About the book

The Essential Book on Pure Land Buddhism finally available in English

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unlocking tannisho

Even a good person will be born in the Pure Land; how much more so an evil person!

Concerning good and evil alike I know nothing at all.



Can you believe these are the words of the great Japanese Buddhist master?


Tannisho (Lamenting the Deviations) clarifies the heart of Pure Land Buddhism and points the way to real happiness with unforgettable expressions.

Unlocking Tannisho is the only definitive commentary of this beloved classic text, and has been a remarkable success with 240,000 copies sold to date.

“Tannisho (Lamenting the Deviations) is a major Pure Land Buddhist classic. Although it is little known in the West, it is one of the most important texts to appear in the history of religion.

In Unlocking Tannisho, Juliet Winters Carpenter’s skillful translation and Kentetsu Takamori’s unambiguous commentary clarify the essential meaning of this text that offers a universal spiritual challenge for modern people.”

- Dr. Alfred Bloom, professor emeritus of religion at the University of Hawaii


From the “Introduction”

In spring of 1944, at the age of sixteen, I volunteered to join the Japanese Imperial Air Force and was trained as a fighter pilot. Months before the end of the Pacific War, still a teenager, I watched as one after another of my comrades took off in an airplane loaded with explosives and just enough fuel for a one-way trip…

Still too young to make the list, I knew it was only a matter of time before my turn came yet deep down I prayed to live, as did my comrades. All of the doomed pilots tried to find meaning in that desperate situation. I well remember that as their only companion on that final flight, many chose to take along the book Tannisho and the message of Shinran.

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