LIVING NEMBUTSU: Applying Shinran’s Radically Engaged Buddhism in Life and Society
ISBN 978-1-896559-90-2 / 158 pages / 6.14" x 9.21"
Living Nembutsu is a sourcebook for Jodo Shinshu Buddhists and other interested readers looking to apply Pure Land perspectives to the problems of contemporary society.
It lays out concepts and ideas that are central to Pure Land Buddhism but missing from the dominant North American Buddhist conversation (especially in engaged Buddhist circles), ones which offer new ways of thinking and organizing around shared problems.
The book’s central focus is an exploration of how the life and teachings of Shinran, the founder of Jodo Shinshu (aka Shin) Buddhism, can provide guidance in facing the social and environmental challenges of our times. It examines how Shinran’s unique Buddhist philosophy centres marginalized and oppressed experiences, with particular relevance to the LGBTQ+ community, refugees, racialized persons, and other groups.
Living Nembutsu also provides examples of Jodo Shinshu Buddhists in action, working to combat climate change, religious intolerance in prisons, racism, and other challenges.
Attributions and Gratitude
Rooted in the Buddha-Ground
Buddhism in the Age of the Refugee
Principles for Engaged Shin Buddhism
Concepts for Engaged Shin Buddhism
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jeff Wilson is the author of Buddhism of the Heart: Reflections on Shin Buddhism and Inner Togetherness (Wisdom 2009), among other books. He received his tokudo ordination in the Jodo Shinshu Honganji-ha (Nishi Honganji) school of Buddhism in 2012 and serves as a minister’s assistant for the Toronto Buddhist Church. Dr. Wilson is also a professor of Religious Studies and East Asian Studies at Renison University College (University of Waterloo). His research focuses on Buddhism in North America and Hawai‘i, Japanese Buddhism, and Buddhist engagement with social, political, and environmental issues.
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“Never has a book on Jodo Shinshu Buddhism dealt so extensively and passionately with the pressing social issues of today: the challenges facing the LGBTQ+ community, racial and gender discrimination, economic inequities, climate crisis, and more. Even more remarkable is that the author finds in Shinran, the 13th century Japanese founder of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, an inspiring exemplar for the radically engaged Buddhism of the 21st century for North Americans and beyond. In so doing, this book shatters the image of Pure Land Buddhists as being fixated on birth in the Pure Land after death.” Kenneth Kenshin Tanaka, Prof. Emeritus, Musashino University, Tokyo; Jodo Shinshu priest; Chair, Editorial Board of the BDK English Tripiṭaka Translation Project
"In Living Nembutsu, Jeff Wilson provides a much needed work that fills a lacuna between the accounts of everyday Shin Buddhists following the path of Pure Land nembutsu and highly charged accounts of Engaged Buddhism. Instead, he shows how religious life “on the ground” can organically bring about change, based more on the outflowing of compassion from the heart than on the mechanisms of socio-political engagement. While the latter continues to be vital, much of what will convey lasting change comes from those who lead by example, of which Wilson provides many rich accounts." Mark Unno, Professor of Buddhist Studies, Department Head of Religious Studies, University of Oregon