Shinran byobu (size: w. 582 cm, 207.8" x h. 212 cm, 83.4", 6 panels) by manga artist Inoue Takehiko
Mini byobu: w. 41.1 cm (16.1") x h. 14.8 cm (5.8"), 6 panels, set of 2, $160 + shipping
Replica byobu: w. 110.7 cm (43.5") x h. 42.2 cm (16.6"), 6panels, set of 2, $990 + shipping
Shinran (May 21, 1173 – January 16, 1263) was a Japanese Buddhist monk, who was born in Hino (now a part of Fushimi, Kyoto) at the turbulent close of the Heian-era and lived during the Kamakura-era. Shinran was a pupil of Honen and the founder of what ultimately became the Jōdo Shinshu sect in Japan.
Essentially Shinran said that because we are all defiled by greed, hatred and delusion, we have no chance of gaining enlightenment by ourselves. Many Buddhists at that time felt that the Dharma of the Buddha had declined to such a point that people could not do it themselves anymore, a concept called mappo in Japanese, a Mahayana eschatology that claims that the ability to practice Dharma properly declines over time. Instead the Pure Land School of Buddhism encouraged its practitioners to rely on the vow of the Buddha Amitabha (Sanskrit, Amida in Japanese) to save all beings from suffering. According to three particular sutras Amitabha vowed to ensure that anyone who chanted his name would be reborn in his Pure Land of Sukhavati (Sanskrit, lit. Land of Bliss) and once there would easily be able to gain enlightenment, because they would not be hindered by the problems of day-to-day life.
A statue of Shinran Shonin stands in Upper West Side Manhattan, in New York City. Located on Riverside Drive between 105th and 106th Streets, in front of the New York Buddhist Temple, the statue depicts Shinran in a peasant hat and sandals, holding a wooden staff, as he peers down on the sidewalk.
Although this kind of statue is often found at Jōdo Shinshu temples, the statue is notable because it survived the atomic bombing of Hiroshima, standing a little more than a mile from ground zero. It was brought to New York in 1955. The plaque calls the statue “a testimonial to the atomic bomb devastation and a symbol of lasting hope for world peace.”
On March 14, 2008, what are assumed to be some of the ash remains of Shinran were found in a small wooden statue at the Jōrakuji temple in Shimogyo-ku, Kyoto. The temple was created by Zonkaku (1290–1373), the son of Kakunyo (1270–1351), one of Shinran's great grandchildren. Records indicate that Zonkaku inherited the remains of Shinran from Kakunyo. The 24.2 cm wooden statue is identified as being from the middle of the Edo-era. The remains were wrapped in paper.