Essentials of Jodo Shinshu

Jodo Shinshu (The True Essence of Pure Land Buddhist Teaching)

Shinran 140x117Founder: Shinran Shonin
Date of birth: May 21, 1173
Date of death: Jan. 16, 1263
Name of school: Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha
Head temple: Ryukoku-zan Hongwanji (Nishi Hongwanji)
Object of reverence: Amida Tathagata (Namo Amida Butsu)

Scriptures: The Three Pure Land Sutras, delivered by Shakyamuni Buddha

  • Bussetsu Muryoju Kyo

[The Sutra of the Buddha of Immeasurable Life]

  • Bussetsu Kammuryoju Kyo [The Sutra of Contemplation of the Buddha of Immeasurable Life]
  • Bussetsu Amida Kyo [The Sutra on Amida Buddha]
  • Shinran Shonin’s writings

    • Shoshin Nembutsuge [Hymn of True Entrusting Heart and the Nembutsu], excerpt from the “Chapter on Practice” of Kyogyoshinsho
    • Jodo Wasan [Hymns of the Pure Land]
    • Koso Wasan [Hymns of the Pure Land Masters]
    • Shozomatsu Wasan [Hymns of the Dharma-Ages]

    Rennyo Shonin’s Gobunsho Letters

    Teaching: Attaining the “entrusting heart”—awakening to the compassion of Amida Tathagata (Buddha) through the working of the Primal Vow—we shall walk the path of life reciting Amida’s Name (Nembutsu).  At the end of life, we will be born in the Pure Land and attain Buddhahood, returning at once to this delusional world to guide people to awakening.

    Way of life: Guided by the teaching of Shinran Shonin, we shall listen to the compassionate calling of Amida Tathagata and recite the Nembutsu. While always reflecting on ourselves, amid our feelings of regret and joy, we shall live expressing our gratitude without depending on petitionary prayer and superstition.

    Purpose: The Hongwanji is a community of people joined together in revering the teaching of Shinran Shonin and saying the Nembutsu. We seek to share with others the wisdom and compassion of Amida Tathagata. By doing so, we shall work toward the realization of a society in which everyone is able to live a life of spiritual fulfillment.

    Some content courtesy of Buddhist Churches of America