Rennyo Shonin (1415-1499) is considered the 'second founder' of Shin Buddhism. Though he is undeniably one of the most influential persons in the history of Japanese religion, his thought remains somewhat enigmatic from the standpoint of what is considered orthodox Shinshu doctrine today. This book, which collects 18 unpublished essays by both Japanese and non-Japanese scholars, will be the first to confront many of the major questions surrounding the phenomenal growth of Hongaji under Rennyo's leadership, such as the source of charisma, the soteriological implications of his thought against the background of other movements in Pure Land Buddhism, and the relationship between his ideas and the growth of his church. The volume is intended as an important first step in bringing Rennyo to an audience outside Japan, and to provide significant stimulus to the fields of Japanese religion, social history, comparative religion, and the sociology of religion.

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