Pure Land (Shin)

Mahayana school whose central figure is Amitabha, Buddha of the Infinite Light
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    A Successful Encounter Paid Member

    At the turn of this century, the only English-language Buddhist magazine published on the West Coast was The Light of Dharma (1901-07). The magazine was produced under the auspices of the Japanese Pure Land (Jodo Shin) Buddhist Mission temple in San Francisco, which was established in 1899 by priests sent from the Nishi-Honganji headquarters in Kyoto, Japan. Unlike the temple's monthly Japanese publication, Beikoku Bukkyo (Buddhism in America), which was read primarily by newly arrived Japanese immigrants, The Light of Dharma had both a wider readership and a greater range of contributors. More »
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    Taitetsu Unno was born in Japan in the 1935 and moved to the United States at the age of six. During World War II he spent three and a half years behind barbed wire fences at a Japanese internment camp in Arkansas. He was later educated at the University of California, Berkeley, and reeicieved advanced degrees in Buddhist studies at Tokyo University. Currently, he is the Jill Ker Conway Professor of Religion at Smith College and an ordained priest of Shin Buddhism. More »
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    The Western Pure Land Paid Member

    Christmas Humphreys, a noted early English Buddhist scholar and proponent of Zen, once declared Shin "a form of Buddhism which on the face of it discards three-quarters of Buddhism. Compared with the teaching of the Pali Canon it is but Buddhism and water." In fact, Shin Buddhism is often portrayed this way by those who believe meditation practice constitutes the core teaching of Buddhism. However, comparisons with meditation actually miss the point of Shin Buddhism, which offers instead a discipline of the heart demanding deep self-reflection, constant awareness of one's gratitude to the Buddha, and compassion for all beings. More »
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    Ordinary Struggles Paid Member

    Socho Koshin Ogui Sensei is an eighteenth-generation priest in the Jodo Shinshu (True Pure Land) tradition, the most commonly practiced form of Buddhism in Japan. A resident of the United States since 1962, he became minister of the Cleveland Buddhist Temple in 1977 and of the Midwest Buddhist Temple in Chicago in 1992. In 2004, he was appointed Socho (Bishop) of the Buddhist Churches of America and has been instrumental in the ongoing revitalization and outreach efforts of that organization. The author of Zen Shin Talks, he now lives in San Francisco. Last fall, Tricycle contributing editor Clark Strand spoke with Socho Ogui about the idea of “practice” in Jodo Shinshu and his experiences in combining a Zen style of meditation with a Jodo Shinshu style of living. Photos © Michael Endo More »
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    In the Pure Land Paid Member

    Buddha of Infinite LightD. T. SuzukiShambhala: Boston, 199896 pp., $16.95 (cloth) River of Fire, River of WaterAn Introduction to the Pure Land Tradition of Shin BuddhismTaitetsu UnnoDoubleday: New York, 1998272 pp., $12.00 (paper) OceanAn Introduction to Jodo-Shinshu Buddhism in AmericaKenneth K. TanakaWisdomOcean: Berkeley, 1997288 pp., $14.95 (paper) More »
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    Losing Our Religion Paid Member

    Robert Sharf's interest in Buddhism began in the early 1970s, when, as a seeker in sandals barely out of his teens, he hopped from one meditation retreat to the next, first in India and Burma, then back in North America. It was shortly after a three-month Vipassana meditation retreat in Bucksport, Maine, in 1975 that Sharf began to wonder whether the single-minded emphasis on meditation characteristic of much of Western Buddhism was in some way misguided. Over time, doubt and confusion gave way to a desire to better understand Buddhism's historical background, which in turn led him to pursue a career in Buddhist scholarship. Today Sharf is the D. H. Chen Distinguished Professor of Buddhist Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. More »