Back in August, I took a too-short trip to New York. On the plane, I had a copy of The Buddha’s Wish for the World to keep me company (and only now do I have the time to write about it). It’s a new book written by the Monshu Koshin Ohtani. “Monshu” is usually translated as “abbot,” in this case, the abbot of the Nishi Hongwanji, the head temple of the denomination of Shin Buddhism under which the Buddhist Churches of America falls. So, in a sense, he’s the head guy of our denomination. But “abbot,” of course, is a lousy word that does not quite capture the nuanced nature of this inherited position or its responsibilities both symbolic and administrative.
Be that as it may, the Monshu has written a cogent and accessible account of Shin Buddhism. The recurring theme is all about heightening our awareness of our inherent interconnectedness to the whole of the universe and, of course, gratitude. On the one hand, it’s a series of reflections on the spiritual path and the Buddha Dharma. And it’s filled with little bits of wisdom such as “If you never question what you are doing, the process of spiritual rebirth cannot begin.”