By Keiji Nishitani, Robert Edgar Carter

Six lectures via eminent Buddhist philosopher Keiji Nishitani reflecting on Buddhism for the trendy world.

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Thus, the present also has its place in history. The past occupies a position in the context of history, but if we see it from the angle of the present as well as of the future, then knowledge of the history of the past can be said to provide a new vista of the future. And in this case, the standpoint of reformation consists in the determination to build societies that can be regarded as righteous. These two movements—that is, a historical way of thinking and the putting of it into practice—are combined into one.

But even the fact that they are deeply moved by reading the Bible, or that they are attracted by coming into contact with the Tannishø, does not necessarily lead them to become Christians or Buddhists, or adherents of the Shin sect of Buddhism. Instead, most of them do not become believers at all. This means that the general public finds itself in a situation in which it does not dare to accept the established individual religious organizations or sects, even though there are many things to learn there, and even though they are inspired by Buddhist doctrines or the Christian faith, by Shinran, Døgen, or Jesus, or by the way of life to which Buddhists or Christians manage to adhere in accordance with their respective religions.

Keeping an eye on its basic aspects, we can say that it still sticks to its oldfashioned structure. Consequently, those who belong to a religious organization are now required to get out of themselves to a borderline where the gap between society and religious organization appears in Japanese history. To come to a borderline means to stand facing both sides at once. To speak more drastically, members of a religious organization are required to step outside of their religious organization. In other words, by standing on the same terrain as the general public, they must now become of one mind with the general public.

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