Reverend Shinryu Okuma: "The Charm of Singing Hymns (Baikaryu Eisanka) in Zen Buddhism"

Thursday February 15th 2024, 5:00PM
Event Sponsor
The Ho Center for Buddhist Studies
Stanford East Asian Library, Room 224
Rev. Shinryu Okuma


In a conversation with Prof. Michaela Mross, Rev. Shinryu Okuma will discuss the highly popular Buddhist hymns of Japanese Soto Zen, known as eisanka 詠讃歌. These hymns are regularly sung by practitioners of the Baikaryu 梅花流 (Style of Plum Blossoms). Rev. Okuma will first introduce these hymns and explain their role in Zen Buddhism. Then, he will explain some of the lyrics before turning to elaborate on their melodies and musical structures. He will further explain how the Baikaryu eisanka are used in Zen rituals. This event will feature a demonstration of the Baikaryu eisanka, with Rev. Okuma singing a few representative hymns of the Baikaryu.


Rev. Shinryu Okuma is a Zen Buddhist priest and renowned singer and teacher in the Soto school’s hymn chanting lineage, the Baikaryu. He trained at the head temple Eiheiji in Fukui prefecture. After finishing his formal training, he devoted himself to the study of singing Baikaryu hymns. Currently, he is the head priest of the temple Tendoji in Sapporo, Hokkaido, Japan. He has taught Baikaryu hymn chanting at many Zen temples in Japan as well as abroad, including a recent workshop in Los Angeles.

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