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The year 1998 was when the Hompa (Nishi) Hongwanji organization celebrated the 500th year since the passing of Master Rennyo(1415 - 1499 AD), the 8th Spiritual Leader of the Hongwanji.
Master Rennyo made the Hongwanji what it is today. That is why various titles have been given to him, including “master who restored (the Hongwanji)” (ch ukoshonin) and “master who revived (the Hongwanji)” (saikoshonin).
I believe Master Rennyo correctly received the teaching of the Venerable Master Shinran (1173 - 1262 AD), the founder of our Jodo-Shinshu teaching, and explained it so the people of his time could understand it. The Jodo-Shinshu teachings spread throughout Japan as widely as it did solely because of Master Rennyo’s efforts. I believe the titles, “master who restored (the Hongwanji)” and “master who revived (the Hongwanji)” are extremely suitable for Master Rennyo.
Unfortunately, however, some, including scholars, revile Master Rennyo as having twisted the Venerable Master Shinran’s teachings. I cannot help but believe that such people donot understand the most important aspectof the Venerable Master Shinran’s teaching.
In this book I will compare the Venerable Master Shinran’s and Master Rennyo’s teachings, and explain what I believe are the most important aspects of Jodo-Shinshu.
Chapter one, “Misunderstandingsof Master Rennyo’s Teaching,” consistsof six sections:
As indicated above, in the first sectionof Chapterone, I take up the view of some that, while the Venerable Master Shinran had a “turning of the mind” (eshin,often referred to as “conversion” in English), Master Rennyo did not. Such scholars say Master Rennyo was born in a religious organization and did not experience a “turning of the mind.” They further say that he was not a pure religious leader and that religion was just a “business” for him.
In the second section, I take up the view that the Venerable Master Shinran’s shinjin and Master Rennyo’s anjin (these terms will be explained in that section) are different in nature, and that Master Rennyo taught a shinjin completely different from that taught by the Venerable Master.
In the third section, I take up the view that the Venerable Master Shinran emphasized this present world and life, while Master Rennyo emphasized the world after death.