Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Ten Benefits of faith in Amida during this life: 5. The benefit of being praised by all the Buddhas

Shinran Shonin said:

“Amida’s Seventeenth Vow declares that the Buddha will not enter into perfect Enlightenment if those who say the Name are not praised by all the countless Buddhas throughout the worlds in the ten quarters. The passage declaring the fulfillment of the Vow states: ‚such people are praised by all the Buddhas and rejoice.’’’[1]

Those who entrust to Amida are regarded by Shakyamuni as His true companions: 

"Those who realize shinjin, which is Other Power,
'Revere the Dharma and greatly rejoice in it,
And therefore are my true companions'.
Such is the praise of the World Honored One,
the Master of the teaching".[2]

"Sakyamuni rejoices in persons of shinjin, saying, 'They are my true companions'”.[3]

They are wonderful people, as well as true disciples of Shakyamuni, Amida and all Buddhas:

„Persons of shinjin are the true disciples of the Buddha; they are the ones who abide in right-mindedness. Since they have been grasped never to be abandoned, they are said to have attained the diamondlike mind. They are called 'the best among the best', 'excellent persons', 'wondrous, excellent persons', 'the very finest persons', 'rare persons'."[4]

"The true disciple of the Buddha means this: 'true' contrasts with false and provisional. 'Disciple' means a disciple of Shakyamuni and other Buddhas, namely, the practitioner who has attained adamantine faith. Because one certainly realizes great Nirvana with this faith and practice, one is called a true disciple of the Buddha"[5].

"May all practitioners of deep mind singleheartedly accept the Buddha’s words and hold fast to the Nembutsu, even at the risk of their lives. Let them give up what the Buddha urges them to give up and practice what He urges them to practice. Let them abandon what He urges them to abandon. To practice this way is called ‚to follow the Buddha’s teaching and to accord with the Buddha’s intent.’ This is also called ‚to accord with the Buddha’s vows.’ Such practitioners are called ‚true disciples of the Buddha’”.[6]

"Abandon the teachings that Amida Buddha abandoned, observe the practice that Amida Buddha observed, and leave the practices that Amida Buddha left. This is said to be 'in accordance with the teaching of Amida Buddha' and 'in compliance with the intent of Amida Buddha'.[7] Such a person is referred to as the 'true disciple of Amida Buddha'".[8]

"Practitioners of the Nembutsu are 'excellent people' among human beings, 'wonderful, excellent people' among human beings, 'the very best people' among human beings,
'rare people' among human beings, and 'the most excellent people' among human beings."[9]




[1] Shinran Shonin, Lamp for the Latter-Ages, letter 4, The Collected Works of Shinran, Shin Buddhism Translation Series, Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, Kyoto, 1997, p.529
[2] Shinran Shonin, Hymns of the Dharma Ages, The Collected Works of Shinran, Shin Buddhism Translation Series, Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, Kyoto, 1997, p.412
[3] Shinran Shonin, Lamp for the Latter-Ages, letter 2, The Collected Works of Shinran, Shin Buddhism Translation Series, Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, Kyoto, 1997, p.526
[4] Shinran Shonin, Lamp for the Latter-Ages, letter 2, The Collected Works of Shinran, Shin Buddhism Translation Series, Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, Kyoto, 1997, p.526
[5] Shinran Shonin, Kyogyoshinsho, chapter III, Kyogyoshinsho – On Teaching, Practice, Faith, and Enlightenment, translated by Hisao Inagaki, Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, Kyoto, 2003, p. 126
[6] Shinran Shonin quoted Master Shantao in Kyogyoshinsho, chapter III Kyogyoshinsho – On Teaching, Practice, Faith, and Enlightenment, translated by Hisao Inagaki, Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, Kyoto, 2003, p. 91
[7] This passage means that we must abandon everything which is not mentioned in the Primal Vow of Amida Buddha, where only faith, saying of the Name in faith and wish for birth in the Pure Land are taught. If you do this, you are in accord with Amida's Primal Vow and you are His true disciple. Any practice or teaching which are not mentioned in the Primal Vow, like various meditation methods, mantras or anything else, should NOT be followed because they do not lead to birth in the true fulfilled land of the Pure Land. This does NOT mean those practices are bad! On the contrary, if they were taught by Shakyamuni Buddha they are all perfect and good in themselves, but I repeat, they are not practices leading to the Pure Land of Amida Buddha, because they were not mentioned in His Primal Vow. This is the only reason we should not follow them. Mixing the various Dharma gates is wrong and not useful at the level we are now as unenlightened beings.
[8] Master Shan-tao quoted by Honen Shonin in An Outline of the Doctrine for Birth in the Pure Land, The Promise of Amida Buddha - Honen's Path to Bliss; English translation of the Genko edition of the works of Honen Shonin - Collected Teachings of Kurodani Shonin: The Japanese Anthology (Wago Toroku), translated by Joji Atone and Yoko Hayashi, Wisdom Publications, Boston, 2011, p.106
[9] Shinran Shonin quoted Master Shantao in his Kyogyoshinsho, chapter III,  Kyogyoshinsho – On Teaching, Practice, Faith, and Enlightenment, translated by Hisao Inagaki, Numata Center for Buddhist Translation and Research, Kyoto, 2003, p. 131-132

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