the eshinni honen connection

Last month, Shin Buddhist scholar Dennis Hirota delivered the Ryukoku Lecture at the Institute of Buddhist Studies. Prof. Hirota is rather well known in both the academic and practitioner communities largely due to his translation work, much of which is used on a near daily basis in North American Shin Buddhist communities.

news and updates galore

First and foremost, my dear readers, it is the second Friday of the month which means you’re all being treated to a new episode of the DharmaRealm podcast. And not just any new episode — but the first episode recorded before a live studio audience!

Actually pulling this event off was pretty rewarding, I gotta say. Between you and me, we kind of threw it all together without much foresight (a consequence of a more-than-insanely-busy late summer, early autumn). Harry and I learned a lot from the experience, though and are looking forward to recording more stuff with an audience. And next time we’ll do it on a Saturday so more people can attend (and maybe I’ll look into live-streaming — but don’t hold your breath!). Apart from all that behind-the-scenes stuff, the content of this episode is, in my humble option, actually quite good! We were inspired by a question about the nature of the Pure Land, and to the extent this is the kind of question us Shin Buddhists get asked a lot, it was good to hash out our ideas. Harry’s perspective, that the idea of whether or not the Pure Land is really real and how that forces us to question the reality of our mundane world, is something worth considering. Needless to say, he blew my mind once or twice.

podcasts and other things

The new episode of the DharmaRealm is up (go listen! now!) in which we talk about American Shin Buddhist practice. One of the things we recognize is that the BCA is very much “family Buddhism.” This is a double-edged sword, of course. One the one hand, it acknowledges that people have families, they have kids and jobs and lives, and it can be very difficult to practice Buddhism. So the BCA creates a space that is extremely open and welcoming to anyone complete with Dharma Schools for the kids. But this can also be really difficult for the solitary practitioner. It can be hard to find your place in a century-old community where there are long-standing family networks if you yourself don’t have a family or pre-exisiting ties. It’s a real problem, and Harry and I certainly don’t solve the issue in this one episode, but I was excited to have a chance to talk about it regardless.