Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Final words of Shinran Shonin

Master Shinran Shonin said these words on his deathbed, before he was born in the Pure Land:

"If you alone rejoice in Nembutsu-Faith, remember that you are with someone else. If you two rejoice in Nembutsu-Faith, remember that there is still another accompanying you. I, Shinran, am that other person."

I take these words literally and I really believe that Master Shinran is always with me although my eyes have not the capacity to see him. His presence is not a symbol, but true reality.
He is now a Buddha, because everyone who is born in the Pure Land by having absolute faith in the Primal Vow, attains perfect Buddhahood. But I also believe, like so many other people believed during his life, that he was the manifestation of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva who came to this world in order to make the Dharma of Amida (Amitabha) easy to understand and accepted by all people, especially by those dull, ignorant and full of blind passions.

At the end of this year Hoonko, I pray that all beings, receive the same shinjin (faith) like Master Shinran, the precious guide of this Dharma ending age(1), so that all become Buddhas in the Pure Land.
Namo Amida Bu

(1)The last of the Three Dharma ages – a scheme that describes the gradual decline of Buddhist teaching in the world (its is based on the prediction of Shakyamuni). During the Perfect Dharma age, which lasted five hundred years since the passing of Shakyamuni, the teaching could be rightly understood and practiced and the Enlightenment often attained. During the Dharma Semblance age, one thousand years since the passing of Shakyamuni, the practices are still performed according to the teachings but Enlightenment is rarely attained. During the Last Dharma age, which will last ten thousand years, the teaching survives but the practices are beyond the capacities of human beings because of the spreading of various defilements which mark this time. Shinran states that we are now in the Last Dharma age and that now only the Pure Land teaching remains the most accessible way to Liberation.

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