Hardcore Shin Buddhist Practice

A couple episodes back, we tossed out this idea, off the cuff, of hardcore practice. We finally get to it now, asking directly, what is hardcore Shin Buddhist practice? Of course, this raises the important question of what is Shin practice? What do Shin Buddhists actually do? Is it all the temple stuff, Sunday services,

Institutionalism, anti-institutionalism

We pick up our conversation from last time about the attrition problem in American Shin Buddhism, its possible causes, and solutions. This time we focus on our listener’s suggestion that there is an essential anti-institutionalism within Shin Buddhism. We’re on the fence on that one; we want to be cautious about reading too much of

Listener question: challenges facing the BCA

A listener wrote in to ask about the problem of attrition in the Buddhist Churches of America (or Jodo Shinshu more generally) and suggested a few possible doctrinal reasons for declining membership including Shinran’s seemingly anti-institutional and anti-ritualistic understandings of Buddhism. Harry and Scott tackle these questions starting with the assumption that membership is declining.

Ichinen-sanzen (part one)

Rev. Harry brings up the complex idea of ichinen sanzen — three thousands things in a single thought moment — from Tendai (Tiantai) Buddhism. In short, ichinen sanzen says that each thought moment contains within it all of existence — wait, what? How does all of existence exist within each thought moment? Whose thought moment?

Buddhism and belief

Inspired by a listener question/discussion on Facebook, we tackle the issue of belief in (Shin) Buddhism, specifically when it comes to Pure Land imagery. Are we expected to believe in it in some substantive, literal sense? Or do we take it as metaphorical? Symbolic? Symbolic of what exactly? We start by suggesting that wrestling with

Buddhism and humanity

In this episode, we wrap up our conversation about humanism and Buddhism and what the two might have to say to one another, starting off with a question about what Buddhism might say regarding the value or importance of humanity. Humanism seems to suggest that humanity is rather important. But in Buddhism we find ourselves,

Individual practice, community practice

Even though this week’s episode isn’t really about humanism per se, we pick up where we left off last time, allowing Scott a moment to clarify what he meant when he said that Buddhism doesn’t care about the individual. This week is really all about individual practice versus community practice, what does it mean to

Live show part four: marriage and politics

In the final episode of our first live broadcast, we tackle more audience questions. To get things started, we field a question about the BCA’s official position on same-sex marriage (a big shout out to Rev. Briones’ officiating at the wedding of George Takei and Brad Altman!). This bounces us around some questions regarding BCA’s

Live show part three: abortion and shinjin

In part of three of the live show series, our first question has to do with Shin Buddhism’s stance on aborted fetuses. Scott cleverly ducks the question but Harry provides some interesting insight into the Japanese ritual of mizuko kuyo (water baby ceremony) and the efficacy of ritual in Shin Buddhist context. Our second question

Live show part two: rants

In the second installment of our Live Show, we start off talking about the distinctiveness of Shin Buddhism and its difference and similarities to other types of Buddhism. This somehow sets us off on a series of rants against, among other things, The Golden Chain and universalistic Buddhism. (Our apologies to Golden Chain or One