History and Practice: Overview
Both Soto Zen and Shin were reformist movements
of 13th century Japan.
Soto Zen was developed by Dogen Zenji while Shin or Jodo Shinshu was founded by
Shinran Shonin. Soto Zen is a Buddhist school that is monastically oriented while
Shin is definitely focused on the layperson and daily life.
Soto Zen emphasizes discipline and zazen practice
(sitting meditation) to cut thought our false perceptions that cause suffering by awakening us to deep insight into the true
basis of reality or non-dual nature of life. On the other hand, Shin Buddhism
emphasizes monpo practice (deep hearing) as a means to listen to our intuitive mystical impulses, which call us to deeply
accept our human imperfections and entrust to and profoundly experience the dynamic unfolding of Life itself. This spiritual
calling is manifested in our lives as the Nembutsu, the voicing of Namu-Amida-Butsu,
which is the expression of the pure reality (Buddha’s mind), revealing itself within our consciousness.
Our Integrated Practice
Rev. Bob Oshita said, "In Zen, the practice is to "Zazen"...to sit...just sit. In Shin, the practice
is "Monpo"...to deeply listen...just deeply listen. " Both Zen and Shin practices are geared to help us look inward and see
ourselves and reality as it is. Combining both Zen and Shin allows us to better cultivate wisdom for the sake of all
beings and open our hearts to entrusting faith (shinjin) and great compassion. When our communities gather for practice,
you may hear us chant the Heart Sutra (Zen) and the Juseige (Shin). Ultimately both successfully
work together to help us "let go" of our selfish and destructive ego, and awaken to our True Nature, which is the
goal of all schools of Buddhism.
By unifying the teachings of the two great 13th century Japanese masters and reformers,
Dogen (Zen) and Shinran (Shin), in a new and very American way, we are expanding the boundries
the Buddhism. Come to our Sunday morning or Wednesday night gatherings or join us in our other activities to learn more
about these transforming teachings and practices.
"Each experience in my life is a gift, a chance to learn and to advance in my life. Even if
an experience is hard to bear, we can still ask ourselves, What can I learn from this? What we have learned is what we get
and what we are today."
"Zen Shin Talks", Sensei Ogui