A listener writes in with an extremely interesting question: if Jodo Shinshu claims that when you go to the Pure Land you come back to this world as a bodhisattva, where are all these bodhisattvas?! This begs a lot of questions and raises a lot of issues about Jodo Shinshu Buddhism with the most obvious being, what is a bodhisattva? We can think of them as “Buddhas in training,” real sentient beings doing specific actions; but we can also think of them as “cosmic” or semi-spiritial beings, maybe working behind the scenes. But Harry points out that according to Shinran, birth in the Pure Land leads not to bodhisattva-hood — but to fully enlightened Buddhahood! That, of course, begs the question of, well, where are all the Buddhas? So we do our best to talk about how we can understand these teachings and put them into practice in our everyday lives in both spiritual and practical terms.
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