The Buddha’s Wish for the World by Monshu Koshin Ohtani
Foreword by Professor Robert Thurman In Bookstores: September 2009
D.T. Suzuki, the revered Zen Buddhist scholar and writer once called Shin Buddhism “Japan’s major religious contribution to the West.” In fact Suzuki incorporated some of Shin’s ideas and practices into his own path. Not only is the Pure Land tradition (Shin Buddhism) the largest Buddhist denomination in Japan, it is the most widely practiced form of Buddhism in the world.
Yet this Buddhist tradition remains largely unfamiliar to the western world. Part of the reason for this is certainly the lack of Shin Buddhist literature addressed to English language readers — especially to readers unfamilar with Buddhist “jargon.”
Fortunately, the book by Monshu Koshin Ohtani,The leader of Jodo Shinshu, will soon be available in English for the first time. The Buddha’s Wish for the World will be published in September, 2009, by the American Buddhist Study Center Press.
This publication honors the 750th memorial of the founder of Jodo Shinshu, Shinran Shonin (1173 -1263). Jodo Shinshu, who established this spiritual path in 13th century Japan, had much in common with his contemporary, Zen Master Dogen.
The book includes a foreword by world-renowned Buddhist scholar, Professor Robert Thurman, the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Buddhism at Columbia University and Founder of Tibet House in New York.
The Buddha’s Wish for the World is composed of a wide range of short, lucid, and very inspiring essays clearly illustrating how the tenets of Buddhism are manifested in the everyday modern world. Monshu Ohtani discusses his insights on compassion, wisdom, mindfulness, faith, enlightenment, and much more using contemporary situations, and a wide range of personal stories and examples.
The Buddha’s Wish for the World was written for general audiences, not just followers of the Shin tradition. Buddhist practitioners of all schools (including Zen) are certain to discover many affinities with the Shin teachings–which can certainly provide some profound insight into their own traditions. While it is true that students and practitioners of all Buddhist traditions will find many similarities, it may be the unique qualities of the Pure Land teachings, when compared to other traditions, that offer some of the more profound insights.
Professor Robert Thurman writes in his introduction to The Buddha’s Wish for the World: “If the foundation of Monshu Ohtani’s vision is this cosmic sense of the omnicompetent presence of the infinite light and life Buddha, his wisdom reaches out to us by sharing with us his clear perception of freedom and goodness in the most ordinary places of thought and life.” Thurman goes on to say that the book includes a “range of observations of life and liberation, from the tiny but utterly significant moments in ordinary life, of the turning of the mind from egotism to altruistic heart’s entrustment to the vast and beautiful vision of the immanence of the all-enfolding universal compassion of Amida Buddha.”
Shin Buddhist teaching offers a unique perspective on the Buddhist vision (common to all Mahayana schools, including Zen) of reality as permeated by the true nature of wisdom and compassion, actively engaged in delivering all beings to the highest fulfillment of human life, the attainment of Buddhahood. In Shinran’s teaching, this activity manifests itself as Amida Buddha, the Buddha of infinite light and life (according to Amida Buddha’s vow to save all beings by bringing all who call on him into the realm of enlightenment — the Pure Land.
Originating in India, Pure Land Buddhism evolved in China as a distinct school, which eventually culminated in the Shin traditon teachings of the Japanese Buddhist master, Shinran Shonin. Reading this book can provide westerners with a great appreciation for some of the reasons the name of Amida Buddha has been, and will continue to be recited by millions of people in China, Taiwan, Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Japan, Tibet, and many other countries throughout the world.
The Buddha’s Wish for the World by Monshu Koshin Ohtani, edited and published by American Buddhist Study Center Press, New York, New York, in collaboration with Buddhist Study Center (Honolulu, Hawaii) and Buddhist Education Center (Anaheim, California).
Publication Date: September 2009. Published in two editions simultaneously: $27.95 hardcover (ISBN 978-0-9764594-3-9) and $15.00 paperback (ISBN 978-0-9764594-2-2). 154 Pages.
Book Websites: On Facebook and www.buddhaswish.com
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Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii – www.hongwanjihawaii.com
Buddhist Churches of America Bookstore – http://stores.buddhistbookstore.com
Nishi Hongwanji – www.honRwanii.or.jp/enRlish
American Buddhist Study Center – www.americanbuddhiststudycenter.orR
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