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Dobokai Movement

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The Dobokai Movement, a reform group within the Jodo Shinshu Higashi Honganji Buddhist tradition, officially began on the 700th memorial of Shinran Shonin in 1962, though its roots were in a movement started in 1947 by a group of practitioners calling themselves the shinjinsha, or, 'true person community'[1]. Two of its major leaders were Akegarasu Haya and Kiyozawa Manshi.

The goal of the movement was to awaken and unite members of Higashi Honganji in the tradition of Mahayana Buddhism as laid forth by Shinran Shonin due to internal conflict over differences of doctrinal opinion; such as over the idea of shinjin, and whether the Pure Land was to be entered in death or in this life. The Dobokai movement based itself largely on the Tannisho (a collection of sayings attributed to Shinran Shonin with commentaries by Yuien-bo, one of Shinran's disciples), and the idea of cutting through spiritual differences[1].

The movement was considered controversial and disruptive by older, more traditional Higashi followers due to some of its proponents' left-leaning social and political activism, which eventually contributed to a schism in the Higashi Hongwanji, with some traditionalist members splitting off to form a separate branch, the Tokyo Hongwanji. The Dobokai still exists within the Higashi Hongwanji today, albeit in a more low-key and muted form.


  1. 1.0 1.1 Popular Buddhism In Japan: Shin Buddhist Religion & Culture by Esben Andreasen, pp. 26, 69-73 / University of Hawaii Press 1998, ISBN 0-8248-2028-2

Suzuki, David. Crisis in Japanese Buddhism: Case of the Otani Sect

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