Tuesday, September 11, 2018

A short discussion on suicide by Pure Land followers



Victory Banner - symbol of the victory
of Buddha Dharma. People of shinjin are victorious
  over death and rebirth, because they entrust
themselves to Amida's Power, and are assured of birth 
in the Pure Land, so their last life as samsaric beings may
be one of service, helping others to entrust to Amida and 
be sure of birth in the Pure Land. 
Question by D.K.: Some ancient accounts tell of Pure Land disciples committing suicide in order to go to the Pure Land. I've heard some Buddhist scholars say that this is equal to killing a Buddha... because by killing oneself one is tampering with karma and because we ALL have a Buddha nature. Please tell me dear Rev. Josho what your take on this is. Namo Amida Bu

My answer: Killing oneself is NOT the same with killing a Buddha. This does not even worth discussing. All I can say is this - if one has shinjin (faith in Amida) the conditions of his death (suicide or other causes) does NOT matter because he will certainly go to the Pure Land. However, a person of shinjin can continue his life in human form to help others receive shinjin too, as Shinran advised, "receive yourself shinjin and help others receive shinjin". This is the attitude of our school, and not like those people from who knows what "ancient account" (definitely NOT from the account of our school!). 

What is the rush to go to the Pure Land by suicide, when we’ll certainly die sooner or later? Lets live a life of faith, try to be an example of faith for others, spread the Amida Dharma or help others spread it, and don't make society think that we are a sect of desperate suicidal people who can't handle life.

D.K.: I agree. I myself have entrusted myself and my karmic destiny to Amida. So my future in this realm of Samsara has been entrusted to Him.  I was just curious as to our school's view on this topic.
           
My answer: Certainly I have never seen in Shinran's writings any condemnation, or encouraging of suicide. But I clearly saw an encouragement to live a life of faith and helping others receive faith. This being the case, I gave the above answer.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Shushin Ioana Marinescu - Amidaji representative at the 19th European Shin Buddhist Conference


Shushin and Rev Sasaki
from International Association
for Buddhist Culture
Between 20th – 24th August the 19th European Shin Buddhist Conference was held in Southampton, UK. Such Conferences are organized once in two years since 1986, in various places in Europe and are attended by representatives of all European sanghas. Guests from Japan, including the Shinmon-sama (next Patriarch of Hongwanji) or Zenmon-sama (the retired Patriarch) have always being present, too. I myself attended almost all these Conferences since 2002, gave lectures, held services there, etc.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Some of the things I'll do when I attain Buddhahood in the Pure Land of Amida


After my birth in Sukhavati and attainment of Buddhahood there, I will always wear the image of Amida on the crown of my head, like Avalokitesvara. Wherever I'll go in the ten directions to save sentient beings, and whatever form I will manifest for their sake, this will be one of my main features as a Buddha.

In all the places of the universe I will proclaim the Primal Vow of Amida and help all beings entrust to Him. I will be a guide towards Amida's Light, a ship for His Pure Land, and a witness to His Holy Name.
Wherever beings will say Amida's Name I will be there to protect them against all obstructions; they will have in me a constant companion and friend, and to those who don't entrust to Amida yet, I will be like their own shadow, never being separated from them even for a moment until they receive faith.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Suggested order of reading my texts and books for those new to Buddhism and Jodo Shinshu Buddhism

  Hondo(Dharma Hall) of Amidaji temple

Here is a suggested order for reading my texts and books if you want to get proper knowledge of general Buddhism and Jodo Shinshu Buddhism in particular:

If you are interested in just some basic notions of general Buddhism and Jodo Shinshu teaching read this very short introduction -
Some General Notions of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, especially recommended to beginners

Then continue with these texts:

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

NEW BOOK! The Meaning of Faith and Nembutsu in Jodo Shinshu Buddhism (free online edition)

tentative cover - I'm still working on it

This book is, as the title shows, an attempt to explain the meaning of faith and Nembutsu in accordance with the teaching of our school.
I start my explanations with the Primal Vow of Amida Buddha because without it there would be no Jodo Shinshu. As Shinran said:

“If Amida’s Primal Vow is true, Shakyamuni’s teaching cannot be false. If the Buddha’s teaching is true, Shan-tao’s commentaries cannot be false. If Shan-tao’s commentaries are true can Honen’s words be lies? If Honen’s words are true, then surely what I say cannot be empty.”[1]

Every Buddhist school has a lineage of transmission. Ours starts with Amida Buddha, then continues with Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha, the seven Masters, Shinran Shonin, Rennyo Shonin and any true teacher that came after them and was loyal to the Primal Vow. What all the representatives of our lineage said with one voice is that the Primal Vow is true and that it contains everything we need for our attainment of Buddhahood in the Pure Land of Amida.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Some ideas about the temple altar - how is done in Japan and other places and how we'll do it at Amidaji

last update June 23rd - please scoll down in the article and read! 

As some may already know, the naijin (inner area) is the altar area of a Jodo Shinshu temple in Japan where usually only priests are allowed to enter. This situation is copied by many Shinshu temples outside Japan, too. There, in the naijin, the Buddha statue, whose face is sometimes partially covered by a kind of rich material, is enshrined in a big decorated box. Also there are some minor altars of Shinran, Rennyo, the seven Patriarchs and Shotoku Taishi. Another important element is that the naijin is placed on a little raised platform, which means that priests actually stay higher than lay people. Because of all these, and also because the altars are in the back of the naijin, lay people who attend the service and Dharma talks from the gejin (outer area/sitting area) can hardly see the statue and the images on the minor altars.

However, at Amidaji temple we’ll never follow these Japanese customs. Now the Hondo (main hall/Dharma Hall) is small, but even when it will be bigger, there will be no naijin or special area for priests.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Faith in Amida Buddha is not the creation of our mind



"Since Amida makes you trust Him
And responds to your trust,
Your trusting heart does not arise
From within yourself."[1]

The reason why in a Nembutsu follower’s heart coexist both faith in the Primal Vow and his blind passions and illusions is that this faith doesn’t belong to him.   

This is another important aspect of the Jodo Shinshu teaching. It is said that in a poisonous Eranda forest grow only Eranda trees and not the famous Chandana trees with their fine fragrance. It is a miracle if a Chandana tree grows in an Eranda forest. Similarly, it is a miracle if faith in Amida Buddha flourishes in the people’s hearts. How can it be possible that from human passions the faith in Buddha be born? The answer is that this phenomenon is practically impossible and that faith in Amida is not the product of our minds, but what Amida plants in us. That is why shinjin or the entrusting heart is called “rootless faith” for it has no roots in the human mind but in Amida’s Power and Compassion. The same thing happens with saying the Name which expresses faith. Everything comes from Amida and manifests like an echo in our minds and on our lips, just like a child who faithfully answers his mother’s calling.