THE TEACHING OF JODO SHINSHU (SHIN BUDDHISM) The doctrine of Jodo Shinshu is based on the teaching of Shinran, though its essence is universal. This universal aspect derives from Shakyamuni Buddha (lit. the Awakened One), who lived some 2,500 years ago in India, and basically taught a path to self-awakening. Through this, one is able to become aware of the futility and suffering caused by one's actions and eventually come to truly appreciate life as it is. According to Buddhism, that that "self" we think we know is actually nothing but a dream created by ourselves out of our own desires. In order to realize this, the Buddha gave numerous discourses relating to timeless universal truths, which we call the Dharma. Shinran drew his greatest inspiration from The Larger Sutra of Eternal Life, which discusses the existence of Amida Buddha and the Pure Land. It was on the basis of this scripture's message
that the Buddhist doctrine took on a new meaning for Shinran as a path to the ultimate liberation for all living beings. In the following verse, he reflects upon the insight into his real self that resulted from his encounter with Shakyamuni's words. No one encountering the power of the innermost aspiration of Amida Will pass it by in vain It is thus that Shinran found the teaching of the Pure Land of Amida Buddha to be the true teaching of Shakyamuni Buddha.