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Toward a Contemporary Understanding of Pure Land Buddhism: Creating a Shin Buddhist Theology in a Religiously Plural World (S U N Y Series in Buddhist Studies) Hardcover – April 1, 2000

ISBN-13: 978-0791445297 ISBN-10: 0791445291

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Product Details

  • Series: S U N Y Series in Buddhist Studies
  • Hardcover: 257 pages
  • Publisher: State Univ of New York Pr (April 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0791445291
  • ISBN-13: 978-0791445297
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #7,266,064 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 9, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book opens up new possibilities in expressing Pure Land Buddhism in a contemporary context. By setting up a dialog between the three contributors it explores the possibilities and challenges the reader to think in different directions. In the words of J. P. McDermott in a review in CHOICE (November 2000):
Three leading Japanese Shin Buddhist scholars and two major Western philosophical theologians come together, under the editorship of Hirota (Asian studies, Chikushi Jogakuen Univ., Japan) to produce a unique volume aimed at a contemporary understanding of Pure Land Buddhism. Part of Hirota's intent is "to disclose aspects of truth in the Shin path and possible venues for understanding the practicer's religious awareness. . . ." Beginning with a series of questions raised by Gordon Kaufman, (emer., Harvard), the three Buddhist authors outline new ways of interpreting the Pure Land Shin tradition. The thinking in their essays is influenced by Western theology-process thought, for example---and history of religions categories. The result is a new hermeneutic, or a constructive Shin Buddhist "theology"---which of these two is a matter of discussion within the volume. Next the volume presents essays by Kaufman and John Cobb responding to, and reflecting on, the pieces by the Shin Buddhists, who in turn reflect on their original formulations in light of the comments by Kaufman and Cobb, as well as in response to one another. The volume is an excellent, groundbreaking example of cross-cultural---dare one say syncretistic?---academic "theology." Graduate students; faculty and researchers; professionals and practitioners. -- J. P. McDermott, Canisius College
I also agree with McDermot. And I add that anyone interested in exploring the cross-cultural and theological possiblities in an East-West dialog should read this book.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Hakuyu on August 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Given the 'hardening of the orthodoxies' which seems to have set in elsewhere - studies like this seem like a breath of fresh air. We live in a 'pluralistic' world, with a plurality of religious traditions - and, despite the retreat into conservative narrowness, the good side of contemporary life is that more and more people seem to be recognising the need for inter-cultural dialogue and mutual understanding. Indeed, we might even say that the retreat into insular attitudes is a knee-jerk reaction to the undeniable fact that we are living in a pluralistic world, and must rise to the occasion.

The debates or dialogues in this study, chaired by Dennis Hirota, endevour to find a contemporary understanding of Shin Buddhism, capable of yielding shared meaning in dialogue with other religions in a pluralistic world. Shin Buddhism was bound to come to the fore here, from a Buddhist perspective, because it has a place for 'other-power' (tariki) - analogous to the role of God in Theistic religious systems. Shin Buddhists see the value of this analogous relationship, but question the extent to which it can be stretched. Amida is not a 'creator-God' - so the 'creationist' side of theology poses certain problems here.@On the other hand, certain aspects of Christian theology are open to re-interpretation. The 'death of God' theology places a minimum stress on the problematic aspects of creationism, and the emergent 'process theology' is much more akin to Asian thought. There is plenty of food for thought here, and anyone truly alive to the challenges faced by the spiritual community, world-wide, will gain vital insight by digesting the issues raised in this book.
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