When Toshikazu Arai was studying Shinran Shōnin’s teachings at Ryukoku University in 1982, Professor Dr. Hisao Zuio Inagaki suggested he translate Shinran’s “Saihō-Shinan-shō” into English.
“Saihō-Shinan-shō” is a compilation of the words and deeds of Shinran’s teacher, Hōnen Shōnin (1133-1212). While some of Hōnen’s disciples founded their own schools of Pure Land Buddhism, Shinran’s teachings inspired millions of seekers and developed into the largest Buddhist school in Japan.
“The Path to the Pure Land: A Translation of and Commentary on Shinran’s Saihō-Shinan-shō” was published in 2021 by the American Buddhist Study Center, and is the first English translation of this Shin Buddhist classic. Dr. Arai’s translation presents a wealth of Hōnen’s writings. It goes deep into what Hōnen taught through lectures and letters, with his emphasis on shinjin and the Nembutsu. We also learn about heretical views that misrepresented Hōnen’s teachings.
Although the book is about Hōnen’s teachings, Dr. Arai reminds us that it is Shinran’s writing, revealing his own realization at age 85. “Outwardly it looks like a collection of Hōnen’s words and deeds, but under these surface descriptions, we feel Shinran li