The definitive biography of Shinjo Ito, the founder of one of the main traditions of Buddhism, which has almost 1 million members worldwide.
This is the first major biography of Shinjo Ito, the founder of the Shinnyo-en tradition of Buddhism and one of the twentieth-century’s most innovative spiritual teachers. Shinjo was schooled in the millennium-old esoteric Buddhism of Japan, and used that as the basis for developing a unique lay practice grounded in the principles and concepts of the Mahayana version of the Nirvana Sutra.
Sculpting the Buddha Within is an important book that traces Shinjo Ito’s evolution not only as a spiritual master but also as a human being. Living in a time of unprecedented change, Shinjo’s personal life was often marked by hardships and personal grief, experiences that became the foundation for cultivating universal compassion. Committed to making buddhahood tangible for others and a goal worth aspiring to, Shinjo also excelled as a sculptor of devotional images. His wish was to help his practitioners see their own potential for goodness so that they, too, would want to work diligently to shape and give form to their inner buddha. Rather than encouraging his followers to believe in a fixed system of practice or beliefs, Shinjo taught how to live life in accordance with one’s buddha nature—and the gratitude, creativity, and happiness latent within it.