Saturday, November 2, 2013

What do I mean by "modern heresies"

- Fragment from a letter to a friend (please check the links embedded in the text) - 

Question: You often use the term "modern heresies" and equate these with slandering the Amida Dharma. Please explain in a few words what do you mean by it.

My answer: To deny the authenticity of the Pure Land sutras and the existence of Amida Buddha by calling Him a metaphor, symbol, fictional character or anything else than a real and living Buddha, to say that His Pure Land is in one’s mind, denying that birth in the Pure Land takes place after death, or mixing Amida Dharma with various non-Buddhist philosophies and worldly ideologies – this is what I call slandering the Dharma, becoming an enemy of the Dharma and cutting the root of the Dharma in one’s heart.

3 comentarii:

Gabriel Schlaefer said...

I would also add: (1) Claiming to have a profound or unique insight into the teaching beyond what is written in the scriptures; (2) Putting obstacles in the way of those seeking birth, such as saying we must first awaken Bodhi mind or do good deeds; (3) Denying any of the Four Pillars of Jodo Shinshu contained in Kyogyoshinsho, which are:

A. Teaching (the Larger Sutra delivered by Shakyamuni)
B. Practice (the Nembutsu of Other-Power)
C. Shinjin (faith bestowed by Amida Buddha)
D. Enlightenment (nirvana obtained upon birth in the Pure Land)

Josho Adrian Cirlea said...

Thank you, Gabriel, for your comments. Now a few words about the Bodhi Mind:

The Awakening of the Bodhi Mind – the aspiration to attain Budhahood for saving oneself and all beings – is fulfilled in the Awakening of Faith in the Primal Vow of Amida Buddha. Shan-tao said: “Awake your Bodhi Mind to Amida’s Compasion”, that is, aspire to your and other beings Liberation by relying on the Compasion of Amida (his Primal Vow).

So, the Awakening of the Bodhi Mind, the obligatory condition in Mahayana of attaining the supreme Enlightenment, appears in Jodo Shinshu in the form of the entrusting heart (shinjin).

Shinran Shonin said in the “Hymns on Patriarchs”:

“Faith is One Mind
One Mind is the Diamond-like Mind;
The Diamond-like Mind is the Bodhi-Mind;
This mind is given us by the Other-Power.”

The One Mind represents the cause of Enlightenment. Since this is the Bodhi-
Mind, it has two aspects:

“To take refuge with One Mind in the Buddha
Of Unhindered Light Shining throughout the Ten Directions
Is the mind aspiring to become Buddha;
So says Vasubandhu, the Master of Discourse.”
(Hymn on the Patriachs 17)

“The mind aspiring to become Buddha
Is the mind seeking to save sentient beings;
The mind that seeks to save sentient beings
Is True Faith endowed by Amida’s Compassion.”
(Hymn on the Patriachs 18)

Gabriel Schlaefer said...

Thank you, Shaku Josho, for your clear explanation! This is exactly my own understanding, and those are beautiful scriptural passages you shared.

In Jodo Shinshu, we do not seek to cultivate Bodhi-mind through our own efforts, but rather rely entirely on Amida's Primal Vow, which saves everyone, including those who have no hope for enlightenment (i.e., bombu unable to awaken bodhi-mind). That is why the Pure Land is the only road to the castle of Nirvana for those lacking the seed of Buddhahood.

As our masters all say time and again, nothing is required of us but "to just listen and accept shinjin." Since shinjin is Amida's own pure Bodhi-mind, untainted by doubt, we are freed from our karmic fetters in the one moment of entrusting. How can we not recite the Nembutsu in gratitude from that point on?