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In his Heart of the Shin Buddhist Path Takamaro Shigaraki examines Shin Buddhism anew as a practical path of spiritual growth and self transformation, challenging assessments of the tradition as a passive religion of mere faith. Shigaraki presents the core themes of the Shin Buddhist path—nembutsu, shinjin, and jinen—in fresh, engaging, down-to-earth language, considering each frankly from both secular and religious perspectives. Much attention is devoted to rational examination of the religious ideas of faith and salvation with an eye toward finding, in what are traditionally perceived as passive ideals, a foundation for positive ethical action and meaning in life. Shigaraki discloses a nondual Pure-Land that finds philosophical kinship with Zen, but has been little discussed in the West. With its unassuming language and insights drawn from a life of practice, Heart dispels the fog of misconception that has shrouded Western appreciation of Shin traditions, to reveal the limitless light of Amida Buddha that reaches all.
Takamaro Shigaraki is a Buddhist priest and scholar, recognized as one of the leading Shin Buddhist thinkers in the world today. His innovative approach to traditional Shin Buddhist ideas via comparative religious scholarship and rational analysis has made him a cause celebre in the Shin Buddhist world. He has served as President of Ryukoku University, one of Japan’s oldest and most prestigious universities, where he received his PhD in Literary Studies and is a Professor Emeritus of Shin Buddhist studies. Dr. Shigaraki has also served as Chairman of the Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai, the largest Shin Buddhist organization in the world.David Matsumoto is a Buddhist priest and minister at the Berkeley Buddhist Temple. He received B.A. and J.D. degrees from the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis, an M.A. from the Institute of Buddhist Studies (IBS), and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Ryukoku University in Tokyo, Japan. Matsumoto has translated from Japanese Bearer of Light: The Life and Thought of Rennyo, by Jitsuen Kakehashi, a contemporary Shin scholar. He lives in Northern California, where he teaches Contemporary Shin Buddhist Studies at the Institute for Buddhist Studies.
Table of Contents
Author’s Preface xi Translator’s Notes xv
PART ONE: THE SHIN BUDDHIST PATH Chapter One: The Fundamental Principles of Buddhism Teachings of Gautama Buddha 3 The Development of Buddhism 14 Chapter Two: The Pure Land Buddhist Path Amida Buddha 23 The Primal Vow of Amida Buddha 39 The Pure Land Buddhist Path 48 Chapter Three: The Shin Buddhist Path The Path that Shinran Walked 58 The Nembutsu of Choice” 65 Nembutsu and Shinjin 71
PART TWO: SHINJIN Chapter One: The Idea of Shin in Buddhism General Notions of Shin 87 Belief and Faith 88 Buddhist Notions of Shin 92 Chapter Two: Shinjin in Shin Buddhism Shinjin in Shinran’s Thought 98 Traditional Approaches to Shinjin 106 The Threefold Shinjin of the Primal Vow 114 Chapter Three: Deep Mind, True Mind, and Mind of Aspiration Deep Mind 117 True Mind 136 Mind of Aspiration 148
PART THREE: SHIN BUDDHIST LIFE Chapter One: Salvation in Shin Buddhism Types of Religious Salvation 157 Salvation as the Fulfillment of Desire 161 Salvation through Self-Control 165 Salvation as the Establishment of Personal Subjectivity 169 Chapter Two: Shinjin and Human Life The Ethics of Shinjin 180 The Starting Point for Understanding Buddhism 193 A True Disciple of the Buddha 205 Chapter Three: The Shin Buddhist Way of Life Living with Prayers for the World” 215 The Wish for Human Fulfillment 223 Aspiring for the Fulfillment of Society 227 Directing Virtue in Our Return to This World 232