There is no need to create something
special into your mind.
By saying Namo Amida Bu in faith
you accept that everything necesary
to your salvation depends entirelyon Amida Buddha.
Thursday, June 9, 2016
Depend on Amida, not on your feelings
How can I say that I have or don't have shinjin (faith) if there is no special feeling I should associate it with?
Rather than asking yourself, "do I feel the right thing" in relation with shinjin (faith), you should better ask:
- do I accept Amida Buddha's salvation as promised in His Primal Vow, that is, do I entrust myself completely to Him?
- do I accept that only Amida Buddha can save me through His Power from birth and death and that nothing which can be found in my unenlightened personality can help me in any way in achieving this goal?
If your answer to the above questions is YES, I DO, then you are a person of faith.
So, you are a person of faith not because you feel the right thing, or because you have an intelectual understanding of all Buddhist concepts, including faith, but because you accept and you know that Amida Buddha and His Pure Land are real and that He saves you by assuring your birth there after death.
When you say YES, I DO, this is Namo Amida Butsu as the expression of faith. Nothing special is implied here, but only the knowing that you are saved by a real, existing Amida Buddha.
Your personal fears, problems or difficulties are not important in relation with faith and birth in the Pure Land, because they are part of your unenlightened personality, while faith and birth in the Pure Land are due to Amida's Power. The cause of your personal problems, difficulties, fears and anxieties are your delusions and attachements, while the cause of your faith, saying of the Name and of your birth in the Pure Land is in Amida Buddha's Power. This is why it is said in the Tannisho that no evil can hinder the Nembutsu and no good is superior to Nembutsu.
Nothing which can be found in your unenlightened personality can influence or improve your chances of birth in the Pure Land. Only Amida Buddha can take you there, so depend on Him, not on your feelings.
- fragment from a letter to a friend -
 This knowing may be of course, accompanied by joy at the first time of the awakening of faith or from time to time during our daily lives. It is not my intention to deny that joy can accompany faith. All I want to say is that we should not depend on the presence or absence of a particular feeling. Faith is knowing you are saved by Amida Buddha. If you sometimes take great delight in this knowing, or you are simply too overcome by personal difficulties and sorrows, it has absolutely no importance. Faith is faith, no matter you are up or down. You are saved by Amida's Power, not by your capacity to feel joy or any other feeling.