No man is an island,
Entire of itself.
Each is a piece of the continent,
A part of the main.
If a clod be washed away by the sea,
Europe is the less.
As well as if a promontory were.
As well as if a manor of thine own
Or of thine friend’s were.
Each man’s death diminishes me,
For I am involved in mankind.
Therefore, send not to know
For whom the bell tolls,
It tolls for thee.
"The true contemplative is not one who prepares his mind for a particular message that he wants or expects to hear, but is one who remains empty because he knows that he can never expect to anticipate the words that will transform his darkness into light.
He does not even anticipate a special kind of transformation. He does not demand light instead of darkness. He waits on the Word of God in silence, and, when he is “answered,” it is not so much by a word that bursts into his silence. It is by his silence itself, suddenly, inexplicably revealing itself to him as a word of great power, full of the voice of God."
— Thomas Merton, from ‘The Climate of Monastic Prayer’ (via noornalini)
"By respect for life we become religious in a way that is elementary, profound and alive."
— Albert Schweitzer
"Shinran’s great insight was that we cannot conquer the self by the self. Some kind of external agency is required: (a) to help us to shed light on our ego as it really is in all its petty and baneful guises; and (b) to enable us to subdue the small ‘self’ with a view to realising the Great Self by awakening to Amida’s light."
— John Paraskevopoulos; “The call of the Infinite”, 2009
"It is time we discarded the tired view of Buddhism as a dry and forensic rationalism , lacking in warmth and devotion … By hearing the call of Amida Buddha we become awakened to true reality and its unfathomable working … to live a life that dances jubilantly in the resplendent light of the Infinite"
— John Paraskevopoulos concludes his monograph on Shin Buddhism, “The Call of the Infinite”;2009
"… the mind and heart of man preceded knowledge and wisdom…"
— "The Way of the Pilgrim", p.66
"The lamps are different, but the light is the same."
“I believe that the traditional doctrine of Shin Buddhism must be reexamined, and in its place a new teaching must be formulated,” declares Takamaro Shigaraki in Heart of the Shin Buddhist Path: A Life of Awakening (Wisdom Publications, March 2013, $16.95, paper, 184 pp.). A philosopher and one of Japan’s leading Shin scholars, Shigaraki is known for his modern, existentialist approach to Shinran’s ancient teachings. The book is his attempt to divorce Shin Buddhism from the “abstract and sectarian doctrine” of the Japanese religious establishment and reassert it as a vital, relevant path of practice for today’s spiritual seekers. Shigaraki argues against dualistic, theistic understandings of Shin, particularly in the West, that conflate Shin and Christianity, the Pure Land and Heaven, and Amida Buddha and the Judeo-Christian God. He and his translator, David Matsumoto, eschew traditional translations of Japanese words—“faith” or “belief” for shinjin, for example—that feed false impressions of Shin Buddhism as a faith-based tradition. Instead, they leave shinjin, nembutsu, and other commonly misunderstood words untranslated, relying on the text as a whole to elucidate their meanings. Shigaraki also invokes Buddhist scholars like Dogen, Nagarjuna, and D.T. Suzuki to draw parallels between Shin and non-dual Japanese Buddhist traditions, especially Zen. Shigaraki’s fresh perspective on Shinran’s teachings is bound to spark renewed interest in Pure Land Buddhism, and he takes great care to explain difficult concepts. Still, those without some grounding in Shin will likely find Heart of the Shin Buddhist Path slow going.”
From Tricycle Magazine, summer 2013