DT Suzuki on Jodo Shinshu

Daisetsu Teitarō Suzuki gained renown as an authority of Zen Buddhism, but in his later years turned increasingly towards Jodo Shinshu.

Over the 96 years of his life, Suzuki (1870-1966) prodigiously produced more than 100 volumes on Buddhism in English and Japanese, and is credited with popularizing Zen in American culture, especially during the 1950s and 1960s. He exerted a strong influence over a generation of Buddhist scholars, Christian theologians, Zen disciples, psychoanalysts, artists, writers and others. Born and educated in Japan, he spoke and wrote fluently in English. His book, “Zen Buddhism and Japanese Culture” is a classic. As Suzuki grew older, he turned his focus on Shin Buddhism and Shinran Shonin’s teachings. Continue reading “DT Suzuki on Jodo Shinshu”

Seishinshugi: Shinshu’s Clash with the Modern World

Rev. Manshi Kiyozawa

By Rev. Ken Yamada

Today, government mandates clash with personal rights; an unprecedented rise in wealth clashes with unrelenting poverty; political upheaval, military expansionism, and redefined social mores and identity abound. In these changing times, we must ask, “Is Jodo Shinshu Buddhism relevant?”

These challenges confront us now, but they also confronted a small group of innovative Buddhist thinkers a century ago, spurring them to redefine, modernize and find meaning in Jodo Shinshu, which for the previous two centuries had stagnated and grown moribund. For their contributions, they were persecuted, some even excommunicated by their own denomination. Their writings continue to be studied, debated, and valued in understanding Shinshu today. Continue reading “Seishinshugi: Shinshu’s Clash with the Modern World”

Don’t Discard that Home Altar!

 

By Rev. Ken Yamada

People sometimes receive a valuable inheritance from their Buddhist parents or grandparents, but don’t realize its value. So they donate it to the temple.

Buddhist home altars, commonly called “butsudan” in Japanese (or the preferred term “onaibutsu”), if purchased new today in Japan cost hundreds, and sometimes, thousands of dollars. But their real value is spiritual. Continue reading “Don’t Discard that Home Altar!”

Dana: Meaning of Giving

by Rev. Ken Yamada

In these tough times, giving to others is more important than ever. Buddhism teaches “dana” or charity—helping others. Today, wearing a mask to prevent the Covid-19 virus from spreading may be considered “dana,” because we’re helping to protect others. Yet, people don’t wear masks, thinking first about themselves and personal freedom.  Continue reading “Dana: Meaning of Giving”