Showing posts with label ETHICS/PRECEPTS AND JODO SHINSHU. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ETHICS/PRECEPTS AND JODO SHINSHU. Show all posts

Saturday, February 5, 2011

No self improving programs for Jodo Shinshu followers

It must be very well understood that when I speak about trying to have a good behaviour towards others in our daily lives, I do not propose self improving programs for Jodo Shinshu followers, and do not say that we should do this or that good deed in order to be born in the Pure Land.

Birth in the Pure Land and, for example, my trying to not beat people when I become angered, or not to cheat my girlfriend when I meet with temptations has no connection with one another. I am saved exactly as I am, no matter if I am calm or I burst into anger, if I am a good partner or a bad partner, a drug addict, or anything else. The Jodo Shinshu teaching is very clear on this aspect: “No evil act can bring about karmic results, nor can any good act equal the nembutsu”.

But why not trying to abstain from all these when no matter if I succeed or not, I am still loved and accepted by Amida Buddha. Why not trying – to try is the key word. If I change something within me even for a second its ok, if I fail, its ok, too.
This is, I think, the meaning of “don’t make a linking to poison because you have the antidote” from Tannisho, or some letters written by Shinran, in which he speaks about not encouraging people to intentionally do evil. Shinran never said, “go and kill everybody because you are saved by Amida”. Jodo Shinshu teaching does not say “rape, kill, and torture people”.

Although it saves evil people, Jodo Shinshu is not an encouragement to do evil. A mother never encourages her children to do bad deeds, but even if they do all the evil things in the world, she still loves them and accepts them. This is the meaning of “no evil act can bring about karmic results, nor can any good act equal the nembutsu”.
 

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The meaning of “there are no precepts”


                                              

Question:
“Why does Jodo Shinshu deny and discourage the observance of Buddhist precepts? Can I observe precepts and be a Shinshu follower? Why it is said in Jodo Shinshu that “there are no precepts”?

Answer:
In Jodo Shinshu we do not deny nor discourage anybody to try to observe precepts. We are not against precepts; we do not say that followers of this school should not try to observe precepts or to lead a moral life. What we say is that we should not think that trying to observe precepts creates personal merits or that by doing this we can add something to the salvation of Amida. We are born in the Pure Land and become Buddhas only due to Amida’s Power, not to our own efforts in observing precepts or in doing such and such practices.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Words of Rennyo useful for meat eaters

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Here is a passage from one of Rennyo Shonin’s letters, which is very useful for those of you who are incapable of abstaining from meat or who work in jobs that are directly or indirectly related with killing sentient beings:

“First, realizing the settled mind in our tradition does not mean that we put a stop to our mind’s evil or to the rising of delusions and attachments. Simply carry on your trade or position of service, hunt and fish. For when we realize deeply that Amida Tathagata ‘s Primal Vow promises to save such worthless beings as ourselves, confused morning and evening by evil karma when we single heartedly rely on the Compassionate Vow of the one Buddha Amida, and when sincere faith is awakened in us with the realization that Amida saves us – then, without fail, we partake of the Tathagata’s saving work. “

It is clear to me when I read this letter that Amida Buddha saves us all without taking into account if we are vegetarians or not, or even hunters and fishermen.
As you may know, the category of hunters and fishermen was considered to be the lowest of people, or “the worthless people”, lacking the seed of Buddhahood, without any hope to attain Nirvana.

“Position of service” might also refer to military service, which often leads to killing. “Trading” in Rennyo’s letter might refer to the trading of meat. All these evil activities are not an obstacle to our birth in the Pure Land. Why? Because we are born there only due to Amida’s Power, not ours. We are not the cause of our own birth in the Pure Land.

People engage in all these activities because their mind is evil and full of delusions and attachments, greed for meat and other possessions --- “confused morning and evening” .
Because we are such beings, “worthless beings”, we are saved by Amida. In this confusing world we are fighting for survival every day and we always injure others, even without knowing it. There is nothing good in us which can save ourselves and others.

We need only to realize that we are worthless beings and that especially for us, Amida made His Vow. In that moment we receive “sincere faith” (shinjin) and partake of the Tathagata’s saving work, without fail.
Shinjin is the “settled mind in our tradition” which “does not mean that we put a stop to our mind’s evil or to the rising of delusions and attachments”. So, shinjin has nothing to do with our capacities or lack of any capacity. Not because we have compassion for sentient beings are we born in the Pure Land, but because Amida has Compassion for us.

This letter of Rennyo is extremely important. It must not be understood in the sense that it encourages meat eating or other evil activities, from which if you can, you should try to abstain, but it shows the unconditional salvation of Amida Buddha who considers all beings to be his sick children in desperate need of help.
Jodo Shinshu doesn't take into account the so called good potential that is latent in human beings, in fact it doesn't believe at all in our good potential. It doesn't deny the importance of Buddhist virtues, but it says clearly that in this decadent age those virtues are unattainable in their true spirit. So, it doesn't lose its precious time with speaking and explaining Buddhist virtues and Buddhist virtuous practices, but applies the direct and most eficient medicine - faith in Amida Buddha and quick escape from our own eternal misery in samsara.

Jodo Shinshu is the religion of a Mother saving her children from themselves. She loves them all, no matter how evil they are and continuously call them.


Saturday, October 27, 2007

AGAIN ON JODO SHINSHU ETHICS

Rev. Masanobu Nishiaki wrote in his article “Lifestyle of Jodo Shinshu Buddhist” about the relation between ethics and Jodo Shinshu:

“Please imagine a chest that has four drawers. In the first drawer you put in your Onenju and Seiten Book, the second drawer – letters and stationery, the third drawer - clothes and the fourth drawer you put in your laundry. As long as you keep this in order and put things separately you will have no problems. However, if you do not care about the order and put things in here and there, then the inside your chest there will be chaos and you will have problems. This can apply to Jodo Shinshu too!

The first drawer in Jodo Shinshu is the act of listening. It is the effort one puts in to listening to the teaching. This is the essence of Shinshu teaching. Without listening, we will never get an understanding of Jodo Shinshu. Also, listening once is not good enough, we must listening to the teaching over and over. The second drawer of Jodo Shinshu would contain shinjin.Shinjin is not something you create within yourself; you receive it from Amida Buddha. This means to fully understand the working of Amida Buddha’s Wisdom and Compassion, which is already helping us regardless of the kind of person we are. Simply accepting Amida’s Wisdom and Compasion is essential in Shinshu. The third drawer is the nembutsu. The nembutsu is showing our gratitude to the Buddha. The fourth point is daily life. As long as we are living in this society, we have to follow its rules. Morality, ethics and common sense – these are important factors to living in our society. We cannot mix these drawers. If we mix these up, we will misunderstand the Jodo Shinshu teaching. The most common mistake is mixing the second and fourth drawers, shinjin and daily life. How does this happen?

In the process of receiving shinjin or awakening to shinjin, we may think, ‘No matter what we do, Amida Buddha will help us and we will be reborn in the Pure Land as we are. That being the case, then what is the point of behaving properly.’ By thinking this way, we are mixing up the two drawers. We should not take Amida Buddha's’Wisdom and Compassion for granted...

If we keep mixing the drawers, Jodo Shinshu will be an excuse for our laziness…Do not mix up the drawers. Do not use the teaching (shinjin and nembutsu) as a tool to rationalize our egocentric actions.”