Saturday, February 24, 2018

The meaning of "sincerely entrust themselves to me, desire to be born in my land, and say my Name, perhaps even ten times" from the Primal Vow


            - click to return to A Detailed Explanation of the Primal Vow of Amida Buddha - 

"If, when I attain Buddhahood, sentient beings of the ten quarters who sincerely entrust themselves to me, desire to be born in my land, and say my Name perhaps even ten times, should not be born there, may I not attain the supreme Enlightenment.
Primal Vow of Amida Buddha 

One who is sincerely in love will say „I love you” often or seldom, and wish to be with the person he loves. Similarly, a person who sincerely entrusts to Amida Buddha will express his faith by saying the Name of Amida and wish to be born in His Pure Land. It’s as simple as that.
Feelings of love are automaticaly expressed with words of affection, just like faith in Amida will manifest as Namo Amida Bu (Nembutsu). Thus, we can say that the Nembutsu and wish to be born in the Pure Land of Amida Buddha are expressions or manifestations of faith. One who has faith or „sincerely entrusts” to Amida will certainly say His Name and desire to be with Him in His Pure Land. This is why Shinran Shonin said that faith (shinjin) is the cause of birth in the Pure Land and subsequent attainment of Nirvana:

"Through the karmic power of the great Vow, the person who has realized true and real shinjin naturally is in accord with the cause of birth in the Pure Land and is drawn by the Buddha's karmic power; hence the going is easy, and ascending to and attaining the supreme great Nirvana is without limit."[1] 

"Only with the diamondlike shinjin
Can we, living in the evil world of the five defilements,
Completely abandon birth-and-death forever
And reach the Pure Land of naturalness".[2]

"The cause of highest, perfect Enlightenment (bodhi) is faith. Although the causes of Enlightenment (bodhi) are innumerable, if faith is presented as one, it contains all the rest.”[3]

According to the teaching of our school, genuine faith (shinjin) in Amida Buddha contains the following elements:


The above elements are part of the mind/heart of faith (please click on each of them for a more detailed explanation!). They come naturally to a person of faith. Anything else, like having a focused and undistracted mind in your daily life, 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.




[1] Shinran Shonin, Notes on the Inscriptions on Sacred Scrolls,  The Collected Works of Shinran, Shin Buddhism Translation Series, Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, Kyoto, 1997, p. 496-497
[2] Shinran Shonin, Hymns of the Pure Land (Jodo Wasan), The Collected Works of Shinran, Shin Buddhism Translation Series, Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, Kyoto, 1997, p. 381
[3] Shinran quoted Shakyamuni Buddha from Nirvana Sutra, in his Kyogyoshinsho, chapter IV.


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