Chapter 4

Shin Buddhism in Modern Culture

Chapter 4 – The Mahayana Background:  The Logic of Compassion

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Multiple Choice Questions

  • 1. Which of the following does *not* illustrate the idea of complete Universality of Salvation?
  • 2. The great teachers of the Kamakura period appealed to which of the following groups?
  • 3. In ancient India, Upanishadic mysticism undermined the aristocratic and priestly dominance of the religion of the Vedas by:
  • 4. Which of the following statements regarding early Buddhism is TRUE? It:
  • 5. With the development of Mahayana Buddhism, enlightenment and liberation became accessible to all. This trend is evident in the Mahayana concepts of:
  • 6. The trend to complete universality of salvation may be observed in the story of Boddhisattva Dharmakara. He vowed that he would:
  • 7. According to D.T. Suzuki, a great turning point in the evolution of Buddhist thought was marked by the development of the concept of:
  • 8. The concept of upaya or hoben, commonly called tactful means, is a central doctrine in Mahayana Buddhism because it:
  • 9. The story of the Dragon girl in the Lotus Sutra illustrates:
  • 10. Honen also rejected elitism by teaching that:
  • 11. Shinran gave deeper theological interpretation to the meaning of universal compassion by:
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Thought Questions

1. This chapter and the previous one have taken up the background of Mahayana Buddhism and its two basic perspectives. In what ways can a combination of the two — wisdom and compassion — be applied to the problems in religion and society that we face today?

2. We have seen how easily a religion such as Buddhism can become elitist. What are the forces that cause this tendency? Is elitism, in your opinion, present in Buddhism today? What can be done to make Buddhism available to all on a universal scale?

3. In your own words try to explain the concept of upaya, or hoben, commonly called Convenient Means. What is upaya and why is it such an important part of Mahayana Buddhist doctrine?

4. What do you think Honen was implying when he said that people who understand all the teachings of Shaka should behave like simple-minded folks?