Ryukoku Lectures to Focus on Genshin’s ‘Ōjō-yōshū’ and Shinran

IBS honorably welcomes Professor Bunei Takada of the Department of Shin Buddhist Studies of Ryukoku University Graduate School for the 2022 Ryukoku Lectures from March 14-18.


His research covers the early Pure Land Buddhism presented by Genshin, and Hōnen and his disciples, and extends to Shinran and his writings. In the upcoming four lectures, Professor Takada will explain the intention of Genshin’s text in “Ōjō-yōshū — A Collection on the Essentials Concerning Birth,” and how Shinran Shonin comprehended Genshin’s message in the context of Pure Land Buddhism.


Master Genshin (942-1017), known as Eshin Sōzu on Mt. Hiei in Kyoto, was born in Yamato (current Nara prefecture) during the reign of Emperor Murakami. His mother was a devout Buddhist and sent Genshin to Mt. Hiei after her husband passed away.


Being exceptionally studious and intelligent, his lecture on the Lotus Sutra greatly impressed the emperor, and Genshin was appointed as a court lecturer when he was only 15 years old.


Genshin sent the royal gift to his mother that was received as an honorarium from the emperor. However, his mother was not pleased.


“I sent you to Mt. Hiei, wishing you will share the path of true enlightenment, not being flattered and looking for fame and return,” she said in “The Tale of Konjaku” (“Konjaku-monogatari”). “I thought you would become a bridge to connect ordinary people in this world and guide them to superior Nirvana.”


As Genshin reflected on his mother’s deep lament, he moved to the Yokawa area on Mt. Hiei where he zealously studied and practiced until he passed away.


“Ōjō-yōshū” is one of his famous texts, explaining how ordinary people could easily reach the supreme Nirvana through birth in Amida Buddha’s Pure Land. The text is quite lengthy with 10 chapters, starting with the vivid descriptions of various hells, which invites us to the Amida’s land of sukhavati. It is a complete contrast from the defiled samsara to the realm of peace and happiness.


Throughout his life, Genshin had maintained an outward appearance as a Tendai monk and scholar, and pursued the Nembutsu practice, which he thought was the sole path of religious liberation even before the last Dharma age arrived in Japan.


Shinran Shōnin selected Genshin as the sixth Pure Land Master, and highly appreciated his contribution by praising him in the wasan, “My eyes being hindered by blind passions, I cannot perceive the light that grasps me; Yet the great compassion, without tiring, Illuminates me always.”


Please join us in what promises to be an interesting lecture series on Genshin’s “Ōjō-yōshū.” Professor Takada will speak in Japanese, and the English translation will follow.


Register in advance for four lectures at this link:

https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAkduiqpjkoGdzrpIDx83sOWjao4WGfu0ly


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.



FYI

What: IBS presents 2022 Ryukoku Lectures with Ryukoku University Professor Bunei Takada on “Ōjōyōshū — A Collection on the Essentials Concerning Birth” and Shinran Shonin

When: 7:30 p.m. on March 14, 15, 17 and 18 (PST)

Details: “Ōjōyōshū — A Collection on the Essentials Concerning Birth” is the important scripture in the Shin Buddhist studies. The author was Genshin, one of the Seven Pure Land Masters selected by Shinran. This four-part lecture series is about two points: the intention of “Ōjōyōshū,” and how Shinran understood the text.

Register:

https://zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAkduiqpjkoGdzrpIDx83sOWjao4WGfu0ly

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.