Shorinji kempo is the physical element of a discipline known as 'Kongo Zen'. Kongo means 'something of the highest value' and Zen is a form of Buddhism which holds the belief that the kingdom of heaven, or that place where an individual finds perfect peace, lies within the the person. Zen disciplines seek to guide the practitioner to this ultimate realisation.
Kongo Zen is a philosophy that combines gentleness with hardness and compassion with strength. It is not a teaching concerned with life after death, or academic questioning of conceptions of heaven and hell. Kongo Zen does not look to gods for salvation or punishment.
What Kongo Zen does teach is the essential union of body and mind, and that human beings can find their joy and happiness in living half for themselves and half for others. This is a theme central to Kongo Zen and through the application of its principles, its practitioners may shape themselves into self-reliant people worthy of being relied upon by others.
Recognising that misery and happiness find their origins in human actions, Kongo Zen maintains that the quest for a better world is a quest for fully developed human beings. Although all of us are human beings it is a rare person who understands the nature of the universe, Dharma and the place of humans in it. Kongo Zen seeks the development of all people with its ultimate objective being to alleviate suffering and secure happiness on earth.