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A beautifully written introduction to Pure Land Buddhism, this book is both easy to read and full of poetry. One to return to…
“Why did [Shakyamuni] focus on the negative aspects of life? Because he understood that coming to terms with suffering, disappointment and anguish was critical to uncovering its underlying meaning. By helping us to see the implications of viewing life as unsatisfying, Shakyamuni could then clear the way to introduce his more positive teaching about wisdom, compassion, enlightenment and Nirvana.” John Paraskevopoulos, p2
“In recognising that there is more to our existence than suffering and disappointment, we can awaken to a higher perspective from which we are able to integrate the effects of our perturbing worldly predicaments. Furthermore, a deep appreciation of the impermanence of life and the illusory nature of our ego goes a long way towards blunting the impact of many a blow that could otherwise cause us deep consternation. We are not suggesting that our human responses to life’s challenges are in any way diluted; indeed, they are fortified by the strength and courage we receive from having our lives firmly embedded in the security, certainty and serenity that comes with being embraced, just as we are, by Amida Buddha.” (p53)
“Call of the Infinite is a concise and clear introduction to the major concepts of Shin Buddhism, a tradition that has received scant attention from those with a Western background. The book is likely to stir a deeper interest in this path amidst the diversity of spiritual perspectives and alternatives available today. Its realistic appraisal of our human condition is perceptive and the author is able to unpack dimensions of spiritual reality with skill, while keeping his feet firmly planted in earthly realism. While this book represents a serious intellectual exploration, it remains very readable and has much to offer the genuine seeker.”
Emeritus Professor Alfred Bloom, University of Hawaii
“Buddhism is much more diverse and multifaceted than many people think. Shin (‘Pure Land’) Buddhism manages to be, simultaneously, one of the most widely practised forms of this tradition (the largest Buddhist school in Japan) and the least understood in the West. From the beginning, Shin was a highly sophisticated lay form of Buddhism. This thoughtful short outline of its spirituality, while disclaiming academic originality, is distinguished by its clarity, enthusiasm and indeed its high level of accuracy. Written by a Shin priest, it shows very well why this form of Buddhism – real Buddhism, a form of Buddhism very different from the many popular images of it current in the West – might appeal to modern seekers who find themselves depressed and frustrated with the decadent and sterile world around them. It also suggests why Shin Buddhism has so much to offer in fruitful dialogue and collaboration with its Christian brothers and sisters. Paraskevopoulos’ little book is a delightful read, ‘adorned with the fragrance of light’ to quote a Buddhist text. It is highly recommended.”
Professor Paul Williams
Co-director, Centre for Buddhist Studies, University of Bristol
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