Amida Buddha: A compassionate divine personage of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism who created a Pure Land for the faithful to enter into upon the attainment of their enlightenment.
Dharma: The Buddhist teaching of the way to enlightenment.
Dharma Talk: A discourse by a Buddhist teacher explicating the dharma.
Issei: First-generation Japanese-American.
Jodo Shinshu or Shin Buddhism: This is the religion movement founded by Shinran. There are 10 sects of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism in Japan, including the Nishi-Hongwanji, the Kyoto-based sect from which the Buddhist Churches of America descends.
Mahayana Buddhism: The “Greater Vehicle” of Buddhism that grew up mostly outside of India — i.e., in China, Tibet, Japan, and elsewhere in the Far East. Mahayana Buddhism includes Zen, Tibetan Buddhism, and Jodo Shinshu, among many other forms.
Nembutsu: The Jodo Shinshu practice of reciting and/or relying on the name of Amida Buddha for the spiritual grace that leads to salvation and enlightenment in the Pure Land.
Nissei: Second-generation Japanese-American.
Pure Land: The ideal land where one dwells upon attaining enlightenment.
Samadhi: The state of purifying mental concentration one attains through meditation.
Shinran Shonin (1173-1263): The spiritual founder of Jodo Shinshu.
Sansei: Third-generation Japanese-American.