The Art of Listening

A Buddhist Guide to Happiness


  • Author: Yoshikiyo Hachiya
  • Kindle Price: US$2.99
  • Published: August 10, 2014

During the past two hundred years many countries around the world opted to shift from an agricultural economy to an industrial one. This led to huge demographic shifts as people moved from rural areas to urban centers. Up to then the Buddhist religion in Japan had catered to farming communities. In the winter months when the farmers had no work preachers were regularly sent out to give sermons to large audiences. In the modern age the Buddhist religion had to adapt to changing circumstances.

In this volume we present the sermons of the Shin Buddhist preacher Hachiya Yoshikiyo (1880–1964). An active preacher during the Taishō and Shōwa periods, he is one of the many preachers who adapted the Buddhist message to the modern age.

Addressing the problems of alienation, dehumanization, and poverty that afflicted people in modern life, his talks aim to encourage people in their search for happiness. Surely they can find happiness if only they knew the starting point for their search. It is the first step that is crucial. Take the first step and the riddle of life solves itself.

In this book, Hachiya Yoshikiyo tells us we have to bring forth the heart willing to listen. It is as easy as that. But in the hectic pace of modern life, it is not easy for us to take the time to do so. No wonder we are suffering lost in alienation, dehumanization, and poverty.

The recipient of a Buddhist college education Hachiya Yoshikiyo was also a skillful writer who went on to write numerous books, some of them quite voluminous. The present book is made up of the first set of articles that he contributed to the Jōdō magazine published in Sakai, Osaka, from 1922 to 1943. His other books return to the themes of the modern search for happiness and listening as the key. There is a touch of humor in his writings even as he looks the problems of modern life in the eye.

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