Shoshinge, Part 5

In our last discussion, we talked about Sakyamuni Buddha  and the reason for his appearance on this Earth Planet. We said that the reason he appeared in the first place, and his purpose, was to preach the vow of Amida Buddha and how it saves defiled and sentient beings such as us.

Today, we are going to take a look at the next few lines, which talk about what sort of salvation Amida’s Vow brings:

25. 能(のう) 發(ほつ) 一(いち) 念(ねん) 喜(きー) 愛(あい) 心(しーん)

If the single thought of Joy and Gratitude is awakened in us,

26. 不(ふー) 斷(だん) 煩(ぼん) 惱(のう) 得(とく) 涅(ねー) 槃(はーん)

We shall realize Nirvana without severing our blind passions.

27. 凡(ぼん) 聖(しょう) 逆(ぎゃく) 謗(ほう) 齊(さい) 廻(えー) 入(にゅう)

When ordinary people and sages as well as those who commit the gravest offenses and abusers of the Dharma are taken into the Vow,

28. 如(にょー) 衆(しゅー) 水(すい) 入(にゅう) 海(かい) 一(いち) 味(みー)

They become one in spiritual attainment, just as many rivers become of one taste upon entering the sea.


Why do human beings suffer? The root cause of suffering is ignorance. Every person on this Earth planet suffers, no matter what state they are in. Rich, poor, young, happy or old, everyone has some sort of suffering they experience. If it is not worrying about money, then it is worrying about how to protect it from being taken away. Us foolish and ignorant beings are filled with nothing but blind passions and ruled by possessions. Yet despite this, Amida Buddha gives us the chance to be taken under his wing and be saved from infinite hell.

First of all, Karma is the universal power that binds all living beings. No matter where you go, or what you do, you will always be bound by Karma. The accumulation of Karma in the present life as well as the lives of the past is called the Alaya Mind. The Alaya Mind is like a hard disk that keeps track of all the good and bad actions we perform in every lifetime.

In order to be liberated from this karmic system, we must achieve supreme enlightenment. Likewise, through good deeds and devoted practice, a purification of karma can happen, though, it does not truly become eliminated until we achieve ultimate enlightenment.

So in other words, the first two lines are saying that once we attain enlightenment, we may go on to realize Nirvana, however, the blind passions that plagued us from the beginning won’t be fully gone, although, their roots will be severed.

A good example of this comes from the life of Shinran Shonin. For 20 years, Shinran struggled diligently to completely rid himself of his passions, however, he was unable to do so. He then was able to achieve enlightenment through Honen Shonin, however, he finally realized at that point though he had attained enlightenment, he was still, at the root, a defiled being with no possible destination but hell. However, through the universal vow of Amida Buddha, which grants everlasting happiness to those, good or bad, he was able to be saved and realized at the same time he would be reborn unfailingly in the the pure land upon death.

Amida’s vow does not make distinction between good, evil, sinner or depraved. It is possible for one to realize salvation having committed nothing but evil deeds, however, at the final moment of one’s life, entrusts with singleness of mind in the power of the vow.

In the end, we all enter the land of Amida’s salvation just as many rivers enter into the sea and become one. We are all equal.


One Response

  1. […] The rest is here:  Shoshinge, Part 5 « Notes on Jodo Shinshu Pure Land Buddhism […]

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