This book is written for contemporary people from a broad perspective. Its logic has no ambiguity. It boldly states Master Shinran’s teachings and instantly strikes a chord with ordinary people. Using excellent and convincing words, the book teaches us the path to eternal happiness through Amida Buddha’s Vow. The authors dig deep into the the real nature of human beings. Just as 2,500 years ago, when Shakyamuni Buddha lived, people today also are at a loss where to seek for the true, everlasting happiness. Even if we try to be happy by relying on social status, success or family, all such attempts will be in vain.
In the first part of this book, the authors reveal this solemn fact in an unforgettable style quoting contemporary phenomena. We cannot put the book down because the statements are candid as well as persuasive. In the second part, answers are given to the serious questions shown in the first part, and readers will know Master Shinran’s teachings.
What surprised me was the way the authors explain the distinctiveness of Master Shinran’s chief work, Teaching, Practice, Faith, Enlightenment. It is exhilarating to hear that two things are written in the book. If we are asked to summarize or translate Teaching, Practice, Faith, Enlightenment briefly, it is difficult to find the one superior to the second part of this book.
Reading this second part, many readers will know why we were born and their life will completely change. This book has a great impact on its readers as it will enable them to understand Jodo-Shin Buddhism.
“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 Ⅱ, 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, Australian Shin Buddhist Priest Praises You Were Born For A Reason
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Buddhist Village Times #56