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Buddhism of the Heart: Reflections on Shin Buddhism and Inner Togetherness Paperback – April 28, 2009

4.4 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Shin, a heart-based Buddhism, is geared toward laypeople, so it is only fitting that Wilson's book is user-friendly, with a helpful glossary of terms and suggestions for further reading at the back, plus a liberal sprinkling of humor throughout." (Shambhala Sun)

"A much needed introduction to a tradition little understood in the West. Jeff Wilson's illuminating account of his practice as a Shin Buddhist describes a path founded on humility, trust, and wonder, a way of life that celebrates a wise acceptance of human imperfection rather than a longing to overcome it." (Stephen Batchelor, author of Buddhism without Beliefs)

"Full of warmth, humor, and excellent storytelling." (Sumi Loundon, editor of Blue Jean Buddha and The Buddha's Apprentices)

"Buddhism of the Heart is a clear, insightful discussion of basic teachings of Shin Buddhism. The author, writing from the heart, is candid and direct. It is an easy reading text for seekers." (Alfred Bloom, Emeritus Professor of Religion, University of Hawaii)

"Arranged in brief meditations anchored in Jeff's own life, this book's approach is personal, intimate, and always inviting. I recommend this book to anyone seeking to live more authentically, more deeply." (James Ishmael Ford, Unitarian Universalist Minister and author of Zen Master Who? and If You're Lucky, Your Heart Will Break)

About the Author

A native of North Carolina who grew up in New England, Jeff Wilson is an assistant professor of religious studies and East Asian studies at Renison University College in Canada. He is the author of The Buddhist Guide to NewYork, Mourning the Unborn Dead: A Buddhist Ritual Comes to America, and Dixie Dharma and is a contributing editor for the Buddhist magazine Tricycle.

Mark Unno teaches East Asian religions at the University of Oregon. He is on the editorial board of the Journal of Religious Ethics and the advisory board of Buddhist-Christian Studies. He has been the featured speaker at numerous conferences and academic venues on Asian Buddhism, Comparative Religion, Buddhism and Psychotherapy, and Buddhism in America. He lives in Eugene, Oregon.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications (April 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0861715837
  • ISBN-13: 978-0861715831
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.7 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #599,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By George Greene VINE VOICE on May 22, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Jeff Wilson's Buddhism of the Heart is a blessing of a book. I have been interested in Shin Buddhism since I have become acquainted with the writings of David Reynolds and Greg Krech. Naikan finds its roots in this Japanese form of Buddhism. Through personal anecdotes, Jeff Wilson offers living examples of what it means to be a Shin Buddhist, the deep acceptance and gratitude for existence and the support of every living being. One participates in his journey and we are all better people for it. Namu Amida Butsu.
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Most of the world's native Buddhists do not meditate as a matter of practice. This often comes as a surprise to Westerners who assume that Buddhism is synonymous with meditation. In fact, most native Buddhists are devotees of one or another buddha or bodhisattva, practicing a Buddhism of faith, which is often perceived as inferior "popular" religion by those for whom meditation is sine qua non.

Not often referred to by Westerners, at least positively, are the missionary Lotus Sutra sects Soka Gakkai and Nichiren Shoshu, whose numbers in the West -- particularly Soka Gakkai's -- may well surpass all other transplanted sects combined. The practice of these schools is not centered in mediation, and if you add the fact that they have a quasi-magical view of the efficacy of the title of the Lotus Sutra -- Nam(u) Myoho Renge Kyo -- they too are regarded as being for the simple and unsophisticated, and barely Buddhist.

Ironically, Shin Buddhism (Jodo Shinshu) is intentionally Buddhism for the simple and unsophisticated in the sense of being for those who have been made to realize, by the light of compassion (Amida Buddha), the folly they create out of an illusory sense of self. Shinran Shonin, the founder of what has come to be known as Shin, was acutely aware of human finitude and the astigmatic view of reality we are burdened with owing to the causes and conditions that create us and we create. He taught and wrote passionately about the futility of trying to discipline the self through meditation and ethical precepts with only the power of the self. His was a Buddhism of surrender to the embrace of infinite light and life.

Jeff Wilson's BUDDHISM OF THE HEART can be compared to a guide to everyday conversation as opposed to a grammar of religious language.
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This book is very readable and enjoyable. Jeff keeps it simple and avoids any heavy doctrine. I am a Pure Land Buddhist and this book is humorous and very refreshing. More books of this nature need to be written more often. I am sure that I will reread this book regularly.
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By David on January 14, 2014
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Really enjoyed this piece. I liked the anecdotal nature of the book. Highly recommend for people new to Shin theory as well as those who have grown up in the tradition.
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This is a very straightforward and clear discussion of a sect of Buddhism which is of real interest to me.
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