My mind can never be at peace.
Since the Buddha and me both know this simple truth,
Namo Amida Butsu comes naturally on my lips.
Thursday, July 21, 2016
Emotional instability does not mean absence of faith
There are people who confuse emotional instability with the absence of faith (shinjin), and so they hope that faith will give them some kind of constant emotional stability. However, it is normal for unenlightened beings (and people of faith remain unenlightened until death and birth in the Pure Land!) to experience various degrees of emotional instability. It is exactly why Amida urges us to entrust to Him, and not on our own so called, ”personal power” and "personal achievements or merits". Trully, nothing stable can be achieved by an unenlightened mind, especially not Nirvana or birth in the Pure Land.
We must bear in mind that faith will not give us absence of desires while we are still here in our samsaric bodies. Faith will only make us enter the stage of non-retrogression, which means that no matter how many desires we have or how low we are on the scale of spiritual evolution, we will surely reach the Pure Land in the moment of death.
Thus, an unenlightened person who entrusts to Amida continues to suffer while still in his/her samsaric body. For a non-Buddha mind clinging is always present, and so, there will always be suffering, insatisfaction, and some kind of emotional instability. I often say this to my Dharma friends - shinjin (faith) is not satori (Enlightenment)! Not even a little satori, so much more a greater satori which leads to absence of desires and constant emotional stability!
A person of faith is not supposed to feel or experience special things in order to check if he has faith or not. Faith is knowing, not experiencing. To know you are saved no matter what you feel or don't feel, no matter you have some deep mystical experiences or not. This is the only constant aspect in a person of faith - he knows he is saved by Amida Buddha.
Of course, everyone is different, so I do not deny that some can succesfully change or improve various things in their personal lives, due to their own specific karmic baggage and the influence of Amida Buddha on them, but NOTHING can be certain as long as we are still in these samsaric bodies, and as long as desire is not entirely wiped out from our minds. Some have easier lives than others and fewer family problems, some have strong personalities, while others don't, etc. However, Amida Buddha does not use anything from our unenlightened personality in order to save us. His salvation depends entirely on His infinite merits and power - this is exactly why our entrusting must be completely to Him, and why we should not worry about things like "emotional instability" or various delusions and attachements we have. There is absolutely NO condition imposed by Amida Buddha, that after we receive faith in Him we should act or feel as if we are not bombus anymore.
Amida is focused especially on beings who cannot save themselves by any method, and who, due to their strong karmic attachements and blind passions, will never be capable of having a constant emotional stability. Truth be told, only Buddhas have constant emotional stability because they have no desires and no ups and downs, so we must wait until we ourselves attain Buddhahood in the Pure Land of Amida if we want to be completely free of any emotional instability.