Reflections on the Kyo Gyo Shin Sho: A Guide
by Hisao Inagaki, Professor Emeritus Ryukoku University, Kyoto, Japan

The origin of Jodo Shinshu

Jodo Shinshu is a unique way of leading us ordinary people, dark in mind and laden with evil karma, to the Nirvanic realm of supreme bliss and serenity - the Pure Land. It is in this realm that we realize enlightenment and embark on the eternal altruistic activity of saving others through the working of Amida's Vow.

Those born in the Pure Land assume the task of spreading the Dharma in the worlds of samsara. The predecessors of Pure Land Buddhism in India, China, Japan and elsewhere, such as Nagarjuna and Vasubandhu, were no exceptions. Shinran was born in Japan and brought Pure Land Buddhism to the highest level of development with the emphasis on Other-Power.

Being married and having children, Shinran professed, when he was exiled to northern Japan, that he was neither a priest nor a layman. He left the established Buddhist Sangha once and for all when he came down from Mount Hiei and became Honen's disciple in the city of Kyoto. Like his master, Shinran's departure from ecclesiastical circles increased his determination to spread Amida's message of salvation to ordinary men and women in the fields and in the streets.

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