Issaranimmanahetuvada, Karma and God ~ Guest Post by Genshin

I want to thank John for asking me to provide a guest ramble on his blog, and send out a g’day to all fellow Buddha Dharma followers reading this wonderful blog! [ *blush* ~ The Management]

I’d like to touch on the topic of issaranimmanahetuvada (quite a mouthful eh?). This is the belief that all of our suffering and all our unhappiness is controlled by a supreme being or a god. In effect this is a misinterpretation of the Buddhist teaching of karma.

There is a common misconception that Karma is pre-determinism or some kind of retribution for ill-deeds dished out on us by an otherworldly being intent on controlling mans every move. It is not. Karma is simply an act for which there will be a result. The Buddha said, “Intention is karma. Having willed, one acts through body, speech and mind.”

We humans are a curious lot, always wanting to know the cause of events and the reason for things being as they are. The Buddha wanted to know why we suffer and why we cause ourselves so much grief and unhappiness. Through his very own effort and perseverance he discovered that WE are responsible for our own suffering and our own unhappiness. He realised that there wasn’t any supernatural or otherworldly factor involved in our suffering and unhappiness.

It is very easy to take the easy path out and blame all of our suffering or unhappiness on external forces, be it a god’s will, or the weather, the stars, or some other superstition. The causes of some events in our lives are sometimes obvious, and we are able to easily attribute the cause and hopefully negate its effect. Other times the effect seems to have simply happened and is seemingly unaccountable.

Rather than rely on a man-made “God’ – which was the teaching of the religious elders of the time, the Brahmins –  the Buddha taught that we should turn our attention to creating our own happiness and realising what it is that brings us unhappiness and self-imposed suffering. Change and suffering are inevitable, but we ourselves can overcome and control the effects of our own suffering and unhappiness. Every living thing on our little rock suffers, we are not alone in this.

“Oh shit, I’m having such a bad month, my car isn’t working, I’m putting on weight, my partner has left me, I have a sickness….it must be the will of God/Allah/Thor/Shiva.” Or, “Crikey, I didn’t get that job, it’s my fate, my pre-destination, the will of the universe.”

This isn’t what the Buddha discovered and later explained in his Dharma 2,550 years ago. These are superstitions, which the Buddha was trying to eradicate from people’s minds. He was trying to help people see that the old religions of animal sacrifice and belief in higher powers weren’t getting them anywhere as they were superstitious beliefs used to explain things that were actually just natural occurrences or self-imposed.

The Buddha repelled any doctrine that taught dependance on external fabricated beliefs and supernatural beings. He maintained that events have a cause and that the cause was either the result of our own actions or natural laws of nature. What is the use of man’s intelligence if he continues to believe in supernatural causes?

There cannot be any event which is supernatural in its origin. This would deny the very teachings of the Buddha Dharma – that all is conditioned by cause and effect. This is the central teaching of Buddhism. To believe in god/s or supernatural beings/events is simply NOT Buddha Dharma. A religion based on belief in higher powers is based solely on speculation and superstition – neither of which are of any benefit to us. It is unprofitable.


Working hard to reinvigorate Buddhism in Japan and eradicate metaphysical nonsense from its practice, I am a bodhisattva monk following an open path (non-sectarian) influenced somewhat by the pragmatic teachings of warrior-Zen Master Suzuki Shõsan Rõshi (b:1579 – d:1655). I live in Japan with my wife, two children and a dog.  I believe that we should strive to adapt the body of teachings of the Buddha to this time and that countries and cultures in which we live actually have little to do with Buddhist practice. Buddhist practice is to be realised in our everyday lives in all that we do. I believe that we should be able to make any necessary adjustments where needed to better suit our modern society.


28 thoughts on “Issaranimmanahetuvada, Karma and God ~ Guest Post by Genshin

  1. True Buddhist monks do not marry, do not have children, do not engage in sexual relations.

    The Buddha Vinaya, the Buddha Patimokkha are very clear, in each and every Buddhist school, lineage and tradition: all true Buddhist monks are vowed to full chastity, for life.

    You may be a ‘monk’. But you are not a Buddhist monk.

    Zen is not Buddhism.

    Zen misrepresents Tathagata.

    • While it is not my post and thus not my place to comment on the state of Buddhist monastics, I am concerned with the comment “Zen is not Buddhism.” I don’t feel that Zen does “misrepresent” Tathagata but it does allow for teachers to extend a certain amount of lateral understanding to their teachings. At times I think that this does transcend the Dharma and enters other realms (both lesser and greater, dependant upon viewpoint). But this flexability is a strength and allows for, hopefully, a greater understanding.

      An unfortunate afterbirth is the view that Buddhism is standard without dogma, sutra-study and dedication to ethic as it can be viewed through the eyes of some zennies.

      This insistance of “True Buddhism” is something I have heard from every sect (most recently, Nichiren) that I have come in contact with and I really attempt to vear away from such overgeneralizations. Instead I prefer to understand the differences so feel free to comment further or perhaps your own guest post on Zen from your perspective?


      • Hi John,

        When I first read this post I was prompted to respond but held my peace instead. I was upset by its arrogant declaration about what is and is not Buddha-Dharma.

        I believe in the Buddas and Bodhisattvas as real beings, as do the vast majority of the Buddhists I know (except for a few western converts) – and here I am being told it is not real Buddhism!

        Yet look at any Sutra and see what it says. Just pick a page from the Lotus for example. And even in the Pali canon the Buddha had supernatural powers, spoke to Brahma, etc etc. When asked if he was a human being the Buddha replied “no”.

        But I decided not to respond then for the sake of peace. However, now, after seeing how little your guest writer likes being told that he is not following real Buddhism, I suspect he might understand a little of how he makes others feel with his arrogant declarations on what is and is not Buddha-Dharma.

        All beings, One Buddha-nature.
        Praise to Amida Buddha.
        Praise to the Bodhisattva of Compassion.


      • (a bit of a duplicate post perhaps – the last one never got through).

        Guest writer:

        “To believe in god/s or supernatural beings/events is simply NOT Buddha Dharma…. Working hard to reinvigorate Buddhism in Japan and eradicate metaphysical nonsense from its practice”


        “This insistance of “True Buddhism” is something I have heard from every sect (most recently, Nichiren) that I have come in contact with and I really attempt to vear away from such overgeneralizations.”


        It seems that your guest writer is guilty of that very over generalisation. He has effectively just told me and almost all the Buddhists I know (with the exception of a few western converts) that ours is not true Buddhism.

        I hope that this exchange with M.F.Machado will prompt him to see how it feels when told that yours is not true Buddhism and I hope he’ll stop doing the same to others. To be honest I’m flabergasted at the arrogance of someone who things they can decide what is and what is not True Buddhism, espcially when thier opinion is in the absolute minority (it is only in the west and in the current period of history that Buddhism is being stripped of its transcendental core).

        All beings, one Buddha-nature.
        Praise to Amida Buddha.
        Praise to the Bodhisattva of Compassion.


        • Oh no, Marcus. Your comments are more than welcome! I do think that there is the possibility of atheistic Buddhism becoming just as dogmatic and restrictive (fundamentalist) as the Buddhism that M.F. Machoda supports. I do disagree with the statement that this “stripping” is solely a western designation. Movements in India in the early 20th century have moved along the same path. Perhaps influenced by the western nations but I somehow doubt it.

          But a minority opinion can be expressed. No matter how arrogant it is percieved.

          Although to be honest, I don’t think Machado is doing a good job by accussing this humble guy of censoring his comments. It is irking me a bit but it takes all kinds. Personally I don’t subscribe to the fully atheistic view of Buddhist practice but you already know that!

          Good to see ya!


        • Hi John,

          Yes, this Genshin person has every right to his opinions (and I disagree with M.F.Machado that he can not be a monk!) but, really, when he castigates the entirety of Japanese Buddhism as “nonsense” when he writes “I have a hard time considering that ANY of the schools practiced today are schools of Buddhism” one is simply left flabergasted at his arrogance and, to be frank, ignorance.

          As for the extent of atheistic Buddhism, sure it happens, but in terms of both history and geography, they are a tiny tiny minority. That’s not to say they don’t have every right to hold and express their opinions, but, really, saying that none of the exisating Buddhist schools are real Buddhism is just stunning in its offensiveness.

          Anyway, I’ve already said too much and – not wishing to inflame things further – will leave this thread now. One thing’s for sure though John – you sure know how to run a lively blog! LOL!

          Marcus _/\_

  2. In response to M.F. Machado:

    Having made a commitment to follow the Bodhisattva Precepts I am a Bodhisattva monk (Bosatsusõ 菩薩僧).

    Down through history, there are those Chinese and Japanese Buddhist sects whose founders were never “officially” ordained, but rather self-ordained. You’ll find that the entire first and second century Chinese monks were NOT ordained following the vinaya. This was a common occurrence in early China and later in Japan and was the case with Suzuki Shõsan rõshi whose teachings I am strongly influenced by.

    These Buddhist monks were referred to as self-enlightened and self-certified (jigo jishõ 自悟自証) or enlightened without a teacher (mushi dokugo, 無師獨悟). They were also more generally known as self-ordained monks (jidosõ 自度僧).

    The self-vow or self ordination of Buddhism is outlined by Queen Śrimālā in the Śrimālā sūtra and a guide for it’s undertaking is found in the Brahma Net Sutra (Bonmõkyõ 梵網経). This is the Bodhisattva ordination. The idea of self-ordination in Japan dates back to the self-vow ordination of Prince Shõtoku (573-621), and performed by Empress Suiko the 33rd ruler of Japan and the first Buddhist monarch (reigned 554-628). Prince Shõtoku lectured twice on this text before the throne. On the second occasion the Empress Suiko stood up before the Buddha images and loudly repeated Queen Śrimālā’s vows as her own. This was the first example of the self-vow ordination ever practised in Japan and is recorded in the Kojiki (古事記 680 A.D.). Prince Shõtoku later followed her lead.

    A great many of Japan’s Buddhist monks down through history were in fact self-ordained, having achieved realisation on their own, especially in the Nara period (710-794) and down through the Kamakura period (1192-1333) and then again in the early to mid-Tokugawa period (1600-1868) when many considered the teaching of the Dharma to be in decline.

    As far back as the Nara period, there were those monks who were known as Bodhisattva monks and who resided in the mountains and caves around the capitol (Nara). They were inspired to call themselves Bodhisattva monks after having taken the Bodhisattva precepts as outlined in the Bonmokyõ.

    These monks organised themselves into groups based on family or village affiliations. Some members of these groups, having ordained themselves, were not recognised by the government. Others were officially ordained monks who were forced to wander around when their temples were closed down. These monks were often married but they were not laymen since they followed certain monastic practices such as begging for their food, shaving their heads, wearing Dharma robes (hõi 法衣), carrying the shakujõ (錫杖) and performing austerities. They were not associated with any temples and most were not associated with any particular sect of Buddhism having a rather eclectic approach to practising the Dharma. They were in great demand by the common folk who otherwise would not have had much connection to the Buddha Dharma as it was mostly restricted to the courts and nobles.

    Many of these Bodhisattva monks travelled about Japan preaching the Buddha Dharma and begging in villages. The government attempted to suppress the Bodhisattva monks since they violated laws restricting the numbers of people who could become monks and nuns, as well as laws limiting the movements of the clergy. It is due mostly to these early Bodhisattva monks that Buddhism spread among the masses and reached a greater audience.

    The Bodhisattva monk, as a Buddha-to-be, chooses to function in the world, approaching the world’s ills with compassion and seeking skilful means to redress them. They are rather secular in their outlook preferring to do away with rituals and performances and prefer a natural unfolding of awakening to the forced and regulated monastic teachings found in many temples.

    Saichõ, (the founder of Tendai-shu in Japan) inspired by these itinerant monks, proposed that Tendai-shu monks and monks who had taken the Bodhisattva Precepts (Bosatsukai 菩薩戒) call themselves Bodhisattva monks. It was Saichõ who petitioned the Emperor asking for permission to ordain monks using only the ten major precepts for Bodhisattvas and the forty-eight minor precepts instead of the two hundred and twenty-seven Vinaya Precepts (Pratimoksha) that were ordinarily used by the six Nara sects of Buddhism. Saichõ wished to use the Bodhisattva Precepts at ordination, and interpreted them based on the Lotus sūtra, known in the Tendai-shu teachings as the teaching for perfect and immediate enlightenment, or the perfect teaching.

    Saichõ petitioned for many years but died before his request was realised. The Emperor however granted permission posthumously for monks in Tendai-shu to be ordained receiving the Bodhisattva Precepts. Eventually the Bodhisattva Precepts came to be used by all Japanese Buddhist sects in ordaining monks. Saichõ thus laid the foundation for the establishment of an ordination platform for administering the precepts of perfect and immediate enlightenment. In the Zen school of Buddhism sixteen modified Bodhisattva Precepts have been formulated and are specific to the Zen school.

    In the Kamakura period (1192-1333) Eison (1201-1290) founded the self-ordination school of Ritsu-shu which he termed Shin Ritsu-shu (New Ritsu sect). This was a revival of the self-vow ordination of Prince Shõtoku. Eison had studied the vinaya literature at the Tõdaiji and, as he became aware of the idea of the self-vow running through the Śrimālā and Brahma net texts and the Tendai-shu and Zen-shu, he founded the Shin Ritsu-shu sect of self-ordination formalism. His intention was to revert to the original idea of the Buddha and Prince Shõtoku, following the general tendency of Buddhism of the Kamakura age. In 1300 Eison was bestowed the title of Kõshõ Bosatsu (Bodhisattva of promoting righteousness) by the Emperor Go Uda (1267-1324).

    During the Tokugawa period, the Myõhõ Ritsu-shu and the Shõbõ Ritsu-shu had certain connections and influences with Eison’s teachings. It was these teachings that Suzuki Shõsan rõshi had come into contact with while studying at Tõdaiji. Shõsan rõshi studied the Ritsu-shu and the teachings of Eison together with the abbot Sessõ from Buzanji who had also come to study the vinaya. Shõsan rõshi underwent his own self-ordination in accordance with the teachings of Eison.

    Motivated by compassion and tempered by the perfection of wisdom, the Bodhisattva monk generates the thought of awakening, undertakes the vow to uphold the Precepts and strives towards gaining awakening. As Bodhisattva monks we are involved in every walk of life and in all professions, including that of home-maker. Leading an ordinary life as citizens we strive to practice the teachings and guide other people by sharing the teachings and our experiences. Bodhisattva monks are not mendicant monks, or monastery monks, but neither are we lay Buddhists. The lifestyles of Bodhisattva monks vary considerably with no rules other than the Precepts themselves.

    “I never had any teacher or divinity to teach me or tell me how to gain enlightenment.
    What I achieved I did by my own effort, energy, knowledge and purity.”
    – The Buddha

    In my practice I carry on the tradition of jigo jishõ as established by Prince Shõtoku and Empress Suiko over a thousand years ago, and as adopted by many hundreds of monks in Japan down through to Suzuki Shõsan rõshi in the early Edo period.

    To move towards our own enlightenment unhindered by the views and constraints of others awakens a true, independent and refreshingly individual awareness. As the Buddha himself strove to realise independently, to win realisation on his own without someone else to sanction his enlightenment, so too does a Bodhisattva monk. It is our mind alone, through determined effort, not the written paper sanctions of others, that brings about awakening.

  3. This post and comments brought up many feelings and certainly open an interesting platform for dialog. I appreciate the courage that it took to write these words and bow to you all in gratitude. Though I don’t really have a valid opinion backed by facts and documentation, I certainly have a cause to reflect, not judge, condemn, or critique said words. Great fodder for observation of mind.



    • I don’t know if this is toward me or my guest poster Genshin but, again, you make a grandiose statement without backing it up. At least a link or two would be helpful because from my perspective I practice Zen and the Dharma without any inherit contradition.

      But am completely open to your reasons if you wish to supply them.



      • I never heard of you, nor of this blog of yours, until I found the Elephant Journal. There, you present this url.

        It is public.

        The title of your blog is “Sweep the dust, Push the dirt”.

        I did.

      • This journalist never heard of you, till she read The Elephant Journal.

        In your Blog there, on the top of it, you present the url of this blog of yours, to the readers of The Elephant Journal, as a public invitation for a visit.

        This is how your blog was found.

        In your blog, here, you present another invitation for the guest readers of the public that you invited in The Elephant Journal.

        This invitation of yours is: “Leave a Reply”.

        A few replies were given.

        Later, you censored replies in good faith posted here.

        What was the essence of the replies censored by John Pappas in his blog:

        Zen is not Buddhism because Zen ‘monks’ engage in sexual intercourse.

        Consequently, Zen misrepresents Tathagata:

        Zen ‘monks’ publicly preach that Zen monks can have wife and children. At the same time, Zen ‘monks’ publicly preach that Zen ‘monks’ are Buddhist ‘monks’.

        Consequently, Zen ‘monks’ misrepresent Tathagata.

        Zen ‘monks’ preach that Tathagata established, what the Tathagata did not establish, i.e., unchastity in His Sangha.

        Zen ‘monks’ preach that Tathagata did not establish what the Tathagata established, i.e., absolute chastity in the His Sangha.

        Now, this is the essence of the replies to your censorship here:

        Zen minds are not able to sustain a non-personal conversation, when their personal views do not agree with facts that have nothing to do with them, personally.

        Consequently, Zen minds censor, but leave replies to those they censored, in order to misrepresent reader that they invite in public journals to visit their blogs in Internet.

        Zen is a cult, where Zen priests engage in sexual intercourse.

        Consequently, Zen cult is sexual, not chaste.

        This is a fact.

        Such being the case, John Pappas, your apologies, together with the comments that you censored, back to where they were posted.

        • Thank you for the clarification but I do not censor any of the comments on this blog. Anything you place here as a comment stays here. I moved nothing unless they were moved by the wordpress software into my spam file. I will check there and if they were placed there I will release them. [Nope. Nothing in the spam file]

          But just to reiterate your argument…Zen monks have sex so Zen is not Buddhism. Ok. Gotcha.

          And this is a public blog but still one that I maintain so I can ask for clarification if needed. Personally I don’t find your arguments convincing concerning Zen not being Buddhism but I do understand how expansive Zen can be and that it can push the limits from time to time dependant upon the teacher.


        • Later, you censored replies in good faith posted here.

          I never censor comments unless they are abusive or far over the line. Yours are neither so I have not censored them. I did ask if it wa ok to move some of your comments about the Karmapa to a post about the Karmapa where they would be of interest to others. Rather than leave them in the post about Zen where you originally placed them.

          If a comment that you posted never appeared then please inform me and I will see if it is in my “spam” folder. Things do get sent their by wordpress by accident at times. You can email me or ask in a new comment to look and I would be more than happy to check for you.

          Such being the case, I moved none of your material, never censored any of your comments and still find your arguments unconvincing.


  4. I consider myself open to any opinions of other teachers and I am on a quest to find the path that was laid out by the Buddha – free of all the cultural additions of these past millennia.

    Personally, my own practice leans away from Zen, and any of the other Japanese sects. The Mahayana schools in Japan are saturated with belief in gods and magic, belief in other realms and supernatural beings. These are all things which the Buddha denied. I have a hard time considering that ANY of the schools practiced today are schools of Buddhism. It is indeed hard to see where cultural additives end and true original Indian Buddhism starts.

    From my own webpage: – “The beginnings of Zen (禅) as a distinct sect of Buddhism can be traced to eighth century Chinese Zen authors who, in their need to legitimise their new tradition, furnished their school with a manufactured genealogy of Chinese and Indian patriarchs who could connect them back to the Buddha himself. They credited the introduction of Zen Buddhist practice in China to the mythological Indian Buddhist teacher Bodhidharma (Bodaidaruma 菩提達摩). This was a time when Chinese Buddhists showed more interest in debating philosophy and reading complex texts than in actual practice. To counter this trend, the new Zen school of Buddhism stressed the significance of meditation (Chan in Chinese, Dhyana in Sanskrit) and non-reliance on written texts.

    Whatever the truth of the origin of Zen, it is a school of Buddhism which emphasises strict disciplined meditation practice and direct personal experience. It’s greatest emphasis is seated meditation, and realising that one is already an enlightened being and just needs to awaken.”

    I acknowledge that Chan/Zen is a cultural religion with a great deal of Taoism and Confucianism added in. Here in Japan it also has a great deal of Shinto added in. But is there a school of Buddhism anywhere in the world that hasn’t been added to by it’s practitioners down through the ages?

    Are schools of Vajrayana true Buddhism? Are Theravada schools true Buddhism? Tendai or Shingon? Jodo or Nichiren?

    Please, M.F.Machado, I am now very excited at the prospect of learning from the One and Only True Way of Buddhism – unchanged and unadulterated from the time of the historical buddha himself.

    I am indeed happy for you M. F. Machado that you have found the One True Way and that you are following the True path of Buddhism, unchanged, unadulterated, and pure – direct from Guatama Buddha himself 2,550 years ago. I am glad that you are a True certified and registered card-carrying Buddhist monk. We are privileged in that you can take time to correct our wrong views and steer us on the correct path. Please be so kind as to provide your background and your lineage, and show us your One True Way.

    Please teach us M.F.Machado how it is that you determine which of the many thousands of sects of Buddhism today are truly Buddhism, and which are not? How do you determine which sutras express the true words of Guatama Buddha and which are the opinions of others who came later?


    • @Genshin: I am in a somewhat similar position in that I enjoy the exploration of the Dharma in many forms. While my practice is by and large a “westernized” version of Soto Zen, I do see that many fellow practitioners drop much of the Shinto/Confusism/Taoist aspects to create a different (not better or worse) version of practice. As well as obvious influences from Stephen Batchelor’s Buddhism Without Beliefs many in the West take hold of a slimmer, more simplified version devoid of the metaphysical aspects (again, not a view I fully endorse for myself).

      While not a practitioner myself, what are your opinions of Shingon practice? I read much of Kukai’s works and I find the practice intriguing but very little exists in the States, while in Japan I believe that it is quite prevelant.


    • Genshin,

      I would never leave you alone in your despair:

      your Zen cult did not teach you that Buddha established two Sanghas?

      His Aryas Sangha, and His Bhikshus & Bhikshunis Sangha.

    • Genshin wrote:


      Please teach us M.F. Machado …”

      M.F. Machado answer to Genshin:


      Tahagata established full chastity in His Sangha.

      Tathagata refused sexual relations in His Sangha.

      Tathagata established full chastity in His Sangha.

      M.F. Machado

  5. @John: As Westerners we are indeed very privileged in that we can explore the Buddha Dharma from any angle we choose. We are able to head down to the nearest Chinese/Japanese/Thai/Tibetan etc sangha and explore. We are able to delve into any books written on all the various sects and schools and decide which is best for our personal practice.

    In Asia, one is almost always born into the sect or school of Buddhism that is practiced by their parents and usually has no knowledge of any other sects practices. Much the same as a Catholic is simply “born” (indoctrinated) a Catholic.

    Stephen Batchelor is a man I admire greatly. He is not afraid to rip the shit out of tradition and orthodoxy. I strongly recommend his books and in particular Confession of a Buddhist Atheist.

    Shingon (Vajrayana) is the school in which I started my Buddhist practice. It is mystical and magical and has heavy doses of supernatural belief that one MUST believe in. First and foremost I am an Atheist, I do not believe in other realms, re-incarnation, ghosts, deities, goblins and all that other Lord of The Rings type stuff. My world is full of enough wonder and awe without adding another layer of deities and beings that need to be supplicated and prayed to.

    The Buddha was very much against these types of religion.


  6. Fantastic article Genshin (good responses to the “No-True-Scotsman” as well)! I hope that the blog-master will have you back for future entries.

    • I am glad you liked the post by Genshin. I invite any of my guest bloggers to post whenever they wish. They can email me follow-up material and I will post it.

      I should be honest and state that I am not completely in line with the athiestic Buddhist practice. I respect Batchelor, Genshin and others for standing by their practice and views but I still am somewhat of a “believer” in my practice.

      But the input and conversation is always welcome!


      PS. If you haven’t had a chance to read some of Suzuki Shõsan rõshi writings, then I recommend them highly. Very blunt and honest.

  7. Hey John,

    I’ve found that no matter what it always comes back to the old adage of chopping wood and carrying water.

    I’m quite familiar with Suzuki Shõsan rõshi. My copies of “Death was his Koan” and “Warrior of Zen” are very worn. I’ve been hoping to stumble across a hard copy of Tyler’s “Selected Writings…”

    Thanks for the recommendation though. I admire Shõsan and find his approach to Zen and life quite invigorating.

  8. So in effect Machado, you are claiming that the entire country of Japan with it’s grand temples dating from the eighth century is not Buddhist? Every sect of Buddhism in Japan has married Bodhisattva monks and it has ben that way since the eighth century. Korea too has married Bodhisattva monks.

    • Genshin, it is YOU that is denying that Japanese Buddhism is Buddhism!

      Quote from you: “The Mahayana schools in Japan are saturated with belief in gods and magic, belief in other realms and supernatural beings. These are all things which the Buddha denied. I have a hard time considering that ANY of the schools practiced today are schools of Buddhism.”

      Genshin, just what is it that gives YOU the right to decide what is and is not Buddhism?

      If given the choice between believing you (on your mission to “reinvigorate Buddhism in Japan and eradicate metaphysical nonsense from its practice”) and the many good Japanese (and Korean, and Thai, and Singaporean, and Chinese) Buddhists that I am friends with (people who would never declare that a whole country and heritage has got it all wrong), I know where my confidence lies.

      I also read the sutras. All of them. Pure Land, Pali, Zen. And to suggest that the Buddha denied other realms is, basically, total nonsense.

      I am not suggesting along with M.F.Machado that you are not a monk, but I am suggesting that even though you might believe very much in your own secularist Buddhism – there is no need at all to tell other people and entire Buddhist countries that they are wrong and insult them with terms like “nonsense” etc.


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