A mother calls her child and the child answers immediately. The answer of the child is due to the mother’s call, not to the power of the child. In the same way, shinjin (entrusting heart) is not our own creation, but the natural answer to the call of Amida Buddha, the Compassionate Mother of all beings. Because of Amida, we entrust in Amida and say nembutsu. Only because the mother always sends unconditional love to her child, he can trust and rely on her. The faith of the child is in fact, the love of the mother which manifests in him. The mother is the one who actually feeds and makes the child grow. A child is nothing without a mother. The power of her love makes him grow, not his own power.
Shinjin and nembutsu are the echo – manifested in us, of the powerful call of Amida.
When one is in the mountains and shouts in a loud voice, automatically you can hear the echo. If you do not shout, no echo can be heard. In the same way, if Amida would not compassionately call to us, there would be no shinjin and nembutsu.
This matter – shinjin and nembutsu comes from Amida and are not created by us – are very difficult to explain in words. In fact, these are beyond conceptual understanding. I am using here images to make my mind and heart, and the minds and hearts of the readers, to understand this important truth – that there is nothing we can call to be ours and our creation, especially shinjin and nembutsu. I do not know if these images are the best. Just please use them, if you consider useful, to abandon your thoughts of personal merit in receiving shinjin and birth in the Pure Land. Just rely on Amida Buddha and don't think on anything else. I do not use by chance the term “receive” and not the term “attain” when referring to shinjin.
Eiken Kobai Sensei explains in his book Understanding Jodo Shinshu:
"The shinjin that is the acceptance of Amida Buddha's Primal Vow and the nembutsu that we recite with our mouth, are absolutely not things that depend on our efforts. Rather, because they result solely from the Buddha-centered power, we refer to them as the shinjin of merit transference based on Buddha-centered power (tariki eko no shinjin) and the nembutsu of the merit transference based on Buddha-centered power (tariki eko no nembutsu."