and realize that they are supported by an unlimited power, they are able to overcome conflicts with others. They learn how to live and grow with others, while realizing that all life is equal. This is the origin of humanistic teaching and the foundation of our educational philosophy.