Shinran explained the teachings of the ＂True Essence of Pure Land＂ school (Jōdo Shinshū 淨土真宗) established by Honen in terms of the ＂true essence of other-power＂ (他力真宗) and the ＂true essence of the other-power of the original vow＂ (本願他力真宗). His view of the Buddhist path was founded on the dedication of the power of Amitābha's original vow, as taught in the Sukhāvatīvyūha Sūtra (佛說無量壽經). D. T. Suzuki classified his teachings as belonging to the ＂other-power＂ schools (他力宗). This term ＂other-power＂ has led many to regard the Buddha Amitābha as the central element of this Buddhist path. In reality, Shinran's understanding of the Pure Land centers on the sentient beings who receive the salvific power of Amitābha's vow. Shinran moved away from the ＂self-power＂ (自力) Tendai school and its Mahāyāna ideal of ＂benefitting others through self-forgetfulness＂, embracing Honen's exclusive practice of reciting the Buddha's name as a means for one's own salvation. Yet, from another point of view, this very salvation points to the similarity between the recitation of the Buddha's name and the traditional Mahāyāna path of practice. Many have pointed out the similarities between this school's emphasis on the reliance on Amitābha's power for salvation and the Christian soteriology. Yet, for Shinran, the Pure Land teaching formed a natural and intuitive expression of orthodox Mahāyāna Buddhism, based in the encounter of ordinary sentient beings with the power of the dedication of Amitābha's original vow.
Shinran, Jōdo Shinshū, Mahāyāna Buddhism, other-power (tariki), ordinary being