Monday, November 24, 2008

Entering the Jodo Shinshu path

Entering the Jodo Shinshu path is like becoming a member of Alcoholics Anonymous and recognizing: “Hello, my name is Josho and I am an alcoholic”.

Jodo Shinshu doesn’t state something like: “My name is Josho and I can become a Buddha”, but “my name is Josho and I am full of blind passions, incapable to heal myself”.

While in other Buddhist schools, an important matter is the recognition of the possibility of every being to become a Buddha in this life like Shakyamuni, the Jodo Shinshu path begins with the sense of failure. When you are 100% convinced that you cannot attain Buddhahood in this life, then you are ready for the Jodo Shinshu path. As long as you still harbor in your mind the smallest thought of personal merit or “maybe I can” kind of things, you cannot see and enter the Dharma gate of birth in Amida Buddha’s Pure Land.

Amida Buddha’s Pure Land is like a country where everybody can emigrate without the least requirement: no visas, no special capacities, nor any other qualities. As Shinran said:

“This is the way of easy practice to be followed by those of inferior capacity; it is the teaching that makes no distinction between the good and the evil.”

Thus, the Jodo Shinshu sangha is like an “idiot’s club” or alcoholics anonymous, in comparison with the nice and good Buddhists, who believe they are always calm and ready to become Enlightened and the same with Shakyamuni.

If you hope to find here some interesting quotes about detachment or how capable people are for goodness, virtues and any kind of spiritual realizations, then this is not the place for you. But if you recognize yourself more and more in the group of spiritual alcoholics or those incapable of any important practice which leads to perfection here and now, in the middle of sufferings and miseries of any kind, then this teaching would be of much help, and I wish to you a warm “welcome to the club!”

I repeat, Jodo Shinshu starts with the sense of failure….

6 comentarii:

Anonymous said...

Thank you Josho Sensei,
a wonderfull statement.
in Gassho
Chisho Frank

Paul said...

Adrian writes: Jodo Shinshu starts with the sense of failure.


I would disagree with that statement, Adrian.

I would say rather that the Dharma of Master Shinran starts with the yearning to become enlightened...the yearning to become a Buddha.

The person may not phrase it in those terms. Indeed, he may not even know those words. But somehow, a desire inside arises to be free of suffering engendered by an endarkened mind.

That is where Buddhism - ALL Buddhism - truly begins. This is the first gate.

Shin Buddhism diverges from all other Buddhist teachings by declaring to the aspirant that nothing he does will enable him to reach his goal - to fulfill his desire to become a Buddha. Master Shinran informs us all that we are stuck in the Idiot's Club, whether we like it or not. This is the second gate.

At that point, we are offered the opportunity to entrust our karmic destiny to Amida Buddha. We are assured that if we do so, we will immediately become Buddhas after this life is over. Acceptance of this invitation to entrust ourselves entirely to Him is the third gate.

Of course, there are many people who are introspective, and deeply aware of their shadow (to use modern psychological language). They know already that they are members of the Idiot's Club...but it has not yet occurred to them to yearn for something better than that.

That is why the work we do in preaching and teaching the Dharma is so important. By our work, we help such people awaken their own aspiration...and we show them how that aspiration can be fulfilled by the person and work of Amida Buddha.

Josho Adrian Cirlea said...

Paul, of course we first should awaken the desire to become enlightened, and I often talk about it, even here on my blog or on the Romanian blog. Just in this post I wanted to emphasize that in Jodo Shinshu we realize we cannot become Buddhas by ourselves.
I clearly said: "When you are 100% convinced that you cannot attain Buddhahood in this life, then you are ready for the Jodo Shinshu path." Of course, we cannot have the sense of failure if we dont have the aspiration to become a Buddha.I am not refering here to failure in love life :) But this was a small post to attract attention on a very important aspect of Jodo Shinshu - we fail to become Buddhas by ourselves.
I DIDNT WANT HERE TO DEVELOP MORE ON THIS TOPIC, as I do develop it in another posts.
The fact that in some posts I do not mention all the doctrinal aspects of general Buddhism, it doesnt mean I dont know it or my readers dont know it.
Even Rennyo sometimes just wrote small letters to emphasize certain aspects of the teaching so that his listeners get them easier. This is what I myself did here.

Melvin Lim said...

To agree completely that one is a complete "failure" in Buddhahood through bodhisatwa ways is not easy. When we see that we are truely 100% "sorry" in this matter, the other-power of Amida will awaken or sit within our heart - settlement of Shinjin. I happened to have a bunch of sms communication with my dear friend on the other-power who could not get what on earth I was talking about the "Other-power" of Jodo Shinshu and he was quite against it at the beginning but finally "saw the boast idea" that he has deep inside his mind, that was to agree or follow what someone said. He seemingly has entrusted himself to Amida but still "he seeks to do something within" as he did not agree that we do nothing but just return to Amida. In his opinion. we have to be good persons still but I told him this is his own idea (self-power) and not Amida's idea. He can be a good person but don't simply place such pressure on others when come to the rescue of Amida which is flat in his compassionate vow.

Anonymous said...

I resemble this statement.
The aspiration is there, but so are all of the accompanying circumstances of a human being, as well...and tons of karma.
Having been chanting nien-fo on my own (after the tradition of the meditation school, the experience of it tells me my own feeble efforts alone fall way short.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful !

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