Jodo Shinshu Revolution

By Rev. Ken Yamada

When I first studied Jōdo Shinshū Buddhism, it really made no sense. A mythical buddha Amida supposedly embraced me with infinite compassion, assuring me of birth in the Pure Land when I die. I joked it was all “Buddha crazy talk.”

Years later, after experiencing suffering that life inevitably brings, Jodo Shinshu began to speak to me. My Higashi Honganji teachers related the teachings to life experiences, thought processes, perceptions, and emotions, guided by Shinran’s writings. Words and concepts were analyzed for their deeper and sometimes symbolic meaning. It all began to make sense.

For hundreds of years, Shinshu was transmitted and believed the way I first heard. How did these teachings transform so that contemporary people like me could understand? Kiyozawa Manshi (1863-1903) gets much credit—he’s considered the first modern thinker of Jōdo Shinshu. Continue reading “Jodo Shinshu Revolution”

Remember: Year End Service

The year-end service at our temples is called “Joya-E.”

At Joya-E, we reflect on events and people of the past year that have shaped our lives. It’s about understanding our karmic conditions and connections, and innumerable links to everything around us. Knowing without them, we could not exist. Consequently it’s a time to express our gratitude and appreciation. Continue reading “Remember: Year End Service”

Cyronics and Buddhism: Freezing Yourself for the Future

By Rev. Ken Yamada

Imagine dying, having your body frozen, and being brought back to life in the future. That’s what proponents of “cryonics” hope for, many already laying in cold storage. What would Jodo Shinshu say?

Cryonics focuses on a future life; Jodo Shinshu talks about “infinite life.” For Buddhists, I think considering one may help clarify the other. Let’s take a look. Continue reading “Cyronics and Buddhism: Freezing Yourself for the Future”