Book Review: “You Were Born For A Reason is a Solemn and Profound Book.”

You Were Born For A Reason contains the words of Master Shinran that clarify what the purpose of life is. Since this book has also been translated to Portuguese and Chinese, the wheel of Dharma is expanding in this world. Let us see how Western scholars of Buddhism perceive this resplendent development in the promulgation of Buddhism.

The English translation of You Were Born For A Reason could not have been done without the late Dr. Edward Seidensticker, who was an emeritus professor of Columbia University. Dr. Seidensticker was renowned as a top translator of Japanese literature, having translated and made known works such as Murasaki Shikibu’s The Tale of Genji and Yasunari Kawabata’s Snow Country. He visited the 2,000-Tatami- Mat Hall to listen to Buddhism several times, but he passed away in 2007.

The back cover of You Were Born For A Reason shows a quote by Dr. Seidensticker: “This book is a solemn and profound book.” As Dr. Seidensticker had predicted, the English-language version of You Were Born For A Reason has had a drastic impact on the way people see Pure Land Shin Buddhism as well as Buddhism in general.

Alfred Bloom, an emeritus professor of the University of Hawaii, said, “Shinran is one of the most significant teachers in the history of Buddhism and other religions.” When Dr. Bloom visited Japan after the World War ?, he encountered with the book Tannisho. He then resolved to devote his life to Pure Land Shin Buddhism.

In 1963, Dr. Bloom completed his doctorate thesis on “Shinran’s life and thought” at Harvard University. Dr. Bloom has been known as a pioneering professor of Pure Land Shin Buddhism in the English- speaking world.

Dr. Bloom says, “What I was amazed by was that You Were Born For A Reason is no more, no less than the teachings of Master Shinran. Master Shinran helped people find the deeper meaning to their lives in the embrace of Amida’s compassion. The wider dynamic and implication of his faith are relevant for today. One can use Rev. Takamori’s text to explore these meanings and open a new world of insight.”

Source: The Buddhist Village Times #56 | 2015, Book Review: “You Were Born For A Reason is a Solemn and Profound Book.”

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