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Shin Buddhism: Bits of Rubble Turn into Gold Paperback – September 17, 2002
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Top Customer Reviews
Weaving a complex yet easily-understood tapestry from personal experience, anecdotes, Pure Land teachings, and philosophical insight, Rev. Unno unfurls an examination of the depth and breadth of impact of Jodo Shinshu in peoples' lives. This school of Mahayana Buddhism, Jodo Shinshu, is essentially a Buddhism for the common man, emphasizing faith in the "other power" of Amida Buddha as its central tenet, as opposed to the complex battery of practices eschewed by other (and more familiar to the West) schools of Buddhism. A branch of the Pure Land school which was formed in the early 13th century in Japan, Jodo Shinshu emphasizes the "true entrusting" in Amida, the embodiment of wisdom and compassion from which all Buddhist thought emanates. And while this form of Buddhism is largely unknown in the West outside of the ethnic Japanese community, it is a powerful...and easily-accessible...path among the 84,000 Paths to Enlightenment as the diverse streams of religious and philosophical thought are known in Buddhism.
Rev. Unno here shows us how this faith affects those who accept it, and why. Just as "River of Fire..." explained the 'what' of Jodo Shinshu, "Bits of Rubble..." explains the 'how' in like manner...which is clear, concise, and readily-understandable.Read more ›
However, by the second section, he really delves into so many aspects of Buddhism, from a Jodo ShinShu perspective (I am a newly converted Shin Buddhist myself). The chapters are surprisingly relevant and the topics build from the simple topics in the first few chapters into progressively more deep and theological issues for Buddhists. This book has a subtle, but very compelling flow to it.
Taitetsu is clearly a well-read person as he quotes from many interesting sources, and clearly conveys their meaning to the reader.
This really was time well-spent reading, and I definitely recommend this to anyone who's curious about Shin Buddhism. It's the largest school of Buddhism in Japan (not Zen or Soka Gakkai), yet the least known here. Read this book and find out what it's about.
I am older now and I leave whatever specialness I might have to the appraisal of the compassionate cosmos. What Unno wrote has become the mirror itself. I highly recommend this book and suggest the reader return to it after some years to see how its insights weather.
Here are some quotations from this 2002 book:
"If I were to translate 'nembutsu' into English, it would be the 'Name-that-calls,' for it calls us to awaken to our fullest potential to becoming true, real, and sincere human beings." (Pg. 24)
"...the millennium may have significance for those who believe in the Second Coming... but it has no special significance for a Buddhist who is a nontheist." (Pg. 55)
"There is no need for such a deathbed ritual, because birth in the Pure Land has occurred in the awakening to shinjin here and now." (Pg. 66)
"The path of Pure Land, on the other hand, is primarily a way for the laity; it is available to any one, regardless of status, who seeks the path of enlightenment." (Pg. 74)
"Buddhism, including Shin, does not give clear and firm directives for everyday living. It is not prescriptive." (Pg. 131)
"Transformation is possible by the very fact that Buddhism teaches us that we are all already fully enlightened, although we live in complete ignorance of this elemental fact." (Pg. 202)
"Toward the end of his life, (D.T. Suzuki) devoted more and more of his writings to Shin Buddhism (e.g., his "Buddha of Infinite Light"), and his final scholarly accomplishment was the translation of Shinran's major work into English under the title 'The Kyogyoshinsho'..." (Pg. 209)
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a kind of sequel to Taitetsu Unnos other book "River of Fire, River of Water" which I highly recommend reading before this one. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Sigmund Sundelin
Excellent book for Shin Buddhist beginners or for those investigating.Published 12 months ago by CMM
How exactly does it happen - this turning of rubble into gold? I keep looking for clues urgently, because, believe me, there's a lot of rubble. Read morePublished on January 25, 2009 by Francisco X. Stork