Current Issues in Shin Buddhist Exegesis

Current Issues in Shin Buddhist Exegesis

  • Saturday, June 1, 2013 | 9:30am – 11:45am | Gage Residence, Isabel MacInnes Room

Akinobu Kuwahara (Institute of Jodo Shinshu Studies) “A Study of Shinran’s View of the ‘Stage of Nonretrogression’: Through the Acceptance of Chapter on Easy Practice”

Shinran regards Någårjuna as the first of the Seven Masters of Shin Buddhism. In his Hymns of the Pure Land Masters, he praises Någårjuna and reveals own understanding of the doctrine: Those who desire quickly to attain The stage of nonretrogression Should, with a heart of reverence, Hold steadfast to and say Amida’s Name. [CWS 1: 362] This is one of the Hymns that reveal significantly his understanding of the doctrine. Shinran takes up the idea quickly to attain the stage of nonretrogression by means of reciting Amida’s name with reverent heart from the Chapter on Easy Practice in Commentary on the Ten Bodhisattva Stages written by Någårjuna. However the Commentary and also the Chapter mainly explain some important ideas of Mahayana bodhisattva path, they are not intended to the birth to Amida’s Pure Land. This presentation discusses, in Shinran’s thought of the birth to Amida’s Pure Land, what is the meaning of acceptance of the doctrine of Chapter on Easy Practice by Någårjuna.

Yue Xiao (Research Institute of Bukkyo University) “Women in the Pure Land :The Karuṇāpuṇḍarīka and the Dà āmítúo jīng 大阿彌陀經”

This paper is a study on the chronological order of the Karuṇāpuṇḍarīka and the Dà āmítúo jīng on the basis of a comparative study between the 2nd Vow of the Dà āmítúo jīng and its counterpart in the Karuṇāpuṇḍarīka. This problem is approached in three ways. First, I discuss the problems evident in previous studies, and why I suggest that the 2nd Vow in the Dà āmítúo jīng was compiled in combination with five items. Secondly, I focus on the formation of the 2nd Vow of the Dà āmítúo jīng in comparison with its counterpart in the Karuṇāpuṇḍarīka in four respects.Finally, I discuss the formation of the 11th Vow in the Dà āmítúo jīng on the basis of its relationships with the 2nd Vow.

Esho Muraishi (Musashino University) “Amitabha Buddha as the Working of Cosmic Salvation of All Sentient Beings”

The very message by Gotama Buddha as explained in the Agamas is essentially the way for a sentient being to enter the Awakened realm, working beyond and through the trai-dhatsu (earthly existence in the universe) . However, it is in the Mahayana Sutras that Awakened ones or realms are delved into and fully expounded in various symbolic expressions. Among various Mahayana sutras, the discourse of The Shorter Sukhavativyuha Sutra intends to reveal an archetypal paradigm of the cosmic salvation of all sentient beings by Gotama Buddha identified as Amitabha Buddha.

Kenneth K. Tanaka (Musashino University) “The Dimensions of Wisdom and Cognition in Shinran’s Shinjin: Appropriateness of “faith,” “true entrusting,” and “awakening” as translation”

According to traditional understanding within the Hongwanji Branch of Shin Buddhism, shinjin (most often rendered into English as “faith,”  “true entrusting,” and “awakening”)  is often portrayed as an experience in which the seeker passively receives as an endowed gift from Amida. The seeker suspends any and all cognitive functions to simply entrust whole heartedly in Amida’s Vow, thus, reinforcing the appropriateness of one the most prevalent English renderings of shinjin, “true entrusting.”  While entrusting is certainly a vital dimension of shinjin, it does not convey the entire picture and, unfortunately, contributes to the stereotyping of Pure Land Buddhist experience as simply “devotional.” In this paper, I seek to examine the numerous descriptions related to shinjin in Shinran’s writings for better understanding its dimensions of wisdom and cognition.