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Gutoku Shinran (1173-1263) is one of Japan’s most creative and influential thinkers. He is the (posthumous) founder of what ultimately became Jōdo Shinshū, better known today as Shin Buddhism, the most widely practiced form of Buddhism in Japan. Despite this, his work has not received the global attention of other historical Japanese philosophical figures such as Kūkai (774-835) or Dōgen (1200-1253). The relationships of influence between Shin Buddhism in general—or Shinran’s work more specifically—and earlier Chinese sources, especially non-Buddhist sources, are complex, rarely examined in much detail, and often buried under layers of interpretive difficulties, made all the more challenging for contemporary Anglophone scholars by the ways in which Shin Buddhism has been marginalized in much of the philosophical scholarship on East Asian traditions. Exploring his work through a lens of connection to the broader Chinese philosophical landscape reveals new insights, both for our understanding of Shinran’s philosophical project, and for contemporary comparative engagement across East Asian traditions, helping to resituate Shinran as a globally significant philosopher.
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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.