Shin Buddhism in Modern Culture

Chapter 9 – Life as Story (Part 2)

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Multiple Choice Questions

  • 1. Shinran’s recognition of our evil natures is positive in the sense that it:
  • 2. Shinran was able to overcome the limits of traditional Mahayana teaching and practice by:
  • 3. Until Shinran, Buddhism for the most part remained a two-level religion: the monks had a higher status than laypeople. In Shinran’s teaching, such distinctions do not exist because:
  • 4. To the self-aware person, the Gutoku experience is:

Thought Questions

1. Based on what you have read in this chapter, do you think Shinran’s life and thought contain meaning for the present generation? In short, is his experience still relevant to the lives we lead today?

2. The author points out that Shinran’s emphasis on human sin and defilement may be a problem for modern people who are caught up in self-perfection and self-reliance. Do you agree? Why or why not?

3. How can Shinran’s recognition of our evil natures improve our relationships with others and help resolve conflict and misunderstanding?

4. The author says that “in effect, Shinran’s religion is a religion that attacks even religion.” What does he mean by this?

5. In what ways did Shinran overcome the limits of traditional Mahayana teaching?

6. Ours is a society that values self-reliance, self-confidence, and self-worth. It is a society that resists human weakness and tries to overcome limitations. Yet, Shinran’s life shows us that in weakness there may be strength. How is this possible? What implications would such a realization have on a society such as ours?