Namu Amida Butsu

This work is especially dedicated to Zuiken Saizo Inagaki, who sheds light on the pristine and original teachings of Jodo Shinshu (Shin Buddhism) for many people, including myself. I regard him as my soul teacher and I am very much influenced by his words and thoughts, which are deeply imbued with the Wisdom of Compassion of Amida Buddha. I read most of his writings available in Chinese language and I wish to share some of his golden words in this blog in English. Rev. George Gatenby and Mr. Gabriel Schlaefer have been kindly and untiringly assisting me to edit the translated essays so that they are readable and true to the intent of Sensei. May all partake of the wisdom of Shinshu teaching and be overpowered by the light of Amida Buddha.

Namu Amida Butsu!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Unit 7 Life Perishes but Aspiration Abounds

Unit 7 Life perishes but aspiration abounds

From the written context, ‘the radiance of enlightenment’ refers to ‘the radiance emanated from enlightenment’. ‘The radiance of enlightenment’ is ‘the radiance of Nirvana’.

‘The radiance of enlightenment, in its brilliance, transcends all limits;
Thus Amida is called "Buddha of the Light of Purity."
Once illuminated by this light,
We are freed of karmic defilements and attain emancipation’
(No.9 Hymns of the Pure Land)

This is what is going on. I must not have forgotten the words. Here, I go by sentences trying to explain them in the most simple and understandable way. When you all have got home, please making sure you don’t forget to restudy. If you are unable to do that you may continue with what you have been doing now in the next life. Womenfolk, old women and those who are bereft of energy to buy books to learn, may not wish to die. However if they so happen to die hesitantly, they will still be born in the Pure Land. The life after birth (in the Pure Land), is the life of wisdom endowed by Amida Buddha. In the Pure Land, they are made to be able to conceive all things. Until they are born into this world and that of the human realm again, they can carry on with the learning. 

Regards learning, it is not worth talking if it is merely a lifetime obligation; however when we regard learning as many lifetime obligations it becomes a very fascinating event! There are some people here who can easily comprehend the big [Buddhist] canon of scripture. If you can’t understand it now, you can actually learn it in your next life, just carry on with your learning after death.
Human obligations will not end with their passing. Men who indulge in desires would think if they have not completed their obligations in this life they would have no future. In our situations, my obligations are hardly any but I think in such a way, ‘look, when I am dead I will have a greater career!’ Without such aspiration, how can I live on? I used always to say:
‘Life perishes but aspiration abounds.’

The obligations in this life are not many, but when we are born in the Land of Utmost Bliss, there will be a genuine career awaiting us.

My obligations are Amida Buddha’s. The obligations of Amida Buddha become mine, after having been born in the Pure Land we have a great, great career ahead of us. The obligation of all of you is to recite Amida’s Name and this is undertaking the obligation of Amida Buddha. Shinjin likewise is undertaking the obligation of Amida Buddha.

Apart from the obligations of Amida Buddha there is no Buddhism. Radiance is just the working of Amida Buddha’s wisdom and compassion, the same happens to Amida’s Name. When you undertake these obligations reverently with indebtedness, you are in fact making Amida Buddha’s wisdom and compassion yours. As it were, you have no properties but have ‘become the master of Namu Amida Butsu.’

In so saying, even when your eyes are blind and your destiny turns pitch-dark, in that ‘state of pitch-darkness’, Amida Tathagata’s virtues have become yours and therefore you don’t need to worry about anything. It is from the ‘state of pitch-darkness’ that you are ‘born in the Land of Utmost Bliss’, so why worry?

The span of human life is, say, only about 50 or 80 years, which must be a matter of your concern. Try to think this way, ‘my career has just started when I die, it is just the beginning of it.’ In this manner, you will die with hopes. In fact I just feel the same way. Though I loath to part with all of you yet the feeling is just momentary. When I open my eyes, I remember such quotes as:
‘When I close my eyes and stop breathing, I leap to the attainment of Great Nirvana’.

Once your eyes are closed and opened again in another time, you will be seeing yourself residing in the marvelous Pure Land!
(‘The Discourse of Hymns’, at Shiga Prefecture Hikone City, MingXing Temple)

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