A listener posed a two-part question via our Facebook page about why there aren’t monks in the Shin tradition and how one becomes a minister. We tackle this complicated issue by going back to the beginning with a quick overview of Buddhist monastic history from Sakyamuni Buddha through the rest of Asia. Things get a bit complicated in Japan, especially when Honen and Shinran seem to turn the categories of “monks” and “laypeople” on their heads. This brings us to the second part of the questions, how one actually becomes a Shin minister. So we talk a bit about tokudo, the actual ordination ceremony, and other rites and procedures. And we wrap it with a discussion about the role of ministers in contemporary Shin Buddhism.