PLACEHOLDER: Why Shin Buddhism?
The Hallmark of Shin Buddhism: Come as You Are
The most important aspect of Shin Buddhism is that you are already on the path, like the rest of us. All of us have flaws and problems and hangups. That's okay, the Buddha tells us. Just come as you are. We need to start now from where we are.
You Are Important. Every living thing is totally unique, and to be valued, including you. You are the only person with your life and history.
Appreciate the Self. In Shin Buddhism It is a mistake to think that to be a Buddhist you destroy the self. it may be easier to think about expanding the sense of self to see how we are related to all living things.
History Lesson? If you are interested in the general history of Buddhism and of our tradition, see our article More History. << link to come >>
Our Sutras. Our sutras recount Buddha's extolling the path of Amida Buddha.
<< link to come >> Why Amida Buddha?
<< ?? Within Shin Buddhism Japan developed a number of branches. We derive from the Nishi Hongwanji branch. The tradition derives from some of the later sutras of the historical Buddha. >>
College professors might call us the American flowering of a Japanese non-monastic sect of reformed Pure Land Buddhism in the Mahayana tradition. We just call our temple home.
There are Jodo Shinshu temples in Japan, North America, South America and all throughout Europe, as well as fellowships in Africa and Australia.
The Buddhist Temple of San Diego belongs to the Shin sect of Buddhism (or Jodo Shinshu in Japanese), part of the Mahayana Buddhist tradition. Jodo Shinshu translates as the True Pure Land Teachings. It focuses on the vow of Amida Buddha, which is to enlighten all beings, regardless of their backgrounds or past actions.
This is a vow of sweeping power, one that promises hope and life’s fulfillment to all. Although Shinran Shonin (1173-1262) is often called the founder of Jodo Shinshu, Shinran never claimed that he was founding a new religion. Rather, Shinran merely
emphasized concepts that had always existed in Buddhism. He taught that the purpose of Gautama Buddha’s advent on earth was to awaken people to the wisdom and compassion of Amida Buddha.
Shinran formulated the teachings after two decades of study in the Buddhist monasteries of Mt. Hiei. He came to the realization that if a person has to rely on self-generated effort, then enlightenment is impossible. He reasoned that human life is finite, human knowledge is incomplete, and human capacity for perfect goodness is limited. He renounced the monastery and left Mt. Hiei. Shortly thereafter, he metHonen, a kindly priest who taught a simple faith in Amida Buddha and the recitation of the Nembutsu as an expression of faith. Shinran embraced the teaching of Honen and built upon them.
Faith is an important element in Shin Buddhism. The Nembutsu (“Namu Amida Butsu”) means literally, “I put my faith in Amida Buddha.” It is the core of Amida’s vow, for Amida Buddha communicates with us through His name. As we recite the Nembutsu, Amida’s voice calls to us, and at the same time, we respond to his call. When we hear Amida’s voice in our innermost being, faith is awakened. Faith completes our oneness with Amida and is the true cause of our Enlightenment.
How Buddhism Was Founded <<link to come >>
Importance of Sangha. The Sangha is the fellowship of Buddha's followers, and is one of the three jewels of Buddhism (Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha). Some people are attracted to Buddhism because of its philosophy and nonjudgmental ways. But they won't actually partake of the richness of our tradition without experiencing Sangha.
Links Back to Buddha. Our own branch of Buddhism was perfected in Japan in the 1300s. Formally known as Jodo Shinshu, is one of the largest Buddhist denominations in the world today. More informally you will hear it called Shin Buddhism.