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Beyond Meditation

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Editorial Advisors: Inoue Takami and Yasutomi Shin’ya

In the wide range of Buddhist meditation and spirituality a very special place is held by the practice of calling on the name of Amitabha, or in Japanese Amida Buddha, using the simplest of formulas, the nenbutsu. Japanese masters such as Honen, Shinran and others made this the core of a profound spiritual experience which has fascinated numberless followers ever since. The deeper meaning of the nenbutsu has therefore become a major topic in Buddhist thought which has been reflected on by various thinkers and teachers to this day, especially in the context of Shin Buddhism.

In this book, which draws on classic articles first published in The Eastern Buddhist, major historic proponents and masters of the nenbutsu are introduced, in particular Shinran, Shoku, Ippen and Rennyo. Further contributions, which set the work of these masters into the wider context of Buddhist tradition, are in fact some of the earliest Buddhist “voices” to emerge from modern Japan into global view. Yet the presentations of writers such as Sasaki Gessho, Yamabe Shugaku and Sugihira Shizutoshi have a freshness and an immediacy which speaks to us today.

Published: May 1, 2011


Section Chapter Authors
List of Illustrations Michael Pye
Preface with Acknowledgements Michael Pye
A Note on The Eastern Buddhist Michael Pye
Conventions on Names, Titles and Scripts Michael Pye
General Introduction Michael Pye
Part I Masters of the Nenbutsu
Hōnen Shōnin (1133–1212) and the Jōdo Ideal Beatrice Lane Suzuki
A Study in the Pure Land Doctrine of Shōkū (1177–1247) Sugihira Shizutoshi
The Teaching of Ippen Shōnin (1239–1289) Sugihira Shizutoshi
The Religion of Shinran Shōnin (1173–1262) Sasaki Gesshō
Rennyo Shōnin (1415–1499): a Great Teacher of Shin Buddhism Sugihira Shizutoshi
Part II Some Foundations in Mahāyāna Buddhism
Mahāyāna Buddhism Murakami Senshō
The Buddha as Preacher Akanuma Chizen
The Triple Body of the Buddha Akanuma Chizen
Philosophical Foundations of Shin Buddhism Sasaki Gesshō
The Unfolding of the Nenbutsu Teaching Sugihira Shizutoshi
Part III Themes in Shin Buddhism
What is the True Sect of the Pure Land? Sasaki Gesshō
Amida as Saviour of the Soul Yamabe Shūgaku
The Way to the Land of Bliss Yamabe Shūgaku
The Enlightened Mind of the Buddha and the Shin Teaching Sasaki Gesshō
The Buddha and Shinran Yamabe Shūgaku
The Teaching of Shin Buddhism and the Religious Life Sasaki Gesshō
Shin Buddhism as the Religion of Hearing Yokogawa Kenshō
My Socialism Takagi Kenmyō
The Shinran Revival of 1922 Mino Kōgetsu
The Shinran Shōnin Celebration Beatrice Lane Suzuki
In Memory of Sasaki Gesshō Michael Pye
The Saintly Figures
The Saintly Figures Michael Pye
Synoptic List of Text Titles
Synoptic List of Text Titles Michael Pye
Character List for Historical Persons
Character List for Historical Persons Michael Pye
Full Details of Original Publication
Full Details of Original Publication Michael Pye
General Index
General Index Michael Pye

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A detailed glossary, index and bibliography complete what is a very interesting, enlightening and challenging book. While it cannot be said to be an easy read, it is accessible to the non-specialist, and deserves to be on the bookshelves of all Shin Buddhists. I am definitely going to read some of the articles again and look forward to doing so.
Pure Land Notes: Journal of the Pure Land Buddhist Fellowship, Issue #15, April 2012