【Gallery of Arigato Zen Temple

Dr. Soho’s Key Ideas

  1. Happiness cannot be demolished. (True happiness is “conscientiousness”within our unconsciousness.)
  2. In the bottom of unconsciousness, there is “the light.”(where religion, ethnicity, and life & death have no meaning.)
  3. The point is how deeply we live, not how long. (The meaning of life is depth.)
  4. God is Life, and Life is Gratitude. (Faith is nothing but gratitude for Life.)
  5. We can find the truth without religion. (Mankind’s strife began when it named God and developed doctrine.)
  6. To live is joy, and to die is also joy. (There is no reason to struggle.)
  7. We must know both pleasures of eating and not eating. (Self-claimed gourmets should claim their title only after they reach the age of 100.)
  8. The time of hunger is a jewel.  (In the age of excessive eating, short-term fasting is a luxury.)
  9. Those with whom we do not get along are wonderful resources for learning. (They have totally different ethos;that’s precious.)
  10. Most schools are simply a pantomime of meaning. (That is why so many kids refuse to go to school.)

Dr. Soho’s Major Activities

FIRE PRAYER (kobo goma)

Fire Prayer, called Soma in Sanskrit, has a long history over thousands years originating from the Vedism of ancient India. It was introduced by Master Kobo to Japan from China in the ninth centry. Kobo Goma of Arigato Temple is very unique because of its psycho-therapeutic function.  Through the fire, we receive specific messages regarding personal issues. Online goma is also available. You need to make a reservation to attend, and it takes approx. 90 mins. The fee is 21000 yen..


Arigato Zen was developed by Dr. Soho based on both his religious experiences and academic research. It consists of three segments: mantra chanting, silent meditation, and Arigato chanting to express gratitude to specific people. The remarkable changes of both brain waves and brain hormones during the Arigato Zen have been proven by medical doctors. You can experience it through online services twice a month. The fee is $20 per session.


Enteric bacteria is the key of good health. Brain hormones are also  affected by the gut biome. Short-term fasting is an excellent way to flush the intestines and restore the ideal balance of enteric bacteria. Dr. Soho has conducted Arigato Fasting for over 20 years and thousands of people have experienced positive outcomes..

For further inquiry, contact  soho@hiroshima-u.ac.jp


Dr. Soho Machida is currently the Abbot of Arigato Temple (non-sectarian) and Professor Emeritus of Hiroshima University. Dr. Soho, born 1950, is the son of a Haiku poet, and practiced as a Zen monk for 20 years in Daitokuji, a cloistered monastery of Kyoto. He left for the US in 1984 to pursue academic study. He has an MA (Theology) from Harvard University and a Ph.D. (Oriental Studies) from the University of Pennsylvania, and has  taught at Princeton University (1990-98), National University of Singapore (1998-2000), and Tokyo University of Foreign Studies (2000-05). He has also been a visiting professor of leading universities around the world. Research Areas: Comparative Religion, History of Civilization, Bioethics, Peace Studies.

Dr. Soho has authored more than 40 books in Japanese, English and Korean, including Renegade Monk (University of California Press), Can Mankind Overcome Religion? (NHK Books), Why Does Religion Prevent Peace? (Kodansha), among others. He often appears on NHK TV & Radio. After his retirement at age 65, Dr. Soho entered a mountain monastery of Tendai esoteric Buddhism (mikkyo) at Mount Hiei of Kyoto. Since then, he  has practiced Fire Prayer (goma) at his Arigato Temple.

【Access to Arigato Zen Temple】

Address:  564-2 Koyama, Gotemba, Shizuoka、Japan, 412-0033

Free shuttle bus (bound for Hotel Tokinosumika) from JR Mishima Station. It is only 5 minutes walk from the hotel.

Contact  soho@hiroshima-u.ac.jp