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Also known as "Shin Buddhism," was developed based on the teachings of Shinran Shonin (1173-1262) and Renyo Shonin (1415-1499). The name Jodo Shinshu translates to "True Pure Land Sect."
The beginning of Jodo Shinshu is considered to be April 15th, 1224, when Shinran Shonin (1173-1262) completed his first draft of Teaching, Practice, Faith, and Attainment (Kyo Gyo Shin Sho). This book was the most important of Shinran's writings.
Renyo Shonin (1415-1499) was the 8th Monshu (Patriarch) of Jodo Shinshu. When he became Monshu, Shin Buddhism was stagnant and beginning to deteriorate. He began writing letters to the temples and ordinary people. The letters were written in simple Japanese and had the effect of revitalizing Jodo Shinshu, attracting common people by the thousands. His success in this caused him to be known as the "second founder" of Jodo Shinshu.
Main Facets of Jodo ShinshuEdit
Shinran taught that attaining enlightenment, or "Buddhahood," should be one's long-term goal, whereas the goal for the present should be the awakening of faith. Having been awakened, we can live peacefully in the knowledge that we exist within Amida Buddha's (The Buddha of Infinite Light and Life) perfect light. Shinran referred to people who had attained this state as "the ranks of the truly assured."
Shinran also taught that absolute enlightenment could happen only after death, when human weaknesses such as greed and ignorance are no longer holding a seeker back.
The Three Main Sutras of Jodo ShinshuEdit
The three main principle Sutras of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism are:
- Larger Sutra on the Buddha of Infinite Life
- Sutra of Meditation on the Buddha of Infinite Life
- Smaller Sutra on the Buddha of Infinite Life
Each sutra is a sermon of Buddha, and these three are the sermons upon which Jodo Shinshu is based.
Jiriki, Tariki, and NembutsuEdit
These three concepts can easily sum up the goal of Jodo Shinshu.
Jiriki means "self-power" and refers to attempts by the individual to attain enlightenment by calculating or trying incredibly hard. According to Jodo Shinshu, Jiriki prevents us from attaining enlightenment.
Tariki means "other power" and refers to the power of Amida Buddha to bestow "Shinjin" (the mind of faith) to those who completely surrender earthly cares to Him and seek refuge in Him.
Pronounced "Namu Amida Butsu" in Japanese, Nembutsu is not a practice, but a result of one's faith. It is a constant outpouring of faith and thankfulness for the gift of Shinjin through Tariki by Buddha. Shinran wrote:
- The Nembutsu, for its practicers, is not a practice or a good act.
- Since it is not performed out of one's own designs, it is not a practice.
- Since it is not good done through one's own calculation, it is not a good act.
- Because it arises wholly from Other Power and is free of self-power,
- for the practicer it is not a practice or a good act.
- [Tannisho, Part 1, Section 8]
Similarities Between Jodo Shinshu and Jedi PhilosophyEdit
Fully trusting in the Force (or, in Buddhist terms, Tariki) is the only way to achieve mastery of the Force. Because the Force is both a part of and separate from us, taking it by force (for lack of a better term) is not possible. Only surrendering oneself to the Force allows him or her to have control over it. Surrendering to Tariki is the basis of a Jodo Shinshu life, and surrendering to the Force is the basis of Jedi life. This surrender is most complete, for both ways of thinking, when it is manifest in compassion.