When temple visitors ask, “Where’s the Pure Land,” I usually say, it’s in “a state of mind.” Is that correct? Many people thought differently, and some were persecuted for their views.
Even today, some Jodo Shinshu followers think when they die, they’ll go to the Pure Land, comforted by the thought of reuniting with deceased loved ones. For hundreds of years in Japan, such beliefs were common.
Nowadays it’s absurd to think the Pure Land exists as a real place. There’s no proof and it’s never been scientifically verified. But just 150 years ago, a debate erupted over the Pure Land’s actual existence. Continue reading “Where exactly is the Pure Land?”
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”
Must we crash on the rocks of life or exhaust all avenues to find true faith? I tried different Buddhist traditions but wondered if spiritual awakening was possible without experiencing great doubt and intense pain. Continue reading “Lay Voices: Hitting the Wall”
In Hawaii, a health treatment center’s sign welcomes people with, “We understand the connection between the body, mind, and spirit,” reminding me of Shin Buddhist teacher Ryojin Soga, who said, “My life connects with mountains, river, and land.” Continue reading “Who Am I?”