Kanji for Muryoko

'Infinite Light'

Journal of Shin Buddhism

Michio Tokunaga

Amida as an 'Ultimate Point of Reference'

In treating the Christian symbol of 'God', Professor Gordon D. Kaufman at Harvard Divinity School has been trying to have quite a new perspective in order to make it intelligible and meaningful to contemporary people. It is an attempt to construct a new concept of God which has traditionally been thought of as 'the Maker of Heaven and Earth', 'the Creator of all things visible and invisible', 'the First Cause', 'the One' and so forth. The most widely accepted image of God is, therefore, 'Father' or 'King' presiding over and controlling the world and beings therein. Such an anthropomorphic image of God, on the one hand, played an important role in evoking human devotion and obedience to that which is beyond the world and beings, but, on the other, it sometimes served to 'justify the most heinous human crimes.... God's blood-thirstiness in certain biblical stories served to legitimate the lowest of human instincts'.[1] This is but one of the many reasons for the necessity of Kaufman's reconstruction of the concept of God, there being many others in terms of the discrepancy between the traditional concept of God and contemporary human thinking. According to Kaufman, all is rooted in 'the tendency toward reification of the Christian conception of what is real' which is 'because Western thinking of God as the Creator and all other reality as creation - developed in such a way as to lead to an almost indestructible dualism'.[2]

What is more important, however, for reconstructing the concept of God is to let it function as, in Kaufman's terminology, an 'ultimate point of reference' in terms of which 'all else is to be understood, which therefore so transcends everything else that it cannot be understood as gaining its meaning or being by reference to it.' God is, therefore, 'the ground and foundation of everything that is, and there can be nothing behind or beyond him which in any way founds or grounds anything in us or in our world'. In this sense, 'God is that which nothing greater can be conceived' as Anselm defined him.[3]

The phrase 'ultimate point of reference' as used by Kaufman, however, 'indicates the conceptual function of God-talk, not the content of the idea of God.'[4] It goes without saying that on the basis of regarding God as an 'ultimate point of reference', God is no more conceived as Something existing over against us, because God's reality comprehended by traditional thinking as an objective matter hardly makes any sense for this purpose.

Luther represents the spectacular climax and, at the same time, the beginning of an irreversible breakdown, of talk about God in objectifying terms. With Kant the issue at last became clarified; "God" must be understood as a human construct, doubtless a very important, perhaps indispensable, construct, but a human construct nonetheless.[5]

For Kaufman, God as an 'ultimate point of reference' does not mean that God can in any way be observed objectively, but it is 'an imaginative construct built up in quite a different way than the concepts known in, and through, experience.'[6]

Based on Kaufman's view of God as roughly summarized above, I will take up the following issue which arises from his essay, 'God and Emptiness' in which he presents quite a new approach to the Christian concept of God; a comparison of the 'form-formless' relationship in the Christian concept of God and Shinran's concept of Amida Buddha.


In his 'Essay on Theological Method', Kaufman thinks much of the anthropomorphic image of God:

It is now clear why anthropomorphic image of God has been so important in conceiving God. The human person is the only reality we know for which moral and intellectual and cultural concerns are of significance. What concrete image should be more appropriate for conceiving God, then, than that of human being ? And how should God's relationship to the world be conceived, if not as the expression of his own intellectual, moral and aesthetic powers and interests?[7]

Further he states:

The concept of God, even in its anthropomorphic aspects, is never merely an extension of the empirically human; it is, rather, an idealization or perfection of the human which opens up new possibilities of understanding the human self.[8]

With these descriptions by Kaufman, we can see that the anthropomorphic image of God, the idealization of the human, plays an important role in orienting our life, which nothing other than such an image can do. From the Buddhist point of view, however, it seems to be exceedingly humanistic, though Kaufman claims that it is never merely an extension of the empirically human. If God is conceived as the perfection of the human, the most essential and incomparable character of God as 'the Creator of the world and beings' would necessarily be lost, and the concept of God would no longer function in the way it has done in the history of Christian faith.

Notwithstanding such a firm conviction of the function which the personified image of God has, Kaufman seems to try to overcome it in his latest thought:

In traditional Christian thought, God was conceived as a largely personal or agential reality; that is, this 'ultimate point of reference' was conceived or constructed in the mind on the model of the human person. Thus, God was thought of and referred to as a 'king' or 'lord', as a 'father' or 'judge', as one who 'speaks' and 'acts' who 'loves' and 'hates', who 'creates' and who 'rules' the world, and who will ultimately bring the world to its end. In ordinary piety, God was thought of as a particular being - one who was the highest of all beings and the source of all other beings. However, this tendency to reify the conception of God has often been regarded as problematic by some (particularly certain mystics and theologians); and to many modem theologians, it has seemed increasingly difficult to defend.[9]

The reason why Kaufman attempts to overcome the anthropomorphic image of God is not very clear except his claim that such models and images as 'Father' and 'King' lead toward a conception of human needs and desires, as the result of which the idea of God functioned 'as an ideology legitimating the mundane interests, class structures, or revolutionary movements with which his devotees were concerned.'[10] Thus in his attempt to transform the Christian concept of God, Kaufman tries to find 'possibilities of articulating a conception of God that might bring Christian understanding into much closer proximity with Buddhist conceptions of 'ultimate reality' than has usually been thought possible.'[11]


The Buddhist notion into which Kaufman attempts to bring closer Christian concept of God is, as it is naturally assumed, 'emptiness' (shunyata), the highest reality advocated in any of the Mahayana traditions. Surely shunyata itself never admits of any conceptual understanding and consequently any 'form' or anthropomorphism, but if viewed only from this standpoint, there would be no room for the notion of Amida Buddha in the Pure Land tradition because Amida is considered by Pure Land devotees to have a personified 'form' which is often likened to, and called, oya-sama.

Moreover, according to Kaufman's way of thinking, Amida cannot be an 'ultimate point of reference' which is 'the ground and foundation of everything that is, and there can be nothing behind or beyond him' for it is usually, but not properly, considered that behind or beyond Amida in "form" there is the "formless" ultimate reality of shunyata. According to this view, Amida has only a secondary significance in terms of the ultimate reality of which Buddhists speak.

This view that there is something more ultimate behind or beyond Amida is a very popular one among those who have a fixed idea of shunyata. Therefore, Pure Land Buddhism is sometimes considered a minor development apart from the mainstream of Mahayana which is supposed to aim straight at the realization of 'formless' shunyata without making use of any 'forms' or 'concepts'. For example, Shin'ichi Hisamatsu, a noted Zen thinker, states as follows:

In my opinion, Buddha in Buddhism must have a fundamentally atheistic character. According to the essential Buddhist way of thinking, the theistic Buddha expounded in Buddhist scriptures must be a provisional one secondary in importance to the Buddha having ultimate significance.[11]

Much discussion must be evoked about Hisamatsu's claim that the theistic Buddha is 'a provisional one secondary in importance to the Buddha having ultimate significance' and also that such is the essential Buddhist way of thinking. Since the arising of Mahayana Buddhism, numerous Buddhas having numerous 'forms' have been expounded in numerous scriptures, which has evoked human devotion to, and faith in, them thus forming the actual history of the tradition. Does Hisamatsu negate them all?

A more serious problem is that even among Shin scholars there are some who have a tendency to think of Amida on this basis; in other words, on the basis of regarding Amida in 'form' as having secondary significance to 'formless' ultimate reality. There is a problematic passage in one of Shinran's letters which is often quoted by those who attempt to advance the aforementioned position:

The supreme Buddha is formless, and because of being formless is called jinen. When this Buddha is shown as being with form, it is not called the supreme nirvana (Buddha). In order to make us realize that the true Buddha is formless, it is expressly called Amida Buddha; so I have been taught. Amida Buddha is the medium through which we are made to realize jinen.[13]

For those who assert that even in Shin Buddhism the final and ultimate reality is 'formless' as Hisamatsu claims[14], this passage must be most evidential to support their notion. There occur, however, two major problems if this passage should be understood in this way; one is the issue of whether this way of understanding the above passage matches Shinran's entire view of Amida, and the other is a translational problem concerning the underlined sentence, especially the term 'medium' in the above quotation.


First, let us consider the matter of whether it matches Shinran's view of the 'form-formless' relationship in relation to Amida. Apart from this passage, we cannot find any other which demonstrates Shinran's view regarding the direction from 'form' to 'formless' with respect to Amida. On the contrary, all else clearly indicates the direction from 'formless' to 'form', one example of which is:

From this ocean of oneness form was manifested, taking the name of Bodhisattva Dharmakara, who, through establishing the unhindered Vow as the cause, became Amida Buddha. For this reason Amida is the 'Tathagata of fulfilled body.'[15]

Clearly in the opposite direction from 'form' to 'formless', Shinran develops the significance of the concept of Amida, namely from 'formless' to 'form'. As is well known, this is based on Tan-luan's view of shunyata, which is more dynamic than the one-sided way of viewing it as 'formless' only:

Because dharmata is stilled of attachments, dharmakaya is formless. Because it is formless, it can express itself in any form. Hence, the features of the Buddha and the adornments of the Pure Land.[16]

Following T'an-luan's exploration of shunyata, dharmata in this case, Shinran must have found the raison d'etre of the concept of Amida, namely that shunyata is not a static reality, but dynamic in its original character as to express itself in any form.

What is most important here is that the link between 'formless' and 'form' is 'being stilled of attachments' in the essential character of shunyata. The self-negating, or self-emptying, character of shunyata itself is the very reason for its manifestation in various 'forms' such as Amida, the Pure Land and so forth. Based on this view of shunyata, T'an-luan developed it into the so-called 'two-fold dharmakaya':

Among Buddhas and Bodhisattvas there are two aspects of dharmakaya: dharmakaya as suchness and dharmakaya as compassion. Dharmakaya as compassion arises out of dharmakaya as suchness, and dharmakaya as suchness emerges [into the realm of human comprehension] through dharmakaya as compassion. These two aspects differ but are not separable; they are one but not identical.[17]

Greatly influenced by this view of dharmakaya, Shinran applies it in his understanding of the 'form-formless' relationship in term of the nature of Amida. That is to say, Amida Buddha and the Pure Land are nothing but the manifestation of dharmakaya as suchness in the realm of human comprehension.

In addition to such a dynamic nature of the ultimate reality of shunyata conceived both by T'an-luan and Shinran, an important usage of the concept upaya (hoben in Japanese) should be noted. Upaya is used here to refer to the emergence of the 'formless' reality (dharmakaya as suchness) into the realm of human comprehension as 'form' (dharmakaya as compassion), which is quite opposite to its ordinary usage. The dynamism of the ultimate reality (dharmata or shunyata) revealed by T'an-luan led Shinran to the view that Amida and the Pure Land are the natural outflow of the 'formless' ultimate reality. Moreover, as stated above, an indispensable condition for the manifestation of 'form' from the 'formless' is that the 'formless' negates or empties itself, thus appearing as 'form'. This self-negating or self-emptying action of the ultimate reality itself is nothing but upaya

Secondly, our discussion goes into the problem of translating 'medium' (reu in Japanese) which, in the context of the aforecited passage, indicates the direction from 'form' to 'formless'. The original Japanese term reu must be very convenient for those who wish to regard Amida as a mere 'means' or 'medium' for realizing the ultimate reality of 'formless' shunyata. With this view, they consider Amida as a temporary being through which the ultimate goal is finally attained. It goes without saying that it well parallels the Zen way of reaching the final goal through discarding all kinds of conceptual understanding or, in other words, through making use of human conceptions.

It can safely be said that in this case the term upaya is rightly used in its authentic sense. But, as stated already, Shinran's usage of the concept of upaya in this case is quite opposite to its ordinary usage. In Shinran's case, the 'form-formless' relationship concerning the essence of Amida cannot be compared to a metaphor of a finger pointing to the moon, as is usually applied to explain upaya in its ordinary sense. We have to explore, then, the precise meaning of reu in line with the context of the original text more carefully.

In addition to 'medium' or 'means', reu also means 'basis' or 'ground' for the significance of some existence.[18] When we apply this meaning of reu, the sentence in question that 'Amida Buddha is the medium through which we are made to realize jinen' should be taken as 'Amida Buddha is the basis (or ground on which we can know what jinen is.' In other words, Amida is not spoken of on the basis of the 'formless' ultimate reality (jinen in this case) but, on the contrary, the 'formless' is spoken of on the basis of Amida in 'form'.


We have now come to a point that in terms of anthropomorphism in the concepts of God and Amida, the claim Kaufman makes cannot be applied to understanding Shinran's view of Amida. That is to say, if Amida is a imaginative human construction, it may be considered a 'medium' bringing us to the ultimate reality which is beyond human comprehension, but in Shinran's thought it is not. The anthropomorphism, or 'form', in Shinran's view of Amida should be considered an inevitable outflow of the 'formless' ultimate reality, not a mere conceptual product of the human mind. It may be true that human concepts or words are the 'means' by which we come to know the ultimate reality, but the essence of Shinran's view of Amida cannot be exhausted through such a way of thinking.

Ordinarily, language is regarded as something which human beings invented in order to live a social life, and therefore it is a means of conveying one's will or thought to others. This view, born perhaps in the 17th century in Europe, is regarded as a self-evidential fact by contemporary people. But if language is taken only in this way, then our daily life would be empty without having the ultimate significance of living with language. A view that language is a mere 'means' for us to live is no more than the view that human existence is such a superficial one. It is only a part of the function given to language that it is a mere 'means'. There must be a dimension in words or concepts where they themselves are the reality of existence:

There can be no faith in Buddha as long as it is thought that the Buddha does not have a name. To say that there is no name is equivalent to saying that there is no Buddha. The absolute which has no name or words cannot save us because we cannot leave the horizon of language. We are only ourselves in the elements of language.... The Dharmakaya-as-suchness is the dimension prior to language. Shinran states how powerless our words are in relation to this fundamental dimension: 'The Dharmakaya has neither colour nor form; our minds cannot grasp it, and words cannot describe it.' In this dimension, it absorbs all names by which we might try to call it. However, that does not mean that this dimension is unrelated to words. It is not related to our words, but it is related to words themselves. We cannot direct words to it, but it bestows words upon us. The Dharmakaya-as-suchness becomes words of itself.[19]

This is a quotation from Akira Omine's essay, 'Language and Transcendence' where he argues that there is a different dimension of language from that in which we regard it as a mere 'means'. Undoubtedly Omine is not talking about something like a 'supernatural language' having a magical power or function. The language he mentions is strictly the language of our daily use, but the dimension differs. In language there is a dimension in which it is like a finger pointing to the moon, and there is also a dimension in which it is like a finger that is the reflection of the moon itself. An indispensable element which enables the latter to be established is a total negation of attachments where language as a 'means' becomes the language as the manifestation of the ultimate reality.

It is widely known that in Shin piety Amida is called oya-sama which D.T. Suzuki explains as follows:

Oya means not either of the parents, but both mother and father; not separate personalities, but both fatherly qualities and motherly qualities united in one personality.[20]

Clearly it is known from this description that oya-sama does not indicate a concrete anthropomorphic image of Amida but a kind of 'love' or 'compassion' when it is uttered. When Shin devotees call Amida oya, they feel that the formless ultimate reality, the universal compassion, negates itself in order to let them know its working. Thus, the self-negating, self-emptying or self-sacrificing compassion, when realized by them, is necessarily and naturally likened to parental love. What is more notable is that when Amida is called oya-sama, there exists a total negation of attachments to the 'self' in those who call Amida oya-sama, which is termed shinjin. It is this shinjin that enables the two aspects of Amida, the 'formless' and 'in-formed' to co-exist in the mind of devotees. An anthropomorphic image of Amida is surely a human imaginative construction but, at the same time, it can be considered a natural outflow of the universal compassion of the 'formless' ultimate reality. And just in line with this outflow, the name Amida, or oya-sama is bestowed, as Ornine puts it.


So far we have discussed anthropomorphism in the Christian concept of God and Shinran's view of Amida. The conclusion we have reached is that these two cannot be paralleled, because the way of grasping the 'ultimate reality' in the two traditions differs greatly from each other. As Kaufman states that the 'Western thinking of God as the Creator - and all other reality as creation - develops in such a way as to lead to an almost indestructible dualism', the dualistic view of reality is the very source of the reification of the Christian concept of God while, in Amida, dharmakaya as suchness and dharmakaya as compassion are not separable. In addition, this dharmakaya belongs to the human realm of comprehension, not isolated from the realm of language. What combines the two phases of dharmakaya is, as T'an-luan clarified, 'being stilled of attachment'. Because dharmakaya as suchness is 'stilled of attachment' it can express itself in 'form' as dharmakaya as compassion in the realm of human comprehension.

Thus, Amida is not a simple reification of the ultimate reality of shunyata. Amida is a phase of shunyata itself; thus Amida is, so to speak, a 'formless form' which may sound sophistic to Westerners. What enables this 'formless form' to be realized is, as has repeatedly been mentioned, the self-negating or self-emptying nature of shunyata, that is, 'being stilled of attachments' in T'an-luan's terminology.

In his attempt to overcome the reification of the Christian notion of God and to put emphasis on its 'formless' element, Kaufman suggests the idea of the 'self-giving' aspect of Jesus Christ. Unlike the Christian tradition of mysticism which draws this element from, for instance, the 'Godhead', Kaufman makes a noteworthy suggestion regarding this issue:

If we take the imagery of self-giving, suffering and death (which the Christian symbol of the cross of Jesus signifies) as central and defining for our understanding of the ultimate point of reference for all of life, we will be driven in a significantly different direction. We will, in fact, find ourselves moving toward a conception suggestive of the Buddhist view that everything must be understood in terms of shunyata or 'emptiness', that is, that which is utterly unsubstantial, that which does not maintain itself successfully through time and is thus not a 'thing' or 'substance' that which (as Tillich put it in his interpretation of Christ) sacrifices itself completely to its context and to that beyond itself, is now to be seen as the ultimate point of reference in terms of which all else must be understood and grasped.[21]

Kaufman's intention here is clear. By laying stress on christocentrism in a different way from the traditional one, he attempts to draw out the 'unsubstantial' or 'formless' element of God in order to get rid of the reification problem in the concept. Further he states:

If Jesus Christ - with his self-sacrificing stance and his emphasis on love, even of enemies - were actually regarded as the defining revelation of what is meant by 'God', Christian faith and Christian theology would move in emphasis and orientation towards those strands of Buddhism which interpret human life primarily in terms of such symbols as compassion and emptiness. Moreover, such a movement would mean that the reification problems which have plagued traditional Christianity (along with the other Abrahamic religions) would now be left behind.[22]

It may be possible that the centrality of Jesus enables 'formless' and 'form' to be combined in a technical sense, so that the problem of dualism seems to be offered a solution; that is, the self-giving love of a non-reified God could be found in Jesus Christ who was an actual historical person. Thus retaining historicity in the Christ event, the universal love or compassion can be taken to be essential. For a Buddhist, however, it is still difficult to accept such a view as 'non-dualistic'. Buddhist 'non-duality' signifies the identity and difference of two opposites or two extremes, not that of the same quality, while in Kaufman's claim both God's love and the Christ event are rooted in one reality just as the doctrine of the trinity demonstrates. If Kaufman attempts to overcome the dualistic view of the ultimate reality which is similar to the Buddhist non-dualistic way of thinking, he would have to, in addition to the non-duality of God and Jesus, admit the oneness of Jesus Christ and those who believe in him. Although in the Pure Land tradition, the difference of Amida and sentient beings is emphasized, the oneness of the two can be, or should be, observed so long as it is based on the doctrine of shunyata. If the non-duality of Amida and sentient beings could not be spoken of, the Pure Land tradition would no longer be a school of Mahayana Buddhism. In Shinran's thought, too, the oneness of Amida and sentient beings is possible on the basis of the 'twofold dharmakaya' as has been clarified.

Is it possible, however, to find the oneness of Jesus Christ and those who believe in him? If some reality like shunyata were to be presented in Christian theology, the oneness of Jesus and those who believe in him, which inevitably means the oneness of God and beings, should necessarily be pursued therein. But in christocentrism Jesus is a special being, the only son of God, and therefore utterly transcends human beings so that he cannot be equated with those who believe in him, otherwise there would never be any faith in him. Christian faith which centers around the historicity seen in the Christ event would then lose its ground. In spite of Kaufman's attempt to overcome the 'indestructible dualism' in Christian theology, the final dualism in terms of Jesus Christ and those who believe in him would not be left behind.

Kaufman's attempt to have the self-giving compassion of Jesus Christ placed at the center of Christian faith and Christian theology is surely notable, but the duality of Jesus and those who believe in him still remains. Supposing such duality should be eradicated, Christian theology would lose its most important treasure of 'historicity' arising out of Jesus, who actually appeared in human history and activated the supreme love and compassion towards the people of his day.

For the readers' reference, I would like here to quote an essay written by Shusaku Endoh, author of a novel entitled Silence and someone well-known for his Catholic faith. This passage is a good example of that which causes a problem in christocentrism:

It is an indisputable fact that Jesus lived in this world and ended his short life by the execution by the Romans. Moreover, though we can know his actual life only vaguely, it is evident that he gave something decisive to the people of his days, and this something grew into faith in him, which has been continually been inherited to the present. But Amida Buddha, whom the devotees of Shin Buddhism believe in is not a actual historical existence like Jesus, is but a concept. Although it is taught that Amida has his own past as Bodhisattva Dharmakara when he performed religious practices to fulfill his Vows, he is not a real historical existence like Jesus. The wonder I find in Shin Buddhism is that they rely wholeheartedly on this concept of Amida as if he were an incarnated being like Jesus. It is this point that I can never understand. I really feel overwhelmed by such Shinran's words as 'I do not know at all whether the nembutsu is truly the seed for being born in the Pure Land or whether it is the karmic act for which I must fall into hell' but what surprises me most is that he had such an immovable faith in a concept![23]

Even to an outsider of Christian theology, something seems lacking in this understanding; that is, there is no 'God' here. Some may say that in Endoh's understanding of Jesus, God is necessarily included, but it can also be said that by comparing Jesus with Amida he has discarded the idea. Jesus in history and Amida as a mere 'concept' are compared on the same level, which means the historical existence of Jesus is the very source of Christian faith. Christian emphasis on 'history' is wonderful, but so long as it is restricted to the actual person or event of Jesus, the problem of 'duality' will not be solved. Even if Kaufman insists, with a different perspective from the traditional one, on the importance of christocentrism in order to stress the 'formless' love and compassion as seen in Jesus, the duality will be all the more strengthened. In Shinran's thought, however, since the object of faith is Amida as a 'concept', as Endoh says, the problem of duality can be solved on the basis of the 'twofold dharmakaya', though most Christians criticize it for the lack of the notion of 'history'.


In concluding our discussion, let us return to the notion of shunyata. It is usually regarded as a total negation of any conceptual understanding, and so a view which advances the affirmation of 'form' has been considered to be a 'provisional one secondary in importance to the Buddha having ultimate significance', as Hisamatsu pointed out. Unlike such a 'theistic' i.e., 'dualistic' way of grasping the ultimate reality, Zen emphasizes the one way of reaching the 'formless' reality at once. Again, a quotation from Hisamatsu:

Searching neither for Buddhas or Gods outside of man, nor for paradise or Pure Lands in other dimensions, Zen advances man as Buddha and actual existence as the Pure Land.[24]

In the Zen way of realizing the ultimate reality, it may be possible to have such a view as Hisamatsu's, but this is not the only way of understanding shunyata. According to Gadjin Nagao, shunyata is more dynamic, manifesting itself in all 'forms' and views like Hisarnatsu's should, rather, be criticized:

Shunyata is not a mere nihilism which engulfs all entities in its universal darkness, abolishing all differences and particularities. On the contrary, shunyata is the fountainhead from which the Buddha's compassionate activity flows out. Shunyata, the summit, is reached, but the next moment, differentiation and discrimination occur again, notwithstanding the identity accomplished by shunyata.[25]

It goes without saying that the concept of Amida advanced by Shinran is thoroughly based on the reality of shunyata. Therefore, unlike Zen which advances the negation of any 'duality' in order to attain immediately the 'formless' shunyata, one can find room, in Shin piety, for human devotion to, or faith in, the ultimate reality through 'form'.


1 Gordon D. Kaufman, An Essay on Theological Method, AAR Studies in Religion (Scholars Press, Missoula 1979), p. 57.
2 Kaufman, 'God and Emptiness:An Experimental Essay' Buddhist-Christian Dialogue 9 (University of Hawaii Press 1989), p. 180
3 Kaufman, Essay, pp. 11-12.
4 Kaufman, 'God and Emptiness', p. 181.
5 Kaufman, Essay, p. 27.
6 Ibid., Introduction, p.x.
7 Kaufman, Essay, pp. 54-55. 8 Ibid., p. 55.
9 Kaufman, 'God and Emptiness', p. 177.
10 Kaufman, Essay, p. 56.
11 Kaufman, 'God and Emptiness', p. 176.
12 Hisamatsu Shin'ichi, 'Mushinron' (Atheism) in Hisamatsu Shin'ichi Chosakushu (Tokyo 1972) Volume II, pp.78-79.
13 Letters of Shinran, Shin Buddhism Translation Series (Hongwariji International Center, Kyoto 1978), p. 30.
14 Karl Barth, in his understanding of Amida, had a similar view: 'Jodoism and all Buddhism stands or falls with the inner power and validity of the stormy desire of man for redemption by dissolution; for entry into Nirvana, to which the 'pure land' attainable by faith alone is merely the forecourt; for the Buddhahood, whose perfection even the God Amida has not yet reached. In the Jodo religion it is not Amida or faith in him, but this human goal of desire which is the really controlling and determinative power. Amida, and faith in him, and the pure land,' to which faith is the entry, are related to this goal only as the means to the end.' (Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics, Volume I, 'The Doctrine of the World of God' Edinburgh 1980, p. 342).
15 Notes on Once-calling and Many-calling, Shin Buddhism Translation Series (Kyoto 1980), p. 46.
16 Shinshu Shogyo Zensho I, p. 337. On this basis, The Discourse on the Pure Land, the authorship of which is attributed to Vasubandu, states; 'The adornments of the Land of the Buddha of Immeasurable Life are expressions of the wondrous state in which the highest reality manifests itself' (SSZ I, p. 271).
17 Ibid., p. 336-337.
18 Nihon Kokugo Daijiten, Volume 10, p. 59.
19 Akira Omine, 'Language and Transcendence' in Kagetsu no Shiso, Koyo Shobo, Kyoto 1989, pp. 43-44
20 D.T. Suzuki, Shin Buddhism, Harper & Row (New York 1970), p. 19.
21 Kaufman, 'God and Emptiness', pp. 182-183.
22 Ibid., p. 183.
23 Shusaku Endoh, 'A Trifle Question' in Shinran and Shinshu (Yomiuri Shimbunsha, Tokyo 1985), pp. 46-47.
24 Hisamatsu Shin'ichi, 'Zen as the Negation of Holiness' in Franck ed., The Buddha Eye (New York 1982), p.173.
25 Gadjin Nagao, 'Ascent and Descent: Two Directional Activity in Buddhist Thought', Presidential Address for the 6th Conference of the International Association of Buddhist Studies, Tokyo, 1983.

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