Thursday, February 3, 2011

Realizing our limitations in daily life

- all articles in this section are from my correspondence with various nembutsu friends-

Can "worldly Way" actually assist us in realizing shinjin, by making clear to us that we are unable to help ourselves reach Nirvana, Enlightenment, and the Pure Land ?

My answer:
I do not know if I understand correctly what you mean by “worldly way”, but into my opinion, everything can teach us important lessons if our minds are ready. When one is ready to learn, everything becomes a teacher and a guide.

Everything around is, for example, a lesson of impermanence. Our relations with those close to us are in constant change, our bodies are changing, our minds are changing, etc – there is nothing stable we can rely on in this world. We can see the limitations caused by our bodies who, no matter we like it or not, have their own path to follow, which is growing old, becoming ill and dying; we can see the limitations caused by nature, but more than this, we can see the limitations of our minds.
Everything we build doesn’t last long, both our material constructions and mental states.
Everything changes constantly. We realize, if we are karmicaly mature, that we have nothing to rely on and that our dependency on various things from outside or inside us is so powerful that it is impossible to overcome. Thus, we may discover that freedom and long lasting happiness is not in our power to find it.
If the message of Amida’s salvation reaches us when we are karmicaly mature so as to realize all these, then it has a good chance to take root in our hearts.

If one does not realizes his limitations, or does not long for freedom from birth and death, he or she cannot become opened to Amida’s message of salvation.
The important element that can make us see everything around us or inside us as teachers of impermanence is awareness. But as I said in my previous letter, there is a difference between seeing yourself using the light of your own power and seeing yourself with the help of Amida’s Power. It is the same with lighting a small candle in a darkened room or using a thousand electricity devices.

So, all worldly things can assist us and make us ready to accept, now or later, the message of the Primal Vow. It depends on us, on how we look to these worldly matters. Being in chains can make one to wish for freedom and be ready when a liberator comes to rescue him or can make another find pleasure in living as a slave. Some can’t even realize they are in chains.
This is my answer.
I think this article written by me long time ago is also related with this matter

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