Shoshinge, Part 6

Ok, the last time we talked quite a bit about Karma and the relationship between that and Amida’s Vow. This is not the be all, end all and there have been about two dozen books written about the subject of Karma alone. There is a lot to read about in terms of that topic, but I think we nailed the basic introduction and core of it. Again, if you would like to read more about Karma, or any of these Shoshinge lines in great detail, I highly recommend going to Hisao Inagaki’s site here:

His English translation is used on this site, and a big thanks to him for helping everyone forward their Buddhist studies with his commentary on it. It has been an important source for me too as well to advance my Buddhist studies.

Anyway, the lines that we are going to talk about today are lines 29-34 and to be honest, they are some of the most difficult lines to ponder on. Many books try to explain the nature of these lines and are sort of vague about it leaving it open to interpretation. I will try my best not to leave anything out into the open and up to the imagination:

29. 攝(せーつ) 取(しゅー) 心(しん) 光(こう) 常(じょう) 照(しょう) 護(ごー)

The Light of All-embracing Compassion always illumines and protects us;

30. 已(いー) 能(のう) 雖(すい) 破(はー) 無(むー) 明(みょう) 闇(あーん)

The darkness of ignorance has already been destroyed by it,

31. 貪(とん) 愛(ない) 瞋(しん) 憎(ぞう) 之(しー) 雲(うん) 霧(むー)

But still the clouds and mists of greed, desire, anger and enmity

32. 常(じょう) 覆(ぶ) 眞(しん) 實(じーつ) 信(しん) 心(じん) 天(てーん)

Continually cover the sky of True Faith;

33. 譬(ひー) 如(にょー) 日(にーっ) 光(こう) 覆(ふー) 雲(うん) 霧(むー)

Yet, just as the sunlight is obstructed by clouds or mists,

34. 雲(うん) 霧(むー) 之(しー) 下(げー) 明(みょう) 無(む) 闇(あーん)

Below them it is light and there is no darkness.


In Buddhism, the purpose of advancing study is to see deeper and deeper within oneself and thus arrive at the point of obtaining other power faith. Until that time, however, our mind continues to be shrouded and pervaded by greed, desire, anger and enmity – as these lines state.

Those who seek the white path begin to know the truth about themselves through the power of Amida’s Light. Amida’s Light is like looking at a mirror. Imagine, you are standing in front of a mirror, but you don’t see yourself. Instead, what you see is your inner self. On the surface, you mabe a nice guy, you pay your bills on time and taxes. You haven’t been in trouble with the law and you try your best to be a vegetarian. Fair enough. But have you ever thought about how many living creatures were killed by machinery used to harvest your food? How many insects the pesticides have killed in the farming of your food? Or, have you ever thought about all those times you have killed yourself, such as insects or bugs?

You may say “it is just a little creature” or “I was not involved directly in that”, but aren’t these just excuses? In terms of Buddhism, all actions are one in the same and contribute to one’s Karma. Watching a murder committed without attempting to prevent it is the exact same as committing the murder yourself.

Everything we have ever known, everything we have ever believed in, is all false. We have never known the true mind, nor will we ever get it. Instead, what we see is a false image of ourselves, a lie. Once you take refuge in the Vow of Amida Buddha and start on the white path, the true nature of the self and the ego come to light through Amida’s Vow. Likewise, once you are granted other power faith, the evil and defiled karma and passions that we have are cleared, and pervaded by Amida’s Light. That is what is meant when Shinran says the first line.

Greed, desire, anger, jealousy, hunger, passions. All of these things are like clouds that cover the sky and prevent the light from shining through. Those who are ignorant and waste their entire life chasing temporary pleasures forever live in darkness whereas those who seek the white path move towards the light. In the end, when other power faith is granted to us, it is like a sunny day where there are no clouds in the sky. You are forever embraced by Amida Buddha due to his unlimited and great compassion, never to be abandoned.

So just be aware of your true nature, no matter who you are and where you go. All human beings are the same in nature, and Amida Buddha has known this all along. Even knowing this, he still grants us refuge in his pure land upon death. He has spent 5 kalpas studying the nature of sentient beings and everything which they do, so he has known all along what you and me are like. Take refuge in the vow of Amida Buddha and live in the light of truth.


6 Responses

  1. […] Read the original here:  Shoshinge, Part 6 « Notes on Jodo Shinshu Pure Land Buddhism […]

  2. […] Go here to read the rest: Shoshinge, Part 6 « Notes on Jodo Shinshu Pure Land Buddhism […]

  3. […] Here is the original post:  Shoshinge, Part 6 « Notes on Jodo Shinshu Pure Land Buddhism […]

  4. […] See the original post here: Shoshinge, Part 6 « Notes on Jodo Shinshu Pure Land Buddhism […]

  5. […] Originally posted here:  Shoshinge, Part 6 « Notes on Jodo Shinshu Pure Land Buddhism […]

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