About the Potential of true and real Shinjin in the World of the
twenty-first Century

                    Eiken Kobai  Soai University

In Hymns of the Dharma-Ages, Shinran says,

"Entrusting ourselves to the inconceivable Buddha-wisdom
Is taught to be the cause of birth in the fulfilled land.
Realization of shinjin, which is the true cause,
Is among all difficulties even more difficult."@

Shinran says that Shinjin is the true cause of birth in the fulfilled
land (Pure Land).

And he says in Notes on Once-calling and Many-calling,"Shinjin is hearing the Vow of the Tathagata and being free of doubt."A

This means, Shinjin is "Being free of doubt for the Vow". I have
always thought that it is most important to preach this Shinjin.
However, in and outside of Japan in recent years, people have come to
say this meaning of Shinjin is not sufficient. The opinion that it is also necessary to think about ethics and social issues has become stronger.

About this, I described my thoughts on a website recently. Many
people replied in agreement, including an American, Paul Roberts in
his "Shin Ugly Blog" at http://www.shinuglyblog.com/blog/ and at the True Shin-Buddhism Yahoo Group at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/true_shin_buddhism/
This group was founded on June 13, 2006, and has 50 members as of May 1, 2009.
(Now there are 54 members, in fact)
There was also a positive response from a Romanian, Josho Adrian at AMIDA-JI RETREAT TEMPLE ROMANIA, with a website at http://amida-ji-retreat-temple-romania.blogspot.com/

(I didn't write their names in this paper. But I want to write to mention two other members of the True Shin-buddhism Yahoo group, Richard st Clair and Philip Miller. They have
posted many times recently on how Shinjin is the most important thing.)
Comments from people such as these have helped strengthen my belief that that there has been no mistake in my thinking.

For example, Paul Roberts said:
"In my view, Eiken Kobai is the foremost Shin Buddhist teacher of
TRUE Shin Buddhism in the world today. He is absolutely committed to sharing
Shinran's Rennyo's Dharma Teaching AS IT IS - without adding or
subtracting anything from the pristine Dharma teaching of our primal teachers.
(Posted on ShinUfgly Blog on September 18th, 2007)

A new True Shin-Buddhism group member, "rayshepard3," wrote to Paul:
"I have been practicing Shin Buddhism for 6 years, solo (sorry to
say), as there are no nearby centers. Amida has proven to be a Great
One, indispensable."

And Paul replied:
"Welcome, Ray. We're happy to have you joining us.

Because there are so few Shin Buddhist Sanghas, many of us are in the same
situation as you.

My teacher, Eiken Kobai Sensei, had a most cogent practical
explanation of what the Triple Gem is all about: The purpose of the SANGHA is to teach the DHARMA that teaches us how to become BUDDHAS. That's the vision of this online Sangha. We focus, as Master Shinran and Master Rennyo did, on teaching the Sangha the Dharma as they understood and taught it, with the same expectation they had: Those who listen deeply to this Dharma will
be brought by Amida Buddha to a state of SHINJIN - or saving faith. The person
of SHINJIN, who entrusts himself or herself to Amida Buddha after hearing
the teaching, will become a Buddha at the end of this life time.

So - the single rule we have here is that we would measure our
opinions about the Dharma by the plumbline of the clear and unambiguous teachings of
our Dharma masters. As you have probably read THE TANNISHO by Yuien-Bo, you know how
important it is not to allow deviations from the True Teaching to confuse and
distract us in our sincere attempts to listen deeply to the Dharma.

Please feel free to introduce yourself, ask questions or make any comments at any time.



(Posted on the True Shin-Buddhism Yahoo Group on April 29, 2009)

Also, Josho Adrian posted the following from Romania:

"After Kobai Sensei made that clear statement {about SHINJIN} at the 15th European Shinshu ConferenceB, almost everybody was astonished and some, the chairman
also, tried to reduce the impact of his statement, by saying that 'there is
room also for different interpretations, etc', but in my opinion, there is
no room for any other interpretations at all. In our school should be room
and space only for the teaching we can find in the words of the sutras and
the commentaries of Master Shinran and Rennyo. And in these sacred writings
Amida is described as a real Buddha, manifesting a form and a Name in
order to save ordinary sentient beings. We have the explanations of the The
Three Buddha bodies in the Trikaya doctrine and other explanations of our
Masters, and I think that we should not deviate from these explanations and
invent our own opinions and ideas.

Who are we to modify the teachings left to us by our Masters? Do we
think we are like them? The teaching is a medicine made by Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and Masters and is given to sick people like us to take it exactly as it was prescribed. How can a sick person, an unenlightened person, be better than a doctor or an Enlightened One, and modify the medicine?

Are all these false modern teachers and people who support such false
views as Amida being a fictional character, already Enlightened? Are they
Buddhas, Bodhisattvas or the same with Shinran and Rennyo?
On what authority can they modify the sacred teaching, the medicine
given to us by the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and our Masters? My opinion is that we should be more concentrated on learning the sacred words of our teaching, humbly letting ourselves be guided by them, and stop changing them to accommodate with our changing minds.

Those who say that Amida is a symbol, a myth, a metaphor or a
fictional character don't have the experience of salvation and are not teaching the true Jodo Shinshu teaching, but their own ideas and opinions. How can one rely and entrust to a symbol or a fictional character and achieve
something by it? Only to the real and living Amida Buddha (in his transcendental or sambhogakaya form) can we entrust and be sure of our birth in the Pure

I urge again my fellow practitioners and nembutsu friends to entrust
only in the words of the sutras and commentaries of our Masters, Shinran and
Rennyo and not in the intellectual bubble of people who lack shinjin and are
more interested in spreading their own ideas than the actual teaching.
Those people are false teachers and may their false opinions never
enter my country, but disappear like dust in the wind.

Namo Amida Butsu"

(From AMIDA-JI RETREAT TEMPLE ROMANIA, Wednesday, September 10, 2008, entitled

Also by Josho Adrian, from his "About Tannisho":

"He {Shiran Shonin} was respectful to his Master and was aware how much
knowledge of Buddhist scriptures and wisdom he posessed, but at the same
time he knew that Amida makes no difference in His saving activity, asking
no special quality from those He saves. The message of the Primal Vow was
clear to him: those who entrust in Amida, say His Name and wish to be born in
His Pure Land, will go there. Nothing more is needed, no mentioning of
special knowledge or wisdom can be found in the Primal Vow. Just entrust in Amida and let Him take you to His Pure Land where you yourself will become a Buddha.

This simple faith which was itself caused by Amida to appear in our
hearts is the only one that will make us be born in the Pure Land and become
Buddhas. This simple faith makes us equal with Honen, Nagarjuna,
Vasubandhu, Shan-tao and all the great Buddhist Masters who entrusted in Amida
Buddha. We don't have their knowledge and wisdom, but we have the same simple
faith (shinjin) through which we go in the same Pure Land like them."

(At AMIDA-JI RETREAT TEMPLE ROMANIA, Sunday, February 22, 2009
Comentary on the Postscript of Tannisho (part2) - "Our shinjin and
shinjin of the great Masters is the same.")

In conclusion, I think I can confidently say that,
from opinions such as those expressed by Paul Roberts and Josho Adrian, we can see that there are European and American Shin-Buddhists who think, as I do, that Shinjin is the most important thing to believe in.


1. The Collected Works of Shinran. Jodo Shinshu Hongwangi-ha, p. 410
2. The Collected Works of Shinran. Jodo Shinshu Hongwangi-ha, p. 474
3,「Establishing Shinjin: the Premise of Peace and Tranquility」
(Fifteenth European Shin conference in the town of Bad Reichenhall, Germany,26,8,2008)

Conference theme: Shin Buddhism in the World of the Twenty-first Century -Challenges and Potential-]