A distinguished online panel of experts will examine “The Radical Other Power of Shinran” on Dec. 11.
“The Radical Other Power of Shinran (1173-1263): a Normative or an Outlier Position in Mahayana Buddhism?” is the second panel in the “Other Power in Buddhism” series. It will examine what many agree to be its most radical form, the one espoused by Shinran Shonin, the founder of Shin or Jodo Shinshu Buddhism.
It will be held from 5 to 8 p.m. (Pacific Standard Time) on Saturday, Dec. 11, or from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 12, Japan time. To register, go to: https://buddhism.arts.ubc.ca/2021/10/28/virtual-symposium-the-radical-other-power-of-shinran-1173-1263/
The panelists will include: IBS President Rev. Dr. David Matsumoto, University of British Columbia Associate Professor Jessica Main, UC Berkeley Professor Mark Blum, and Ohio State University Associate Professor Melissa Curley.
The moderator and topic presenter will be Rev. Dr. Kenneth Tanaka, Professor Emeritus, Musashino University, Tokyo.
The panel last year revealed that the Other Power dimension was quite prevalent in various traditions — not limited to Pure Land Buddhism — as a vital doctrine in Mahayana Buddhism in India, China, Korea, and Japan.
Shinran’s position has drawn critical assessment in the West. For example, a German scholar of Buddhism, Heinz Bechert, stated:
“Amida Buddhism has won a broad following throughout all of East Asia, primarily as a folk religion. … (Amidism) takes the ideas of the Buddha and, in a way, twists them into their opposite. The most radical spokesman for this approach is Shinran-Shōnin … .”
The panel participants believe there is much in this portrayal that needs to be examined and clarified in order to properly understand the full extent of Shinran’s position. For this, the panelists will examine some elements of the historical background that led to Shinran’s position as well as its manifestations in premodern and modern times.
Sponsors of the online event are the University of British Columbia and the International Association of Shin Buddhist Studies.