THE TANNISHO: Foreward by Dr. Taitetsu Unno

This is a completely revised version of my Tannisho: A Shin Buddhist Classic, published in 1984, which was based upon an earlier work, Tannisho: Lamenting the Deviations (1977).

This work contains the sayings of Shinran (1173-1263), the founder of Jodo Shinshu or Shin Buddhism, which claims the largest following in Japanese Buddhism. Compiled several decades after his death by a disciple named Yui-en, this work consists of 18 sections. The first ten sections are the words of Shinran as remembered by Yui-en, and the next eight, preceded by a special preface, contains points of controversy current among the followers of Shinran. The prologue and epilogue to the 18 sections were written by Yui-en about whom little is known historically.

The Tannisho is one of the most widely read works in Japanese Buddhism, known not only as a religious but literary classic. It is impossible to translate such a work into English adequately and fully, but I have attempted to transmit some sense of its flowing style, religious content, and spiritual flavor. Among those who have guided me in my enterprise, I should like to gratefully acknowledge the comments and suggestions offered by two late teachers, Yoshifumi Ueda and Masao Hanada, whose words remain a constant source of inspiration.

Taitetsu Unno
Northampton, Massachusetts
January 1, 1996

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