Shin, or Pure Land, is the flower of Japanese Buddhism. Although it is less well known in the West than Zen, Vipassana or Tibetan Buddhism, its message of holy freedom, or naturalness, which arises when man conforms with sincere attachment to the Eternal saving will of the Buddha has been an illuminating way of spiritual awakening for multitudes of Japanese people since the sixth century when Buddhism came to Japan.
Kanamatsu's Naturalness, written in 1949, is more than an introduction to the essence of Shin Buddhism. It is a profound and enlightened meditation on the relationship between man and Amida Buddha, who is pure mercy and whose Name is a vehicle of Nirvanic Reality.
Combining the erudition of a philosopher with the sensitivity of a poet, Kanamatsu leads the reader into the heart of the subject where man may unite with the Buddha-Nature even in the ordinary activities of everyday life. The deep compassion and beautiful simplicity of this classic work-- which like a haiku speaks volumes with few words-- will appeal to all people who seek a spiritual antidote to the artificiality and ugliness that causes much of the suffering in our world.
Very few books have appeared in the West on the Shin tradition, yet D.T. Suzuki -- recognized as the foremost exponent of Buddhism to Western culture -- has characterized Shin Buddhism as Japan''s major religious contribution to the West. Kanamatsu's Naturalness allows the reader to experience that "even here lies the other shore waiting to be reached -- yes, here is the Eternal Present, not distant, not anywhere else."
Born in 1915 in Kyoto, Kenryo Kanamatsu took his B.A. in Philosophy at Otani University. Following study under a Fulbright scholarship at Cornell and the University of Chicago, he received his doctorate and was a Professor at Otani University. In addition to Naturalness, Dr. Kanamatsu translated the works of Plato into Japanese and wrote a book on Plato's Theology and Cosmology which has not been translated into English. He was a lifelong devotee of Shin Buddhism.