Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ordination as a way to the lower realms or the Pure Land

To be a monk who receives donations or people’s appreciation, but to fail to attain Buddhahood, means to lie and cheat sentient beings. This is because ordinary and unenlightened people give you donations or offerings while thinking that you are greater than them, more virtuous, more close to Enlightenment or even that you already reached Enlightenment.

By giving you food, they hope that they receive a better karma, or a fortunate rebirth, etc. And indeed, to give praise to those who are worthy of praise or give food to those who really deserve it and are the lights of the world, it can bring many benefits to those who give. But what if you are not a worthy vessel, that is one who accepts various offerings or people’s praise, but is not at the level the donors imagine that you are, when they give something to you?

Then, if you fail them, and do not reach Buddhahood, you will have to give back mountains of rice for every little grain of rice they gave you. Because you do not reached your goal (Buddhahood), their aspirations are also not fulfilled, so you have to pay these grave karmic debts.

You enjoyed their food and money, obtained with great efforts and pains, and especially you enjoyed their devotion and praise. But you are a fake and a liar….

The same happens with a Jodo Shinshu priest.

I am not a monk, because I don’t take the 300 and something precepts of a monk, I can marry and have children, but in the same time, I am not a lay, because I have to have a higher aspiration than a normal lay follower or a person who lives only for food and drink. As a priest I have to take the words “receive shinjin for yourself and help others receive shinjin” more absolutely than a lay, especially the last part, which shows that I have to dedicate my entire life to helping people receive shinjin. Not only to help them, but to be ready to die in doing this.

Of course, nobody can help others receive shinjin, if he himself doesn’t have shinjin. And if I as a priest don’t have shinjin, not only that I can’t help others receive it, but I can’t even attain Buddhahood in the Pure Land!

In the same way a monk who lives in monastery receives people’s appreciation and donations but doesn’t attain Buddhahood, a Jodo Shinshu priest who is praised and respected by others, receives donations but doesn’t have shinjin and is not even born in the Border Land of the Pure Land, he will have to pay his debts in his future lives in samsara.

To wear the robes and kesa of nembutsu faith, but not to receive shinjin and not be born in the Pure Land, while in the same time, misleading others and not helping them receive true shinjin, must be the greatest fear of a Jodo Shinshu priest.

Maybe it would be better for him or her to remain outside the Pure Land path, than to go against the Dharma, misinterpret the Dharma and being an obstacle for others birth in the Pure Land.

People take too easy their priesthood, accept too easy praise and money because of teaching, without asking themselves in great fear: “Am I really preaching the true Dharma of Other Power, do I really have the same shinjin as Shinran and do I really help others receive shinjin? Am I a helper or an obstruction for my Dharma companions, for those who call me “Sensei”, praise me or respect me?”

This matter is of extreme importance. One cannot play with people’s attainment of Buddhahood, which only true shinjin is its cause. If you play with people’s attainment of Buddhahood, you yourself will not attain it, and more than this, you may lose yourself for many eons in the lower realms of samsara, in places and states of existence where there is no Dharma.

We, the Jodo Shinshu priests, must look to our ordination as to a great fire which can either heal and warm the hearts of beings, help them attain Buddhahood, or burn them all and ourselves together.

We, as priests, have very few options: we go in the Pure Land, in the Border Land or in the lower realms. We should be very careful and always ask ourselves if we truly received the same shinjin as Shinran so that we can help others receive it. To be over cautious at what we teach and to teach only in accordance with the words of the Founding Master, must be our normal state of mind.

Namo Amida Butsu

3 comentarii:

Paul Roberts said...

Adrian writes: We should be very careful and always ask ourselves if we truly received the same shinjin as Shinran so that we can help others receive it.


I would say that when it comes to the Dharma - and the teaching of it - we should be careful that what we say is in accord with what Shinran says. And we should be careful whether we are clerics, scholars or laypeople. The Dharma does not belong to us - we are only custodians of it.

At the same time, I never ask myself if I am a person of the same SHINJIN as Master Shinran. I have NO doubt - ZERO doubt - that I am.

I have entrusted myself and my karmic destiny entirely to the same Amida Buddha as Master Shinran. I have been given the same assurance that Master Shinran has been given.

I know - just as Master Shinran knew - that I have been grasped by Amida Buddha, and will never be abandoned by Him.

I know - just as Master Shinran knew - that at the end of my life I will awaken in the Pure Land just as he did at the end of his, and that I will immediately become a true Buddha upon waking there just as he did.

When you have to ask yourself if these things are true, then you still are dealing with a residue of doubt.

That's not a sin - nor something to be ashamed of.

But it is something to observe, and acknowledge and allow Amida Buddha to clear up.

If only we will simply continue to listen deeply, even our secret doubts will be exposed - not for punishment's sake, but so we can have that full and final change of mind so that our SHINJIN becomes as hard as a diamond - "adamantine" - "diamond-like".

Once that happens, we need never question our SHINJIN ever again.

All this, of course, is the working of Amida Buddha in our lives, and not our own working.

And it is exactly the same for men, for women, for priests and for laypeople, for people who are members of one Shin sect or another, and people who are members of no sect at all.

It is the teaching that embraces all - and discriminates against none.

What an amazing teaching the True Teaching of the Pure Land Way truly is!

I am so grateful to have found it in this life!


Josho Adrian Cirlea said...

Thank you Paul, for your comments. My intention was not to say that I doubt I have the same shinjin as Shinran, because I myself am absolutely sure that I received the same shinjin as he himself received. I am completely sure of my birth in the Pure Land. I wanted to say that priests in general, - because this post was especially designated to priests - should be careful to be in accord with what Shinran taught and hear exactly what Shinran taught, because only in this way they can receive the same shinjin as Shinran and then, help others receive the same shinjin. If priests don't hear what Shinran taught, but hear their own ideas and the noise of their own minds, then they will lose themselves and others.
Maybe I didn't express myself too clear.
I repeat, I am completely sure of my birth in the Pure Land, because I rely on Amida and not on myself.
Namo Amida Butsu

Josho Adrian Cirlea said...

If Jodo Shinshu priests don't have shinjin and are not even born in the border land, the only karmic retribution for the praise, donations and offerings they received as priests during their present lives, will be birth in the lower realms after death. To be a priest and receive praise and other benefits, but not having shinjin is extremely dangerous. The karmic retribution is also extremely heavy.It is beyond our imagination...