Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Some elements of genuine faith (shinjin) in Amida Buddha

- last revised December 12th 2017- 

Thank you for writing to me about the elements of listening deeply to Amida Dharma. Would you please make a short list with some important elements of true faith (shinjin)?

- to accept the actual, literal existence of Amida Buddha and His Pure Land. I explained this in my article, If  Amida's Primal Vow is True. Please read it carefully. Without accepting the actual, literal existence of Amida Buddha there can be no true faith, no true salvation and no real birth in His Pure Land. 
- to accept the story of Amida Buddha as told by Shakyamuni Buddha
- to wish to attain Enlightenment/ Buddhahood
- to wish to be born in the Pure Land of Amida Buddha for the attainment of Enlightenment/Buddhahood
- to have the twofold profound conviction (nishu jinshin):
1) to know that you are a person of deep karmic limitations, incapable to attain Buddhahood through your own power;
2) to know that only Amida Buddha can save you through His Vow Power, without asking anything from you
- to give up the idea that you can transfer some personal merits to your birth in the Pure Land or Enlightenment, and rely entirely on Amida Buddha's transference of merit; to know that any so called personal merits are delusional and only Amida Buddha's merits are true and effective for your salvation
- to accept without any doubt Amida Buddha's Primal Vow and entrust yourself to Him
- to know that you are saved by Amida Buddha and that you will be born in His Pure Land after death
- to accept that birth in the Pure Land of Amida Buddha takes place after death
- to say Amida Buddha's Name. Saying Amida's Name comes automatically after entrusting to Him. Thus, the genuine Nembutsu is both an expression of faith and of gratitude that you are saved as you are by Amida Buddha[1].
- to NOT mix nembutsu and devotion toward Amida Buddha with other faiths and practices from inside or outside of the Buddha Dharma. For example, a person of genuine faith will not entrust to, nor rely on the "god" of the monotheists (click here to read why) or any other gods or spirits of various religions.

The above elements are part of the mind/heart of faith (shinjin). They come naturally to a person of faith. Anything else, like having a focused and undistracted mind in your daily life, or being a virtuous or non-virtuous person, having special or mystical experiences is irrelevant and NOT important in relation with faith of the Primal Vow. I wrote a few short texts about what faith is NOT:

Please study them carefully and enjoy Amida's unconditional Compassion.
Namo Amida Butsu

- letter to a friend-

[1] When one has faith (shinjin), one is convinced that Amida Buddha and His Pure Land exists, and that the Promise He made in His Primal Vow is true, so he simply entrusts to this Buddha and wishes to go to His Pure Land (Buddha-field of Amida) after death. Saying Namo Amida Bu often or seldom means exactly this – “I entrust to Amida Buddha/I take refuge in Amida Buddha and I wish to go to His Pure Land”. It also means, “Thank you Amida Buddha for saving me and taking me to your Pure Land at the end of this physical body”.

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