Saturday, April 11, 2009

Words of Rennyo useful for meat eaters


Here is a passage from one of Rennyo Shonin’s letters, which is very useful for those of you who are incapable of abstaining from meat or who work in jobs that are directly or indirectly related with killing sentient beings:

“First, realizing the settled mind in our tradition does not mean that we put a stop to our mind’s evil or to the rising of delusions and attachments. Simply carry on your trade or position of service, hunt and fish. For when we realize deeply that Amida Tathagata ‘s Primal Vow promises to save such worthless beings as ourselves, confused morning and evening by evil karma when we single heartedly rely on the Compassionate Vow of the one Buddha Amida, and when sincere faith is awakened in us with the realization that Amida saves us – then, without fail, we partake of the Tathagata’s saving work. “

It is clear to me when I read this letter that Amida Buddha saves us all without taking into account if we are vegetarians or not, or even hunters and fishermen.
As you may know, the category of hunters and fishermen was considered to be the lowest of people, or “the worthless people”, lacking the seed of Buddhahood, without any hope to attain Nirvana.

“Position of service” might also refer to military service, which often leads to killing. “Trading” in Rennyo’s letter might refer to the trading of meat. All these evil activities are not an obstacle to our birth in the Pure Land. Why? Because we are born there only due to Amida’s Power, not ours. We are not the cause of our own birth in the Pure Land.

People engage in all these activities because their mind is evil and full of delusions and attachments, greed for meat and other possessions --- “confused morning and evening” .
Because we are such beings, “worthless beings”, we are saved by Amida. In this confusing world we are fighting for survival every day and we always injure others, even without knowing it. There is nothing good in us which can save ourselves and others.

We need only to realize that we are worthless beings and that especially for us, Amida made His Vow. In that moment we receive “sincere faith” (shinjin) and partake of the Tathagata’s saving work, without fail.
Shinjin is the “settled mind in our tradition” which “does not mean that we put a stop to our mind’s evil or to the rising of delusions and attachments”. So, shinjin has nothing to do with our capacities or lack of any capacity. We are born in the Pure Land not because we have compassion for sentient beings, but because Amida Buddha has Compassion for us.  

This letter of Rennyo is extremely important. It must not be understood in the sense that it encourages meat eating or other evil activities, from which if you can, you should try to abstain, but it shows the unconditional salvation of Amida Buddha who considers all beings to be his sick children in desperate need of help.
Jodo Shinshu doesn't take into account the so called good potential that is latent in human beings, in fact it doesn't believe at all in our good potential. It doesn't deny the importance of Buddhist virtues, but it says clearly that in this decadent age those virtues are unattainable in their true spirit. So, it doesn't lose its precious time with speaking and explaining Buddhist virtues and Buddhist virtuous practices, but applies the direct and most eficient medicine - faith in Amida Buddha and quick escape from our own eternal misery in samsara.

Jodo Shinshu is the religion of a Mother saving her children from themselves. She loves them all, no matter how evil they are and continuously call them.

4 comentarii:

Leaf Dharma said...

Got the book the other day, thanks my friend. The shipping costs no doubt are half your profit.

Josho Adrian Cirlea said...

I am glad you received it. thank you for informing me. gassho and Namo Amida Butsu

Leaf Dharma said...

You may enjoy this:

Unfortunelty its in Japanese with Dutch subtitles; neither of which I understand.

Josho Adrian Cirlea said...

I have it with English subtitles. Thank you very much

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