Tuesday, January 31, 2017

A short question and answer on worshiping Maitreya and Amida Buddha


- adapted from a letter to a friend - 

Question:
I respect and worship both Maitreya and Amida Buddha. They have their own realms and practices associated with them. I also worship and respect all Buddhas. What is your opinion about this?

Answer:
Its good to respect all Buddhas, but we must remember that each Buddha has His own way of relating with sentient beings. Maitreya has a different way, and Amida has a different way. If we want to connect with Amida Buddha we must follow His instructions from His Primal Vow "entrust to me, say my Name and wish to be born in my land". Nothing else. So, in order to be born in Amida's Land we must focus on Amida exclusively, that is, entrust only to Him, say His Name only, and wish to be born only in His Pure Land. This is very easy to understand.

Both Maitreya and Amida have their own realms, Tusita and Sukhavati respectively, where beings may wish to go to. Its like two different cities. If you want to reach one city you take a specific train, you cannot take the same train and simultaneously reach both cities. You have to chose. In your case you have to chose whether you wish to go to Maitreya's land or Amida's land. However, the difference between the two realms is that in Maitreya's land its harder to go while in Amida's Land everybody can go - its the easiest place to go. But it requires exclusive practice and faith.

You must understand that to say exclusively the Name of Amida Buddha while entrusting yourself to Him only, does NOT mean that you are disrespectful towards other Buddhas, or that you neglect them. Buddhas are not like ordinary people or children to feel neglected.
On the contrary, all the Buddhas want you and all beings to rely exclusively on Amida, and all Buddhas praise Amida's Name and encourage you to say it. Why? Because the main purpose of any Buddha is to save all beings, and they are aware that among all methods, Amida's way of salvation alone fulfills this goal of saving EVERYBODY without taking into consideration their level of spiritual evolution. It is exactly because Amida's Path is the easiest Path that all Buddhas praise it.

More than this, because all Buddhas praise Amida's Name, when you say Amida's Name you automatically praise all Buddhas - so there is no need to praise or rely on each one of them individually. When you follow what all Buddhas praise and encourage you to do, then you automatically follow them too. Being focused on Amida exclusively you also show respect towards Maitreya. The Buddhas preach many methods for those who cannot yet entrust to Amida exclusively, but their true wish is that we all come in the end to focus on Amida exclusively. So, any other practice and teaching which is not related with exclusively entrusting to Amida Buddha, is a provisional and secondary teaching, while to have faith in Amida and say His Name in faith is the main gate of Buddha Dharma, the universal gate of liberation for ALL beings.

Also, Maitreya was present when Shakyamuni Buddha taught about Amida's salvation and Maitreya himself entrusted to Him and to His words. When Maitreya will descend from His Tusita realm and become the next great Buddha in this world, He will also teach about Amida's salvation. So, as you see, we come again, full circle, to Amida Buddha. If you entrust exclusively to Amida Buddha you fulfill the heart desire of Maitreya and all Buddhas.


Here are a few articles you may further read on this topic:

You may also wish to know about a unique teaching of Jodo Shinshu:

I will write a more extensive article soon, on the topic of all Buddhas praising Amida and encouraging us to rely on Him.


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