|HISTORY OF THE PURE LAND BUDDHIST FELLOWSHIP -
FORERUNNER TO THE SHIN BUDDHIST FELLOWSHIP UK
THE JOURNAL PURE LAND NOTES 1977 - 2008
|Rev Daichi Gary Robinson
Originaly, Pure Land Notes was a simple A4 sheet posted occasionaly to friends and members of the Shin Buddhist Association of Great Britain.
The Pure Land Buddhist Fellowship was the successor to the Shin Buddhist Association of Great Britain, which was founded by Jack Austin and Rev Hisao Inagaki in around about 1977. At that time, Jack was the Development Officer for the World Congress of Faiths, and Hisao was Lecturer in Buddhism at the School of Oriental and African Studies at London University.
Jack had corresponded with Rev Saizo Inagaki, Hisao's Father, and had arranged for the Ven Kosho Otani, then the Monshu of the Nishi Hongwanji, to take part in a big interfaith conference held at the University of Kent at Canterbury in 1976.
Following this event, in the August of that year the Monshu and his wife came to London, where he conferred Kikyoshiki on a number of people who were interested in Jodoshinshu, including Jack, Max Flisher and Jim Pym.
In 1977, Jack went on an extended trip to Japan, where he was ordained as a priest of the Nishi Hongwanji branch of Jodoshinshu Buddhism.
After his return, weekly and monthly meetings were held, mostly meeting in members' houses. A committee was formed, which met regularly, and even went as far as applying for charitable status. In the early 1980's Jack's health deteriorated, and it was no longer possible to continue with the SBA meetings, and so it was dissolved. However, a small group, including Max and Jim, met regularly but informally at Hisao Inagaki's house. This was the foundation of the Pure Land Buddhist Fellowship, though the PLBF was never an organisation.
Because members were scattered, Max Flisher commenced to circulate a single sheet of news as mentioned above. Earlier, Jack and Hisao had made links with a number of people in mainland Europe, including Adrian Peel (founder of Jikoji in Antwerp), and Jerome Ducor in Switzerland, as well as other European Shin devotees, and it seemed reasonable to send them the sheet of news.
Max Flisher was its first editor and publisher of the PLBF newsletter and it was he that expanded it to several folded A5 sheets. In those days it was still known as "PLBF News". After Max, Jim took over the editorship around about 1983, and started to call it "Pure Land Notes", modelling it on the very successful "Zen Notes" published by the Zen Centre in New York.
Jim continued to publish PLN until 2005 when, due in part to his relocation to Scotland, no newsletter or journal had been produced for a while and so, in agreement with Jim and initially using some of the new technology driven forms of communication, I purchased the domain name www.purelandnotes.com and launched a web-site with that title.
However, and despite the welcomed return of old PLBF members and friends, and even more interest from people new to Pure Land Buddhism, it soon became clear from emails, letters and phone calls made in response to the appearance of our new website, those who were most genuinely interested in the subject of Jodo Shinshu or Pure Land Buddhism most of all wanted the reinstatement of a more tactile and personal printed journal. And so, rather paradoxically or at least against the trend at that time PLN went from online to in print in the summer of 2008.