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News › The Shinnyo Busts Come to Redwood City

By Mark L. Blum, Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley
June 22, 2013

I think it is important to point out that I am not a member of Shinnyo-en but rather a scholar of Buddhism as a whole. On the other hand, many of my scholarly interests overlap with the religious culture that drives Shinnyo-en, and for that reason we enjoy a relationship of mutual support and therefore I am very happy to be here today to share my thoughts with you.

I wanted to clarify my standpoint right up front because as a non-member, I do not feel qualified and therefore shall refrain speaking to the question of what these busts of the founder and his family mean. To put it another way, I am quite certain that their meaning is deeply significant to all of you in the Shinnyo-en community, but what that meaning is I am uncomfortable talking about it precisely because these busts play such an important role in your community. This is a somewhat paradoxical thing to say, but it is quite clear that what people see when they look at religious art is inevitably influenced by the context in which they do that looking. ... Read More »


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