The Best Books On The Spirit Of Japanese Buddhism

By David Brazier

The Books I Picked & Why

Japanese Temple Buddhism: Worldliness in a Religion of Renunciation

By Stephen Covell

Japanese Temple Buddhism: Worldliness in a Religion of Renunciation

Why this book?

Most books on Buddhism emphasise the monastic tradition, meditation and a life of strict morality, removed from the everyday world of ordinary people. Much of Japanese Buddhism, however, is conducted by married priests living modern lives in direct interaction with secular society. This book provides an important antidote to contemporary stereotypes.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Shapers of Japanese Buddhism

By Koyu Sonoda, Yusen Kashiwahara

Shapers of Japanese Buddhism

Why this book?

This book includes twenty full and seventy-five brief biographies of significant figures in the history of Japanese Buddhism, some of them orthodox, many of them eccentric, each contributing some unique genius to the living tradition from the sixth century up to modern times. An excellent way to enter the spirit of the tradition with many stories to enjoy.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Honen the Buddhist Saint: Essential Writings and Official Biography

By Ryugaku Ishizuka, Harper Havelock Coates, Joseph A. Fitzgerald

Honen the Buddhist Saint: Essential Writings and Official Biography

Why this book?

Honen Sangha (1133-1212) revolutionised Japanese Buddhism. Famous in his own time yet exiled near to the end of his life he introduced an approach to practice that embraced ordinary people and appealed to all ranks of society. His mould breaking innovation paved the way for the emergence of the several new schools that still dominate the Buddhist scene in Japan today. and his humanity and warmth of character still inspire.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Saigyo: Poems of a Mountain Home

By Burton Watson, Saigyo

Saigyo: Poems of a Mountain Home

Why this book?

Saigyo (1118-1190) was one of the most influential Japanese poets. His name means "Westward Journey" which implies moving toward the Pure Land of Amitabha Buddha. The poems bring out the bitter-sweet quality of life, beauty and loneliness, blooming spring and frosty winter, cherry petals and tears that fall, echoing the deep emotionality and mystery of the spirit of Japanese Buddhism.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

The Monk Who Dared

By Ruth M. Tabrah

The Monk Who Dared

Why this book?

A gripping work of fiction constructed around the known facts of the life of Shinran, the founder of Shin Buddhism which is today the largest denomination in Japan. The novel reveals a thorough appreciation of the social climate and circumstances while telling the tale of Shinran who - “neither monk nor layman” - carried forward the religious revolution of the Kamakura period.


When you buy a book we may earn a small commission.

Random Book Lists