Daibutsu, Kamakura

Daibutsu, Kamakura
Daibutsu in Kamakura, June 2010. There were thousands of school kids visiting that day. It was still great fun.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Jodo Shinshu - Shin Buddhism in Medieval Japan

I am reading the book, Jodo Shinshu - Shin Buddhism in Medieval Japan by James C. Dobbins

So far through the first 43 pages, the book has given me some additional and clearer understanding of what Shin Buddhism is. I have read several books on the topic and they often can be difficult to understand.

The following passage from page 34 of the book comes from Shinran's Kyogyoshinsho and it really clearifies Shinran's Jodo Shinshu Buddhism for me:

The third fascicle of the Kyogyoshinsho explores the nature and content of "true faith" (shinjitsu no shin). Faith's relation to practice is most clearly reflected in the statement: "True faith necessarily enatails Amida's name, but Amida's name does not necessarily entail faith, [which is derived] from the power of [Amida's] vow." The meaning of this statement is that true faith exists only in conjuction with the nembutsu, whether it is spoken or simply heard, but uttering Amida's name is not necessarily an indication of true faith. The nembutsu can be invoked without faith underlying it, but if it lacks true faith, the invocation of the name is not true practice but only the believer's insufficient attempt to secure salvation through personal effort. Shinran considered faith to be the pivotal term in Amida's eighteenth vow, but he associated it with two other terms appearing in the vow: sincerity (shishin) and the desire to be born in the Pure Land.

Hence, faith encompasses a threefold state of mind, but none of these components is the product of the believer's own effort. Like the nembutsu, each is bestowed on the believer by Amida Buddha.

One of the things I had trouble understanding about Shin Buddhism before reading this book was the concept of solely chanting Amida Buddha's name, Namu Amida Butsu, as the way to entrance to the Pure Land. It seemed too simple. Through Shinran, I see that a person who simply chants Amida's name with the goal of entering the Pure Land is really an insufficient attempt by that person to secure birth in the Pure Land.

The final sentence above from the book states that this faith is bestowed or comes from Amida Buddha. I do not yet completely understand how that point is reached by someone. The point when they chant the name with complete faith. But apparantly when that happens, Shinran stated that this true faith was actually delivered by Amida Buddha.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Chinese Officials Must Think we are all Stupid

Here is a funny qoute from a Chinese Olympic Official regarding the Olympic Torch Relay. (CNN.com)

Liu Jingmin, vice president of the Beijing organizing committee, said the Olympic torch has been "warmly welcomed by the local people" in each city.

The Chinese Government is so used to lying to their own people that they forget that the rest of the world sees through their lies.

Since the Chinese clearly chose to use the Olympics as a political tool to promote themselves, it is clearly appriopriate for the rest of the world to use the Olympics to protest China's abuses as well.

Yes, the Olympics are political and always have been.