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Alfred Bloom as to commentary; Yuien-bo as to Tannisho
As to Tannisho, Nobuo Haneda, Seishin Yamashita, Shojo Oi, & Numata Center Staff

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PDF of Classic of Jodo Shinshu Pure Land with commentary



  • THIS IS A SPECIALIZED AND ADVANCED PUBLICATION at 187 pages and we do not recommend it for people first learning about Buddhism.  
  • LIMITED SUPPLY. We are down to our last box of this publication but will continue to fulfill requests for the printed book while supplies last.
  • AVAILABLE also as a PDF. For your convenience, if you would like immediate access, you can click on the PDF Download logo above.  

This work, originally published in 1992, includes the original text of the Tannisho with Dr. Bloom's commentary relating to the challenges of modern society. 

In the Tannisho, Shinran Shonin's loyal disciple, Yuien-bo, collects key teachings to refute misinterpretations that arose after Shinran had passed away. In his Commentary, Dr. Bloom teases out the way Shinran's insights speak to us today and can provide guidance in our daily lives.

Web Editor's Note: The importance of this project to Rev. Dr. Numata is best identified in Dr. Bloom's foreword, reproduced following. 


I have long desired to make available to the people in the West the Tannisho, a Buddhist text expounding on the words of Shinran (A.D. 1173-1262), the founder of the popular Jodo Shin Sect. The book introduces Buddhism as a religion beyond good and evil. Several years ago the opportunity presented itself in the form of a commentary entitled Tannisho: A Resource for Modem Living, written by Dr. Alfred Bloom, currently Dean of the Institute of Buddhist Studies in Berkeley, California. This commentary is composed of radio talks given during the Moiliili Hongwanji Temple weekly broadcasts in Honolulu. Since I believe that this commentary accompanied by an English translation of the Tannisho would make an ideal publication, I asked the staff of the Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research to make an English translation and publish Dr. Bloom’s commentary as a new book.

I hope this book will make clear how the deep spiritual insights of the Tannisho can bring as much comfort to the troubled hearts of modern Westerners as they brought to troubled hearts in thirteenth century Japan. For as Shinran Shonin would be the first to tell us, times may change but human nature does not. I wish to express my deepest appreciation to: Moiliili Hongwanji Temple for sponsoring Dr. Bloom’s radio talks on the Tannisho; Dr. Alfred Bloom for the permission to republish his work; the Buddhist Study Center in Honolulu, which first published the commentary; Ms. Ruth Tabrah, editor for the Buddhist Study Center, for her dedicated efforts to prepare the radio talks into book form; and the staff of the Numata Center for Translation and Research, Dr. Nobuo Haneda, the Reverend Seishin Yamashita, and the Reverend Shojo Oi, for vn the translation of the Tannisho, the preparation of the extensive glossary and index, and other editorial work. It would give me great pleasure if this book would enable even one more person in the West to gain insight into the teachings beyond good and evil, and bring happiness and serenity into his or her life.

~ Yehan Numata, Founder, [Society for the Promotion of Buddhism]


Description. A Commentary with the text of the Tannisho presents the Tannisho with an illumintating commentary by the late Dr. Alfred Bloom, former Dean of the Institute of Buddhist Studies and Professor of the University of Hawaii. The Tannisho is considered a classic of Japanese Buddhism and is central to the Jodo Shinshu Pure Land tradition.

This commentary was a favorite project of our founder, the late Rev. Dr. Yehan Numata, and we are especially happy to keep the publication alive in this fashion.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Yehan Numata

Part One

Tannisho: Notes Lamenting the Differences
by Yuien-bo

Preface    3
      Chapters I-X   3-8
Special Preface   9
      XI-XVIII   9-20
      Epilogue  20

Part Two

Strategies for Modern Living: A Commentary on the Tarmisho
by Alfred Bloom

1. Why the Tannisho Was Written       27
2. About Yuien-bo (Preface)                33
3. The Essence of Shin Faith (Tannisho Ch. I) 38
4. Faith and Reality (Tannisho Ch. I)                44
5. Experience and Communication (Tannisho Ch. II) 50
6. Theory Versus Life (Tannisho Ch. II) 54                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     7. The Transformation of Faith (Tannisho Ch. III) 59
8. Action and Compassion (Tannisho Ch. IV) 64
9. Buddhist Views of Morality (Tannisho Ch. V) 68
10. Shinran’s Social Awareness (Tannisho Ch. VI) 72
11. The Way of No-Hindrance (Tannisho Ch. VII) 76
12. The Benefits of Faith (Tannisho Ch. VII) 80
13. The Revolutionary Reality of the Nembutsu (Tannisho Ch. VIII) 84
14. The Affirmation of Doubt (Tannisho Ch. IX) 89
15. The Basis of True Salvation (Tannisho Ch. X) 94
16. Dealing with Differences (Special Preface) 98
17. The Issue of Vow and Name (Tannisho Ch. XI) 103
18. Knowledge and Faith (Tannisho Ch. XII) 108
19. Wisdom as Compassion (Tannisho Ch. XII) 112
20. The Issue of Morality (Tannisho Ch. XIII) 116
21. The Embrace That Inspires (Tannisho Ch. XIV) 121
22. An Understanding of limitations (Tannisho Ch. XV) 126
23. Religion as Positive Experience (Tannisho Ch. XVI) 131
24. The Issue of Hell (Tannisho Ch. XVII) 136
25. The True Nature of Buddha (Tannisho Ch. XVIII) 140
26. The Mutuality of Interdependence (Tannisho Epilogue) 144
27. Expressing What Is True and Real (Tannisho Epilogue) 148
28. The Light of Limitless Compassion (Tannisho Epilogue) 153

Notes 157
Glossary 159
Bibliography 179
Index 183