On the Cover of Tricycle

This season's Tricycle Magazine puts the founder of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, Shinran Shonin on the cover. The 15-foot bronze statue of Shinran Shonin was taken outside the New York Buddhist Church.

But the Jodo Shinshu connection goes one step further with a feature interview with a Canadian who re-dedicated her life to Jodo Shinshu after growing up in a Anglican and Buddhist family.

Rev. Patricia Usuki became the head minister of the San Fernando Valley Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, near Los Angeles, California, in 2004. In 2007, her master’s thesis was published as a book, "Currents of Change: American Buddhist Women Speak Out on Jodo Shinshu."

Usuki was interviewed by author, Jeff Wilson. They discussed the Shin teaching of the Primal Vow and the role of women in Buddhism.

Here's a preview:

What about today? What about female clergy in the institution?

"My own experience has been very positive. Perhaps when you start from the understanding that the Primal Vow is meant for all people without discrimination, and that it works in your life regardless of distinctions that include such dichotomies as good and evil or priest and lay practitioner, then how could the question of gender possibly be a consideration? This should be empowering to anyone. As a consequence, when social stumbling blocks occur— and sometimes they do—it’s easier to realize that the institution is made up of human beings, and human beings are imperfect. That’s why an individual like Shinran or me or you cannot hope to realize the mind of nirvana through our self-power alone."