Basics of Jodo Shinshu


Grade Level: 7, 8, High School

Keywords: Jodo Shinshu


  • After this lesson, the student will be reminded of the basics of Jodo Shinshu



  • Make copies of Poll and Worksheet for each student
  • Make one copy of the Scenes


  1. Opening Gassho
  2. Welcome
  3. Poll
    1. Split class into 2. Space students apart.
    2. Remind them that there is no talking.
    3. 1 half gets the "Test", Other half gets the "Poll"
    4. Keep sheets overturned until ready.
    5. Give 5 minutes for the exercise.
    6. At end write down what they felt during the time.
    7. At end, reveal that the "Poll" and the "Test" were the same.
    8. Ask what they felt after the revelation.
  4. Lecture with worksheet
    1. Both Honen and Shinran believed that they lived in the age of Mappo - Era of the Degenerate Dharma.
    2. Jodo Shinshu is Mahayana and Pure Land.
      1. Mahayana believes in Boddhisatva and not necessarily monastic
      2. Pure Land/Amidism is a veneration of Amida Buddha, Buddha of infinite light and life
      3. Many Pure Land and other sects utter the Nembutsu "Namo Amida Butsu"
    3. Shinran believed in tariki - reliance on other power (power of Amida Buddha) as opposed to jiriki -self power to achieve enlightenment in this age of mappo.
    4. Unlike Jodo Shu, in Jodo Shinshu, the Nembutsu is an expression of Gratitude toward Amida Buddha. This makes it not jiriki nor an object of blind desire. It is invoked via Amida Buddha's compassion. Nembutsu is not a Buddhist practice and does not generate merit.
    5. When one recites the Nembutsu, it is through Amida's power and so it't Amida's call. This is why this is called the "Name that calls"
    6. Shinran also stated that the Pure Land actually exists in the midst of life, not after death.
    7. This awareness or awakening is called Shinjin
    8. Pure Land is thought to bring instant enlightenment
    9. Fancy rituals and need for donations is thought to be jiriki and non-reliance in tariki
    10. Shinjin develops over deep listening (monpo) over long period of time.
    11. Discuss and ask for questions. Not necessary to know all answers. Say you will bring up to the minister.
  5. Play Acting
    1. Each scenario presents a situation.
    2. Splt up the class to 3 or 4 to present each scene
    3. First scenes
      1. Wnat to go to friend's house to play video games
      2. You saw a friend steal from a store
      3. Your mother is angry at you for not taking out the garbage
    4. Write your own scenes
      1. Faith/Shinjin
      2. Mindfullness
      3. Gratitude
  6. Discussion
  7. Closing Gassho


  • Ask question during the discussion to gauge awareness.
  • Make sure to ask everyone.




Mas Nishimura, dot com, San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin, 2015