Today we go down the rabbit hole of the Tannisho, the so-called razor text of Shin Buddhism, a text that can cut away misunderstandings, or be extremely dangerous in the wrong hands! Specifically, we’re talking about compassion and the question of whether or not great compassion is even possible. In Chapter Four of the Tannisho, Shinran seems to imply that, due to our lack of true wisdom, it’s extremely difficult, if not impossible, to be compassionate and help other people. But if there’s nothing you can do, why do anything? Shinran and Shin Buddhism push us to ask deeper questions, to challenge feel-good Buddhism and shake up our expectations and assumptions about the path to awakening. We go to some pretty complex places in this one; enjoy!
And if you’re interested in reading the Tannisho, one translation is available here.