Hello Japanese Pure Land Buddhism

Hello Japanese Pure Land Buddhism

Postby thornbush » Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:17 am

From India=>China=>Japan
A begining....
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jodo_Shinshu
Jōdo Shinshū (浄土真宗 ,"True Pure Land School"?), also known as Shin Buddhism, is a school of Pure Land Buddhism. It was founded by the former Tendai Japanese monk Shinran Shonin. Today, Shin Buddhism is considered the most widely practiced branch of Buddhism in Japan.

http://www.shindharmanet.com/shinbasics ... uction.htm
The literal translation of Jodo Shin Shu is the True Pure Land Religion. There are ten branches of which the two major ones are commonly called Nishi Hongwanji and Higashi Hongwanji. Their true names are Hompa Hongwanji and Otaniha Hongwanji respectively. There are no marked doctrinal differences between these two branches; the difference is in their historical development. In the rituals there is a slight difference such as in the chanting of the sutras.
All the Buddhist churches in Canada and the majority of the Shin Shu churches in the United States formally belong to the Nishi or Hompa Hongwanji branch but in practice, especially in Canada, no clear cut distinction is made because the membership includes those who originally belonged to the other branches of Shin Shu or other schools of Buddhism such as Zen and Shingon. Though the membership of the first generation Japanese is inter--denominational in these churches, the teachings of Shinran occupy the most important place.

http://www.hongwanji.or.jp/english/shinbuddhism.html
At the heart of the Shin Buddhist teaching lies a vision of true reality as alive with wisdom and compassion, working to bring all beings to the highest fulfillment of human life, the attainment of Buddhahood.
Shinran teaches that this activity manifests itself as Amida Buddha, who resolved to save all beings by bringing into his Pure Land, the realm of enlightenment, all who say his Name, entrusting themselves to his Vow. He thus performed practices for long eons and fulfilled this Vow, so that his Name, Namu Amida Butsu, came to resound throughout the universe, awakening all beings to the reality of great compassion.

Saying the Name results in birth into the Pure Land, not because it is a good act that people perform, but because it is the activity of Amida Buddha himself giving the virtues of his own practice to them. Shinran therefore stresses that genuine nembutsu arises naturally and spontaneously from the Buddha's mind that unfolds itself in us and transforms our minds into wisdom and compassion.

As long as we perform religious practices or say the nembutsu contriving to achieve Buddhahood, our acts are based on attachment to our own goodness. In fact, we constantly cling to imagined selves that we take to be permanent and real, seeking to enhance and protect ourselves by erecting barriers against all that we see as standing apart. Thus arise the feelings that poison ordinary life - desire, envy, anger, fear. Acts rooted in such anxiety and self-attachment can only lead to further pain.

A mind of true sincerity and authentic trust arises when we genuinely hear and are grasped by Amida's Primal Vow, and realize that our own designs are futile and unnecessary. Seeing ourselves with the Buddha's wisdom, we perceive for the first time that all our acts arise from egocentric passions. Nevertheless, this is at the same time to know that Amida's light and life pervade our existence just as we are.

When karmic bonds to this life end with death, people of the nembutsu go to the Pure Land. But with their fulfillment of perfect wisdom-compassion, they return immediately to this world in the dynamic activity of bringing all beings to awakening.

The following passages, although brief, reveal the essential elements of Shinran's religious awakening: the realization of the Buddha's wisdom-compassion working in one's existence in the immediate present, coupled with insight into the actual nature of the bound and ignorant self.

Shinran Shonin...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jodo_Shinshu
Shinran (1173-1263) lived during the late-Heian early-Kamakura period (1185-1333), a time of turmoil for Japan when the Emperor was stripped of political power by the Shoguns. Shinran's family had a high rank at the Imperial court in Kyoto, but given the times many aristocratic families were sending sons off to be Buddhist monks instead of having them participate in the Imperial government. When Shinran was nine (1181) he was sent by his uncle to Mt. Hiei, where he was ordained as a Tendai monk. Over time Shinran became disillusioned with what Buddhism in Japan had become, foreseeing a decline in the potency and practicality of the teachings espoused.

Shinran left his role as a low-ranking doso ("Practice-Hall Monk") at Mt. Hiei and undertook a 100-day retreat at Rokkakudo temple in Kyoto, where he had a dream on the 95th day. In this dream Prince Shotoku (in Japan he is sometimes regarded as an incarnation of Kannon Bosatsu) appeared to him, espousing a pathway to enlightenment through verse. Following the retreat, in 1201, Shinran left Mt. Hiei to study under Hōnen for the next six years. Hōnen (1133-1212) another ex-Tendai monk, left the tradition in 1175 to found his own sect, Jodo Shu ("Pure Land School"). From that time on, Shinran considered himself, even after exile, a devout disciple of Hōnen rather than a founder establishing his own, distinct Pure Land school.

During this period, Hōnen taught the new nembutsu-only practice to many people in Kyoto society and amassed a substantial following, but also increasingly came under criticism by the Buddhist establishment in Kyoto. Among the strongest critics was the monk, Myoe, and the temples of Enryakuji and Kofukuji. The latter continued to criticize Hōnen and his followers, even after they pledged to behave with good conduct, and to not slander other Buddhists.

In 1207, Hōnen's critics at Kofukuji persuaded Emperor Gotoba to proscribe Hōnen and his teachings after two of his ladies-in-waiting converted to the new faith.[1] Hōnen and his followers, among them Shinran, were forced into exile, and four of Hōnen's disciples were executed. Shinran was given a lay name, Yoshizane Fujii by the authorities but called himself Gutoku ("Stubble-headed One") instead and moved to Echigo province (today Niigata Prefecture)

It was during this exile that Shinran cultivated a deeper understanding of his own beliefs, the Pure Land teachings of Hōnen. In 1210 he married Eshinni, the daughter of an aristocrat of Echigo Province. Shinran and Eshinni had several children. His eldest son, Zenran, was alleged to have started a heretical sect of Pure Land Buddhism through claims that he received special teachings from his father. Zenran demanded control of local monto (lay follower groups), but after writing a stern letter of warning, Shinran disowned him in 1256, effectively ending Zenran's legitimacy.

In 1211 the nembutsu ban was lifted and Shinran was pardoned, but by 1212 Hōnen had died in Kyoto. Shinran never saw Hōnen following their exile. In the year of Hōnen's death, Shinran set out for the Kantō area of Japan, where he established a substantial following and began committing his ideas to writing. In 1224 he wrote his most significant book, the Kyogyoshinsho ("The True Teaching, Practice, Faith and Attainment of the Pure Land"), which contained excerpts from the Three Pure Land sutras and the Nirvana Sutra along with his own commentaries[2] and the writings of the Jodo Shinshu Patriarchs whom Shinran drew inspiration from.

In 1234, at the age of sixty, Shinran left Kantō for Kyoto (Eshinni stayed in Echigo and she may have outlived Shinran by several years), where he dedicated the rest of his years to writing. It was during this time he wrote the Wasan, a collection of verses summarizing his teachings for his followers to recite. Shinran's daughter, Kakushinni, came to Kyoto with Shinran, and cared for him in his final years and his mausoleum later became Hongwanji ('The Temple of the Original Vow'). Kakushinni was instrumental in preserving Shinran's teachings after his death, and the letters she received and saved from her mother, Eshinni, provide critical biographical information regarding Shinran's earlier life. These letters are currently preserved in the Nishi Hongwanji temple in Kyoto. Shinran died at the age of 90 in 1263[2].

Revival and Formalization
Following Shinran's death, the lay Shin monto slowly spread through the Kantō and the northeastern seaboard. Shinran's descendents maintained themselves as caretakers of Shinran's gravesite and as Shin teachers, although they continued to be ordained in the Tendai School. Some of Shinran's disciples founded their own schools of Shin Buddhism, such as the Bukko-ji and Kosho-ji, in Kyoto. Early Shin Buddhism did not truly flourish until the time of Rennyo (1415-1499), who was 8th in descent from Shinran Shonin. Through his charisma and proselytizing, Shin Buddhism was able to amass a greater following and grow in strength. In the 16th-century, during Japan's Sengoku Period the political power of Hongwanji led to several conflicts between the Hongwanji and the warlord Oda Nobunaga, culminating in a 10-year conflict over the location of the Osaka Hongwanji, which Oda Nobunaga coveted because of its strategic value. So strong did the sect become that in 1602, through mandate of the Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, the main temple Hongwanji in Kyoto was broken off into two sects to curb the Hongwanji's power. These two sects, the Nishi (Western) Hongwanji, and the Higashi (Eastern) Hongwanji, exist separate to this day.
During the time of Shinran Shonin, followers would gather in informal meeting houses called dojo, and had an informal liturgical structure. However, as time went on, as this lack of cohesion and structure caused Jodo Shinshu to gradually lose its identity as a distinct sect, as people began mixing other Buddhist practices with Shin ritual. One common example was the Mantra of Light popularized by Myoe and Shingon Buddhism. Other Pure Land Buddhist practices, such as the nembutsu odori or "dancing nembutsu" as practiced by the followers of Ippen and the Ji School, may have also been adopted by early Shin Buddhists. Rennyo ended these practices by formalizing much of the Jodo Shinshu ritual and liturgy, and revived the thinning community at the Hongwanji temple while asserting newfound political power. Rennyo also proselytized widely among other Pure Land sects, and consolidated most of the smaller Shin sects. Today, there are still 10 distinct sects of Jodo Shinshu, Nishi and Higashi Hongwanji being the two largest.
Rennyo Shonin is generally credited by Shin Buddhists for reversing the stagnation of the early Jodo Shinshu community, and is considered the "Second Founder" of Jodo Shinshu. His portrait picture, along with Shinran Shonin's, are present on the onaijin (altar area) of most Jodo Shinshu temples. However, Rennyo Shonin has also been criticized by some Shin scholars for his engagement in medieval politics and his alleged divergences from Shinran's original thought.
Following the unification of Japan during the Edo Period, Jodo Shinshu Buddhism adapted, along with the other Japanese Buddhist schools, into providing memorial and funeral services for its registered members (danka seido), which was legally required by the Tokugawa shogunate in order to prevent the spread of Christianity in Japan. The danka seido system continues to exist today, although not as strictly as in the premodern period, causing Japanese Buddhism to also be labeled as "Funeral Buddhism" since it became the primary function of Buddhist temples. The Hongwanji also created an impressive academic tradition, which led to the founding of Ryukoku University in Kyoto, Japan, and formalized many of the Jodo Shinshu traditions which are still followed today. Following the Meiji Restoration and the subsequent persecution of Buddhism (haibutsu kishaku) of the late 1800s due to a revived nationalism and modernization, Jodo Shinshu managed to survive intact due to the devotion of its monto. During World War II, the Hongwanji, as with the other Japanese Buddhist schools, was compelled to support the policies of the military government and the cult of State Shinto. It subsequently apologized for its wartime actions[citation needed].
In contemporary times, Jodo Shinshu is one of the most widely followed forms of Buddhism in Japan, although like other Japanese Buddhism it faces challenges from many popular New Religious Movements (known in Japan as shin shinkyo religions, which emerged following World War II), and the growing secularization and materialism of Japanese society
All ten schools of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism will commemorate the 750th memorial of their founder, Shinran Shonin, in 2011 in Kyoto, Japan.

http://www.shindharmanet.com/shinbasics ... uction.htm
1. Life of Shinran
Shinran Shonin (Shonin means holy man) was born at Hino near Kyoto, Japan, on May 21st, 1173.
He lost his father when he was four and later at the age of nine, he lost his mother. These two tragic experiences had a great influence on the mind of the boy and he decided to enter the priesthood. He entered a monastery and studied under the guidance of Jichin, chief abbot of that monastery. Nearly a year later he went to Hieizan or Mount Hiei, center of Buddhist learning at that time.
For twenty years he studied there. His high moral qualities and excellent scholastic record were so outstanding that he could have easily been appointed to the head of all the temples on Hiei. However, he declined the position for he was not in search of fame or position. He was earnestly searching for spiritual insight.
This he was able to gain after giving up his studies on Mount Hiei and after entering the monastery of Honen, who was teaching a way of salvation through faith in the power of Amida Buddha. Shinran' s life, thereafter, became a calm and peaceful life regardless of his conditions. He constantly recited the Nembutsu -- Namu Amida Butsu -- as an expression of deep gratitude for the Compassionate Heart of Amida.
Shinran Shonin realized that here was a teaching that enabled the ordinary man to lead a true Buddhist life without shutting himself up in a monastery. Acting on the advice of Honen, Shinran married Princess Tamahi.
The Buddhist priesthood was in an uproar. Here was a priest who taught salvation in the power of Amida which was contrary to the recognized religious traditions of the day -- salvation through moral and mental discipline. Furthermore, he had violated the priestly code by taking upon himself a wife.
Both Shinran and Honen were banished from Kyoto.
After many years in exile, Shinran finally settled at Inada, Hitachi Province, in 1217. Here at the age of 45, he wrote his most famous work, "Kyo Gyo Shin Sho" -- Teaching, Practice, Faith and Attainment. This book considered the most important of Shinran's writing, laid the doctrinal foundation of Jodo Shin Shu.
He spent twenty-five years of his life in the provincial countries. In 1232 when he was 60, he turned his footsteps to Kyoto, arriving there in l235.
Here he remained until his passing on January 16th, 1262, writing and preaching to the countless followers who came to hear the Teachings of the Nembutsu.

http://www.hongwanji.or.jp/english/shinbuddhism.html
Shinran Shonin (1173-1262) was born at the close of the Heian period, when political power was passing from the imperial court into the hands of warrior clans. It was during this era when the old order was crumbling, however, that Japanese Buddhism, which had been declining into formalism for several centuries, underwent intense renewal, giving birth to new paths to enlightenment and spreading to every level of society.

Shinran was born into the aristocratic Hino family, a branch of the Fujiwara clan, and his father, Arinori, at one time served at court. At the age of nine, however, Shinran entered the Tendai temple on Mt. Hiei, where he spent twenty years in monastic life. From the familiarity with Buddhist writings apparent in his later works, it is clear that he exerted great effort in his studies during this period. He probably also performed such practices as continuous recitation of the nembutsu for prolonged periods.

Conversion
After twenty years, however, he despaired of ever attaining awakening through such discipline and study; he was also discouraged by the deep corruption that pervaded the mountain monastery. Years earlier, Honen Shonin (1133-1212) had descended Mt. Hiei and begun teaching a radically new understanding of religious practice, declaring that all self-generated efforts toward enlightenment were tainted by attachments and therefore meaningless. Instead of such practice, one should simply say the nembutsu, not as a contemplative exercise or means of gaining merit, but by way of wholly entrusting oneself to Amida's Vow to bring all beings to enlightenment.

When he was twenty-nine, Shinran undertook a long retreat at Rokkakudo temple in Kyoto to determine his future course. At dawn on the ninety-fifth day, Prince Shotoku appeared to him in a dream. Shinran took this as a sign that he should seek out Honen, and went to hear his teaching daily for a hundred days. He then abandoned his former Tendai practices and joined Honen's movement.

Exile
At this time, however, the established temples were growing jealous of Honen, and in 1207 they succeeded in gaining a government ban on his nembutsu teaching. Several followers were executed, and Honen and others, including Shinran, were banished from the capital.

Shinran was stripped of his priesthood, given a layman's name, and exiled to Echigo (Niigata) on the Japan Sea coast. About this time, he married Eshinni and began raising a family. He declared himself "neither monk nor layman." Though incapable of fulfilling monastic discipline or good works, precisely because of this, he was grasped by Amida's compassionate activity. He therefore chose for himself the name Gutoku, "foolish/shaven," indicating the futility of attachment to one's own intellect and goodness.

He was pardoned after five years, but decided not to return to Kyoto. Instead, in 1214, at the age of forty-two, he made his way into the Kanto region, where he spread the nembutsu teaching for twenty years, building a large movement among the peasants and lower samurai.

Return to Kyoto
Then, in his sixties, Shinran began a new life, returning to Kyoto to devote his final three decades to writing. He did not give sermons or teach disciples, but lived with relatives, supported by gifts from his followers in the Kanto area. After his wife returned to Echigo to oversee property there, he was tended by his youngest daughter, Kakushinni.

It is from this period that most of his writings stem. He completed his major work, popularly known as Kyogyoshinsho, and composed hundreds of hymns in which he rendered the Chinese scriptures accessible to ordinary people. At this time, problems in understanding the teaching arose among his followers in the Kanto area, and he wrote numerous letters and commentaries seeking to resolve them.

There were people who asserted that one should strive to say the nembutsu as often as possible, and others who insisted that true entrusting was manifested in saying the nembutsu only once, leaving all else to Amida. Shinran rejected both sides as human contrivance based on attachment to the nembutsu as one's own good act. Since genuine nembutsu arises from true entrusting that is Amida's working in a person, the number of times it is said is irrelevant.

Further, there were some who claimed that since Amida's Vow was intended to save people incapable of good, one should feel free to commit evil. For Shinran, however, emancipation meant freedom not to do whatever one wished, but freedom from bondage to the claims of egocentric desires and emotions. He therefore wrote that with deep trust in Amida's Vow, one came to genuine awareness of one's own evil.

Near the end of his life, Shinran was forced to disown his eldest son Zenran, who caused disruptions among the Kanto following by claiming to have received a secret teaching from Shinran. Nevertheless, his creative energy continued to his death at ninety, and his works manifest an increasingly rich, mature, and articulate vision of human existence that reveals him to be one of Japan's most profound and original religious thinkers.

Teachings.......
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jodo_Shinshu
Shinran's thought was strongly influenced by the doctrine of Mappō, a largely Mahayana eschatology which claims humanity's ability to listen to and practice the Buddha-Dharma (the Buddhist teachings) deteriorates over time and loses effectiveness in bringing individual practitioners closer to Buddhahood. This belief was particularly widespread in early medieval China, and in Japan at the end of the Heian Period. Shinran, like his mentor Hōnen, saw the age he was living in as being a degenerate one where beings cannot hope to be able to extricate themselves from the cycle of birth and death through their own power, or jiriki (自力). For both Hōnen and Shinran, all conscious efforts towards achieving enlightenment and realizing the Bodhisattva ideal were contrived and rooted in selfish ignorance; for humans of this age are so deeply rooted in karmic evil as to be incapable of developing the truly altruistic compassion that is requisite to becoming a Bodhisattva.
Due to his awareness of human limitations, Shinran advocates reliance on tariki, or other power (他力) -- the power of Amida Buddha's made manifest in Amida Buddha's Primal Vow -- in order to attain liberation. Shin Buddhism can therefore be understood as a "practiceless practice," for there are no specific acts to be performed such as there are in the "Path of Sages" (the other Buddhist schools of the time that advocated 'jiriki' ('self-power'). In Shinran's own words, Shin Buddhism is considered the "Easy Path" because one is not compelled to perform many difficult, and often esoteric, practices in order to attain higher and higher mental states.
The basis for Shinran's thought comes from his mentor, Hōnen, who founded the related Jodo Shu sect, but in some ways Shinran diverged. For example Hōnen, like many medieval Japanese, considered Amida Buddha to be a Samboghakaya Buddha, while Shinran considered Amida to be the Dharmakaya itself, manifested as compassion.[3]

The Nembutsu
As in other Pure Land Buddhist schools, Amida is a central focus of the Buddhist practice, and Jodo Shinshu expresses this devotion through a chanting practice called the nembutsu, or "Mindfulness of the Buddha [Amida]. The nembutsu is simply reciting the phrase Namu Amida Butsu ("I take refuge in Amida Buddha"). Jodo Shinshu is not the first school of Buddhism to practice the nembutsu but it is interpreted in a new way according to Shinran Shonin. The nembutsu becomes understood as an act that expresses gratitude to Amida Buddha -- furthermore, it is evoked in the practitioner through the power of Amida's unobstructed compassion. Therefore in Shin Buddhism, the nembutsu is not considered a practice, nor does it generate karmic merit. It is simply an affirmation of one's gratitude.
Note that this is in contrast to the related Jodo Shu school which promoted a combination of repetition of the nembutsu and devotion to Amida as a means to birth in the Pure Land. It also contrasts with other Buddhist schools in China and Japan, where the nembutsu was part of a more elaborate ritual.

The Pure Land
In another departure from more traditional Pure Land schools of Buddhism, Shinran Shonin advocated that birth in the Pure Land was settled in the midst of life rather than at death. When one entrusts oneselves to Amida Buddha birth there is settled at that moment. This is equivalent to the stage of non-retrogression along the bodhisattva path, a characteristic of Mahayana Buddhism, or shinjin.
Many Pure Land Buddhist schools in the time of Shinran felt that birth in the Pure Land was a literal rebirth that occurred only upon death, and only after certain preliminary rituals. Elaborate rituals were used to guaranteed rebirth in the Pure Land, including a common practice where one's fingers were tied by strings to a painting or image of Amida Buddha. From the perspective of Jodo Shinshu such rituals actually betrayed a lack of trust in Amida Buddha, and relied on jiriki ("self-power"), rather than the tariki or "other-power" of Amida Buddha. Such rituals also favored those who could afford the time and energy to practice them or possess the necessary ritual objects, which was another obstacle for lower-class individuals. For Shinran Shonin, who closely followed the thought of the Chinese monk T'an-Luan, the Pure Land is synonymous with nirvana.

Shinjin
The goal of the Shin path, or at least the practicer's present life, is the attainment of shinjin (信心) in the Other Power of Amida. Shinjin is sometimes translated as faith but this does not capture the nuances of the term and it is more often simply left untranslated. The receipt of shinjin comes about through the renunciation of self effort in attaining enlightenment; 'taking refuge' in Other Power (Tariki). It should be noted, however, that Shinjin arises from jinen (自然 naturalness, spontaneous working of the Vow) and cannot be achieved solely through conscious effort. One is letting go of conscious effort in a sense, and simply trusting Amida Buddha, and the nembutsu.
For Jodo Shinshu practitioners, shinjin develops over time through "deep hearing" (monpo) of Amida's call of the nembutsu. Jinen also describes the way of naturalness whereby Amida's infinite light illumines and transforms the deeply rooted karmic evil of countless rebirths into good karma. It is of note that such evil karma is not destroyed but rather transformed: Shin stays within the Mahayana tradition's understanding of sunyata, or non-duality / emptiness, and understands that samsara and Nirvana are not separate. Once the practicer's mind is united with Amida and Buddha nature gifted to the practicer through shinjin, the practicer attains the state of non-retrogression, whereupon after his death it is claimed he will achieve instantaneous and effortless enlightenment. He will then return to the world as a Bodhisattva, that he may work towards the salvation of all beings.

The Tannisho
The Tannisho is a 13th century book of recorded sayings attributed to Shinran, transcribed with commentary by Yuien-bo. a disciple of Shinran. The word Tannisho is a phrase which means "A record [of the words of Shinran] set down in lamentation over departures from his [Shinran's] teaching". While it is a short text, it is one of the most popular because practitioners see Shinran in a more informal setting.

For centuries, the text was almost unknown to the majority of Shin Buddhists. In the 15th century Rennyo Shonin, Shinran's descendent, wrote of it, "This writing is an important one in our tradition. It should not be indiscriminately shown to anyone who lacks the past karmic good". Rennyo Shonin's personal copy of the Tannisho is the earliest extant copy. Kiyozawa Manshi (1863-1903) revitalized interest in the Tannisho, which indirectly helped to spawn the Dobokai Movement of 1962.

http://www.shindharmanet.com/shinbasics ... uction.htm
Primal Vow and Nembutsu
The main object of all sentient beings is "Ten mei kai go" which means to turn from illusion and attain Enlightenment. All Buddhist schools of thought embrace this same goal of Enlightenment but differ in their method of attainment. In the schools that emphasize meditation man must meditate and purify his mind until it becomes pure as the Mind of the Buddha. In the school that considers practice and good works to be the primary task, man must accumulate merits through good deeds and bring them to perfection. In both of these methods man must increase his stock of merits by his own power until he reaches Buddhahood.
The Primal Vow of Amida, on the other hand, is primarily concerned not with those who have the capacity to meditate and practice but with those whose abilities are so finite and weak that they can never hope to attain Buddhahood. It was just for such beings that Amida, realizing the sad plight of man, made the forty-eight vows and especially the all compassionate eighteenth or Primal Vow. However, His meditation and practice would have been indeed futile if the goodness, resulting from His compassionate work, did not somehow reach the hearts of all sentient beings. Amida, therefore, put the entire results of His labor of Love into the sacred Name -- Namu Amida Butsu. Thus, this Nembutsu is the embodiment of purity, truth, goodness, beauty, wisdom and peace; in other words it embodies all the highest values and qualities both conceivable and inconceivable, which Amida was able to perfect in His infinitely long period of meditation and practice.
To communicate with all sentient beings He grants this Name as a gift to all sentient beings, freely and equally. Sentient beings in every corner of the universe hear His Name and accept it with a simple, trusting heart -- the heart of Faith. Amida's heart and the hearts of all beings become one and identified. This fact is the true assurance of our salvation and rebirth into the Pure Land or Ojodo.
Why is it that a man who has Faith does not become enlightened in this life? The answer lies in the nature of man. He is still in his earthly body, subject to physical and mental limitations. So long as he is a relative and imperfect being, he can never become an absolute Buddha, perfect in every respect. It is, therefore, that the assurance of Buddhahood is given in this life and the actual attainment of Buddhahood is realized in the Pure Land. In the Creed we read, "We rely upon Amida Buddha with our whole heart for the Enlightenment in the life to come".
The recitation of the Nembutsu -- Namu Amida Butsu (I place my faith in Amida Buddha) is an outward verbal expression of thanksgiving and gratitude for salvation assured. This thanksgiving and gratitude for Amida's Compassion becomes a vital spiritual force in the lives of all who follow the Nembutsu.
5. Jiriki and Tariki
Jiriki means self-power and Tariki means Other Power. While Jiriki is the finite power of man, Tariki is the infinite Power of Amida' s Compassion and Wisdom.
Salvation in Jodo Shinshu is through the grace of Amida Buddha; thus it is known as "salvation through absolute Other Power."

6. Common Chants and Readings used in the Services
(a) Amida Kyo
This is the Smaller Sukhavati Vyuha Sutra, chanted during most memorial services. A common mistaken notion is that the chanting itself and the service bring benefits for the deceased. Jodo Shinshu entertains no such ideas. The Amida Kyo is chanted because it is a sutra extolling the virtues of Jodo and Amida Buddha.
Those who attend or hold these services should gather with the idea to learn about Buddhism and to realize the Infinite Compassion and Wisdom of Amida.

(b) Shoshinge
Shoshinge or the Hymn of True Faith was written by Shinran Shonin in which he praises Amida Buddha as well as the Seven Spiritual Fathers who showed us the way of salvation through Faith in Amida.

(c) Junirai
Junirai or the Twelve Hymns of Worship were written by the first of the Seven Spiritual Fathers, Nagarjuna. It praises Amida Buddha, His Land and the Bodhisattvas.

(d) Sanseige (Juseige)
Sanseige or the Three Sacred Vows is from the "Larger Sukhavati Vyuha Sutra." These vows were made by Amida while he was still a Bodhisattva. They express the deep Compassion of Amida for all men.

(e) Sanbutsuge
Sanbutsuge or The Praises of the Buddha are taken from the "Larger Sukhavati Vyuha Sutra." It is a hymn that was sung by Hozo Bosatsu as he was about to make the 48 vows before the Buddha -- Se ji zai o Butsu.

(f) Psalms of Shinran Shonin
These psalms were written in praise of Amida Buddha, His Ojodo, His Name, Namu Amida Butsu, and urging his fellow beings to place their Faith in Amida.

(g) Dialogues of Rennyo
Shonin Rennyo Shonin, the ninth descendant of Shinran Shonin was a great reformer, who is often spoken of as the master who actually organized the Jodo Shinshu Church. These short sayings are on a variety of subjects and are truly good advice for the ordinary layman.

(h) Epistles
Epistles or Gobunsho are letters written by Rennyo Shonin to followers living in outlying districts. These letters were written on various occasions to inspire those who were in despair after losing a loved one, instructions to priests, etc., and always urging every one to place their Faith in Amida and recite the Nembutsu with a grateful heart.

http://www.hongwanji.or.jp/english/shinranshonin.html
Words of Shinran
"Saved by the inconceivable working of Amida's Vow, I shall realize birth in the Pure Land": the moment you entrust yourself thus to the Vow, so that the mind set upon saying the nembutsu arises within you, you are immediately brought to share in the benefit of being grasped, never to be abandoned.
Know that the Primal Vow of Amida makes no distinction between people young and old, good and evil; only shinjin is essential. For it is the Vow to save the person whose karmic evil is deep and grave and whose blind passions abound. Thus, for those who entrust themselves to the Primal Vow no good acts are required, because no good surpasses the nembutsu. Nor need they despair of the evil they commit, for no evil can obstruct the working of

Amida's Primal Vow.
Tannisho, 1
Even a good person attains birth in the Pure Land, so it goes without saying that an evil person will.
Though it is so, people commonly say, "Even an evil person attains birth, so it goes without saying that a good person will." This statement may seem well-founded at first, but it runs counter to the intent of the Primal Vow, which is Other Power. This is because people who rely on doing good through their self-power fail to entrust themselves wholeheartedly to Other Power and therefore are not in accord with Amida's Primal Vow, but when they overturn the mind of self-power and entrust themselves to Other Power, they will attain birth in the true and real fulfilled land.
It is impossible for us, who are possessed of blind passions, to free ourselves from birth-and-death through any practice whatever. Sorrowing at this, Amida made the Vow, the essential intent of which is the evil person's attainment of Buddhahood. Hence, evil persons who entrust themselves to Other Power are precisely the ones who possess the true cause of birth.
Accordingly he said, "Even the good person is born in the Pure Land, so without question is the person who is evil."
Tannisho, 3
see another source: http://www.shinranworks.com/

Outside of Japan and 'Lineage'
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jodo_Shinshu
Jodo Shinshu outside Japan
During the 19th century, Japanese immigrants began arriving in Hawaii, the United States, Canada, Mexico and South America (especially in Brazil). Many immigrants to North America came from regions in which Jodo Shinshu was predominant, and maintained their religious identity in their new country. The Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawai'i, the Buddhist Churches of America, and the Buddhist Churches of Canada are several of the oldest Buddhist organizations outside of Asia. Jodo Shinshu continues to remain relatively unknown outside the ethnic community because of the history of internment during World War II, which caused many Shin temples to focus on rebuilding the Japanese-American Shin sangha rather than encourage outreach to non-Japanese. Today, many Shinshu temples outside Japan continue to have predominantly ethnic Japanese members, although interest in Buddhism and intermarriage contribute to a more diverse community. There are also active Jodo Shinshu sanghas in the UK[citation needed], Europe, Australia, and Africa, with members of diverse ethnicities.
The practice of Jodo Shinshu ritual and liturgy may be very different outside of Japan, as many temples, like ones in Hawai'i and the U.S., now use English as the primary language for Dharma talks, and there are attempts to create an English-language chanting liturgy. In the United States, Jodo Shinshu temples have also served as refuges from racial discrimination, and as places to learn about and celebrate Japanese language and culture, in addition to Buddhism.

"Shin Patriarchs"
* Nāgārjuna (150-250)
* Vasubandhu (ca. 4th century)
* Tan-luan (476-542?)
* Tao-cho (562-645)
* Shan-tao (613-681)
* Genshin (942-1017)
* Hōnen (1133-1212)
* Shinran (1173-1263)(see also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shinran )

Traditional Branch Lineages
* Honganji School (Jodo Shinshu Hompa Hongwanji-ha) a.k.a. 'Nishi Honganji'
* Otani School (Jodo Shinshu Otani-ha) a.k.a. 'Higashi Honganji'
* Takada School
* Bukkoji School
* Kosho School
* Kibe School
* Izumoji School
* Joshoji School

Major Holidays of Observance
The following holidays are typically observed in Jodo Shinshu temples:
Holiday Japanese Name Date
New Year's Day Service Gantan'e January 1
Memorial Service for Shinran Shonin Goshoki Hoonko November 28th, or January 9-16
Spring Equinox Ohigan March 17-23
Birthday of the Buddha Hanamatsuri April 8th
Birthday of Shinran Shonin Gotan'e May 20-21
Ullambana/Obon Urabon'e August 14-15
Autumnal Equinox Ohigan September 20-26
Bodhi Day Enlightenment of the Buddha Rohatsu December 8
New Year's Eve Service Joya'e December 31
(another source: http://www.hongwanji.or.jp/english/calendar.html )
Major Modern Shin Figures
* Kasahara Kenju (1852-1883)
* Nanjo Bunyu (1848-1927)
* Kiyozawa Manshi (1863-1901)
* Jokan Chikazumi (1870-1941)
* Akegarasu Haya (1877-1967)
* Soga Ryojin (1875-1971)
* Kaneko Daiei (1881-1976)
* Shuichi Maida (1906-1967)
* Hozen Seki (? - 1991)
* Taitetsu Unno (1935 - present)
* Alfred Bloom (1926 - present)
* Jitsuen Kakehashi (? - present)

OK enuf said, now over and back to our Jodo Shinshu practitioners..... :thumbsup: :twothumbsup: :bow:

Namu Amida Butsu!
thornbush
 
Posts: 609
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 6:21 am

Re: Hello Japanese Pure Land Buddhism

Postby thornbush » Wed Apr 08, 2009 4:47 am

Having covered Jodo Shinshu......now on to Jodo Shu....
History.....

http://www.jodo.org/about_js/history.html
Jodo Shu traces its history back to this moment in 1175 when upon leaving Mt. Hiei, Honen set up residence on Higashiyama and began his teaching career. While this is perhaps best understood as a mythical or spiritual beginning for Jodo Shu, a more distinct beginning for the sect dates from the time of Ryochu (1199-1287), the student of Bencho who was one of Honen's main disciples. Ryochu was able to establish Bencho's teachings, known as the Chinzei doctrine. Meanwhile, the followers of Honen's other close disciples established their own orders, such as Jodoshin-shu which formed from Shinran's teachings and Seizan jodo-shu which formed from Shoku's teachings. Although all of these movements regard Honen as an important teacher, it is only Jodo Shu which claims him as its principal teacher and which attempts to carry on his essential teachings. Yet even at such an early period, Jodo Shu was more of an idea than an institution. It was not until the early 15th century that the teachings and training system of Jodo Shu was systematized and that it gained official government approval. This was soon followed by a period of great prosperity ushered in by the patronization of Tokugawa Ieyasu himself in 1590. From this prosperity to the excesses of the late Edo period and through the war period, Jodo Shu has continued to develop and change. Present day Jodo Shu has about seven thousand temples, of which Chion-in in Kyoto is the head temple. There are seven other main temples in the country and nineteen overseas temples in Hawaii, mainland USA and Brazil.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jodo_Shu
Jōdo shū (浄土宗 ?, "The Pure Land School"), also known as Jodo Buddhism, is a branch of Pure Land Buddhism derived from the teachings of the Japanese ex-Tendai monk Hōnen. It was established in 1175 and is the most widely practiced branch of Buddhism in Japan, along with Jodo Shinshu.

http://www.jsri.jp/English/Main.html
Systemization and Official Recognition
It was not until Shogei (1341-1420) and Shoso (1366-1440), the 7th and 8th Patriarchs of Jodo Shu respectively, that Jodo Shu was established as an independent institution. Bencho and Ryochu, the Second and Third Patriarchs, systematized the Chinzei school of Jodo Shu which became the mainstream school. However, since they could not officially ordain monks, Jodo Shu remained unrecognized by other schools. Additionally, since Jodo Shu monks often changed schools within the sect during this period, the apparent lack of rules governing the sect hurt its desire to be officially recognized. Shogei very much wanted to create governing rules for the sect, and upon his request, Shoso developed such an institutionalized system which led towards Jodo Shu's recognition as an official sect.

Shogei accomplished a number of things in this drive towards the legitimation of Jodo Shu:
1) He preached that Jodo Shu teachings were superior to others since they were a sudden teaching towards enlightenment, writing the Nizojugi on this theme.
2) He wrote the Jodoshin shu Fuhoden as a record to legitimize Jodo Shu's dharma transmission. This recorded Pure Land transmission from its beginning in India to China and finally to Honen in Japan.
3) He established an institute for Pure Land studies in which he systematically taught the Pure Land doctrine and cultivated numerous monks.
4) He devised the gojusoden or "five fold transmission" which was a systematic presentation of Jodo Shu teachings for monks who had attained a certain level.
5) He instituted the Tendai style of transmission of the Mahayana precepts.
6) He established rules for the dharma transmission from teacher to disciple for the Shirahata school.
7) He went about correcting errors in understanding about Pure Land teaching, tightening rules on movement by monks within the sect and enforcing greater discipline and obedience by younger monks.
Through the success of these efforts, Shogei with the aid of Shoso was able to institutionalize and legitimize Jodo Shu, gaining its official recognition by the government.

The Edo Era
During the 300 years of the Edo era (1600-1868), Jodo Shu faced many challenges in its efforts to develop. There are four main issues which are most important during this era.
The first concerns the development of Jodo Shu into a formalized organization. The Edo era marked the consolidation of Japan under one central authority. In consolidating their rule, the Edo Shogunate also moved to reign in and to control all religious groups, especially the various Buddhist sects. In 1615, upon directions from the Shogunate, Sonsho of Chion-in in Kyoto and Zonno of Zojoji in Tokyo established a thirty-five point code of law through which Jodo Shu would be governed. Of these thirty-five regulations, Chion-in received designation as an imperial temple (miyamonzeki) and became the head temple of Jodo Shu. Another regulation codified Jodo Shu teaching and put strict qualifications on becoming a priest and receiving higher ordination. A third key regulation was the establishment of eighteen main temples as branches of a system of institutes for higher learning in jodo studies. In this way, no other temples were allowed to participate in such higher instruction.

The second point concerns Jodo Shu's relationship with the Edo Shogunate. During the Edo era, the Tokugawa Shogunate began to patronize both Chion-in and Zojoji. In 1590, Tokugawa Ieyasu and Zonno of Zojoji entered into a special relationship in which Zojoji became the family temple of the Tokugawa. This close relationship resulted in Zojoji becoming the administrative center of Jodo Shu gaining authority over the whole sect. In 1603, Sonsho of Chion-in also negotiated a special relationship with Tokugawa Ieyasu gaining official family patronage as well. These events firmly established Chion-in as the highest ceremonial temple of Jodo Shu, but Zojoji retained greatest power. Through the efforts of these two priests, Zonno and Sonsho, Jodo Shu rapidly gained great prosperity during the Edo era.

Thirdly, through the codification of regulations in Jodo Shu and the establishment of the eighteen branch institutes, Jodo Shu studies became popular during the Edo era. The contents of this study can be broken down into five basic areas:
1) Pure Land doctrine and the transmission of the Dharma and the Mahayana precepts led by prominent scholars Ryoju and Kantetsu. (The official Mahayana precepts adopted by Shogei for Jodo Shu at the end of the 15th century were the same as Tendai's precepts. Jodo Shu created their own precepts in the Edo period based on the exclusive nembutsu as their only precept.)
2) the history of Jodo Shu, for example biographies of famous monks and the history of temples, led by Gizan and Hoshu
3) general Buddhist studies such as the Kegon, Hosso and Kusha doctrines, led by Monsho and Tanne
4) critical studies of jodo texts led by Bunnyu and Tetsujo
5) the original Jodo Shu precepts led by Reitan and Tokumon.

Throughout the Edo period, Jodo priests were required to study these five areas. Unfortunately, the program of study lacked any creative or critical aspect often simply consisting of rote memorization of famous scholars' ideas. Additionally, this dogmatic study led to arrogance and intolerance towards other sects.

Finally, Jodo Shu's great prosperity during this time led to increasing corruption within the sect. One of the most significant acts of the Edo Shogunate was to install the family temple registration system (dankaseido) where all citizens had to be registered with their families at a Buddhist temple. This system was a great boost in general to all officially recognized sects. Jodo Shu was especially strengthened economically, and the life of the priests became quite stable and comfortable. This is turn led to corruption of individual priests and a general slackening in discipline. The important point in this period, however, was the emergence of two renewal movements within Jodo Shu. These movements sought to strike back against this corruption and to return to the original ways of the sect under Honen.

The first of these movements was named Shasei-ha and had its roots in the preceding Azuchi-Momoyama period under the monk Shonen. The monks Tanzei and Tokuhon followed in his footsteps to create a movement which renounced worldly pleasures and emphasized continuous recitation of the nembutsu. The monks of Shasei-ha abandoned their temples and lived the itinerant life of wanderers eschewing fame and power to preach the exclusive nembutsu throughout Japan. Their legacies can be found in the numerous stone stupas inscribed with the nembutsu which still exist all over Japan. The second renewal movement was named Koritsu-ha for its desire to re-establish the centrality of the precepts. Led by the monks Reitan, Fujaku and Kyoju, they emphasized strict maintenance of the precepts in the face of increasing priestly corruption. These two movements stand out for their deep awareness and conscience of the corruption within the sect at this time.

The Modern Era
During the Meiji era (1868-1912), a government edict officially mandated the separation of Buddhism and Shinto as a part of a program of instituting a Shinto-based state ideology. These Separation Edicts triggered a brief but violent anti-Buddhist movement (haibutsu kishaku) in which many Buddhist temples were destroyed. There were also Buddhist movements for internal reform. Within Jodo Shu two new spiritual movements arose. One was the Komyokai movement founded by Yamazaki Bennei (1859-1920) which stressed that nembutsu practice is enveloped in and protected by the spiritual light (komyo) of Amida Buddha. This movement encouraged special services for chanting the nembutsu in Jodo Shu temples and the homes of believers throughout the country. The other was the Kyoseikai movement, which centered on applying Honen's teaching to daily human life for the betterment of society. This movement was founded by Shiio Benkyo (1876-1971), the seventy-eighth abbot of the Zojoji. Benkyo insisted that one should realize the salvation of Amida in social and daily life. He based his teaching on a fundamental doctrine of Buddhism, pratityasamutpada, the dependent co-origination and interrelatedness of all things, which he interpreted in terms of the matrix of human society. This movement inspired many priests to establish day-care centers and kindergartens within or near their temple grounds or to engage in other forms of social service. Benkyo himself put into practice his teaching concerning the betterment of life and society by serving as a Diet member. These two movements have infused new life and spirit into Honen's teaching in contemporary times.

Honen Shonin...
'Lineage' Chart:
http://www.jodo.org/about_js/father.html

His Life:
http://www.jsri.jp/English/Main.html
http://www.jodo.org/about_hs/ho_life.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jodo_Shu (see also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H%C5%8Dnen )
The Founder: Hōnen
Hōnen was born in 1133, the son of a prominent family in Japan whose ancestry could be traced back to silk merchants from China. Hōnen was originally named Seishi-maru after the bodhisattva Seishi (Mahasthamaprapta in Sanskrit). After a rival official assassinated his father in 1141, Hōnen was initiated into his uncle's monastery at the age of 9. From then on, Hōnen lived his life as a monk, and eventually studied at the famous monastery of Mount Hiei.
Hōnen was well-respected for his knowledge and for his adherence to the Five Precepts, but in time, Hōnen became dissatisfied with the Tendai Buddhist teachings he learned at Mount Hiei. Influenced by the writings of Shan-tao, Hōnen devoted himself solely to Amitabha (Amida) Buddha, as expressed through the nembutsu.
In time, Hōnen gathered disciples from all walks of life, and developed a large following, notably women, who had been excluded from serious Buddhist practice up to this point. This included fishermen, prosititutes[1] and fortune tellers. Hōnen also distinguished himself by not discriminating against women who were menstruating, who were thought at the time to be unclean. All of this caused concern among the religious and political elite of Kyoto and eventually the emperor Gotoba issued a decree in 1207 to have Hōnen exiled to a remote part of Japan, and given a criminal's name. Some of Hōnen's followers were executed, while others, including Shinran, were exiled to other regions of Japan away from Hōnen.[2]
Eventually, Hōnen was pardoned and returned to Kyoto in 1211, but died soon after in the year 1212, just two days after writing his famous One-Sheet Document.

Teachings...
http://www.jodo.org/about_hs/ho_teach.html
http://www.jodo.org/teachings/nembutsu.html

http://www.jsri.jp/English/Main.html (see also: http://www.jsri.jp/English/Main.html & http://www.jsri.jp/English/Main.html )
Honen's teaching is essentially a path not for religious elites but for ordinary people. As a path for ordinary people, Honen's teaching emphasizes: birth in an existential Pure Land through a personal relationship with Amida Buddha (rather than the traditional Buddhist focus on realizing a formless state of nirvana through one's own efforts); the practice of faith through chanting Amida's name, nembutsu (rather than the traditional focus on wisdom through precepts and meditation); an easy practice that brings all humans to salvation regardless of gender, class, occupation or character.
Two far reaching effects of Honen's nembutsu movement were the transformation of the Buddhist clergy from isolated ascetics to religious leaders living in society in the style of lay people; and the recognition of the equal opportunity to salvation for ordinary men and women as well as monks. This affirmation of one's present life and engagement with common society marked the beginning of the Kamakura Buddhist revolution in Japan. Honen along with his disciple, Shinran, and the other great teachers who also rose at this time, Dogen and Nichiren, mark the creation of a uniquely Japanese style of Buddhism.
Even while acknowledging that Honen's teachings represent a revolutionary development in Pure Land thought, in particular, and in Japanese Buddhist thought, in general, it is nevertheless far from easy to understand the complex nature of a vision which on the surface looks deceptively simple. Therefore, even though his arguments are likely to impress more by their religious conviction than by the subtlety of their reasoning, beneath the surface one finds a finely tuned, balanced, and comprehensive system of thought supporting his radical views on the nembutsu. It is a system which actually strikes a balance between revolutionary rejection of traditional Mahayana thought and eventual reaffirmation of the whole of the same Mahayana tradition.
Honen's radical insight, however, would not find easy passage into the turbulent world in which he lived. In reinterpreting the Buddhist tradition of his time, he challenged the socio-political power of the entrenched Buddhist orthodoxy. In developing his teaching, therefore, Honen developed a number of ideas which reflected not only his growing spiritual awareness but also his desire and need to validate his teachings to society at large. Through looking at the way he classified Pure Land teachings, established of a lineage, extended the views on Shan-tao, and further developed the concepts of senchaku and the nembutsu, we can gain a view of how Honen's thought is a synthesis of his religious conviction and his efforts to bring it into the world. It would take all of Honen's intellectual skills as one of the great scholars of Mt. Hiei to give birth to his vision of the salvation of all ordinary persons through the simple recitation of the nembutsu.

I. An Outline of Honen's Teachings
II. Honen's Method of Classifying His Teachings: Easy vs. Difficult
III. The Influence of Shan-tao on Honen's Teachings
IV. Honen's View of Senchaku (selection) and the Nembutsu

The Process of Senchaku : "Selection", "Rejection", and "Reappropriation"
Honen's 8 Types of Senchaku
V. Honen's Interpretation of the Pure Land Sutras : Jodosanbukyo (the Three Pure Land Sutras)
VI. Honen's Establishment of a Chinese Lineage
VII. Honen on the Moment of Death (rinju)
VIII. Honen's Conceptions of Other Power (tariki) and Self Power (jiriki)
IX. Exclusivity (senju) & Innate Enlightenment (hongaku shiso) in Kamakura Buddhism
X. Honen's Teaching of Evil Persons as the Object of Salvation (akunin shoki setsu)
XI. Honen's on Faith and the Three Minds (sanjin)
XII. Honen's Instructions on Practice
XIII. Honen's Stance Towards Other Faiths

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jodo_Shu
Jodo Shu is heavily influenced by the idea of Mappo or The Age of Dharma Decline. The concept of Mappo is that over time society becomes so corrupt, that people can no longer effectively put the teachings of the Buddha into practice anymore. In medieval thought, signs of Mappo included warfare, natural disasters and corruption of the Sangha. The Jodo Shu school was founded near the end of the Heian Period when Buddhism in Japan had become deeply involved in political schemes, and some in Japan saw monks flaunting wealth and power. At the end of the Heian Period warfare also broke out between competing samurai clans, while people suffered from earthquakes and series of famines.[3]
Hōnen, through Jodo Shu teachings, sought to provide people a simple Buddhist practice in a degenerate age, that anybody could use toward Enlightenment: Devotion to Amida Buddha as expressed in the nembutsu. Through Amida's compassion, a being may be reborn in the Pure Land (Sukhavati in Sanskrit), where they can pursue Enlightenment more readily. Hōnen did not believe that other Buddhist practices were wrong, but rather, they were not practical on a wide-scale, especially during the difficult times of the late Heian Period.[3]
Repetition of the nembutsu is a common feature of Jodo Shu, which derives from the Primal Vow of Amida Buddha. However, in addition to this, practitioners are encouraged to engage in "auxiliary" practices, such as observing the Five Precepts, meditation, the chanting of sutras and other good conduct. There is no strict rule on this however, as the compassion of Amida is extended to all beings who recite the nembutsu, so how one observes auxiliary practices is left to the individual to decide.
The Larger Sutra of Immeasurable Life is the central Buddhist scripture for Jodo Shu Buddhism, and the foundation of the belief in the Primal Vow of Amida. In addition to the Larger Sutra, the Contemplation Sutra and the Amitabha Sutra (The Smaller Sutra of Immeasurable Life) are important to the Jodo Shu school. The writings of Hōnen, contained mostly in the Senjaku-hongan nembutsu-shū (often abbreviated to 'Senchakushū'), are another source for Jodo Shu thought as is his last writing, the Ichimai-Kishōmon (一枚起請文 ?, "One-Sheet Document"). Compared to other Buddhists at the time, Honen wrote relatively little, so most of what is known about Honen and his thought is attributed through sayings collected in the follow century.
Jodo Shu, like other Buddhist schools, maintains a professional, monastic priesthood, who help to lead the congregation, and also maintain the well-known temples such as Chion-in. The head of the Jodo Shu school is called the monshu in Japanese, and lives at the head temple in Kyoto, Japan, Chion-in Temple.

Others...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jodo_Shu
Sub-sects
The main 'Chinzei' branch of Jodo Shu was maintained by the so-called "Second Patriarch" and disciple of Honen, Shoko, also known as ’’Benchō. However, other disciples of Hōnen branched off into a number of other sects and interpretations of Jodo Shu thought, particularly after they were exiled in 1207:[4]
* Shoku founded the Seizan branch of Jodo Shu, which structured the Buddhist teachings into a hierarchy with the nembutsu at the top.
* Ryukan taught that faith in Amida Buddha mattered, not so much the actual practice of the nembutsu. He was exiled to eastern Japan.
* Kōsai taught the idea that a single recitation of the nembutsu was all that was necessary. He was exiled to the island of Shikoku.
* Chosai, the last of Hōnen's direct disciples, felt that all practices in Buddhism would lead to birth in the Pure Land.
* Awanosuke, the fortune-teller. He is credited with the double-stranded rosary, or juzu used in Jodo Shu sects, though he did not establish a branch of his own.
Another disciple, Shinran founded the Jodo Shinshu sect of Buddhism, which diverges somewhat doctrinally, but otherwise is heavily influenced by Hōnen and his teachings. In Jodo Shinshu, Hōnen is considered the Seventh Patriarch. Depending on the viewpoint, Shinran and Jodo Shinshu are considered another branch of Jodo Shu.

See also:
http://www.jodo.org/js_inter/temples_hw.html
Ceremonies: http://www.jsri.jp/English/Main.html
Practice/Custom: http://www.jsri.jp/English/Main.html
Daily: http://www.jsri.jp/English/Main.html

Namu Amida Butsu!
thornbush
 
Posts: 609
Joined: Mon Apr 06, 2009 6:21 am


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