Thursday, December 20, 2018

December 20th - The Day of All Buddha's Witness

I bow my head at the feet of all Buddhas in the ten directions
May I never forget their compassionate guidance.
After being born in Sukhavati I will visit their Pure Lands
to bring offerings to them and worship them.
This Amida has promised in His 23rd and 24th Vow

Today, December 20th we celebrate at Amidaji (click here for our Dharma calendarThe Day of all Buddha's Witness, in which we remember that all Buddhas praise Amida Buddha’s Name and encourage us to entrust to Him, say His Name and wish to go to His Pure Land.

First we hear about this from Amida Buddha himself in his 17th Vow, in which He promised:

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, innumerable Buddhas in the lands of the ten directions should not all praise and glorify my Name, may I not attain perfect Enlightenment.” 

Then we hear it from the words of Shakyamuni Buddha and the Masters of our lineage. I will present below a few significant passages to reflect on this holy day, but first I wish to explain the image in the left. It is composed of photos that were found by me on various websites and put together to form this one bigger image of Amida Buddha surrounded by Avalokitesvara (center-right), Mahasthamaprapta (center-left), Shakyamuni (lower-left), Padmasambhava (lower-right), Green Tara (upper-left), White Tara (upper-right).
If you look closely, you will see that Green Tara, White Tara, Padmasambhava and Shakyamuni (all great Buddhas themselves) have an image of Amida Buddha (Amitabha) above their head, showing the connection between them and Amida.


Although, each Buddhas have their own Pure Land, and practices associated with them, corresponding to the various types of practitioners, their ultimate and final teaching, as well as the true reason for their coming to this world is to teach Amida Buddha's unconditional path of salvation:

"Looking into the essence of the teachings of the Buddhas, we find that the true and fundamental intent for which all the Tathagatas, past, present, and future, appear in this world, is solely to teach the inconceivable Vow of Amida". 
Shinran Shonin, Passages on the Pure Land Way 

„Because the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are discrete manifestations of Amida Tathagata, Amida is the original teacher and the original Buddha of the Buddhas of the ten directions. For this reason, when we take refuge in one Buddha, Amida, we take refuge in all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas; hence the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are all encompassed within the one body of Amida.” 
Rennyo Shonin, Letters, Letter 3, fascicle 2

“Shakyamuni Tathagata appeared in this world
Solely to teach the oceanlike Primal Vow of Amida;
We, an ocean of beings in an evil age of five defilements,
Should entrust ourselves to the Tathagata’s words of truth”.
 
Shinran Shonin, Shoshinge

"To the evil sentient beings of wrong views
In this evil age of the five defilement, in this evil world,
The Buddhas, countless as the sands of the Ganges,
Give the Name of Amida, urging them to entrust themselves to it". 
Shinran Shonin, Hymns of the Pure Land (Jodo Wasan)

"Being born in the Buddha-land of happiness
Is the path to ultimate attainment of Buddhahood;
All the Buddhas acclaim the Pure Land,
For birth there is the unsurpassed means." 
Shinran Shonin, Hymns of the Pure Land Masters (Koso Wasan)

"It is very rare that people of this corrupt world of the five defilements embrace the teaching of the one Buddha, Sakyamuni, alone, and for this reason all the Buddhas throughout the ten quarters, countless as the sands of the Ganges, have become witnesses to the attainment of Birth through the Nembutsu that embodies Amida's Primal Vow; this Master Shan-tao has written in his commentary. He explains that Sakyamuni, Amida, and the Buddhas of the ten quarters, all with the same mind, are no more apart from sentient beings of the Nembutsu than shadows from things." 
Shinran Shonin, Lamp for the Latter-Ages, letter 2

"In addition to the Vow of Amida Tathagata, we have Sakyamuni's admonition. Further, we have the witness of all the Buddhas, countless as the sands of the Ganges throughout the ten quarters." 
Shinran Shonin, Letters of the Tradition, Letter 4

"Sakyamuni and all the other Buddhas
Are truly our compassionate father and mother.
With various compassionate means they lead us to awaken
Supreme shinjin (faith in Amida) that is true and real."
 
Shinran Shonin, Hymn of the Two Gateways of Entrance and Emergence

"The Light of Amida Buddha shines without exception over all the ten directions, and the innumerable Buddhas in the universe, in unison, praise the Name of Amida Buddha." 
Honen Shonin, Commentary on the Three Sutras of Pure Land Buddhism

"If one believes in the teaching of birth in the Pure Land through Nembutsu, one not only believes in the Primal Vow of Amida Buddha but also in the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni. Believing in the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni is then to believe in all Buddhas in the six directions. Believing in all Buddhas leads to faith in the Dharma in its entirety. Believing in the entire Dharma means to have faith in all of the Bodhisattvas. Accordingly, the belief in the teachings of birth in the Pure Land through Nembutsu is vast and all-encompassing." 
Honen Shonin, Commentary on the Three Sutras of Pure Land Buddhism

"One should have an unshakable faith in the passage from the Smaller Sutra that states that all Buddhas in the ten directions, as numerous as the grains of sand in the Ganges, testified and encouraged all sentient beings to attain birth in the Pure Land." 
Master Shan-tao quoted by Honen Shonin in An Outline of the Doctrine for Birth in the Pure Land

Please read more passages and detailed explanations of this very important teaching of Jodo Shinshu in the chapter The One Vehicle of the Primal Vow - the ultimate teaching of Shakyamuni and all Buddhas (click here to read, http://amida-ji-retreat-temple-romania.blogspot.com/2018/03/the-one-vehicle-of-primal-vow-ultimate.html) from my book The Meaning of Faith and Nembutsu in Jodo Shinshu Buddhism.

 Namo Amida Bu



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