UGLY means plain talk, in plain English, about what Buddha called TOPIC A - the most important in the world.
For Buddha, that topic is suffering, and the end of suffering.
YOUR suffering, MY suffering, and OUR suffering - the macro view (of the world’s suffering), and the micro view (of our individual suffering) - with the dots all connected by Buddha’s singular, profound understanding.
SHIN means “Shin Buddhism”, also known as “Jodo Shinshu” or “True Pure Land Buddhism”. It’s the most important teaching about awakening you will EVER hear - and the only one that will actually WORK for you to end your suffering COMPLETELY, once and for all.
Not just REDUCING suffering - merely feeling better - but ENDING suffering. In your life, in my life, in our lives - once and for all.
If that’s important to you, you’ve come to the right place.
THE GUARANTEED PATH TO COMPLETE FREEDOM
If you are willing to acknowledge BOTH your primal desire for awakening (or enlightenment or Buddhahood - pick your own word), AND your inability to fulfill this deepest yearning - Buddha offers you a straightforward, GUARANTEED pathway.
That pathway is the teaching (dharma) of Shin Buddhism.
I found Shin Buddhism by accident, after 30 years “on the path” - the last several as a Buddhist. The Buddhist practices of meditation and insight, based on the principles of wisdom and compasssion, worked - to some degree - to reduce my experience of suffering, and increase my serenity by uncoupling some of my deepest attachments.
But - during a profound crisis, I found that nothing worked at all.
I wanted MORE.
I wanted more because Buddha promised not just a reduction in suffering, but the END of suffering - true cessation - called nirvana in the original language Buddha spoke.
As Buddha explained it, and lived it, this wasn’t some spaced out bliss state of someone unable to function.
Rather, it is the natural state of one in whom the constant push and pull of cravings and aversions has been stopped, once and for all.
It is the natural state of one in whom egotism, of any kind, is gone - once and for all.
THAT is what I wanted.
If you are interested in full awakening, and complete freedom, you are right to want NO LESS.
Here’s what I saw: even though clearly many people WANT such nirvana - such cessation from suffering - I couldn’t find a single Buddhist on the planet who has arrived at that blessed destination.
And not a single “new age” person either.
In fact, not a single person of any persuasion - or no persuasion at all.
Worse yet - I can’t even find ONE person who can provide an ETA (that’s estimated time of arrival, for those of you who don’t do acronyms) - except for the scoundrels and liars who live like parasites off of the fears, hopes and dreams of others who are seeking.
Not one person - and that would include YOUR favorite honest spiritual mentor, if you have one.
And then I met a man named Shinran.
Shinran explained WHY I couldn’t find a Buddha here and now.
More than that, he showed me the way to end my suffering once and for all - and become a Buddha after countless lives of re-birth as a suffering being that I cannot even see - and this one life of suffering that I can.
But Shinran lived a long ago, in a land far, far away.
Sadly (and predictably) his simple, and profound teaching has been buried under 8 centuries of dead clerical ritualism, and scholarly gibberish.
Sadly (and predictably), the internet is full of Shin Buddhist teachers who don’t teach the simple, profound dharma Shinran taught, even though they claim to be Shinran’s spiritual children.
And sadly (and predictably), when I visited the local Shin temple, I found beautiful Japanese aesthetics and religious symbolism side by side with rampant confusion among the members. So I didn’t go back.
ENTER THE SHIN UGLY BLOG
This blog is one person’s honest attempt to fix that by sharing, in plain language, Shinran’s plain and unadorned message - original Shin Buddhism - to anyone who is ready to hear it on it’s own terms.
That’s what SHIN UGLY is - no frills, no wabi-sabi (japanese aesthetics), no incomprehensible mysticism, no scholarly kanoodling.
Why? So that someone like me (you, perhaps) can have an REAL opportunity to hear this dharma - and respond to it - if it speaks deeply to you.
That’s what Shinran did, and his teacher Honen, and his follower Rennyo. Plain talk, for plain people, to show how to end suffering once and for all. They did it, in their day, in their language. I’m doing it, in my day, in mine.