Saturday, November 10, 2007


"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 perhaps even ten times, should not be born there, may I not attain the supreme Enlightenment."
The Primal Vow (18th Vow) of Amida Buddha

The words of the Primal Vow are the most precious words for me in the whole Buddhism. I like to repeat them in my mind or loudly. I like to contemplate them. I like to savor them.
While reading them again and again I cannot stop my joy that these words really exists – they are true and real words said by a true and real Buddha called Amida. And they were said especially for people like myself.

I put all my trust in these words because they are the promise of Amida Buddha. Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha, told in the Larger Sutra the story of Amida . I accept this story and promise with simple faith. As a simple, stupid and full of blind passion Buddhist peasant that I am, I need nothing else – for me its enough to accept the words of the Primal Vow in faith.

Other Buddhists may be wiser than me, more virtuous, very much advanced in meditation, maybe they can understand the ultimate nature of all things, and to them I may look like a stupid person that have a very low level of Buddhist understanding. I do not mind, because this is exactly what I am. For me the words of the Primal Vow are enough. They represent Buddhism to me and through them I become a disciple of Shakyamuni and all Buddhas. These words are not a koan (1) or a subtle metaphor, but a simple and direct promise so that all stupid and low level Buddhists can understand. These words are the only one that make me to accept my life as it is, with ups and downs, and to accept my death that can come at any time. These words are the only one who can make me say: “It’s all right if I live and all right if I die”.

(1) Koan is a word or a phrase of nonsensical language which cannot be “solved” by the intellect. It is used as an exercise to break through the limitations of conventional thought and to develop intuition, giving the practitioner the chance to reach an awareness beyond duality. They are used as meditation objects in Rinzai Zen. However, very often these koans are treated by many as mere intellectual interesting games, loosing in this way their original function.

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