“Why We Live” Changes the History of the True Pureland Buddhism

Tokyo, Osaka, and Nagoya

At Master Shinran's Gotan-e—the celebration of Master Shinran's birthday—in May, many people paid their first visit to The 2000-Tatami-Mat Hall from afar as metropolitan areas such as Tokyo and Osaka. It was the question “why we live” written on a flyer or an advertisement that guided people to make their way to the Hall.

“Last November, the moment I opened up the newspaper, the phrase ?why we live' caught my eyes,” said Kiyoko Shimizu (72) of Tokyo. At that time, having lost her husband, whom she had been nursing, she was feeling a “void” in her heart and thinking about the meaning of life. Soon after she bought the book You Were Born For A Reason at a book store and wanted to learn about the reason to live.

After a while, she found the phrase “why we live” on a flyer in her mailbox and attended a meeting in Tokyo. It was there that she encountered the unforgettable words of Master Shinran.

“Amida's inconceivable Vow is a great ship that carries us across the sea that is difficult to cross.” (Teaching, Practice, Faith, Enlightenment )

“Amida's Vow is a great ship on which all are borne cheerfully and happily across life's sea of endless waves of tribulation. To board this ship is indeed the purpose of life.”

Impressed by this assertion and knowing the existence of such a wonderful world of the mind, she looked back on her life with tears running down her cheeks. Although she married into a family of the True Pureland School, she said “I didn't know anything about the teachings.” The Gotan-e event gave her the first opportunity to attend a lecture at The 2000-Tatami-Mat Hall.

Hidemi Komai (62), who also lives in Tokyo, had been interested in Buddhist teachings, but she said, “I had no idea which teaching was true.” Attracted by the phrase “why we live” on a flyer, she attended the study session with her friend, where the crucial matter of the afterlife—which she had never heard of—surprised her very much. Immediately, she attended Gotan-e and said with a smile, “Now I can learn the true teaching of Buddhism.”

A man in Osaka (80) became interested in the True Pureland School when he attended the funeral of his sister. However, no books gave him a clear understanding of the teachings and he was at a loss. Then, at the end of last year, he saw an advertisement and purchased some books, one of which was Unlocking Tannisho. “Master Shinran's teachings became very clear to me as if mists around me began to disappear.

This is the very teaching that I have been looking for. What if I had not noticed the ad….,” he said with a sigh of relief. In April he became a Shinran follower and attended the Gotan-e event. In Nagoya City, a woman in her forties had the bitter experience of losing her family. She was attracted to an advertisement, “Why do we live however painful our lives may be?” She purchased four of Takamori Sensei's books. At Gotan-e she smiled and said, “Since all attendees have one purpose in common, I soon made friends with others, even with those whom I met for the first time.”

Ten Sects of the True Pureland School Remain Silent

Ten sects of the True Pureland School including the East and West Hongwanji maintain silence. The books Petals of Shinran, Unlocking Tannisho, and You Were Born For A Reason have sold more than one million copies combined. The books show Master Shinran's words and explain the meanings of these words. This is in accordance with the true path that Shinran followers take. Four years and three months have passed since Unlocking Tannisho (in Japanese) was released. The fact that to date no refutation has been published tells that the history of the True Pureland School is at a turning point, where an “orthodox” school and a “heresy” are switching places with each other.

Source: The Buddhist Village Times #19 | 2012, “Why We Live” Changes the History of the True Pureland Buddhism

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