Dancing flames at Po Lin Monastery, Lantau Island, Hong Kong, by kartografia https://www.flickr.com/photos/kartografia/2930512768/

Pure Land Diversity

In response to a listener question, we discuss the variety of Pure Land practices outside the Shin and Japanese traditions. We begin by noting that Honen and Shinran set up distinct schools and institutions devoted to a single Pure Land practice (nenbutsu) whereas across the Buddhist world, Pure Land is best understood not as a …

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Buddhas: Leiden, Museum Volkenkunde (National Museum of Ethnology), October 2012 via https://www.flickr.com/photos/jankunst/8122824258

Diversity of Buddhist Teaching

Following up on our conversation from last time, we tackle a list of listener questions that we thought would be simple but took us off in really different directions. The first question is whether or not Japanese Buddhist traditions rely on the Pali canon — yes? no? maybe? we don’t know! We (well, really, Scott) …

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https://www.flickr.com/photos/40295335@N00/4487820999/

Japanese Buddhism

In response to a bunch of listener questions that we thought would be pretty straightforward, we bring you several episodes to discuss, first, the differences between Japanese Buddhist schools of Jodo Shu, Jodo Shinshu, and Nichiren. What unites these traditions are their founders’ experiences in the Tendai tradition and eventual dedication to a single path …

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Tariki, Jiriki (Shin and Zen, part three)

Just gonna say it up front: Harry’s on fire in these episodes, saying some profound stuff! In this final installment of our reflections on Shin and Zen practice, we take up the issue of other-power/self-power. We dive right into the deep and complicated issues about the nature of the self, what’s at stake in the …

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Shin and Zen Practice, part two

We take up the issue from last time, wandering around the historical circumstances of exclusive practice, Kamakura-era Buddhist schools, deal with how the context in which one practices matters, ritual efficacy, heresy, and whether there’s really a difference between zazen and nembutsu. We don’t really answer the question of whether or not one can combine …

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Shin and Zen Practice, part one

Hey! Check out that new theme song! We finally get around to doing some recording and answering some listener questions, this one about the possibility of combining Shin and Zen Buddhist practice. We dance around the issue for a while, meandering through the minutia of particular ritual styles, before getting to some of the historical …

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How to do Shin Buddhist practice

We’re back! And we’re taking up a listener question about practicing Buddhism when you’re not near a Shin community, so we’re calling this one “how to do Shin practice?” This is an important question; what is our practice? How do we do the practice? Harry breaks it down into external and internal aspects where the …

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Buddhism and music, part three

We round out our conversation about music by focusing on Shin Buddhism, starting with Shinran. It’s clear chanting was an important part of early Shin communities, and many of Shinran’s wasan (poems) have come down to us as songs still sung today. We take a brief detour to talk about Herbie Hancock before getting into …

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buddhist bass

Buddhism and Music, part two

In part two of our discussion of Buddhism and music, we talk (mostly) about the potential genre of “Buddhist music.” Genre is a tricky; it raises all sorts of questions about who gets to define an artist or musician and whether or not it further divides people into camps of musical identity. But we definitely …

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San Jose Taiko performance at Obon by http://www.flickr.com/photos/34186459@N00/7591032010/

Buddhism and Music, part one

We’ve got a long-standing interest in music; coincidentally, a listener asked us a question about music on Facebook, so we took the subject and ran with it! This is the first of three episodes dedicated to the subject of Buddhism and music. Today’s show is a general overview of the subject, both the question of …

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