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Showing posts from March, 2013

Mothering Sunday 2013

Obesity. Alcoholism. Depression. Just some of the symptoms of sick Britain, identified last week as the unhealthiest country in Europe. And so, the government wants to hike taxes to change our behaviour.

We love to think that we are free. Perhaps you get angry when the government sets its mind on curtailing our freedoms. I know I do, when they raise the price of beer to stop us from drinking as much of it. But I always know that actually, however expensive they make it, I'm still going to drink just as much. I'm not saying I'm addicted or anything, but it does raise the question: actually, how free am I, really, when it comes to drinking beer? My freedom is limited, I suppose, by how much money I have in my wallet to spend on the stuff, but if I get as far as four pints, that never seems to matter so much. I'm probably going to carry on, anyway. So in a way, maybe the limits that the government tries to set on my freedom, the external limits to my freedom, are a bit o…

Faith-Experience as Spiritual Encounter: Shin Buddhist-Christian Dialogue

Response to Professor Kemmyo Taira Sato, Delivered at Three Wheels Temple, Monday 4 March 2013

First, may I thank Professor Sato for inviting us to the Three Wheels Temple and offering such a concise exposition of True Pure Land teaching. Thanks, too, to Dr Wharton, for making today's conversation possible. I pray that we all, Christians and Buddhists together, may approach the day in a spirit of openness and eagerness to learn from one another, vigilant for rays of truth wherever they might shine.

Professor Sato has very helpfully outlined the key events of Shinran's 親鸞 life and his tutelage under Hōnen 法然, their exile together, and the fundamental basis of their Buddhism: the need for absolute entrusting in the Primal Vow 本願 of Amida Buddha 阿弥陀仏 for the Birth 往生 in the Pure Land 浄土 of all sentient beings, expressed as 'faith' or shinjin 信心. If you have studied other schools of Buddhism, this probably sounds quite different from what you are used to, and I think it m…