Shinran (1173-1263), was ordained as a Tendai monk at the age of nine on Mount Hiei in Kyoto, Japan, and left the monastery in dissatisfaction after 20 years. He became a disciple of Honen’s, who was the first to advocate for Pure Land Buddhism as a separate, independent school. Shinran became awakened by Honen’s Pure Land Buddhism and Amida Buddha’s (Immeasurable Wisdom and Compassion) deep wish to liberate all people. Later Shinran was exiled to a remote region in Northern Japan, started a family and evolved his practice and thought. This was the basis of what is today is Jodo Shinshu Buddhism with Shinran is recognized as the founder.

There will be five lectures explaining the life of Shinran. (1) From the birth to the time of monastic practice on Mount Hiei; (2) Meeting with Honen and encountering the Pure Land Buddhism; (3) Nenbutsu Persecution and the Beginning of Family Buddhism; (4) Propagation Activities in the Kanto (Tokyo) areas; and (5) Returning to his hometown Kyoto. Along with this time frame, we will explore his understanding of Pure Land Buddhism and the religious experience of awakening experience according to his writings.

Your Instructor

Rev. Dr. Mutsumi Wondra


Resident Minister at Orange County Buddhist Church. Born and raised in the Shin Buddhist tradition, educated in Kyoto, Japan. Was a trade and finance professional. Changed career midlife. Received a Ph.D. in Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, ordained at the Nishi Hongwangi in Kyoto, Japan and is a Research Fellow and Adjunct Professor at the Institute at Buddhist Studies (IBS).