Tuesday, June 14, 2016

My Dharma activities go beyond any affiliation and institution


Recently a member of Higashi branch of Jodo Shinshu wrote to me and said that although he likes the way I teach Jodo Shinshu and how I stand up against modern divergences, he does not like the idea of leaving his branch or joining a new one.

I answered that my intention is NOT to create another branch of Jodo Shinshu, nor to attract people to the Nishi (Hongwanji-ha) branch, but to awake followers of all Shinshu branches, or without any affiliation, to the true Amida Dharma as it was taught by Shakyamuni Buddha, Shinran and Rennyo. When I teach or discuss the Amida Dharma I don't make any distinction between followers of Nishi, Higashi or any branch. All I want is that the seed of true teaching be planted in the minds and hearts of all followers of Shinran Shonin, and the bad roots of wrong views be cut forever from all various Jodo Shinshu branches. So I think that my attitude would be better described by words such as, orthodox, non-sectarian and all-inclusive.

This is also the reason why any Jodo Shinshu follower, no matter his or her affiliation or without any affiliation, can become a member of Amidaji temple. My goal - and I think this should be the goal of any priest and teacher - is to teach the true (orthodox) Amida Dharma and help people receive simple faith (shinjin) in Amida. Even if organisations, dojos or temples can be useful in helping people listen the Dharma and receive faith, the faith itself is not the property of any religious institution.  This is why I urge all my fellow teachers and priests from all Shinshu branches to work together for the single cause of Amida Dharma. Each should transform  his/her own temple and center into a place of true teaching and each should wipe out any wrong view that may hinder people from receiving shinjin (faith). Each one of us should raise his voice and say that Amida Buddha is a true and real Buddha, a living Enlightened Person who out of great Compassion for us, unenlightened beings, manifested a true and real enlightened place called the Pure Land (Sukhavati) where we should aspire to be born after death. Let us all say enough is enough to all so called "progressive", "modern", or "Western"interpretations of Amida Dharma and especially to those horible wrong views and heresies which present Amida as a symbol, myth, metaphor or fictional character, or the Pure Land as being in our mind. Such ideas have never been part of the Amida Dharma which was taught by Shakyamuni, Shinran and Rennyo, and so it should never be the teaching that we, their faithful disciples should follow or teach to others!

You will never see me asking people to leave Higashi for Nishi, or that they should give up to their non-afiliated status, but you will always hear my voice defending the Amida Dharma against anybody, either from Nishi, Higashi or any branch, who distorts it with his own personal views.
While I myself remain a Jodo Shinshu priest affiliated with the Nishi (Hongwanji-ha) branch, my teaching activities will always go beyond any affiliation or institution.

Namo Amida Bu


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