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Demystifying Pure Lands: A Conversation with Mark Unno

Join the esteemed author and scholar Mark Unno in a wide-ranging discussion of the Pure Lands, and how much they have to offer for our modern age. Professor Unno begins with a thorough look at the history and philosophy of the Pure Land schools, before turning to the main principles of this noble tradition. The core tenets of self-power and other-power are explored, the role of nembutsu (reciting the name of Amida Buddha), true entrusting, deep listening, the power of mantra, and how the Pure Land of Sukhavati is different from Heaven, and Amida is different from God.

Dr. Unno shares personal stories of his experience with Pure Land tenets, and how the practice of bowing and surrender has transformed him. How real are the Pure Lands? Do we take them literally or symbolically? Is there a danger in psychologizing the Pure Lands? Why should we go there after we die? Mark talks about the difference between nirvana and parinirvana, the nondual light of oneness that Amida represents, and the principle of purity and purification altogether. The discussion turns to the notion of “spiritual photosynthesis,” the power of light and the mantra of light, before moving to the idea of “reverse karmic bond” and its relationship to the Reverse Meditations. Professor Unno clearly manifests a lifetime of study and practice in the Pure Land tradition and represents the depth and profundity of a tradition that is sometimes dismissed as “Buddhism Lite.” Mark has a unique gift of taking these teachings and bringing them immediately into life, translating Pure Land principles into practical terms. See for yourself why Dr. Unno is such a treasured representative of this often-misunderstood tradition.​

About Mark Unno:

From the University of Oregon website.
Professor Unno’s interests lie in Medieval Japanese Buddhism, specifically in the relation between intellectual history and social practices. He also researches and has published in the areas of modern Japanese religious thought, comparative religion, and Buddhism and psychotherpay. He is the author of Shingon Refractions: Myoe and the Mantra of Light, an study and translation of the medieval Japanese ritual practice of the Mantra of Light. He is also the translator of Hayao Kawai, The Buddhist Priest Myoe-A Life of Dreams (Lapis Press, 1992) and author of over a dozen articles in English and Japanese including: “Questions in the Making – A Review Essay on Zen Buddhist Ethics in the Context of Buddhist and Comparative Ethics,” Journal of Religious Ethics (Fall 1999); “Myoe Koben and the Komyo Shingon dosha kanjinki: The Ritual of Sand and the Mantra of Light,” study and translation, in Re-visioning “Kamakura” Buddhism, edited by Richard Payne (Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press, 1998); and “Divine Madness-Exploring the Boundaries of Modern Japanese Religion,” Zen Buddhism Today 10.

Inside the Podcast
Pure Land Buddhism in the Western World.
Pure Land Buddhism is largest movement in East Asia, with key practices in death and dying.
Grief and letting go in Buddhism.
Buddhist concepts of self-power and other-power.
Buddhist philosophy and practice.
Pure Land Buddhism and its relationship with other power.
Buddhism and God.
Buddhism and psychotherapy with a focus on celestial Buddhas and archetypes.
Buddhist philosophy and practice.
Buddhist practice and the importance of repetition.
Buddhism, psychology, and the collective unconscious.
Jungian psychology and Eastern philosophy.
Buddhist pure lands and their reality.
Buddhism and the Pure Land tradition.
Buddhist philosophy and light.
Buddhist mantras and their significance.
Cross-pollinating Buddhist traditions.
Buddhism and spirituality with a renowned teacher.

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