Archive for February, 2005

Corporate Greed: A Shin Ugly Perspective

Friday, February 25th, 2005

Though I know Jessie has entered a state of complete transcendence, this kind of news (below) is hard for me to read - harder than reading about natural disaster, as terrible as the recent Tsunami, and the more recent earthquake, are to hear about.

Why? Because here in THIS news is the human condition of selfishness - of greed - of dishonesty - writ large. (more…)

True Entrusting and True Nembutsu

Thursday, February 24th, 2005

In his great work, True Teaching, Practice and Realization of the Pure Land Way, Shinran quotes many, many teachers to make one critical point: (more…)

The Secret Genocide Archive

Wednesday, February 23rd, 2005

The Shin Ugly Blog now has readers from around the world.

I ask a favor of each and all of you: (more…)

The Easy Path to Buddhahood: Part 3 - Rely Completely on Amida Buddha

Monday, February 21st, 2005

In his letter “The Ease Of Rebirth, But The Scarcity Of Those Reborn”, Rennyo explains, in plainest language, Part 3 of the Easy Path to Buddhahood. (more…)

Blunt Man

Saturday, February 19th, 2005

To complete the three part discussion on The Easy Path to Buddhahood (see the menu for links to parts one and two), there are so many passages that I could quote from.

I’ve decided to choose a passage from an authentic Shin teacher from the 15th century named Rennyo. His writings have a lot to say to the Shin Buddhist community today. (more…)

Life Flies By

Saturday, February 19th, 2005

Life flies by and breaks our heart.
Our friends die. Things fall apart.

We run from what the mirror shows.
We act in ways we do not know. (more…)

Blog Navigation Tips - Etcetera

Friday, February 18th, 2005

The Shin Ugly Blog is meant to serve anyone who wants to hear the plain teaching of Shakyamuni Buddha and his disciple Shinran about suffering, and the end of suffering.

I recognize that not everyone is familiar with a blog (short for weblog) format. So here’s a brief navigation guide. (more…)

One Question Changes Countless Lives

Friday, February 18th, 2005

I am grateful to Ananda, beyond any words I can say - for seeing clearly - for listening deeply - and for asking ONE question of his cousin and teacher, Shakyamuni Buddha, one day on a hill called Vulture Peak.

Because of his question - and Shakyamuni’s answer - and Shinran’s true teaching - my beloved Jessie has ended her countless births into lives of endless suffering at last. She lives now as a True Buddha - and soon enough I will too.

Shakyamuni Buddha invites you each and all to join us - whether you’re old or young, smart or dumb, Buddhist or non-Buddhist. None of it matters in the least.

Here’s the backstory: (more…)

Stripping Out Learned Biases

Thursday, February 17th, 2005

I’ve been having a wonderful dharma dialogue with a Shin Buddhist friend named John.

It didn’t start out so wonderfully. In fact, it was almost an abortion right from the start. (more…)

Ananda’s Request

Wednesday, February 16th, 2005

The Larger Pure Land Sutra tells us that after Buddha Shakyamuni taught the crowd at Vulture Peak about Amida Buddha and His Pure Land, his cousin and disciple Ananda made a request. (more…)

What Shoren Chooses to Believe

Tuesday, February 15th, 2005

Shoren: Thank you Paul.

I’ve wanted someone to simply explain who Amida is and not use terms like mythological, or archetype.

I choose to believe he is real and present in my life.

Deepest Gassho to you for this. (more…)

Nagarjuna on Amida and His Pure Land

Tuesday, February 15th, 2005

In his great work, True Teaching, Practice and Realization of the Pure Land Way, Shinran answered critics within Buddhism - particularly scholars - who thought his teaching of no practice except simple faith in Amida was not Buddhism at all.

Those scholars were experts on the Path of the Sages. For them, the teachings of Nagarjuna on emptiness (sunyata) were critical as they sought to end their own suffering and become Buddhas at last. (more…)

A Good Teacher of the Dharma

Monday, February 14th, 2005

You might ask: Is an accurate teacher important to the transmission of SHINJIN - the state of TRUE ENTRUSTING that leads to the end of suffering at last?

No, it’s CRITICAL.

That was the opinion of Rennyo, called “The Restorer”, because he restored Shinran’s SHIN UGLY teaching to a Shin Buddhist community that had lost it’s way.

Let’s listen to what he said: (more…)

Who Is Amida Buddha?

Sunday, February 13th, 2005

Part 1 of the Easy Path to Buddhahood is all about awakening our aspiration to end our suffering once and for all and become enlightened beings – True Buddhas - at last.

With that primal aspiration alive in me, I became ready to listen to Shakyamuni Buddha not only as a great teacher, but as the “World Turner” – the last TRUE Buddha of this world. As part of that listening, I was ready to hear how Shakyamuni Buddha manifested an energetic field unlike that of any other being.

As I listened, I was moved by the stories of countless men and women who encountered him.

I read how the energetic power of his Buddha-field multipled their sincere efforts, and enabled them to come to liberation, at last.

I read how scholars and sages, serial killers and mentally retarded people, and many plain people from all walks of life were able to use the many and various practices Buddha taught to move from the near shore of utter sleep to the far shore of full awakening. (more…)

What Attitude? What Type of Person?

Friday, February 11th, 2005

Rennyo is called “The Restorer” because he blew away the dust that had obscured Shinran’s SHIN UGLY teaching after several hundred years.

Here’s a Q&A he did with a sincere inquirer. (more…)

Shinran’s Great Concern: Not Religious Dialogue, but Amida’s Salvation

Thursday, February 10th, 2005

I promised you I would get to your earlier question/comment, and I just did, below. (more…)

What’s the Difference?

Thursday, February 10th, 2005

fogueira: What is the difference between Shinran’s teaching and “die on the cushion”?


The long answer to your question is coming up in Part 3 of “The Easy Path To Buddhahood”, my friend. Bear with me as I write and then proof it. It might take a couple of days.

Here’s a short answer - a dharma snack to tide you over until the full meal is served: (more…)

Professor Eiken Kobai - an Accurate Teacher of Shin Buddhism

Thursday, February 10th, 2005

I’ve looked at a lot of what’s available on the net, and given the name “Shin Buddhism” or “Jodo Shinshu”.

The very best resource I have found is a Professor in Japan named Eiken Kobai. You can access his teaching from the link in the “resources” section of links.

Here’s his brief bio from his website: (more…)

Embraced, Never To Be Forsaken

Wednesday, February 9th, 2005

Here is more of Professor Eiken Kobai’s accurate transmission of Shinran’s teaching, in detail, with lots of references. As you read it, you’ll see that for Shinran, it’s all about becoming a person of SHINJIN - TRUE ENTRUSTING.

For an uneducated person like me, it is a great gift to have access to Kobai’s work, as I attempt to explain this most powerful and effective path to the END of suffering to others.

Shinran Shonin stated that the salvation of “being embraced, never to be forsaken” (sesshu fusha) comes from being in the “rightly-established state” (shojoju). (more…)

The In-Between State

Wednesday, February 9th, 2005

Sometimes, I have found, people step forward to engage in a profound dharma dialogue - though intially they don’t actually KNOW they are stepping forward, but rather often think they are stepping backward - away from authentic engagement and deep listening.

In such a state, I’ve observed and experienced how people can throw a series of intellectual punches - whether from inside the Buddha-dharma, or from some other metaphysical perspective: pow, pow, bam, bam, BAM. (more…)

Silent Buddha, Naked Emperor, Brash Little Boy

Tuesday, February 8th, 2005

Clara comments (in part):

I understand your position. Ending suffering the way you have found practical: Shinran’s doctrine, Shin.

What I question is how you can touch your audience, your readers, unless they are already Buddists and -like you were once - tired of not getting liberation from walking the self-power paths.

How can a non Buddhist (reader) can relate to your words…even a happy Zennist or Vajrayanist or Theravadin, who is still far from giving up?.

You may say that these are not relevant questions because karma rules who is to approach Shin and who is not. But I say that karma does not operate in the void, but through all events, like asking and answering such kind of questions.


Hi Clara -

The key to your question above is in your asking how someone who is far from giving up on their path (buddhist or not), and happy in what they are doing, will relate to Shinran’s plain talk.

Often enough Buddha would answer the endless questions of inquirers with what is described as “Noble Silence”. Understanding WHY he did so will answer YOUR questions, I believe, better than anything I could say. (more…)

How Is Entrance Into The Single Gate of Easy Practice Possible?

Tuesday, February 8th, 2005

Clara: it is important to teach Shin from an interreligious perspective, or people, even Buddhists, will easily skip this Dharma gate.


I accept that this is your belief, Clara. I decided to start this blog because I have a different belief(more…)

Two Rivers and a White Path

Tuesday, February 8th, 2005

Two Rivers and a White Path is Shan-tao’s parable of the path of birth into the Pure Land. It is set forth in his Commentary on the Contemplation Sutra as part of his exposition of the sutra passage: (more…)

Lamenting Divergences

Monday, February 7th, 2005

Both before and after I entrusted myself to Amida’s Primal Vow, I spent a lot of time looking on the net for instruction that was in accord with Shinran’s Teaching.

In all my looking (and I did a bunch) I found precious little that lined up with the plain sense of what I had read in Shinran’s Collected Works, and a lot of teachings that were supposed to be Shin Buddhism, but were in fact something else. (more…)

Of Impasses and Tea

Sunday, February 6th, 2005

I’ve noticed, over several years, how easily other Buddhists dismiss out of hand this most simple, most precious teaching of Shakyamuni Buddha, with it’s promise of an EASY, guaranteed path to Buddhahood - the end of suffering at last.

Such easy dismissal is an easy mistake to make. (more…)

Salvation in the Present

Friday, February 4th, 2005

This is teaching from Professor Eiken Kobai - a Japanese Shin Scholar of the highest rank.

His writing confirms what I came to understand by my own layman’s reading of Shakyamuni Buddha and his disciple Shinran in translation - and now share as SHIN UGLY - Shinran’s plain teaching in plain language for plain people about how Amida Buddha’s great compassion works to end our suffering once and for all. (more…)

Plain Talking With Will

Thursday, February 3rd, 2005

Paul, I wanted to encourage you about this blog. The way you have put the teaching into “plain talk” is amazing.

I wholeheartedly agree with you. It is sometimes very hard for westerners (such as me) to understand the Teachings of Buddha, given our standard “westernized” upbringing. (more…)

The Easy Path to Buddhahood: Part 2 - Acknowledge Your Inability

Thursday, February 3rd, 2005

To aspire to become a True Buddha – a being who is totally free of suffering – totally enlightened – may seem like an absurdly impossible goal, especially if you have never heard Buddha’s teaching before.

You can lay aside your worries here, if you have them. (more…)

Are You Still Suffering?

Wednesday, February 2nd, 2005

fogueria: Just clarifying (sorry :)) once again –

you are still suffering, correct, at this point in time?


If you are talking about my personal sense of grief and anguish over Jessie’s death (more…)

A Car Crash (for Clara)

Tuesday, February 1st, 2005

Paul: Is there any way for you, Clara, to end your endless cycle of births and deaths and become a TRUE BUDDHA - and ENTIRELY FREE BEING at last - by any practice whatsoever, in any religion at all, including Buddhism?


Clara: No. The way is not for “me”, “Clara”. The way *is*, and “Clara” is an event within it. I am not theorizing. This is a plain statement. The way is not for any “me”. Any “me” belongs to the way. Only the way is. That is to say, the Universal. [Amida.] [You-Name-It.] All taken care. One Power only. Not two.


Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Clara. Here’s my honest response to it (more…)