A Brief Introduction to Buddhism

"In a nutshell, Buddhism is a teaching that shows us the workings of our ego self and how that ego self causes us all of our problems of life."

"Our normal reaction to such a statement is, “What me? I don’t have an ego.” This is exactly why we need Buddhism, because we cannot see the workings of our ego and how it causes us so many problems in life. Just as we cannot see our physical self, like our own face, without the help of a mirror, Buddhism teaches us that our ego self is impossible for us to see ourselves. Buddhism is a teaching that shows us our ego self, and then shows us the path to being liberated from the workings of that ego."

"We might think, “Well, sometimes I have an ego, but not most of the time. And certainly not as much as so and so.” When we begin to talk about ego, right away someone comes to mind: our boss, or mother-in-law, our teenage son or daughter, our neighbor that we dislike, but not ourselves. This too is a reflection of how hard it is to see our ego."

About Jodo Shinshu Buddhism
(Shin Buddhism)

Mililani Hongwanji Buddhist Temple pratices the Jodo Shinshu sect of Buddhism, more specifically the Hongwanji-ha or Nishi Hongwanji sub sect.

Jodo Shinshu means the "True Pure Land Religion"

Jodo Shinshu Buddhism or Shin Buddhism is part of the Pure Land Mahayana branch of Buddhism.


"The purpose of this teaching (Jodo Shinshu) is to enable all to live their lives to the fullest, becoming aware of both potentials and limitations in this world. Through this teaching, all may be able to overcome difficulties, thus realizing true happiness within this lifetime."

"The Buddha often spoke of the lotus which grows with its roots in the mud... The Buddha taught that his followers should be like the lotus. Though we live in an imperfect world, we can rise above it and move toward perfect peace and enlightenment."


"When we begin to look at life from the perspective of the recipient, that everything in life is a gift, what we know, what we own, what we have achieved, they are all in a sense gifts, because nothing can be accomplished on one’s own. The successful businessman is successful because of his customers, because of his employees, because of his business knowledge that he has learned from others. Even the Olympic gold medalist of course trains and accomplishes an amazing athletic feat, but in reality, it would not have been possible without coaches and teammates, family and supporters.


"The life of humility is the most powerful and dynamic life. In the West, we think humility means being weak, or passive, but humility is the true strength of life. We think that an oak tree is tall and firm, but in a strong wind, the oak tree breaks. A willow, or bamboo, however, is soft and flexible, and can bend and not break in a strong wind. A humble person is truly strong, whereas a rigid, stubborn person, is actually weak."

"The Shin Buddhist way of life is the life of unending gratitude. The more one becomes grateful, the more one becomes humble. The more one becomes humble, the less one needs in life. The less one needs in life, the more one truly has."

Jodo Shinshu Basic Info

Jodo Shinshu Buddhism is also called Shin Buddhism

Below are two significant Jodo Shinshu figures and the object of reverence in our denomination. They are placed as they would be in the onaijin, or shrine.

Shinran Shonin
Founder of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism

Amida Buddha
Personification of Infinite Wisdom and Immeasurable Life

Rennyo Shonin
8th religious head who was significant in perpetuating Jodo Shinshu Buddhism

Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii
Buddhist Churches of America (Organization that oversees Jodo Shinshu Temples on the U.S. Mainland)
Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha (Head Jodo Shinshu Organization, Japan)
Jodo Shinshu: A Guide
Mililani Hongwanji Membership Handbook
Annotations and Reference: "Ocean: An Introduction to Jodo-Shinshu Buddhism in America" by Kenneth K. Tanaka