Book Review: Buddha’s Wish For The World
“Buddha’s Wish For The World” by Monshu Koshin Ohtani
Published by American Buddhist Studies Press
This book was my first introduction to Shin Buddhism, which all together, didn’t seem very much different from the other Buddhist schools I have read about and studied. The major difference is the belief that after leaving this existence, we are brought to another plane of existence known as the Pure Land. I am still a newbie on the Pure Land idea, so I can’t say too much about it. I do know that I enjoyed this idea, that there are no need for precepts, we are always bound to break them whether we mean to or not. It’s the constant awareness to not act upon the things we are vowing not to engage in that seem to be of more importance than the vow itself. Maybe I am misunderstanding though.
I like the way the book is broken down in chapters specifically detailing areas in question such as impermanence, dealing with anger, where we come from and more. There are specific directions given on how to change the ways we are accustomed to thinking in a way that not only benefit us but those we encounter on a daily basis.
I really enjoyed the book because it not only taught me about the tradition of Shin Buddhism but also brought to light the importance of values this form has picked up based on its geographical origins. Specifically, the importance of family and surrounding oneself with family. Not only considering our direct family, but all of humanity as one big family.
“Buddha’s Wish…” is not an overly technical book, it is written simply enough that the reader can enjoy the simpleness and come away with more than that. I know that after reading Monshu’s book I am very interested in reading and learning more about this tradition.
Overall, Monshu sums it up best in the last chapter of the book, “In this world, there is no life that was ever lived in vain. There is no life that is meaningless. All life is linked together. All of us share in the light that Amida Buddha shines upon us– this is what Buddhism teaches.”