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This paper was originally written for the XII Biennial International Association of Shin Buddhist Studies conference held in Tokyo, September 2005. It was subsequently published in the 2005 issue of The Pure Land.
Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to document, in brief, the creation of the Shin Buddhist Service Book currently in use in Buddhist Churches of America temples from the dual perspectives of history and ritual studies. This service book serves as a useful model for the complex way in which Buddhism made its way from Japan to the Americas and the many lines of influence back and forth across the Pacific. By placing the Service Book within not only its historical context but also within the liturgical or ritual context of American Shin communities, we can gain a deep appreciation of the rich and vibrant history of Shin Buddhism in the west. This history necessarily calls into question outmoded, Orientalist ideas about the development of American Buddhism.
© 2005 by Scott A. Mitchell