Journal: Jodi Lynn Andrews
Pure Land Buddhism
Pure Land Buddhism is one of the many different variations of the Buddhist religion. It started in China, and then moved to Japan. Pure Land Buddhism is unique amoung the Buddhist sects insofar as the practitioners believe salvation can be guaranteed right now in this life. They accomplish this idea by admitting their faults and realizing that they cannot fix the suffering alone. One cause of suffering tends to be our ego (that we can do everything for and by ourselves). Pure Land Buddhists admit to this and become humble. In Pure Land Buddhism an ego consciousness still remains, but it is not overpowering. Pure Land Buddists believe man has an absolute that is omnipresent; right here, right now, and put their faith in the teaching of salvation. Reciting the nembutsu is a common way to achieve salvation. Whole-heartedly, this entrusts him/herself to the name of Amida Buddha and enlightenment will occur. Since salvation after death is guaranteed, you do not have to worry about death in this lifetime.
Our class' first experience with Pure Land Buddhism was the reading of Tannisho: A Shin Buddhist Classic, translated by Taitetsu Unno. This book was a quick and easier read and incorporated a glossary in the back to look up complicated words. A section is also included to note further books to check out if interested. Follow-up on our reading occured in Tosu, Japan (our last city of the trip) at Kyushu Ryukoku Junior College where we heard a lecture by Nobuyoshi Yamabe on Zen and Shin (Pure Land) Buddhism. He gave us some insight and discussion on impermanence, open mind and closed mind, and selflessness.To wrap up our study we visited a Pure Land temple in Tosu.