400-year-old Kyoto temple shows its 21st century attitude by going digital

400-year-old Kyoto temple shows its 21st century attitude by going digital
Founded at the opening of the 17th century, Kyoto’s Nishi Honganji Temple is one of the city’s most prestigious Buddhist institutions. As you might expect, it has some decidedly old-school touches, such as the length of rope woven out of strands of hair donated by female believers which was used to haul building materials for the structure.

But Nishi Honganji is no historical relic. As one of the most important temples in the widely-practiced True Pure Land School sect of Buddhism, large numbers of faithful look to the temple for religious guidance. To meet their needs, the temple has come up with a modern idea that belies its 400 years of history.

Nishi Honganji recently launched its own online e-book store. “We have assembled a selection of works that will allow readers to learn by examining a variety of perspectives on the beliefs of True Pure Land School Buddhism, as developed by its founder Shinran, as well as the teachings of Amida Buddha in general,” said a spokesperson.

▼ The store’s front page

400-year-old Kyoto temple shows its 21st century attitude by going digital
▼ Product offerings

400-year-old Kyoto temple shows its 21st century attitude by going digital
In keeping with Buddhism’s benevolent tones, the e-books are magnanimously offered not only in web-browser format, but are also viewable on iPhone and Android-equipped smartphones by downloading the appropriate apps. Visitors to the e-book store’s website are not required to register a profile, and samples are available to look through free of charge.

While Higashi Honganji has sold books, CDs, and DVDs of its teachings in the past, this is their first foray into the field of digital publishing. Personally, we think Gautama Buddha himself would approve of these e-books. An ascetic who spent much of his life divesting himself of worldly possessions would waste no time mourning the loss of physical print media, as long as the knowledge remained.

Source: IT Media
Related: Higashi Honganji e-Book Store
Top image: G Kyoto
Insert images: IT Media

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400-year-old Kyoto temple shows its 21st century attitude by going digital