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date: 22 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Shinran is widely recognized as one of the most original and seminal figures in the Japanese intellectual tradition. His importance in the Buddhist tradition turns on his insight into the recalcitrance of self-attachment even in religious discipline and on his self-reflective exploration of unenlightened, conditioned existence in vigorous engagement with the Buddhist path. These enable him to trace, from an existential perspective, the nonduality of the karmically created and the uncreated that is taught to characterize wisdom or reality in Mahayana tradition. The pivotal themes of his thought—self-will or “self-power” (jiriki), “calculative thinking” (hakarai), the linguisticality of human existence, “provisional” and “true” hermeneutical modes of Buddhist engagement, temporality, “naturalness” or the self-giving of reality (jinen), and “the attainment of awakening by the person who is evil” (akunin jōbutsu)—resonate with several concerns of recent Western thought.

Keywords: Shinran, Shin Buddhism, Pure Land Buddhism, Amida Buddha, jinen (naturalness), shinjin (entrustment-mindedness), nenbutsu (uttering the Buddha-Name), Other Power (tariki), Primal Vow (hongan), calculative thinking (hakarai)

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