Fundamental to Jodo Shinshu is Amida Buddha’s Primal Vow to embrace all beings without discrimination, to leave no one behind on the path to the Pure Land and enlightenment. Jodo Shinshu followers entrust in the Other Power of Amida, abandoning all need to rely on self-power.
Placing hands together in gassho, Jodo Shinshu followers recite the nembutsu (Nam Amida Butsu, meaning “I take refuge in Amida Buddha”). Hands together symbolize oneness, humility, and gratitude. Reciting the nembutsu is not a practice for gaining virtue but is instead an affirmation of gratitude and a universal echo of the call that originated with Amida’s Primal Vow.
Jodo Shinshu Scriptures
The Three Pure Land Sutras
- The Larger Sutra of the Buddha of Immeasurable Life. Sakyamuni (the historical Buddha) tells the sangha about Amida Buddha.
- The Sutra of Contemplation of the Buddha of Immeasurable Life. The nembutsu (Namo Amida Butsu) is proclaimed as the avenue to liberation.
- The Smaller Sutra on Amida Buddha. Describes the beauty of the Pure Land and extols the virtues of Amida Buddha.
Major Writings of Shinran
- Shoshin Nembutsuge (Hymns of True Entrusting Heart and the Nembutsu; an excerpt from the “Chapter on Practice” of Kyogyoshinsho)
- Jodo Wasan (Hymns of the Pure Land)
- Koso Wasan (Hymns of the Pure Land Masters)
- Shozomatsu Wasan (Hymns of the Dharma-Ages)
Jodo Shinhu followers are joined together in revering the teaching of Shinran Shonin and saying the nembutsu. We seek to share with others the wisdom and compassion of Amida Buddha. By doing so, we shall work toward the realization of a society in which everyone is able to live a life of spiritual fulfillment.
A Brief Introduction to Jodo Shinshu by Kenryu T. Tsuji. An online version of an essay by the first U.S. citizen to serve as Bishop of the Buddhist Churches of America (BCA). Offered by the Seattle Buddhist Church.
Guide to Jodo Shinshu Teachings and Practices. A translated adaptation of the Renken Tokuhon Study Group Text for Followers of Shinran Shonin offered by the Calgary Buddhist Temple.
Jodo Shinshu: A Guide (both the full and the concise, abridged editions) are available in the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii Bookstore on our temple campus. The concise version is just $1.
The website for the Jodo Shinshu headquarters in Kyoto, Japan (the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, or Nishi Hongwanji) includes more information about Shinran Shonin, Shin Buddhism, and the history of the Hongwanji.
The Three Pure Land Sutras. A resource offered by BDK America, an affiliate of Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai (BDK), the Society for the Promotion of Buddhism.
Shin Buddhism in Modern Culture: A Self Study Course. An online, 25-chapter self-study course created by Dr. Alfred Bloom exploring Jodo Shinshu historically and in a modern context. See also a wealth of additional resources on Dr. Bloom’s Shin Dharma Net.