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Buddhadharma : Spring 2015
spring 2015 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 71 clark Chilson was attending a religious service in Kyoto, Japan, when a chance meeting opened a window into a hidden world of Buddhist activity virtu- ally unknown beyond Japan—or even inside it, for that matter. Intrigued, he undertook more than a decade of exploration of secretive Buddhist sects that sometimes hide in plain sight, the better to conceal their existence. The covert groups that Chilson investigates are alternative forms of Jodo Shin- shu (often called Shin Buddhism in English). In its overt, institutional form, Shin is the largest Buddhist tradition in Japan and supposedly one of the most accessible. Contrasting itself with other types of Buddhism such as Shingon (Japanese tantric Buddhism) or Zen, mainstream Shin proudly proclaims that it focuses on the needs Whispering amida’s name review by Jeff Wilson JeFF wilSon is an associate professor of religious studies and east Asian studies at the university of waterloo and the author of Buddhism of the Heart. revieWs Amida Buddha, Japan, 17th century, San Diego Museum of Art