The Special Features of Shinran's Pure Land Buddism in Japanese Buddhism

Japan Soai University Eiken Kobai

Japanese Buddhism may be divided into two schools. One is Shodomon (Jiriki Buddhism), and the other is Jodomon. (Tariki Buddhism). Shodomon is the way of attaining enlightenment in this world by performing religious practices through our own efforts (Jiriki). Jyodomon is the way of attaining enlightenment by being born in the Pure Land through the power of Amida's Primal Vow (Tariki).

In Japan, the Shodomon schools are Sanroshu, Jyojitushu, Kusyashu, Kegonshu, and Ritushu (Nara Buddhism); Tendaishu & Shingonshu (Heian Buddhism); Zenshu (Rinzai, Soutoshu, Obakushu) amd Nichirenshu (Kamakura Buddhism), and so on. The Jodomon schools are Jodoshu, Jodoshinshu (Shiran's teachings), Jishu (Kamakura Buddhism), and so on.

As you know, Honen insisted on devotion solely to the Nembutu (Senjyunenbutsu). Single practice of Nembutsu (Nembutsu ichigyo) was derived from Shan-tao's "for it is in accord with Buddha's vow"(jyunnhibutuganko) and "for this is based on the Buddha's Primal Vow"(ebutuhonngannko). Honen promulgated devotion solely to the Single Nembutsu and practice of Nembutsu (sennjyu Nembutsu ichigyou). Also, he discarded Shodomon and their practices. Regarding these doctrines of Honen , Jokei (Housoushu) and Koben (Kegonshu) in their books (Koufukujisojyo, Zarjyarin, and so on) objected that Honen's teachings were opposed to the intention of the Threefold Jodo Sutra. and to Syakuson and Shan-tao. on whom Honen said he relied solely as masters.

For Honen's disciples, refuting these objections was a very important issue. Shinran offered his original explanations. He saw among Amida Buddha's 48 vows, that some are "true" while others are "provisional" (Gankaisinnkejyaku), and "revealing the (truth) in the three sutras, implicitly and explicity" (sangyoonkenjaku). Among Honen's disciples, Shinran must be considered to have taken the most extreme view of "the power of Amida's Primal Vow(Taruki)," and thus he was the most faithful in upholding Honen's teaching. In addition, Shinran emphasised the salvation in the present. I think that this point is the most important one in the development of Japanese Pure Land Buddhism.
(The Journal of Korean Association for Buddhist Studies, may,2008. Donggk University<東 国大学>)