Pure Land (Shin)

Mahayana school whose central figure is Amitabha, Buddha of the Infinite Light
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    In the Pure Land Paid Member

    Buddha of Infinite Light D. T. Suzuki Shambhala: Boston, 1998 96 pp., $16.95 (cloth) River of Fire, River of Water An Introduction to the Pure Land Tradition of Shin Buddhism Taitetsu Unno Doubleday: New York, 1998 272 pp., $12.00 (paper) Ocean An Introduction to Jodo-Shinshu Buddhism in America Kenneth K. Tanaka WisdomOcean: Berkeley, 1997 288 pp., $14.95 (paper) 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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    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 »
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    Worry Beads Paid Member

    TAKE UP A BUDDHIST MALA, and right away you notice how good it feels in your hands. The same is true of the prayer beads of any religious tradition. First, there is the soothing feel of the beads themselves, which only increases as they become smoother or darken with use. Then there is what they symbolize—the tangible link to an age-old tradition. Run a string of prayer beads through your hands and you are touching an ancient practice. Yours are only the most recent set of fingers to caress such beads, and others will take them up later, after you are gone. More »