A Portrait of Shinran: As Presented in Kakunyo’s Three Classical Collections, Vol. 2

Shujisho

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  • Author: Kakunyo
  • Kindle Price: US$2.99
  • Published: April 21, 2014

The Shūjishō is the oldest of the three collections in A Portrait of Shinran. Compiled in 1326 it is Kakunyo’s first attempt to formulate his position with regard to Shinran’s teaching. Although he was Shinran’s great grandson he had to struggle to achieve his leadership position.

It was under his tenure that the memorial hall received official temple status and official approval to use the name Honganji. Listening to the request of his key disciple Ganchi (1273–1353), Kakunyo age 57 realized it was necessary for him to make an official statement of his position on the Shin Buddhist teaching.

Poring over Shinran’s letters, writings in the Mattoshō, Sanjō Wasan, and Tannishō as well as the letters of Eshin-ni, Kakunyo drew up a concise five-point statement that he called Shūjishō. The points are as follows:

  1. Shin Buddhism rejects the idea of Amida Buddha coming to welcome the dying seeker. Instead, Shin religious life is to be centered in ordinary life, not on life’s final curtain.
  2. In Shin Buddhism the Mind of Faith is the true cause orienting us toward Birth in the Pure Land.
  3. Shin Buddhism accords special significance to the Eighteenth Vow as the Original Vow. The Eighteenth Vow is understood to equally guarantee Birth in the Pure Land to all living beings whether good or wicked through the power of the Original Vow.
  4. Shin Buddhism understands that a special relationship is maintained between the Mind of Faith, the Name, and the Light of Amida Buddha.
  5. In Shin Buddhism the cause of our going forth to Birth is perfected by the working of Other Power. The Mind of Faith matures in the course of pursuing our daily life. Kakunyo’s Shūjishō became an important cornerstone in Shin Buddhist doctrine and its tenets were upheld by succeeding generations of Shin Buddhist leaders.

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