Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Eight guidelines to protect and transmit the true faith in Amida Buddha

Many people asked me for a detailed and strict guideline on how to think and act in matters related with faith (shinjin), so that they do not fall into wrong views, nor be a cause of wrong views in others. As you probably know if you read my book The Meaning of Faith and Nembutsu in Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, I always teach that genuine faith in Amida Buddha has eight aspects:

1) To accept the actual, literal existence of Amida Buddha and His Pure Land
2) To accept the story of Amida  Buddha as told by Shakyamuni Buddha in the Larger Sutra
3) To wish to be born in the Pure Land for the attainment of perfect Enlightenment/Buddhahood
4) To have the twofold profound conviction (nishu jinshin), which means to know that you are a person of deep karmic limitations, incapable of attaining Buddhahood through your own power, and that  only Amida Buddha can save you through His Vow Power (Other Power), without asking anything from you.
5) To accept the Primal Vow of Amida Buddha without any doubt and be sure of your birth in the Pure Land
6) To accept that birth in the Pure Land of Amida Buddha takes place after death
7) To say the Name of Amida Buddha (Nembutsu)
8) To not mix Nembutsu and devotion towards Amida Buddha with other faiths and practices from inside or outside of the Buddha Dharma.

The above elements are part of the mind/heart of faith (shinjin). They come naturally to a person of faith who is, according to the Masters of our lineage, a true disciple of Amida and all Buddhas[1]. Anything else, like having a focused and undistracted mind in your daily life, being a virtuous or non-virtuous person, having special or mystical experiences is irrelevant and NOT important in relation with faith of the Primal Vow.

So, those who really want to be in accord with Amida Dharma and protect the transmission of faith to other generations, helping themselves and others to not fall into wrong views must have faith themselves and posses the eight elements of faith.

Also, for those who asked for a detailed explanation of what to do and what not to do, I expressed these elements in the form of eight guidelines which resemble a samaya (set of precepts).  Here they are:

1) A true disciple of Amida and all Buddhas shall not himself deny, or encourage others to deny the actual, literal existence of Amida Buddha and His Pure Land. He must not create the causes, conditions, methods or karma of denying the existence of Amida Buddha and His Pure Land. As a true disciple of Amida and all Buddhas he must have devotion and faith in Amida Buddha, always helping sentient beings to entrust to Him and aspire to be born in His Pure Land.

2)  A true disciple of Amida and all Buddhas shall not himself deny or encourage others to deny the story of Amida Buddha as told by Shakyamuni in the Larger Sutra. He must not create the causes, conditions, methods or karma of denying it. As a true disciple of Amida and all Buddhas he must accept in faith the Larger Sutra and the story of Amida Buddha as told by Shakyamni there, always helping sentient beings to do the same.

3) A true disciple of Amida and all Buddhas shall not himself deny or encourage others to deny the importance of the wish to be born in the Pure Land for the attainment of perfect Enlightenment. He must not create the causes, conditions, methods or karma of stopping sentient beings from wishing to be born in the Pure Land for the attainment of perfect Enlightenment. As a true disciple of Amida and all Buddhas he must always encourage sentient beings to wish to be born in the Pure Land for the attainment of perfect Enlightenment.

4) A true disciple of Amida and all Buddhas shall not himself deny or encourage others to deny that they are persons of deep karmic limitations, incapable to attain Buddhahood through their own power, and that only Amida Buddha can save them through His Vow Power. He must not create the causes, conditions, methods or karma of denying salvation from samsara through Amida’s Power. As a true disciple of Amida and all Buddhas he must always encourage sentient beings to recognize themselves as persons of deep karmic limitations, incapable to attain Buddhahood through their own power, and to accept that only Amida Buddha can save them through His Vow Power, without asking anything from them.

5) A true disciple of Amida and all Buddhas shall not himself doubt or cause others to doubt the Primal Vow and birth in the Pure Land. He must not create the causes, conditions, methods or karma of doubting the Primal Vow of Amida Buddha and birth in the Pure Land. As a true disciple of Amida and all Buddhas he must always encourage sentient beings to accept the Primal Vow of Amida without any doubt and be sure of their birth in the Pure Land.

6) A true disciple of Amida and all Buddhas shall not himself deny or encourage others to deny that birth in the Pure Land takes place after death. He must not create the causes, conditions, methods or karma of denying that birth in the Pure Land takes place after death. As a true disciple of Amida and all Buddhas he must always encourage sentient beings to accept that birth in the Pure Land takes place after death.

7) A true disciple of Amida and all Buddhas shall not himself abandon or encourage others to abandon the saying of Amida Buddha’s Name. He must not create the causes, conditions, methods or karma of obstructing the saying of the Name of Amida Buddha. As a true disciple of Amida and all Buddhas he must always encourage sentient beings to say the Name of Amida.

8) A true disciple of Amida and all Buddhas shall not himself mix or encourage others to mix Nembutsu and devotion towards Amida Buddha with other faiths and practices from inside or outside of the Buddha Dharma. He must not create the causes, conditions, methods or karma of mixing Nembutsu and devotion towards Amida Buddha with other faiths and practices from inside or outside of the Buddha Dharma. As a true disciple of Amida and all Buddhas he must always encourage sentient beings to exclusively say the Nembutsu and devote themselves entirely to Amida Buddha.




[1] Click here to read my explanations on The True Disciple of Amida and all Buddhas, http://amida-ji-retreat-temple-romania.blogspot.com/2018/05/the-true-disciple-of-amida-and-all.html

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