Showing posts with label SHINJIN (FAITH). Show all posts
Showing posts with label SHINJIN (FAITH). Show all posts

Friday, April 20, 2018

The Ten Benefits of faith in Amida during this life: 4. The benefit of being protected and cared for by all the Buddhas and 6. The benefit of being protected constantly by the Light of Amida's heart




If the 1st benefit described the protection of various powerful unenlightened beings (worldly protectors), the 4th speaks about the protection of all Buddhas (enlightened protectors), and the 6th refers to the special protection of Amida Buddha himself. I decided to explain the 4th and 6th benefit together because they are interrelated.

The 4th and 6th benefits include but are not limited to, protection against various influences from external evil forces, sorcery, black magic, evil spirits, etc.
Shinran Shonin said:

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Ten Benefits of faith in Amida during this life: 5. The benefit of being praised by all the Buddhas

Shinran Shonin said:

“Amida’s Seventeenth Vow declares that the Buddha will not enter into perfect Enlightenment if those who say the Name are not praised by all the countless Buddhas throughout the worlds in the ten quarters. The passage declaring the fulfillment of the Vow states: ‚such people are praised by all the Buddhas and rejoice.’’’[1]

Those who entrust to Amida are regarded by Shakyamuni as His true companions: 

"Those who realize shinjin, which is Other Power,
'Revere the Dharma and greatly rejoice in it,
And therefore are my true companions'.
Such is the praise of the World Honored One,
the Master of the teaching".[2]

"Sakyamuni rejoices in persons of shinjin, saying, 'They are my true companions'”.[3]

They are wonderful people, as well as true disciples of Shakyamuni, Amida and all Buddhas:

The Ten Benefits of faith in Amida during this life: 3. The benefit of our karmic evil being transformed into good

Due to the influence of Amida we can transform an unpleasant experience into an opportunity to understand life as it is and the Dharma.  It doesn’t mean that we will no longer have problems, or experience lack of material things, etc., but that we can understand these unfortunate events as being the effects of our karma, using them to become more aware that this is samsara, the world of suffering, from which we must escape once and for all through birth in the Pure Land. Bad events in our lives can thus be transformed through the light of the Dharma into useful ones – useful for our understanding.

Also this benefit refers to the fact that in the instant we receive shinjin (faith) our karma is cut or sterilized and cannot plant its seed into another life. When shinjin enters our heart we receive the pure karmic energy of Amida Buddha. Our evil is turned into good in the sense that it is no longer an obstacle for our birth in the Pure Land at the end of this life:

The Ten Benefits of faith in Amida during this life: 2. The benefit of being possessed of supreme virtues

This benefit means that by entrusting ourselves to Amida Buddha’s Primal Vow we receive His merits and virtues which cause us to attain birth in the Pure Land:

"When sentient beings of this evil world of the five defilements
Entrust themselves to the selected Primal Vow,
Virtues indescribable, inexplicable, and inconceivable
Fill those practicers".[1]

„All beings, having heard Amida’s virtuous Name,
Attain joyful faith, rejoice in what they hear,
And call his Name even once. The person of sincerity, Amida,
Endows merit to them. All who aspire for birth in the Pure Land attain Birth there.
Hence, I prostrate myself to worship him and aspire to be
born there.'"[2]

Shinran Shonin explained in his work “Passages on the Two Aspects of The Tathagata’s Directing of Virtue”:

The Ten Benefits in this life of a person who has faith in Amida Buddha





Shinran Shonin speaks about ten benefits that a    person who entrusts in Amida Buddha                          receives in the present life:

„When we acquire adamantine true faith we unfailingly gain ten benefits in this life. What are  the ten?[1]


Amida’s heart (the 4th and 6th benefit are explained together in the same article!)
7. The benefit of having great joy in our hearts
8. The benefit of being aware of Amida’s benevolence and
of responding in gratitude to His virtues
9. The benefit of constantly practicing great compassion
10. The benefit of entering the stage of the trully settled."

I will explain each one of them in separate short articles. Please click on them to read the explanations. This is a more in depth presentation of an older study that I made many years ago. Please have patience until I finish it.




[1] Shinran Shonin, Kyogyoshinsho, chapter III, Kyogyoshinsho – On Teaching, Practice, Faith, and Enlightenment, translated by Hisao Inagaki, Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, Kyoto, 2003, p. 121 and The Collected Works of Shinran, Shin Buddhism Translation Series, Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, Kyoto, 1997, p.112


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Why did Shinran say that we should not wait for Amida’s coming at the moment of death?



Question:
 Why did Shinran say that we should not wait for Amida’s coming at the moment of death? Will Amida not come for people of shinjin?

Answer:
The person who has faith in the Primal Vow does not wait for the final moment of death to have a good state of mind in which to say Nembutsu and be welcomed by Amida Buddha, but receives faith during his present life and becomes assured of birth in the Pure Land at the moment of death, when he is naturally welcomed  by Amida Buddha and attains Budhahood. The Nembutsu one says during one’s whole life is thus the expression of faith and gratitude, and not the self power nembutsu. When Shinran said that we should not wait for Amida's coming at the moment of death, he did not mean that we are not actually received by Amida in His Pure Land when we die or that He might not send one of His manifestations to us in our final hours before death! Of course Amida can do that if He wants! What Shinran meant is that we should not think that the moment of death is more important than our daily lives, and we should not attach a false significance to it, fearing that if we do not have a good state of mind or concentration in those final moments, then we will not go to the Pure Land. No matter we are or we are not in a concentrated or good state of mind when we die, no matter if we say the Nembutsu or die without saying it because of unforeseen circumstances, we will be welcomed by Amida Buddha in His Pure Land if we already entrusted ourselves to Him and said His Name in faith during life. Shinran explained:

Friday, April 13, 2018

Abandon the idea that you can attain Buddhahood in this life


Question:
You said in one of your recent  posts that as long as you still harbor in your mind the smallest thought of personal merit or “maybe I can attain Buddhahood by myself” kind of thinking, you cannot see and enter the Dharma gate of birth in Amida Buddha’s Pure Land. Please explain in more detail.

Answer:
People don't really understand what is meant by becoming a Buddha in this life, and in this very body. This is perhaps due to the bad influence of many fancy Buddhist magazines which talk about Enlightenment like it’s some kind of calmness or stillness of mind which can be attained by everybody. They use a language which makes Enlightenment seem a normal human experience if you are good, and meditate, and they also describe Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha, like a normal human being who proved that spiritual calmness can be attained by anybody.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Summary of the Primal Vow



            Now, after so many pages in which I tried my best to explain in detail the elements of the Primal Vow, I would like to make a summary, so that you keep in mind its essentials.
Click on the highlighted words to go to the specific part of the Primal Vow related to them.

Basically, what Amida promised is this:

"If you sincerely and exclusively entrust yourself to me, say my Name in a relaxed manner, without being obsessed with numbers and special states of mind, and wish to be born in my land, then you will go there after death. If this will not happen, then it means I do not deserve to be called a Buddha, but you should not worry, because a Buddha always keeps His promises.

However, the fact that I save you so easily, does not mean that I agree with your evil deeds, so please try your best not to do the five gravest offences. Don’t worry, I will save you anyway, no matter what you do, but please try your best to avoid them.

Also, please notice that I really can’t save you if you slander the right Dharma, that is, if you deny my existence, and the existence of my Pure Land. If you do that, you are not actually entrusting yourself to me and do not wish to be born in my land, and the saying of my Name is false. Nobody can go to a place which he thinks it doesn’t exist and can’t be saved by someone whom he considers being an imaginary person. It’s logical, isn’t it? So, please entrust yourself to me as to a real, existing Buddha who manifested a Pure Land especially for you, wish to be born there after death, and say my Name.
I am awaiting you! Please come as you are!"

Monday, February 26, 2018

The so called “exclusion” in the Primal Vow: „excluded are those who commit the five grave offenses and those who slander the right Dharma."


-  updated and revised on 26th February 2018 - 


"If,when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings of the ten quarters who sincerely entrust themselves to me, desire to be born in my land, and say my Name perhaps even ten times, should not be born there, may I not attain the supreme Enlightenment. Excluded are those who commit the five grave offenses and those who slander the right Dharma."
(The Primal Vow of Amida Buddha)

Many people that come in contact with the Primal Vow of Amida Buddha experience two types of reactions: they are happy when reading the all-inclusive message in the first part, but they get unsure right after reading the last sentence: "excluded are those who commit the five grave offenses[1] and those who slander the right Dharma”.

Saturday, February 24, 2018

The meaning of "sincerely entrust themselves to me, desire to be born in my land, and say my Name, perhaps even ten times" from the Primal Vow


            - click to return to A Detailed Explanation of the Primal Vow of Amida Buddha - 

"If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings of the ten quarters who sincerely entrust themselves to me, desire to be born in my land, and say my Name perhaps even ten times, should not be born there, may I not attain the supreme Enlightenment.
Primal Vow of Amida Buddha 

One who is sincerely in love will say „I love you” often or seldom, and wish to be with the person he loves. Similarly, a person who sincerely entrusts to Amida Buddha will express his faith by saying the Name of Amida and wish to be born in His Pure Land. It’s as simple as that.
Feelings of love are automaticaly expressed with words of affection, just like faith in Amida will manifest as Namo Amida Bu (Nembutsu). Thus, we can say that the Nembutsu and wish to be born in the Pure Land of Amida Buddha are expressions or manifestations of faith. One who has faith or „sincerely entrusts” to Amida will certainly say His Name and desire to be with Him in His Pure Land. This is why Shinran Shonin said that faith (shinjin) is the cause of birth in the Pure Land and subsequent attainment of Nirvana:

Elements of genuine faith: 1) Accepting the actual, literal existence of Amida Buddha and His Pure Land

Without accepting the actual, literal existence of Amida Buddha there can be no true faith, no true salvation and no real birth in His Pure Land. If we have faith in someone, then it means we are sure beyond any doubt that he is reliable and that he will keep his promise. Also to believe in someone’s promise means that we accept his existence, too. Promises can be made by living persons, in our case by a living, existing Amida Buddha, not by material objects or fictional characters[1]. Thus, we must accept Amida as a living Buddha who can hear, see and save us by taking us to His Pure Land after death.

Honen Shonin said:

"Amida Buddha fulfilled the forty-eight vows and established the Pure Land. He always listens to a person who utters His name".[2]

„Amida Buddha never fails to hear you, regardless of time and circumstances”.[3]

He also said:

Friday, February 23, 2018

Elements of genuine faith: 2) To accept the story of Amida Buddha as told by Shakyamuni Buddha in the Larger Sutra

            - click to return to the main list of the elements of genuine faith in Amida Buddha - 

This sutra explains the apparition of Amida and His Pure Land in terms of cause and effect[1] and cannot be denied, especially because Shakyamuni's main reason of coming to this world was to teach this sutra:

“To reveal the true teaching: It is the Larger Sutra of the Buddha of Immeasurable Life. The central purport of this sutra is that Amida, by establishing the incomparable Vows, has opened wide the Dharma storehouse, and full of compassion for small, foolish beings, selects and bestows the treasure of virtues. The sutra further reveals that Shakyamuni appeared in this world and expounded the teachings of the way to Enlightenment, seeking to save the multitudes of living beings by blessing them with this benefit that is true and real[2]. Thus, to teach the Tathagata’s Primal Vow is the true intent of this sutra; the Name of the Buddha is its essence”[3].

The Larger Sutra reveals the true teaching. It is indeed the right exposition for which the Tathagata appeared in the world, the wondrous scripture rare and most excellent, the conclusive and ultimate exposition of the One Vehicle[4], the precious words disclosing perfect, instantaneous fulfillment, the sincere words praised by all the Buddhas throughout the ten quarters, the true teaching in consummate readiness for the beings of this day. Let this be known”[5].

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Elements of genuine faith: 3)To wish to be born in the Pure Land for the attainment of perfect Enlightenment/Buddhahood


The goal of Buddha Dharma is to become a Buddha. Not to paint this life in different colors, not to become a smart or interesting kind of Buddhist, but to become a Buddha. The Buddhist path is not a method of relaxation or a tablet for headache, something like “how can we become happier and calmer people” or a recipe for momentary happiness, but a road to Buddhahood or complete Freedom for us and all beings.

It is of utmost importance for those who enter the Buddhist path to have the aspiration to become a Buddha. Without this aspiration there is no Buddhism. If we don’t want or don’t feel the urgency of complete freedom from the many sufferings of repeated births and deaths, then Buddhism will remain for us only an object of study, an interesting lecture of mythology or an intellectual delight.

There are, so to speak, two visions one can have about himself and the world. The first is the ordinary vision depending on one's cultural education or daily concerns, and the other is the Dharmic vision.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Elements of genuine faith: 4) The twofold profound conviction (nishu jinshin)

           - click to return to the main list of the elements of genuine faith in Amida Buddha - 

Faith in Amida Buddha means a twofold profound conviction:

1) to know that we are people of deep karmic limitations, incapable to attain Buddhahood through our own power;
2) to know that only Amida Buddha can save us through His Vow Power (Other Power), without asking anything from us

“Deep mind is deep entrusting faith. It has two aspects. First, to believe deeply and unwaveringly that we are actually ordinary beings of karmic evil subject to birth and death, ever sinking and ever transmigrating in samsara since innumerable kalpas ago without a chance to escape from it. Second, to believe deeply and unwaveringly that the Forty-eight Vows of Amida Buddha enfold sentient beings, enabling them to board His Vow-Power and attain Birth.”[1]

"There are two aspects concerning this mind of trust: the first is to believe oneself to be a foolish being of defiled karma, subject to birth-and-death, from incalculable kalpas past constantly sinking and constantly turning, without any condition that could lead to liberation. The second is to believe deeply and decisively that, since one does not doubt that Amida's Forty-eight Vows grasp sentient beings, one rides on the power of that Vow and will without fail attain Birth.."[2]

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Elements of genuine faith: 5)To accept the Primal Vow of Amida Buddha without any doubt and be sure of your birth in the Pure Land

          - click to return to the main list of the elements of genuine faith in Amida Buddha - 

After hearing the Primal Vow you should have no doubt, think that the Primal Vow is reliable and that Amida Buddha will keep His promise and take you to His Pure Land if you entrust yourself to Him, say His Name and wish to go there.

Shinran Shonin said:

"Shinjin (faith) is hearing the Vow of the Tathagata and being free of doubt".[1]

"'Entrusting' is to be free of doubt, believing deeply and without any double-mindedness that the Tathagata's Primal Vow is true and real."[2]

"Hearing the inconceivable selected Primal Vow and the holy Name of supreme wisdom without a single doubt is called true and real shinjin; it is also called the diamondlike mind".[3]

"'Entrusting' is to be free of doubt, believing deeply and without any double-mindedness that the Tathagata's Primal Vow is true and real."[4]

"The Great Sage Sakyamuni teaches
That Amida's land is easy to reach,
And calls the sentient being who doubts the Pure Land path
A person lacking eyes, or lacking ears"
.[5]

Monday, February 19, 2018

Elements of genuine faith: 6)To accept that birth in the Pure Land of Amida Buddha takes place after death

             - click to return to the main list of the elements of genuine faith in Amida Buddha - 

Birth in the Pure Land through the Gate of the Primal Vow means the attainment of Buddhahood and acquiring the special transcendental qualities of the Enlightened Ones, which cannot be found in our present samsaric minds and bodies[1].
                     
Shakyamuni Buddha said:

“However hard you may practice in this life, it can only be for a short while. In the life to come you will be born in the land of Amitayus (Amida) and enjoy endless bliss there. Being forever in accord with the Way, you will no longer be subject to birth and death and be free of the afflictions caused by greed, anger and ignorance.”[2]

Honen Shonin said:

“When they lay aside their present lives, they will enter into the dwelling of the Buddhas, the Pure Land”.[3]

Shinran Shonin said:

"At the end of your life you will enter the family of the Buddhas, that is, the Pure Land".[4]

"At the moment our karmic bonds to this saha world run out and helplessly we die, we shall go to that land."[5]

“We read in the commentary of the Master of Kuang-ming Temple:
‘[…]We should sincerely devote ourselves to this teaching until the end of our life and, after abandoning our defiled bodies, realize the eternal bliss of Dharma-nature.’”[6]

„Those who have been born first [in the Pure Land] guide those who come later, and those who are born later join those who were born before. This is so that the boundless ocean of birth and death be exhausted”.[7]

“When ordinary beings reach the Western Land,
Their karmic evils, countless as particles, from long past
kalpas will perish.
Endowed with the six supernatural powers, they attain
unrestricted freedom in action;
Forever freed of old age and sickness, they are liberated from impermanence.”[8]









[1] Please reffer to the chapter "A collection of passages on the true meaning of birth in the Pure Land of Amida Buddha", from my book against wrong views - The True Teaching on Amida Buddha and His Pure Land, Dharma Lion Publications, Craiova, 2015, p.113
[2] Shakyamuni Buddha, The Larger Sutra, The Three Pure Land Sutras, translated by Hisao Inagaki in collaboration with Harold Stewart, revised second edition, Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, Berkeley, California, 2003, p. 53
[3] Honen’s Senchakushu – Passages on the Selection of the Nembutsu in the Original Vow (Senchaku Hongan Nembutsu Shu), translated and edited by Senchakushu English Translation Project, Kuroda Institute, University of Hawai’i Press, Honolulu and Sogo Bukkyo Kenkujo, Taisho University, Tokyo, p.121
[4] Kyogyoshinsho – On Teaching, Practice, Faith, and Enlightenment, translated by Hisao Inagaki, Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, Kyoto, 2003, p. 132.
[5] Shinran Shonin, Tannisho, chapter 9, The Collected Works of Shinran, Shin Buddhism Translation Series, Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, Kyoto, 1997, p. 666.
[6] Shinran Shonin, Kyogyoshinsho, chapter IV, Kyogyoshinsho – On Teaching, Practice, Faith, and Enlightenment, translated by Hisao Inagaki, Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, Kyoto, 2003, p. 175.
[7] Shinran Shonin, Kyogyoshinsho, chapter VI, The Collected Works of Shinran, Shin Buddhism Translation Series, Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, Kyoto, 1997, p.291
[8] The hymns by Fa-chao, based on the Sutra in Praise of the Pure Land (Sukhavativyuha), quoted by Shinran in his Kyogyoshinsho, chapter II,   Kyogyoshinsho – On Teaching, Practice, Faith, and Enlightenment, translated by Hisao Inagaki, Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, Kyoto, 2003, Idem, p. 41-41.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Elements of genuine faith: 7) To say the Name of Amida Buddha

             - click to return to the main list of the elements of genuine faith in Amida Buddha - 

When one has faith (shinjin), one is convinced that Amida Buddha and His Pure Land exists, and that the Promise He made in His Primal Vow is true, so he simply entrusts to this Buddha and wishes to go to His Pure Land (Buddha-field of Amida) after death. Saying Namo Amida Bu[1] often or seldom means exactly this – “I entrust to Amida Buddha/I take refuge in Amida Buddha and I wish to go to His Pure Land”. It also means, “Thank you Amida Buddha for saving me and taking me to your Pure Land at the end of this physical body”.

The genuine saying of Amida's Name comes automatically after entrusting to Him. Thus, the Nembutsu is both an expression of faith and gratitude that you are saved as you are by Amida Buddha.

Shinran Shonin said:

"Although the one moment of shinjin and the one moment of nembutsu are two, there is no nembutsu separate from shinjin (faith), nor is the one moment of shinjin separate from the one moment of nembutsu."[2]

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Elements of genuine faith: 8) To not mix nembutsu and devotion towards Amida Buddha with other faiths and practices from inside or outside of the Buddha Dharma

             - click to return to the main list of the elements of genuine faith in Amida Buddha - 

For example, a person of genuine faith will not entrust to, nor rely on the "god" of the monotheists[1] or any other gods or spirits of various religions.  

"Based on the true intent of the Buddha’s teaching and the expositions made and transmitted by the masters of the past, I will clarify that the path of sages is provisional and the Pure Land path is true, and caution people against non-Buddhist teachings, which are perverted, false, and wrong".[2]

“Those who take refuge truly and wholeheartedly, freeing themselves from all delusional attachments and all concern with the propitious or unpropitious, must never take refuge in false spirits or non-Buddhist teachings.”[3]

"Here, based on the sutras, the true and the false are determined and people are cautioned against the wrong, false, and misleading opinions of nonbuddhist teachings:
The Nirvana Sutra states:
'If one has taken refuge in the Buddha, one must not further take refuge in various gods.'

Monday, February 12, 2018

The meaning of "sentient beings of the ten quarters" from the Primal Vow

"If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings of the ten quarters who sincerely entrust themselves to me, desire to be born in my land, and say my Name even ten times, should not be born there, may I not attain the supreme Enlightenment. (The Primal Vow of Amida Buddha) 

This shows that the Promise of Amida Buddha is addressed to ALL beings, without any discrimination or distinction between them. All are the object of Amida's Primal Vow, no matter how high or low they are on the scale of spiritual evolution, and especially if they are the lowest of the low:

"Know that the Primal Vow of Amida makes no distinction between people young and old, good and evil; only shinjin (faith) is essential. For it is the Vow to save the person whose karmic evil is deep and grave and whose blind passions abound."[1]
(Shinran Shonin)

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The meaning of "if when I attain Buddhahood" [...] "may I not attain the supreme Enlightenment" from the Primal Vow of Amida Buddha

Amida Buddha promised in His Primal Vow:

"If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings of the ten quarters who sincerely entrust themselves to me, desire to be born in my land, and say my Name even ten times, should not be born there, may I not attain the supreme Enlightenment." 

I explained the content of the Primal Vow here, at this link, but now I would like to focus more on the specific words from its beginning and end because I saw that many people misunderstand it:

"if when I attain Buddhahood" [...] "may I not attain the supreme Enlightenment"