Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

the concept of karma in shin buddhism

Expand Messages
  • jdnuno
    I am of course a new student of Shin Buddhism. I have read Prof. Unno s River of Fire, River of Water and I am currently reading Bits of Rubble Into Gold.
    Message 1 of 7 , Sep 10, 2004
    • 0 Attachment
      I am of course a new student of Shin Buddhism. I have read Prof.
      Unno's River of Fire, River of Water and I am currently reading Bits
      of Rubble Into Gold. However, I am still either missing or not truly
      understanding the definition of karma. What is it? Is it the same as
      other practices. I understand that there is little if any stress on
      past lives and reincartion within Shin Buddhism, so how is Karma
      related to the other paths?
      If anyone could explain this to me or direct me to a web page that
      that specifically answers my question, I would very much appreciate
      it.

      Thank you all

      John
    • Ame-Tsuchi
      I am also a new student of Shin; I will provide my comments with the disclaimer that I am uncertain as to what degree it fits into orthodox Shin theology. If I
      Message 2 of 7 , Sep 10, 2004
      • 0 Attachment
        I am also a new student of Shin; I will provide my comments with the
        disclaimer that I am uncertain as to what degree it fits into orthodox
        Shin theology.

        If I am not mistaken, karma plays a significant role in Shin Buddhism.
        Part of the difficulty of our existence is not only in our living in
        mappou, or the degenerate age of the Dharma, but that the severity of
        our human condition is further compounded by the fact that the
        countless lives we have experienced, and our varying behavior in each,
        causes us to be imbued with deeply rooted karmic evil. This is not a
        conception condemning people to feel guilty, but rather an
        understanding that it is more likely that our past lives were governed
        by ignorance than wisdom (or else we wouldn't be in this present
        state). That is why, in Shin, attainment occurs not in this life but,
        rather, after death -- for it is at that point that the karmic bonds
        of our existence are severed. Furthermore, if there is not
        reincarnation (and by reincarnation I do not necessarily mean the
        transmigration of souls), what is the value of the Shin endeavor? How
        can the bodhisattva ideal be complete if there is no rebirth to
        benefit the world after attainment?

        However, one could refer to John S. Yokota's concept of "objective
        immortality" in his essays featured in Dennis Hirota's "Toward a
        Contemporary Understanding of Pure Land Buddhism. This understanding
        posits not that there is rebirth, but that objective immortality is
        attained through the infinite effect of our actions upon the state of
        existence, with Amida acting as a sort of storehouse consciousness
        that perceives and takes in the course of these actions. As much as I
        dislike using the term, though, I would consider his understanding to
        be revisionary and inconsistent with an integrated understanding of
        Shin in the context of the Mahayana schools (mainly, as I stated
        before, because it violates the bodhisattva ideal).

        The conception of karma that I have, although it may be entirely my
        own invention, is that of the law of cause and effect. Being that
        reality is an interconnected whole, our actions manifest throughout
        reality in an ever expanding wave of chaos. Consider, for instance,
        how different your life might be had you not met someone important (or
        even unimportant) to you. For each moment you dedicated to thinking
        of, interacting with, or otherwise being affected by that person, what
        would have happened instead? As such, each action exerts its influence
        on the system of reality as a whole, and by changing that system
        returns to affect us by altering not only our own condition but what
        actions are available to us and how others may act upon the whole
        system. In the end, this does affect both the physical and moral
        aspects of existence (where actions rooted in ignorance cause
        suffering within the system that reflects back onto the actor), but
        perhaps not as immediately or overtly as one might expect from more
        mystical conceptions of karma. For in this conception, actions do not
        move with linearity, but rather in the tangled web of chaos that is
        the simultaneous action of all of existence.

        But I must reinforce that that is my own theorizing based off of my
        experience with a number of Buddhist schools of thought in addition to
        my own experience of life. I am uncertain as to what Shinran himself
        had to say of karma. However, I hope that my conception has been of
        use to you in some fashion, and I perceive it to be sensible and
        compatible with Buddhism without being needlessly mystical or
        esoteric. But as a criticism of my prior statements: as to what
        exactly occurs in order for our karmic bonds to be severed is unknown
        to me. Further problems with this conception of karma are encountered
        when considering the Bodhisattva's rebirth and the fact that they are
        born into a world shaped by their ignorance in prior lives. I know
        that Hirota elaborates a bit more about the severing of karmic evil
        after death in the previously mentioned volume, and I will have to try
        and review it a bit more. But hopefully this has at least given you
        something to contemplate, and I would like to hear what others have to
        say of such a conception of karma in the context of Shin and the
        bodhisattva ideal.

        Namu Amida Butsu,
        Erik
      • w w
        Shin Buddhism has much less concern of Karma because we don t have the practice of creating merit.Shin Buddhists believe that if you attain true faith Amida
        Message 3 of 7 , Sep 10, 2004
        • 0 Attachment
          Shin Buddhism has much less concern of Karma because we don't have the practice of creating merit.Shin Buddhists believe that if you attain
          true faith Amida that you will enter Nirvana at the end of this present life.
          Other Buddhist paths propose that salvation takes life times of hard
          practice.Moreover, non-Shin Buddhists fear the effects of present and
          future Karma.Shin Buddhists are joyfull that although there will be some
          present effects of Karma,however , their "next life" will be in Amida's Pure Land,
          forever free of Karma! What is Karma? Karma is just the vast collection
          of past and present thoughts and intentions(good and evil) stored in the
          "cosmic conciousness".
           
          gassho,
          Warren
          jdnuno <jdnuno@...> wrote:
          I am of course a new student of Shin Buddhism. I have read Prof.
          Unno's River of Fire, River of Water and I am currently reading Bits
          of Rubble Into Gold.  However, I am still either missing or not truly
          understanding the definition of karma.  What is it? Is it the same as
          other practices.  I understand that there is little if any stress on
          past lives and reincartion within Shin Buddhism, so how is Karma
          related to the other paths?
          If anyone could explain this to me or direct me to a web page that
          that specifically answers my question, I would very much appreciate
          it.

          Thank you all

          John




          Post your free ad now! Yahoo! Canada Personals
        • Jim
          From basics of Western Pure Land Buddhism: 9 Amida s compassion reaches across the darkness of space and time,[23] to save all beings. No harmful karma can
          Message 4 of 7 , Sep 10, 2004
          • 0 Attachment
            From basics of Western Pure Land Buddhism:

            9
            Amida's compassion reaches across the darkness of
            space and time,[23]
            to save all beings.
            No harmful karma can stand in the way of this
            compassion;
            nothing we can possibly do
            can ever separate us from Amida's embrace.
            If through past evil deeds,
            we cannot help but to break the many precepts,[24]
            then we would be forever lost by our own power.
            However, Amida over looks our past faults,
            converts evil karma into good
            and turns this body into the Pure Land.

            14
            To say "Namah Amida Buddha" through faith
            even just once,
            is to break the chains of karma.
            It is to be embraced by universal compassion
            never to be abandoned.
            It is to take birth in her land now;
            once has become the equal of Maitreya,
            the future Buddha.
            This gift of faith has been ever present
            but only now have we accepted it.
            The past good of innumerable past lives
            have finally born fruit
            in the awakening to enlightenment in this life.

            --- Ame-Tsuchi <tariki@...> wrote:

            > I am also a new student of Shin; I will provide my
            > comments with the
            > disclaimer that I am uncertain as to what degree it
            > fits into orthodox
            > Shin theology.
            >
            > If I am not mistaken, karma plays a significant role
            > in Shin Buddhism.
            > Part of the difficulty of our existence is not only
            > in our living in
            > mappou, or the degenerate age of the Dharma, but
            > that the severity of
            > our human condition is further compounded by the
            > fact that the
            > countless lives we have experienced, and our varying
            > behavior in each,
            > causes us to be imbued with deeply rooted karmic
            > evil. This is not a
            > conception condemning people to feel guilty, but
            > rather an
            > understanding that it is more likely that our past
            > lives were governed
            > by ignorance than wisdom (or else we wouldn't be in
            > this present
            > state). That is why, in Shin, attainment occurs not
            > in this life but,
            > rather, after death -- for it is at that point that
            > the karmic bonds
            > of our existence are severed. Furthermore, if there
            > is not
            > reincarnation (and by reincarnation I do not
            > necessarily mean the
            > transmigration of souls), what is the value of the
            > Shin endeavor? How
            > can the bodhisattva ideal be complete if there is no
            > rebirth to
            > benefit the world after attainment?
            >
            > However, one could refer to John S. Yokota's concept
            > of "objective
            > immortality" in his essays featured in Dennis
            > Hirota's "Toward a
            > Contemporary Understanding of Pure Land Buddhism.
            > This understanding
            > posits not that there is rebirth, but that objective
            > immortality is
            > attained through the infinite effect of our actions
            > upon the state of
            > existence, with Amida acting as a sort of storehouse
            > consciousness
            > that perceives and takes in the course of these
            > actions. As much as I
            > dislike using the term, though, I would consider his
            > understanding to
            > be revisionary and inconsistent with an integrated
            > understanding of
            > Shin in the context of the Mahayana schools (mainly,
            > as I stated
            > before, because it violates the bodhisattva ideal).
            >
            > The conception of karma that I have, although it may
            > be entirely my
            > own invention, is that of the law of cause and
            > effect. Being that
            > reality is an interconnected whole, our actions
            > manifest throughout
            > reality in an ever expanding wave of chaos.
            > Consider, for instance,
            > how different your life might be had you not met
            > someone important (or
            > even unimportant) to you. For each moment you
            > dedicated to thinking
            > of, interacting with, or otherwise being affected by
            > that person, what
            > would have happened instead? As such, each action
            > exerts its influence
            > on the system of reality as a whole, and by changing
            > that system
            > returns to affect us by altering not only our own
            > condition but what
            > actions are available to us and how others may act
            > upon the whole
            > system. In the end, this does affect both the
            > physical and moral
            > aspects of existence (where actions rooted in
            > ignorance cause
            > suffering within the system that reflects back onto
            > the actor), but
            > perhaps not as immediately or overtly as one might
            > expect from more
            > mystical conceptions of karma. For in this
            > conception, actions do not
            > move with linearity, but rather in the tangled web
            > of chaos that is
            > the simultaneous action of all of existence.
            >
            > But I must reinforce that that is my own theorizing
            > based off of my
            > experience with a number of Buddhist schools of
            > thought in addition to
            > my own experience of life. I am uncertain as to what
            > Shinran himself
            > had to say of karma. However, I hope that my
            > conception has been of
            > use to you in some fashion, and I perceive it to be
            > sensible and
            > compatible with Buddhism without being needlessly
            > mystical or
            > esoteric. But as a criticism of my prior statements:
            > as to what
            > exactly occurs in order for our karmic bonds to be
            > severed is unknown
            > to me. Further problems with this conception of
            > karma are encountered
            > when considering the Bodhisattva's rebirth and the
            > fact that they are
            > born into a world shaped by their ignorance in prior
            > lives. I know
            > that Hirota elaborates a bit more about the severing
            > of karmic evil
            > after death in the previously mentioned volume, and
            > I will have to try
            > and review it a bit more. But hopefully this has at
            > least given you
            > something to contemplate, and I would like to hear
            > what others have to
            > say of such a conception of karma in the context of
            > Shin and the
            > bodhisattva ideal.
            >
            > Namu Amida Butsu,
            > Erik
            >
            >
            > ------------------------ Yahoo! Groups Sponsor
            > --------------------~-->
            > $9.95 domain names from Yahoo!. Register anything.
            >
            http://us.click.yahoo.com/J8kdrA/y20IAA/yQLSAA/b0VolB/TM
            >
            --------------------------------------------------------------------~->
            >
            >
            >
            > Yahoo! Groups Links
            >
            >
            > shinlist-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
            >
            >
            >
            >


            =====
            Jim Davis
            Ozark Bioregion, USA

            "The great are great only because we are on our knees. Let us rise! "(Max Stirner).
            "The more corrupt the state, the more numerous the laws" - Tacitus

            "Waking up After a Night on the Town With the Mead of Inspiration & Eros Insurgent"
            http://www.iuniverse.com/bookstore/book_detail.asp?&isbn=0-595-18213-5
          • Ame-Tsuchi
            Jim, thank you for pointing me to those succinct passages. For whatever reason, the transformative aspect of Amida had entirely escaped me. Upon reviewing
            Message 5 of 7 , Sep 10, 2004
            • 0 Attachment
              Jim, thank you for pointing me to those succinct passages. For
              whatever reason, the transformative aspect of Amida had entirely
              escaped me. Upon reviewing Hirota, I realize now that "sever" refers
              to the cycle of birth and death in samsara – not of karmic evil (58).
              I apologize for misrepresenting this! But the second quotation does
              state, "break the chains," which seems to echo my previous statements
              of "severing." However, the idea of transformation seems to be greatly
              emphasized within Shin.

              The theme of transformation in Shin seems to occur both in terms of
              one's spiritual awareness of one's self as bonbu, or an ordinary,
              ignorant being, and in terms of the transformation of evil karma into
              good. In Unno's River of Fire, he describes that the light of the
              Buddha's compassion illumines the karma bound self, bringing about
              transformation (53); it illumines and focuses this karmic reality
              (65-67). As such, in that new clarity we cannot but come to realize
              our ignorant doings, and we can make some effort to correct that –
              transforming us in this life (but not to the degree of total
              attainment). Even though we are characterized by a vast ocean of
              karmic evil, there is also the ocean of Amida's compassion, and these
              two oceans are actually one in being (113).

              "To be made to become so" means that without the practicer's
              calculation in any way whatsoever, all his past, present, and future
              evil karma is transformed into the highest good. To be transformed
              means that evil karma without being nullified and eradicated is made
              into the highest good, just as all river waters, upon entering the
              great ocean, immediately become ocean water. (70, Unno quoting
              Shinran)

              This refers to the nonduality of nirvana and samsara, as Shinran
              writes in the Shoshinge:

              If the single thought of Joy and Gratitude is awakened in us, we shall
              realize Nirvana without severing our blind passions. When ordinary
              people and sages as well as those who commit the gravest offenses and
              abusers of the Dharma are taken into the Vow, they become one in
              spiritual attainment, just as many rivers become of one taste upon
              entering the sea... When Faith is awakened in the minds of deluded and
              defiled ordinary people, they are made aware that birth-and-death is
              Nirvana.

              In Bits of Rubble Unno describes the ego-self as a human construct
              deeply rooted in the past, as a "karmic self... since it creates
              suffering for oneself and others, it is also the self of karmic evil,"
              and that the infinite compassion of Amida (as Jim pointed out, too
              powerful to be obstructed by anything – limitless light) "comes to
              nullify the ego-self and transforms it into its opposite (75-76).

              Shinran writes:
              Concerning the term "ocean": since the infinite past, the river waters
              of the sundry practices and disciplines performed by ordinary people
              and sages, and the ocean waters of the ignorance-infinite as the sands
              of the Ganges-of those who commit the five grave offenses, who slander
              the dharma, or who lack the seed of Buddha-hood, have been transformed
              into the waters of the great treasure ocean of all the true and real
              virtues-countless as the sands of the Ganges - of the great
              wisdom-compassion of the Primal Vow. This is likened to an ocean. We
              know truly, then, that it is as a sutra states, "The ice of blind
              passions melts and become the water of virtues."
              The ocean of the Vow does not keep within it the dead bodies of the
              sundry good acts of the two vehicles, that is, the middle and lower
              vehicles. Hardly does it keep, then, the corpses of the empty,
              transitory, false, and deceitful good acts and the poisoned and impure
              minds of human beings and devas. (KGSS, Collected Works, 62)
              As such, karma seems to represent a concept notable in understanding
              our present condition and what characterizes it, but as Jim and Warren
              have pointed out, it is not something to be feared as it is wholly
              within the power of Amida to transmute all karmic evil.
              I have a question for Warren, though: you stated "their 'next life'
              will be in Amida's Pure Land, forever free of Karma!" Did you mean
              this in the literal sense of conceiving of the Pure Land as a place
              and of it as an eternal destination?

              And to Jim: Is that a book that you have quoted? I have been unable to
              find information on it. I was surprised to read "the awakening to
              enlightenment in this life" in the second passage. By "awakening to,"
              is it meant that one becomes aware of enlightenment through the
              gifting of Buddha Nature through the union of mind with Amida that is
              attained via shinjin? Or is the author (is it Shinran?) stating that
              full enlightenment can occur prior to death?

              Both of my questions tie into an understanding of Shin such as Hirota
              writes: "Shinran, in fact, departed from the Pure Land tradition that
              preceded him, which taught that the practicer who said the nembutsu at
              the point of death went to the Pure Land and there, in the ideal
              environment presided over by Amida, performed practices and eventually
              attained enlightenment. Based on his conception of shinjin as the
              Buddha's mind given to beings, he teaches that practice resulting in
              enlightenment is accomplished in the present, in ordinary, ongoing
              life, so that to be born in the Pure Land is to attain enlightenment.
              No further practice for Buddhahood is necessary." (39)

              To add to this, as Unno writes in River of Fire: "...birth in the Pure
              Land means simultaneous attainment of Buddhahood. At the moment of
              death one is freed of all karmic indebtedness. This is birth in the
              Pure Land that is simultaneously the ultimate liberation: attainment
              of Buddhahood... since perfect enlightenment is attained in the Pure
              Land, one returns immediately to samsara for the salvation of all
              beings... Thus, the Pure land is not the final destination; it is a
              way station on the return trip to samsara." (181)
            • jdnuno
              So what you are asking is...is the pure land a final destination? or is it a temporary place where we wait to be sent back? It seems the more anwers there are,
              Message 6 of 7 , Sep 13, 2004
              • 0 Attachment
                So what you are asking is...is the pure land a final destination? or
                is it a temporary place where we wait to be sent back?

                It seems the more anwers there are, the more questions arise. Is it
                that some Shin Buddhists have different ideas about the Pure Land or
                are they just interpeted differently?


                --- In shinlist@yahoogroups.com, Ame-Tsuchi <tariki@g...> wrote:
                > Jim, thank you for pointing me to those succinct passages. For
                > whatever reason, the transformative aspect of Amida had entirely
                > escaped me. Upon reviewing Hirota, I realize now that "sever" refers
                > to the cycle of birth and death in samsara â€" not of karmic evil
                (58).
                > I apologize for misrepresenting this! But the second quotation does
                > state, "break the chains," which seems to echo my previous
                statements
                > of "severing." However, the idea of transformation seems to be
                greatly
                > emphasized within Shin.
                >
                > The theme of transformation in Shin seems to occur both in terms of
                > one's spiritual awareness of one's self as bonbu, or an ordinary,
                > ignorant being, and in terms of the transformation of evil karma
                into
                > good. In Unno's River of Fire, he describes that the light of the
                > Buddha's compassion illumines the karma bound self, bringing about
                > transformation (53); it illumines and focuses this karmic reality
                > (65-67). As such, in that new clarity we cannot but come to realize
                > our ignorant doings, and we can make some effort to correct that â€"
                > transforming us in this life (but not to the degree of total
                > attainment). Even though we are characterized by a vast ocean of
                > karmic evil, there is also the ocean of Amida's compassion, and
                these
                > two oceans are actually one in being (113).
                >
                > "To be made to become so" means that without the practicer's
                > calculation in any way whatsoever, all his past, present, and future
                > evil karma is transformed into the highest good. To be transformed
                > means that evil karma without being nullified and eradicated is made
                > into the highest good, just as all river waters, upon entering the
                > great ocean, immediately become ocean water. (70, Unno quoting
                > Shinran)
                >
                > This refers to the nonduality of nirvana and samsara, as Shinran
                > writes in the Shoshinge:
                >
                > If the single thought of Joy and Gratitude is awakened in us, we
                shall
                > realize Nirvana without severing our blind passions. When ordinary
                > people and sages as well as those who commit the gravest offenses
                and
                > abusers of the Dharma are taken into the Vow, they become one in
                > spiritual attainment, just as many rivers become of one taste upon
                > entering the sea... When Faith is awakened in the minds of deluded
                and
                > defiled ordinary people, they are made aware that birth-and-death is
                > Nirvana.
                >
                > In Bits of Rubble Unno describes the ego-self as a human construct
                > deeply rooted in the past, as a "karmic self... since it creates
                > suffering for oneself and others, it is also the self of karmic
                evil,"
                > and that the infinite compassion of Amida (as Jim pointed out, too
                > powerful to be obstructed by anything â€" limitless light) "comes to
                > nullify the ego-self and transforms it into its opposite (75-76).
                >
                > Shinran writes:
                > Concerning the term "ocean": since the infinite past, the river
                waters
                > of the sundry practices and disciplines performed by ordinary people
                > and sages, and the ocean waters of the ignorance-infinite as the
                sands
                > of the Ganges-of those who commit the five grave offenses, who
                slander
                > the dharma, or who lack the seed of Buddha-hood, have been
                transformed
                > into the waters of the great treasure ocean of all the true and real
                > virtues-countless as the sands of the Ganges - of the great
                > wisdom-compassion of the Primal Vow. This is likened to an ocean. We
                > know truly, then, that it is as a sutra states, "The ice of blind
                > passions melts and become the water of virtues."
                > The ocean of the Vow does not keep within it the dead bodies of the
                > sundry good acts of the two vehicles, that is, the middle and lower
                > vehicles. Hardly does it keep, then, the corpses of the empty,
                > transitory, false, and deceitful good acts and the poisoned and
                impure
                > minds of human beings and devas. (KGSS, Collected Works, 62)
                > As such, karma seems to represent a concept notable in understanding
                > our present condition and what characterizes it, but as Jim and
                Warren
                > have pointed out, it is not something to be feared as it is wholly
                > within the power of Amida to transmute all karmic evil.
                > I have a question for Warren, though: you stated "their 'next life'
                > will be in Amida's Pure Land, forever free of Karma!" Did you mean
                > this in the literal sense of conceiving of the Pure Land as a place
                > and of it as an eternal destination?
                >
                > And to Jim: Is that a book that you have quoted? I have been unable
                to
                > find information on it. I was surprised to read "the awakening to
                > enlightenment in this life" in the second passage. By "awakening
                to,"
                > is it meant that one becomes aware of enlightenment through the
                > gifting of Buddha Nature through the union of mind with Amida that
                is
                > attained via shinjin? Or is the author (is it Shinran?) stating that
                > full enlightenment can occur prior to death?
                >
                > Both of my questions tie into an understanding of Shin such as
                Hirota
                > writes: "Shinran, in fact, departed from the Pure Land tradition
                that
                > preceded him, which taught that the practicer who said the nembutsu
                at
                > the point of death went to the Pure Land and there, in the ideal
                > environment presided over by Amida, performed practices and
                eventually
                > attained enlightenment. Based on his conception of shinjin as the
                > Buddha's mind given to beings, he teaches that practice resulting in
                > enlightenment is accomplished in the present, in ordinary, ongoing
                > life, so that to be born in the Pure Land is to attain
                enlightenment.
                > No further practice for Buddhahood is necessary." (39)
                >
                > To add to this, as Unno writes in River of Fire: "...birth in the
                Pure
                > Land means simultaneous attainment of Buddhahood. At the moment of
                > death one is freed of all karmic indebtedness. This is birth in the
                > Pure Land that is simultaneously the ultimate liberation: attainment
                > of Buddhahood... since perfect enlightenment is attained in the Pure
                > Land, one returns immediately to samsara for the salvation of all
                > beings... Thus, the Pure land is not the final destination; it is a
                > way station on the return trip to samsara." (181)
              • Ame-Tsuchi
                Well, with my understanding the Pure Land is not even a temporary place but is, rather, something experienced for only the briefest amount of time, as
                Message 7 of 7 , Sep 13, 2004
                • 0 Attachment
                  Well, with my understanding the Pure Land is not even a temporary
                  place but is, rather, something experienced for only the briefest
                  amount of time, as enlightenment is attained instantly and
                  effortlessly after death. PL as a final destination does not make
                  sense to me, as how then can one work towards the enlightenment of all
                  beings as a bodhisattva? However, given the Mahayana understanding of
                  Samsara = Nirvana, if "Pure Land" can describe the enlightened state
                  of existence that occurs post-death but yet remains when one is reborn
                  into the world, perhaps that could conceivably be considered a "final
                  destination." In that way, the world becomes transmuted into Nirvana,
                  subjectively, for the enlightened individual, whilst retaining its
                  base nature. Is this not akin to the process of transformation the
                  individual experiences?

                  The question of varying interpretations is always a difficult
                  situation in religious studies. What good is doctrine if it is not put
                  into practice? As ignorant bonbu, what right have we to judge
                  another's ideas? At the same time, however, must not a paradigm be
                  internally consistent? Is not the Tannishou (Lament of Deviations) an
                  important text for its combating against misinterpretations? Was not
                  Rennyou known for his reforms?

                  This dialogue between the achievements of the tradition and the
                  practices and conceptions of modernity is the driving force behind the
                  evolution of religions. Even Shinran himself applied some perhaps
                  questionable linguistic and hermeneutic methodologies in understanding
                  Amida (for example: ekou as Amida directing virtue towards us).

                  That is why I dislike applying the term "revisionist," for it
                  sometimes amounts to little more than a cry for maintaining the status
                  quo and an unfair dismissal of a perhaps promising idea. Yet, at the
                  same time, a balance must be struck and interpretation must stay
                  within certain limits of a religion's understanding, as to maintain
                  the structural integrity of the religion. When those limits are
                  exceeded, what is created is a new sect or religion. Consider the
                  syncretic Pure Land - Zen schools of China, and the Oubaku PL-Zen sect
                  in Japan for when systems are merged. Also, the evolution of Sokka
                  Gakkai from Nichiren Buddhism for when systems evolve. And, of course,
                  the differences between Joudo Shinshuu and his master Hounen's
                  Joudoshuu, for when systems are reinterpreted.

                  That's why I'm interested in hearing people's responses here; the
                  internet greatly expands the genetic diversity of ideas, with which we
                  can come to precise and new understandings.
                Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.