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

Good and Evil

Okay. Some big questions this time around, none of which we’re gonna answer but we have a good time talking around the issues. Does (Shin) Buddhism give us a way to act? Are there guidelines on how to be good and avoid evil? Is it right to even judge persons as good and evil or

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

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

Buddhism and magic

We’re not talking about magicians, we’re talking about ritual and whether or not there is some efficacious power inherent in Buddhist ritual practice. Ritual is often derided by modern folks or rejected explicitly as not a part of Buddhism, distinct from practice proper. But there’s ritual throughout Buddhist history and practice, and ritual serves an

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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Teachers, Authority, and Community

Let’s pick up where we left off; last time we discussed how contemporary Shin Buddhists can make the teachings and practices applicable to modern life, balancing tradition and change. This raises the important question of how one can determine whether or not a particular interpretation of the Buddha Dharma is in line with traditional or

Tradition and Change

Prompted by a listener who’s interested in how Buddhist teachings and practices change over time, in this episode we take up the tension between maintaining tradition versus adaptation to new circumstances. Whereas one could argue that we should look to Shinran as the final authority on what the orthodox Shinshu teaching or practice should be,

Is compassion possible?

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,