Chapter 16

Shin Buddhism in Modern Culture

Chapter 16 – The Expression of Faith: Joy and Gratitude

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Multiple Choice Questions
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Thought Questions

1. In Jodo Shinshu what is the connection between faith, joy, and gratitude?

2. What is the difference between “happiness” in the modern sense of the word and “joy” in the religious sense?

3. In expressing the joy he experienced, Shinran wrote: “As my joy increases my feeling of indebtedness grows deeper.” To whom did Shinran feel indebted? And why? What effect do you think this feeling of indebtedness had on Shinran’s relationship with others?

4. The author notes that the institutions of Shin Buddhism rarely provide ways to express joy, gratitude, and the affirmation of life, either in worship or in forms of social community. Do you agree? Disagree? What has been your own experience in regard to this? What means do you think the institutions (temples) could provide for the creative and spontaneous expression of such joy and gratitude?

5. For the ordinary person religion is frequently thought of as being strictly moralistic — that is, it encourages the performance of good deeds and the avoidance of bad ones in order to attain salvation. Shinran’s view of religion was very different. How was his approach different?

6. How can the Shin Buddhist ethic of transformation as described by Yuienbo be applied to the psychological problems faced by people today?