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Buddhadharma : Spring 2015
spring 2015 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly 73 revieWs access to the methods of salvation and liberation). There are many other interesting implications that Chilson teases out of his research on hidden Shin Buddhists. But even if one is not particularly con- cerned with the question of secrecy and its effects, his book provokes a larger issue. How are we to classify the sorts of groups that he studies? Are they Jodo Shinshu, or are they not? The official institutions with their millions of fol- lowers and centuries of tradition state that these hidden groups are not genu- ine Shin, since they are unaffiliated with the public institutions, rely on secrecy (something the public groups consider to be a direct violation of the very spirit of Jodo Shinshu), and include additional practices and doctrines absent from the familiar traditions. Meanwhile, the covert groups claim they are not only Jodo Shinshu but that they also preserve the truest teachings passed down from Shinran. They criti- cize the public institutions for what they see as divergences, shallowness, and excessive ecclesiastical hierarchy. If they are admitted to the family, so to speak, then we can no longer speak of Jodo Shinshu in the same way, as possessing these doctrines and not those, and being a tradition that eschews esotericism. This raises the question for how we categorize other Buddhist (and non-Bud- dhist) groups as well. How do we deter- mine what is genuinely Zen, Tibetan, Theravada, and so on? Can groups that directly contradict the mainstream interpretations be accepted as legitimate members of the same traditions? If we admit them, then the very terms them- selves may cease to have any utility. If we do not admit them, we must closely examine why and how we draw the boundaries and not flinch from recog- nizing that the borders around all well- known Buddhist traditions have been drawn by dominant groups that have used power and violence to inscribe them. like us watch us learn with us 866.339.4198 dharmacrafts.com Sign Up online for Emails! New products . Sales . Teachings Request a Catalog Key code BDA DharmaCraf ts Meditation Cushions Buddhist Statues Bells & Gongs Jewelry & Gifts Zen Garden THE CATALOG OF MEDITATION SUPPLIES since 1979 INSIGHT MEDITATION SOCIETY IMS’s Forest Refuge program is for experienced meditators only. For more information, visit www.dharma.org or call 978-355-2063 Deepen your practice Experience a personal retreat at IMS’s Forest Refuge • Choose the length of your stay – retreat periods range from seven nights to a year or more • Develop an individual program of silent practice – supported by teacher talks and interviews • Balance solititude with community – meditate with others or in your private room • Strengthen practice faith, confidence and self-reliance