Sunday, May 7, 2017

Do not worry about the salvation of your loved ones


One of my dearest Nembutsu friends wrote to me recently and expressed his worries about some of his deceased or living relatives who haven't received faith in Amida yet, and who might now dwell (or will be born after death) in various painful states of existence, even in hell. He was concerned that there is too much time left until he reaches the Pure Land and will be able to save them.
The following was my answer to him:

Dear M:
We never really know what others may become after they die. Certainly, if they did not have settled faith in Amida during their present life, they will not be reborn in the Pure Land and immediately attain Buddhahood. But this does not mean they will absolutely go to hell. The truth is we can never know what karma may manifest during their bardo (intermediary state between death and the next rebirth).

Also, what we call "time" is part of the illusory experience of unenlightened beings and unenlightened minds. Now it seems that time goes slow, but in reality, the human life, and your life too, is very short in comparison with the life of a person living in hell or other planes of existence. In some realms one day or even one hour is 1000 years of human life and even more. Master Genshin explained this in his Ojoyoshu[1]. So, its useless to dwell on such things, as your entire life may be only a few minutes or seconds for them!

Thus, you should better focus on what you can do now - enjoy the nembutsu of faith, listen to Amida Dharma etc, and be happy that in the time of one hour or only a few minutes and seconds according to other planes of existence, you will go after all the people you love and died before you.  You should also find happiness in knowing that Amida Buddha himself always tries His best to bring them closer and closer to Him. This is extremely important. Amida knows every sentient being personally and has every one permanently in front of His eyes. For example, He worked a lot, during your many lives, to bring you closer and closer to Him, and so here you are in the present life entrusting yourself to Him after you met His Dharma through the efforts of His faithful transmitters.

Please remember that the beings you love are not only in your plan to save, but they are also in Amida's plan! Amida does not wait for you to come to His Pure Land to help them - He is already trying to help them by various means NOW, while we speak. Its really just a matter of time until they will become opened enough to Him and entrust to His Primal Vow. Perhaps (who knows?) in another plane of existence some of your relatives already met Amida Dharma and received faith! There are many universes with the same six realms like ours, including humans, so you can never know! Understanding this, you can stop worrying, and instead enjoy your life in the nembutsu and do what you can with the time you have until you go to the Pure Land. If you continue to be an Amida devotee, others will see this, and perhaps they might have a change of heart even during this life. But if not, again I say, do not worry! Amida Buddha will never stop working on every one's salvation untill all samsara becomes empty.






[1] For example, Master Genshin made the following comparrison in his Ojoyoshu: "A hundred years of human life are equal in length to one day and night in Toriten (the second of the six realms of the gods of the World of Desire), and in this heaven life lasts a thousand years, but the length of life in Toriten is equivalent to only one day and night in this Hell of the Black Rope and here life lasts one thousand years". So, if the entire lenght of life of the gods in the heavenly realm of Toriten lasts only one day and night in the Hell of the Black Rope, then many thousands of years in human terms can hardly equal only a few minutes or seconds in the same hell!

1 comentarii:

Richard St. Clair said...

Wonderful post, Josho. In the Tannisho, Master Shinran talked about going to the Pure Land to become a Buddha FIRST, then using his transcendental Buddha-powers to secure the salvation of loved ones left behind, i.e. persons who had deep karmic connections with him. It is a major teaching, contained as a precious nugget in the Tannisho.