Wednesday, September 28, 2016

A question on shinjin (faith) and Amida's attainment of Buddhahood


Question:
"Amida Buddha attained Buddhahood for all of us when he attained Buddhahood. 'Shinjin' is simply the realisation of that fact with total conviction which in turn compels us to recite in thanksgiving "Namo Amidabutsu" ("Namo Amitofuo"). I wonder if it contradicts Jodo Shinshu".

Answer:
Shinjin (faith) is NOT only the realisation of the fact that Amida attained Buddhahood. Of course, Amida did attained Buddhahood in order to save us all, but this is not enough. All Buddhas attain Buddhahood and wish to save us, but this does not mean that sentient beings are saved just because they attain Enlightenment. We must follow the method prescribed  by each Buddha if we want to attain Enlightenment ourselves. So, Amida Buddha made His Primal Vow in which He said we should entrust to Him, say His Name in faith and wish to go to His Pure Land.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Explicações gerais sobre “ser”, “karma” e “renascimento”

Samsara é o ciclo de renascimentos e mortes através do qual os seres não iluminados devem passar devido ás suas ilusões kármicas e paixões cegas. Mas antes de entrar em detalhes sobre esta tópico, vamos entender o que é o “ser” ou uma “pessoa” de acordo com o ensinamento budista, e também, o que é “karma” e “renascimento”.

Agora, caros amigos, imaginem que você tem um carro na sua frente. Agora imagine que você perde uma das rodas deste carro e a deixa de lado. O carro e a roda são idênticos? Agora pegue uma segunda roda e proceda do mesmo modo, perguntando-se a mesma coisa. Continue a desmontar o carro e não pare até que cada componente do automóvel seja posto de lado. Agora pergunte-se de novo: estes componentes, separadamente, representam o automóvel? Você irá concluir logicamente que a resposta é  “não”.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

On the wrong view of regarding one's teacher as a manifestation of a Buddha or a Master

I have just found these words (see left photo), writen on September 21st, by a Dharma friend, member of Horai Association of Jodo Shinshu on another friend's Facebook page: "Zuiken Sensei was also known to be a manifestation of Kassapa Buddha in Japan". I decided to take a print screen and give some quick comments.

With all due respect for the good things Zuiken Sensei and his son, Zuio Inagaki Sensei, did for the Sangha, I publicly ask my Nembutsu friends to stop this idol worshipping attitude. No modern teacher should be placed on equal status with Shinran Shonin and Rennyo Shonin, and nobody should be considered or treated as a manifestation of a Buddha. This is clearly NOT the Jodo Shinshu way of relating with a teacher. If we allow such idolizing of our priests and teachers, we open a very dangerous gate. Thus, everything a teacher sais or writes will not be checked anymore through the filter of reason and no more compared with what Shakyamuni, Shinran and Rennyo said, because..... that teacher is "the manifestation of a Buddha".....

Monday, September 19, 2016

On the Buddhas who manifest as Bodhisattvas

           
Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva wearing Amida Buddha image
on Her crown, which signifies that She guides sentient beings
to Amida Buddha
Many members of our school do not fully understand the term Bodhisattva in Mahayana. Also, when we read the 22nd Vow of Amida, which is generally accepted to mean that we return to this world as fully Enlightened Persons or Buddhas to save all beings, some of us are puzzled that in the respective vow there is no mentioning of the word "Buddha", but only "Bodhisattva". This is why I dedicated many pages to the 22nd vow in my book, The48 Vows of Amida Buddha, where I show that, in fact, there is no contradiction between the two. The reason is that, in Mahayana, the term “Bodhisattva” does not only refer to a highly evolved person who is extremely close to Enlightenment, but also to a Buddha who manifests as  Bodhisattva. There is clear evidence for this in many Mahayana sutras, and also in the writings of various Buddhist masters. 
For example, in the Ojoraisan, Master Shan-tao himself presented Avalokitesvara as already enlightened:

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The merit transference from Amida Buddha to those who entrust to Him


How does Amida Buddha save us? By transfering His merits to us, those who have faith in Him. Shinran Shonin said:

"When I humbly contemplate the true essence of the Pure Land Way, I realize that Amida’s merit transference has two aspects: one is the aspect of going forth, and the other that of returning. Concerning the aspect of going forth of merit transference, there are true teaching, practice, faith, and Enlightenment"[1].

In the practices based on personal power the practitioner “earns” virtues which he transfers for his own Enlightenment. But in the case of  Other Power (Pure Land) way, the transference of merits takes place from Amida Buddha to those who entrust to Him. This transference of merit (eko) carries the follower to the Pure Land where he attains Nirvana or perfect Enlightenment. Shinran Shonin says in a hymn:

Thursday, September 8, 2016

The Name of Amida Buddha is the Great Practice


Amida Buddha
          In chapter II of his Kyogyoshinsho, Shinran defines the great practice:

"When I humbly contemplate the 'going forth' aspect of Amida’s merit transference, I realize that there are great practice and great faith. The great practice is to call the Name of the Tathagata of Unhindered Light (Amida Buddha). This practice contains all good and roots of virtue, and is perfectly accomplished and most eficacious in bringing about liberation. It is the treasure-sea of merits of true suchness, ultimate reality. For this reason, it is called great practice.

This practice comes from the vow of great compassion, the Seventeenth Vow, which is called the Vow that the Name shall be glorified by all the Buddhas. It is also called the Vow that the Name shall be praised by all the Buddhas, and the Vow that the Name shall be lauded by all the Buddhas. Further, it can be called the Vow accomplishing the going-forth aspect of merit transference, and also the Vow of the Nembutsu chosen from among many practices.'

Concerning the vow that the Name shall be praised by all the Buddhas, the Larger Sutra states:

'If, when I attain Buddhahood, innumerable Buddhas in the lands of the ten directions should not all praise and glorify my Name, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.'