Friday, September 24, 2021

Don’t use formless Dharmakaya to deny the transcendent manifestation of Amida Buddha

Many nowadays false teachers who are slandering the right Dharma, often use the formless Dharmakaya (Dharmakaya of Dharma-nature) which is the Buddha nature of all beings and of Buddhas themselves, as an excuse and argument to reduce all transcendent manifestations (Dharmakaya of Expediency/Sambhogakaya Aspect) to mere symbols or metaphors, or even go so far as to blame “folk Buddhism” for their presence in the canonical writings. But surely, Master T’an-luan did not share such distorted views when he clearly said that exactly because Dharmakaya is formless, there is no form which it cannot manifest:

“Unconditioned Dharmakaya is the body of Dharma-nature. Because Dharma-nature is Nirvanic, Dharmakaya is formless. Because it is formless, there is no form which it cannot manifest. Therefore, the body adorned with the marks of excellence is itself Dharmakaya”. 

Friday, September 17, 2021

Question: What does it mean to seek to be born in the Pure Land through a false, deceitful and poisoned good?

This was a question asked at one of our sangha meetings

Answer: To seek to be born in the Pure Land through a false, deceitful and poisoned good means to aspire to be born in the Pure Land through transferring one’s personal merits. Shinran said that personal merits are always mixed with the poison of ego, ignorance and attachments, so he considered that we do not actually have genuine merits. In relation with this, we should remember the story of the meeting between Master Bodhidharma and Emperor Wu of Liang.

It is said that when Master Bodhidharma came to China, Emperor Wu called him and asked him: “I’ve built many temples and I’ve offered many lands to the path of the Buddha; now please tell me what merits have I gained? Bodhidharma’s answer came shocking but true: “None, not one merit.” Why Bodhidharma said that? It was because the merits the emperor described above were worldly merits gained with a mind full of attachments and lacking the wisdom of ultimate Reality.

In Buddhism we speak about two kinds of merits: worldly merits and supramundane or otherworldly merits.

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Only the Buddha knows what is good and evil and we should humbly accept what He said

Question: In the Postscript of Tannisho it is said:

“In truth, myself and others discuss only good and evil, leaving Amida’s benevolence out of consideration. Among Master Shinran’s words were: ‘I know nothing at all of good or evil. For if I could know thoroughly, as Amida Tathagata knows, that an act was good, then I would know good. If I could know thoroughly, as the Tathagata knows, that an act was evil, then I would know evil. But with a foolish being full of blind passions, in this fleeting world-this burning house-all matters without exception are empty and false, totally without truth and sincerity. The Nembutsu alone is true and real.’” It seems to me that you often spoke about good and evil, especially in your so-called “spiritual war” against various worldly ideologies. Aren’t you afraid that you leave “Amida’s benevolence out of consideration”?

My answer: No I am not afraid of this because I do not exclusively talk about good and evil, nor do I think that I am an expert of good and evil. When I speak about good and evil I do it NOT by relying on my own personal knowledge and wisdom but on the words and instructions of the Buddha. Thus. I am in harmony with “I know nothing at all of good or evil”, that is, I do NOT rely on my own personal ideas about good and evil and with “as the Tathagata knows” because I rely on the Tathagata’s (Buddha) own words in the sutras about what is good and evil. For example, when I speak about morality, I rely on the sutras taught by Shakyamuni Buddha himself, which is evident in my articles and books.

Is Amida Buddha a real person or a symbol/metaphor?

the altar of Amidaji temple
- fragment from a letter to a friend - 

Question: Is Amida a symbol or metaphor for Wisdom and Compassion? Some scholars nowadays support this idea.

Answer: Those scholars are wrong. Amida Buddha is NOT a symbol or metaphor for Wisdom and Compassion, but a real, existing Enlightened Person possessing Infinite Wisdom and Compassion. 
I always insist on the actual, literal existence of Amida Buddha and His Pure Land because without realizing and accepting this existence, faith of unenlightened people becomes abstract and false. There can be no real faith without a real object of faith – in our case, Amida Buddha.
If you can’t say it to yourself and others that the object of your faith is a real, living Buddha, then you don’t have faith. No matter how great scholar you are, if your knowledge and study has not simplified your faith, and if you can’t talk about faith in simple terms, then you don’t have faith.

Contemplation on the Twelve Names of Amida’s Light

 article by Shaku Hogen, lay member of Amidaji

 
Amida Buddha, your majestic light is the most exalted, no other Buddha’s light can match it.  It illumines all Buddha-lands in the ten directions, each beam grasping and never abandoning sentient beings of the Nembutsu.

 

Immeasurable rays of light emanate from each feature of your awesome Sambhogakaya form, illuminating all Buddha-lands.

Therefore, you are called mu ryo ko bu - Infinite Light Buddha

 

All beings without exception in the ten directions are touched by your light.  None is outside the reach of your calling all to entrust to you.  

Therefore, you are called mu hen ko bu - Boundless Light Buddha.

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Members of Amidaji - Shaku Kishin (Germany)

  Click here to return to the spiritual biographies of Amidaji members

My Dharma name is Kishin („The one who returns to the source“) and I was born 1970 in Germany, close to the City of Düsseldorf. My spiritual path is not unusual for people, starting with this journey in young years. With a lot of enthusiasm I tried to discover the philosophical and religious systems of the world, tried this, tried that, and in the end, I  came to a dead point

where I could only admit to feel „very close to the Buddhism“. This was my status for many years because in Germany, „Buddhism“is nearly 100% associated with either Zen, Theravada or Tibetan schools – branches, demanding  from the lay followers not to live directly as a monk, but to come very close to such a way of life. And I can say, that I was sunken deeply in the samsara world, being a sinner on purpose and with joy. I was a common human being, a Bombu.

In 2012 I became member of the German Jodo Shinshu Sangha, in the lineage of Nishi Hongan-ji. I followed this path for several years, however, left the Sangha in the end, for private reasons and with a kind of disappointment about the „woke“ degeneration of Buddhism in Germany, mainly forced by the umbrella organization DBU (German Buddhistic Union). However, I left the Sangha without trouble and will keep some nice and friendly  memories -  it important for me, to state this at this point!

Then, after a being a while on my own, I discovered the Amidaji lineage and there, everything made „sense“. Everything was in accordance  with the old masters of our school, the Dharma was pure, the path was clear, there was no contradiction anymore. So I asked Josho Sensei to kindly let me be a part of the Amidaji Sangha, and he accepted my wish. I’m happy to be here now and to walk the path together with other orthodox Jodo Shinshu followers all over the world.

Namo Amida Butsu.

Dharma talks on my youtube channel