Monday, February 12, 2018

The meaning of "sentient beings of the ten quarters" from the Primal Vow


"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 even ten times, should not be born there, may I not attain the supreme Enlightenment. (The Primal Vow of Amida Buddha) 

This shows that the Promise of Amida Buddha is addressed to ALL beings, without any discrimination or distinction between them. All are the object of Amida's Primal Vow, no matter how high or low they are on the scale of spiritual evolution, and especially if they are the lowest of the low:

"Know that the Primal Vow of Amida makes no distinction between people young and old, good and evil; only shinjin (faith) is essential. For it is the Vow to save the person whose karmic evil is deep and grave and whose blind passions abound."[1]
(Shinran Shonin)

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Question on Buddhism and science


Question: Do you think that Buddhism should take into account scientific discoveries, and even change to accommodate science?

Answer: Many people nowadays bow to science like to an all-powerful and supreme god. But in samsara, and especially now in this dark (mappo) age, nothing is supreme and all-knowing, including what nowadays people call, "science". Whenever somebody wants to argue about something, he says, "it was proven by science".... But what some scientists agree upon, others may disagree, so I don't see the point in praising a transitory "truth". 

I do not deny the benefits brought by science in various domains of activity, nor its usefulness in discovering the laws of the material universe, but I am against using science as a standard for religious truths. No matter the immediate, material benefits it brings, we must never forget that science is the product of unenlightened minds, and so it doesn't have the supreme authority of a Buddha who is perfectly Enlightened, nor it has any authority over the Path that leads to Enlightenment and freedom from the repeated births and deaths.

So, let's use science in worldly matters and Buddha Dharma in religious matters. We must never attempt to modify the Buddha Dharma to accommodate it with various scientific theories.

I especially like these words of Chamtrul Rinpoche:

"If you took all of the knowledge that this world has ever produced, and compared it to the knowledge of an omniscient mind of a Buddha, it would be like comparing a single drop of water to the entire ocean."

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The meaning of "if when I attain Buddhahood" [...] "may I not attain the supreme Enlightenment" from the Primal Vow of Amida Buddha


Amida Buddha promised in His Primal Vow:

"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 even ten times, should not be born there, may I not attain the supreme Enlightenment." 

I explained the content of the Primal Vow here, at this link, but now I would like to focus more on the specific words from its beginning and end because I saw that many people misunderstand it:

"if when I attain Buddhahood" [...] "may I not attain the supreme Enlightenment"

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Stop using Zen Masters explanations when referring to Amida Buddha - an example


I saw a passage about Amida Buddha from Kodo Sawaki, a respected Zen master, quoted over five times lately on Facebook, like a big thing by Pure Land followers who are not careful to what they spread online. At first sight, it's a good teaching, but at the careful examination, we can see its nothing else but a Zen interpretation and NOT in accord with the Jodo Shinshu teaching. Here it is:

"Amitabha doesn’t exist because I believe he exists. Amitabha Buddha exists without being concerned whether I believe in him or not. Regardless what I think or believe, Amitabha is the whole heaven and earth. Being pulled by Amitabha’s original vow that is the absolute reality, I function through my own body, speech, and mind as all-pervading self. This is being a Buddha—a great being, a truly mature person. " (Kodo Sawaki Roshi)

So, the first two sentences are ok if taken out of the rest of the passage - yes, Amida Buddha (Amitabha) exists no matter we believe in Him or not. That is true. But the rest of the passage is just Zen talk with NO relevance for us, followers of the Pure Land Dharma gate.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

What should I do about my bad thoughts that don’t stop even after entrusting myself to Amida Buddha?

-last revised January 2nd, 2018 -

Don’t busy yourself with them, as Amida does the same. Your salvation has nothing to do with them. This is why Master Rennyo said that our negative karma is like non-existent, in the sense that it will not become an obstacle to our birth in the Pure Land where we attain Buddhahood. This is also the meaning of “we attain Buddhahood without destroying blind passions”. In fact, once born in the Pure Land our blind passions dissapear automatically, but until then, and while we are still in our delusory bodies, blind passions are not a hindrance to our salvation which depends exclusively on  Amida Buddha. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Paul Roberts was born in the Pure Land

"At the end of your life you will enter the family of the Buddhas, that is, the Pure Land."
Shinran Shonin

Paul Roberts recently left his physical body and was reborn in the Pure Land of Amida Buddha. He was a true follower and teacher of Jodo Shinshu and a guide for many.
In our times of profound corruption of the Dharma he was a clear and uncompromising voice, standing up against wrong views, and defending the right teaching. 

Because we shared the same simple faith in Amida Buddha and the same cause of fighting against modern divergences, we often collaborated. I sent many of my readers to his online group True Shin Buddhism, and he recommended me and my website to others. 

His determination and uncompromising style was an example for all, and I am sure that his students, Egen (Richard St Clair) and Camille, will continue his Dharma work, as they too share the same faith and the same courage like him.
Thank you Paul, for your service.

Namo Amida Bu

Thursday, November 16, 2017

My new book The Four Profound Thoughts Which Turn the Mind Towards Amida Dharma (free online edition)

tentative cover - it will be improved when
I raise enough funds for the printed edition
Dear Dharma friends,

I am happy to share with you the free online edition of my new book, The Four Profound Thoughts Which Turn the Mind Towards Amida Dharma. This is the improved and proofreaded version of the teaching series you probably saw on this website.

About the book (from the Foreword):
The Four Profound Thoughts are basic teachings, something like a preliminary to any Buddhist path or practice. It has the effect of turning the mind towards the Buddha Dharma and should be a constant companion no matter if one is a beginner or an older follower. Sometimes they are reffered to as the Four Contemplations, the Four Understandings or the Four Reminders. Because in this book I explain them in the context of the Pure Land Dharma Gate of Jodo Shinshu (Amida Dharma), I decided to call them the Four Profound Thoughts which Turn the Mind Towards the  Amida Dharma. These Profound Thoughts are: