Practical Buddhism

Recently, I’ve been reading some old books of mine about the life of Honen, a 12th century Japanese-Buddhist monk who started the Pure Land movement in Japan which includes Jodo Shu and Jodo Shinshu Buddhism. Honen had a pretty eclectic following: from nobility in the elite Fujiwara family, to prostitutes, ex-monks, etc. In one famousContinue reading “Practical Buddhism”

Buddhist Portable Altar

A few years ago, during our last trip to Japan before the Pandemic, we came to the famous Buddhist temple of Zojoji: one of two head temples of the Jodo Shu sect. My wife and I like Zojoji in particular, and since it is right next to the famous Tokyo Tower, it is always worthContinue reading “Buddhist Portable Altar”

Toward a New Look at Honen

Recently, I re-posted an old polemic article I wrote 8 years ago (!) in a former blog at a time when I was on my out the door from the local Jodo Shinshu Buddhist community, citing references to one of Honen’s biggest critics, Jokei, an influential monk of the influential Hosso (Yogacara) school. Many ofContinue reading “Toward a New Look at Honen”

Buddhism for Everyone: the Pure Land Gate

One of my favorite stories about the life of Honen, the 12th century Buddhist monk who started the Pure Land Buddhist movement in Japan is from his time of exile in 1207. From the capitol (modern day Kyoto) he and many followers were banished to the hinterlands, a common punishment at the time. In Honen’sContinue reading “Buddhism for Everyone: the Pure Land Gate”

A Refutation of Exclusive-Nembutsu Buddhist Practice

Author’s Note: this was another post I found recently from my old blog, possibly something I wrote in 2013 or 2014. It was shortly after this that I decided to leave the local Jodo Shinshu Buddhist community, give up the prospect of ordination, and strike out on my own. My feelings on the subject haveContinue reading “A Refutation of Exclusive-Nembutsu Buddhist Practice”