"Cultivating Spirituality" is a seminal anthology of Shin Buddhist thought, one that reflects this tradition s encounter with modernity. Shin (or Jodo Shinshu) is a popular form of Pure Land Buddhism, the most widely practiced form of Buddhism in Japan, but is only now becoming well known in the West. The lives of the four thinkers included in the book spanned the years 1863 1982, from the Meiji opening to the West to Japan's establishment as an industrialized democracy and world economic power.
This is a translation of the first of four volumes of the Mahāyāna version of the Mahāparinirvāṇa-sūtra, one of the most revered and influential Buddhist texts in East Asia. It is based on the Chinese translation by the Indian monk Dharmakṣema (385-433) from a Sanskrit text of which only fragments remain. Not to be confused with an early Buddhist sutra of the same name, the Nirvana Sutra (as it is called in East Asian Buddhism) is most famous for its doctrine of the "buddha-nature" as universally present in all living beings. However, the text is also well known for its teachings on vegetarianism and for its discussion of nonemptiness as commensurate with emptiness that reverses Buddhist traditions of nonself, impermanence, and suffering.
In this study, Mark L. Blum combines a critical look at the thought and impact of the late-thirteenth-century intellectual Gyonen and the emergent Pure Land school of Buddhism founded by Honen. Gyonen created a hermeneutic that presented Buddhism as a historical expression of universal values with roots outside of Japan. His Pure Land text is a work that documents the transmission and philosophical evolution of this school from India to China to Japan.
This volume offers an assessment of Rennyo's contribution to Buddhist thought and the Honganji religious organization. A collection of 16 previously unpublished essays by both Japanese and non-Japanese scholars in the areas of historical studies, Shinshu studies, and comparative religion, it is the first book to confront many of the major questions surrounding the phenomenal growth of Honganji under Rennyo's leadership.