Shoshinge, Part 4

The last time we discussed Shoshinge, we discussed a great deal about the vow of Amida Buddha, what it means, and how you might possibly fulfill it. We also talked about the 3 gates in Buddhism, which correspond to the 3 core vows.

Today, we are going to cover the next few lines of the Shoshinge and talk about the reason for Sakyamuni Buddha’s appearance on this Earth Planet:

21. 如(にょー) 來(らい) 所(しょー) 以(い) 興(こう) 出(しゅーっ) 世(せー)

The reason for the Buddha’s appearance in the world

22. 唯(ゆい) 説(せつ) 彌(みー) 陀(だー) 本(ほん) 願(がん) 海(かーい)

Is, above all, to expound the Primal Vow of Amida, wide and deep as the ocean.

23. 五(ごー) 濁(じょく) 惡(あく) 時(じー) 群(ぐん) 生(じょう) 海(かーい)

All beings in the evil age of the five defilements

24. 應(おう) 信(しん) 如(にょー) 來(らい) 如(にょー) 實(じつ) 言(ごーん)

Should believe in the truth of the Buddha’s words.

Explanation:

Sakyamuni Buddha was, if we go back to our introductory passage that I have put up earlier (in fundamentals), a real flesh-like human who was born on this Earth in the 6th century, B.C. He was born to a royal family, and, because he saw the impermanence of things and the world around him, renounced the throne and sought enlightenment. At first he sought the help of other ‘religious’ masters of the time in order to do this, but he was unsuccessful. However, he was able to attain true enlightenment at the age of 35 and continued on preaching what is known as Buddhism until the age of 80.

The level of enlightenment that Sakyamuni Buddha had attained was enlightenment of the 52nd level, or Nirvana. That is, whilst still alive and while still on this earth. He was the only one to have achieved the 52nd level of enlightenment on this earth planet while still a human. They say though that Sakyamuni Buddha was originally a Buddha to begin with, and had attained Buddhahood in a previous lifetime, which was why he was able to attain supreme enlightenment on this Earth planet.

The reason that Sakyamuni Buddha appeared on this earth was to preach and deliver the vow of Amida Buddha to all sentient beings. Human beings are endlessly trapped in the sea of suffering, and so they are trapped by their own karma. Through the vow of Amida Buddha, and only through his vow, human beings are able to achieve everlasting happiness and be saved from the sea of suffering. According to Shinran, the purpose of Sakyamuni Buddha’s appearance in this world was to teach the Larger Sutra, and save beings through the power of Amida’s name (or, Namu Amida Butsu). This equates to preaching the Primal Vow, or the 18th vow. If not for Sakyamuni Buddha, the world would have never known the true vow of Amida Buddha, and would continue to be endlessly trapped. That is why the importance of Sakyamuni Buddha and his role in teaching the Vow is emphasized greatly in this passage of Shoshinge.

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One Response

  1. […] Original post:  Shoshinge, Part 4 « Notes on Jodo Shinshu Pure Land Buddhism […]

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