Born in São Paulo, Emilia Emy Urabe Kajimoto is a third-generation Japanese Brazilian. She grew up in the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist tradition at São Paulo Nambei Honganji temple, where her father worked as a missionary. From age five, she started chanting “Shoshinge” (Shinran’s Hymn of True Faith), and attended a local elementary school while living at the temple.
She found it difficult to explain who she was and where she lived to friends, who were primarily Catholic. She used Christian terms, which she felt they could understand, but felt it wasn’t quite right. She said, “I told my school friends that I lived in a church and that my father was a priest, even though I felt it was somewhat different.”
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.
These days, my body has become “koki koki” (stiff and jittery), especially this year at 70 years old, called “koki” (古希) in Japan. Long ago, this age was considered “old” and “rare.” Yet in my head, I’m not an “old man.” I wonder, does long-life mean happiness? Continue reading “Mutterings of an Old Man”
Despite the many women actively involved with Jodo Shinshu temples, written expressions of their faith are rarely studied. Such works provide insight into their religious understanding and feelings on spiritual liberation, male sexism, and changing social mores. Now we can glimpse at those sentiments, thanks to a recently published work. Continue reading “Voices of Modern Shinshu Women”