Call of the Infinite

The Way of Shin Buddhism

John Paraskevopoulos

San Rafael, CA: Sophia Perennis, 2009.
114 pages
Paperback
ISBN: 978-1-59731-095-6
Price: $14.95 US
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Call of the Infinite is a concise and clear introduction to the major concepts of Shin Buddhism, a tradition that has received scant attention from those with a Western background. The book is likely to stir a deeper interest in this path amidst the diversity of spiritual perspectives and alternatives available today. Its realistic appraisal of our human condition is perceptive and the author is able to unpack dimensions of spiritual reality with skill, while keeping his feet firmly planted in earthly realism. While this book represents a serious intellectual exploration, it remains very readable and has much to offer the genuine seeker.
Alfred Bloom, Emeritus Professor, University of Hawaii, author ofThe Essential Shinran: A Buddhist Path of True Entrusting

Buddhism is much more diverse and multifaceted than many people think. Shin (‘Pure Land’) Buddhism manages to be, simultaneously, one of the most widely practised forms of this tradition (the largest Buddhist school in Japan) and the least understood in the West. From the beginning, Shin was a highly sophisticated lay form of Buddhism. This thoughtful short outline of its spirituality, while disclaiming academic originality, is distinguished by its clarity, enthusiasm and indeed its high level of accuracy. Written by a Shin priest, it shows very well why this form of Buddhism—real Buddhism, a form of Buddhism very different from the many popular images of it current in the West—might appeal to modern seekers who find themselves depressed and frustrated with the decadent and sterile world around them. It also suggests why Shin Buddhism has so much to offer in fruitful dialogue and collaboration with its Christian brothers and sisters. Paraskevopoulos’ little book is a delightful read, ‘adorned with the fragrance of light’ to quote a Buddhist text. It is highly recommended.
Paul Williams, co-director, Centre for Buddhist Studies, University of Bristol, author of Mahayana Buddhism: The Doctrinal Foundations

The excellence of this presentation of Shin Buddhism reflects the author”s mastery of the subject and the clarity of his concise and accessible expression. Both pastoral and instructive, the text moves seamlessly from its opening reflection on suffering and dissatisfaction to its ultimate celebration of infinite beauty and joy. What links beginning with end is the Dharma-Body, the realm of Nirvana which comes to know itself as the ‘true and real mind’ pervading the whole of reality. In the process, the author clarifies the nature of self-power and Other-Power, and skillfully explicates the great Vow of Amida Buddha as the fundamental ground of all spiritual endeavor. In this regard, his explanation of the practice of the Name, and its relationship to other modes of Buddhist meditation and moral cultivation, is both penetrating and lucid. As an introduction and a sophisticated exposition, this is an indispensable text on Shin Buddhism.
Professor Brian Brown, Iona College, NY, author of The Buddha Nature

Table of Contents

Preface—Acknowledgements—Pain and Longing—Infinite Light—Awakening to the Real—Joy Amidst the Shadows—Epilogue—References—Further Reading

About the Author

John Paraskevopoulos is an ordained priest in the Shin tradition of Mahayana Buddhism and is engaged in a variety of both pastoral and academic activities. He holds a first-class honours degree in Philosophy from the University of Melbourne in Australia and is editor of the online Journal of Shin Buddhism, which has received plaudits from various international authorities as one of the most comprehensive and scholarly websites devoted to this tradition.