Four Shin Buddhist thinkers reflect on their tradition’s encounter with modernity.
Cultivating Spirituality is a seminal anthology of Shin Buddhist thought, one that reflects this tradition's encounter with modernity. Shin (or Jodō Shinshū) is a popular form of Pure Land Buddhism, the most widely practiced form of Buddhism in Japan, but is only now becoming well known in the West. The lives of the four thinkers included in the book spanned the years 1863–1982, from the Meiji opening to the West to Japan's establishment as an industrialized democracy and world economic power. Kiyozawa Manshi, Soga Ryōjin, Kaneko Daiei, and Yasuda Rijin, all associated with Kyoto's Ōtani University, dealt with the spiritual concerns of a society undergoing great change. Their philosophical orientation known as "Seishinshugi" ("cultivating spirituality") provides a set of principles that prioritized personal, subjective experience as the basis for religious understanding.
In addition to providing access to work generally unavailable in English, this volume also includes both a contextualizing introduction and introductions to each figure included.
Mark L. Blum is Professor of Japanese at the University at Albany, State University of New York. He is the author of The Origins and Development of Pure Land Buddhism: A Study and Translation of Gyōnen's Jōdo Hōmon Genrushō and the coeditor (with Shin'ya Yasutomi) of Rennyo and the Roots of Modern Japanese Buddhism. Robert F. Rhodes is Professor of Buddhist Studies at Ōtani University.
"…the book is a compelling one … Though the modern world puts value on the material over the spiritual, no matter how much we have materially somehow nothing can ever satisfy us … It is because we can find no satisfaction in the material world that there is a perennial need for books like Cultivating Spirituality. In its pages we find pointed out a way beyond, whereby we can find the strength to truly live in this modern age." — Eastern Buddhist
"Buddhism, whether in Asia or the West, reveals itself to be a rich tapestry of diverse strands in which pioneers risked their standing and even their very lives to establish new pathways appropriate for their times and places. The editors … invite the reader to explore developments in Japanese Pure Land Buddhism as emblematic of this tradition of innovation." — Buddhadharma