Saturday, February 5, 2011

No self improving programs for Jodo Shinshu followers

It must be very well understood that when I speak about trying to have a good behaviour towards others in our daily lives, I do not propose self improving programs for Jodo Shinshu followers, and do not say that we should do this or that good deed in order to be born in the Pure Land.

Birth in the Pure Land and, for example, my trying to not beat people when I become angered, or not to cheat my girlfriend when I meet with temptations has no connection with one another. I am saved exactly as I am, no matter if I am calm or I burst into anger, if I am a good partner or a bad partner, a drug addict, or anything else. The Jodo Shinshu teaching is very clear on this aspect: “No evil act can bring about karmic results, nor can any good act equal the nembutsu”.

But why not trying to abstain from all these when no matter if I succeed or not, I am still loved and accepted by Amida Buddha. Why not trying – to try is the key word. If I change something within me even for a second its ok, if I fail, its ok, too.
This is, I think, the meaning of “don’t make a linking to poison because you have the antidote” from Tannisho, or some letters written by Shinran, in which he speaks about not encouraging people to intentionally do evil. Shinran never said, “go and kill everybody because you are saved by Amida”. Jodo Shinshu teaching does not say “rape, kill, and torture people”.

Although it saves evil people, Jodo Shinshu is not an encouragement to do evil. A mother never encourages her children to do bad deeds, but even if they do all the evil things in the world, she still loves them and accepts them. This is the meaning of “no evil act can bring about karmic results, nor can any good act equal the nembutsu”.

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