Thursday, February 4, 2010

Some short explanations on nembutsu before shinjin and the meaning of Other Power

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There are many causes that make a person become open to Amida's Call and the most emphasized is listening to the teaching. But this doesn't mean at all that we should not say nembutsu before we are clear of doubts.
On the contrary, we should say nembutsu also before shinjin, even if this is not the Other Power nembutsu. Bowing in front of Amida's images, worshipping, praying to Amida to help us become opened, saying nembutsu, and most important, listening to the teaching, etc,  all have their effects and prepare the mind and heart to become opened to Amida's message and one day the full entrust will appear.

Complete entrusting or shinjin is not complicated, but just a simple reliance on Amida in matters concerning your birth in the Pure Land and attainment of Buddhahood.
We should not think it is a complicated feeling. Bonbus(1) can't feel special things even after they receive shinjin.

Next, I think many people don't really understand what to rely on Other Power means.
For example they understand it like they should reject even the tiny effort to do anything in their daily lives, but this is not what Other Power means.
To rely on Other Power means that in matters concerning your birth in the Pure Land and attainment of Buddhahood you rely exclusively on Amida. I repeat, in matters concerning your attainment of birth in the Pure Land and Buddhahood, not in other aspects of your everyday life where you can rely on your own power to do various things.

In doing various things in your daily life – to have a career, be a good husband, wife, parent or friend - you may rely on your own efforts, as long as you don't think that these things add something or contribute to your birth in the Pure Land and attainment of Buddhahood, which are brought about only by Amida.

Some people can't become opened to the Compassion of Amida because they think they can attain anything all by themselves, while others because they think it is too easy and they are too bad to deserve to be saved. So they come to the conclusion that they have to add something to the working of Amida, when in fact there is nothing to be added to it.
The Compassion of Amida saves us exactly as we are, while we may still try to improve ourselves in our daily lives, but this trying has nothing to do with our salvation.

Also those who already received shinjin and have the impression that they did something good, they should think that it is due to the influence of Amida Buddha on them.
I for example, always think that if there is something good in what I do, write or teach to others, then it comes from the influence of Amida on me, and if there is something bad or wrong, then it comes from my unenlightened personality.

Notes:
(1) Bonbu: ordinary people filled with blind passions

1 comentarii:

Paul said...

Thanks to my Dharma brother Rev Josho Adrian Cirlea. He is a true priest, and a reliable teacher of the Dharma, and I commend him and his writings to everyone.

Regarding the subject of saying the Nembutsu before or after receiving SHINJIN, here are some basic points that are worth stating over and over again:

1. Saying the Nembutsu won't save anyone. As a practice to generate karmic merit, it is INEFFECTIVE in our Dharma age, just like all practices to generate karmic merit are ineffective. Master Shinran's most basic teaching is that all practices meant to generate karmic merit and thereby lead us to attain Buddhahood are not workable for us. All of the many self-powered Dharma gates are CLOSED - including the self-powered Dharma gates of the various schools of Pure Land Buddhism.

2. The only EFFECTIVE way to gain the karmic merit needed to attain Buddhahood in our Dharma age is to RECEIVE it as a free gift from the living Buddha Amida. When we listen deeply to the Dharma, answer all our questions and resolve all our doubts, thus clearing the channels of faith, Amida then gives us the incomparable gift of SHINJIN - and as part of that gift we are given the full store of His own karmic merit. That gift changes our karmic destiny, so we can attain Buddhahood IMMEDIATELY at the end of this lifetime. And our natural response to receiving that gift is to gratefully say THANK YOU AMIDA BUDDHA. That is the TRUE Nembutsu - the Nembutsu of gratitude.

3. Even if you have not yet received the gift of shinjin, and are still in the process of listening deeply to answer your questions and resolve your doubts, if you feel led to say the Nembutsu, then by all means say it. It is Amida Himself who is leading you, as He works below the level of your own awareness, in the depths of your own consciousnessness, to call you to Himself.

NEW poems by Gansen John Welch