What exactly is Jodo Shinshu’s path to spiritual awakening? What are we supposed to do? The answer isn’t always clear.
Responses typically include “Just listen to the teachings” or “Accept Amida Buddha’s compassion.” Is that enough? Another makes sense: “Jodo Shinshu is about self-reflection and introspection.” Yet this last answer proved controversial.
Many people feel religious rituals and ceremonies are silly and meaningless. After all, what’s the use of burning incense and chanting a bunch of words we don’t understand? But they’re important in helping to deepen our spirituality, especially in Jodo Shinshu Buddhism. Continue reading “Importance of Rituals and Ceremonies in Buddhism”
What does calling Amida Buddha’s name mean in Jodo Shinshu and how does it work? Traditionally, the answer relates to “faith,” leading many to blindly recite “Namu Amida Butsu,” hoping to go to “the Pure Land” upon death. Is this really Buddhism? Continue reading “Nenbutsu: Not a Name Alone”
A thousand years ago, a kind of Buddhist last rites in Japan became popular—family members gathered around a dying person, together chanting “Namu Amida Butsu.” These deathbed rituals helped send the person to the Pure Land, or so they thought. Continue reading “The Zen of Dying”
A confession: I’m more a speaker than a listener. Are you a good listener? Many people are not.
Generally, I think people like to talk more than listen. That’s strange, given we have two ears but only one mouth. Mouths have two functions which keep them busy—speaking and eating. The job of ears is merely to hear. So why is listening so difficult? Continue reading “The Art of Listening”
Although considered the “second founder” of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, Rennyo Shonin shaped foremost how Shinshu is practiced today. Moreover, living in a turbulent era of civil unrest, religious persecution, and social upheaval, he literally saved the Honganji temple from the flames of war and conflict. Continue reading “Rennyo to the Rescue”