Unlocking Tannisho, Part 20

XVII

Some people say that those born in the borderland will eventually fall into hell. What attesting passage makes this claim?

This is asserted by those who claim to be scholars and that is truly deplorable. How are they reading the sutras, commentaries, and teachings? I have been taught that people who lack true entrusting, doubting the Primal Vow, are born in the borderland, where they atone for evil karma and ultimately attain enlightenment in the land of Fulfillment.

Since true entrusting is very rare, many people go to the temporary land.. And yet to contend that they are ultimately hopeless is to accuse the Buddha of falsehood.

Explanation:

This passage of Tannisho deals with the misunderstanding that those who are reborn into the borderland – that is, the land on the very outset of the pure land (we discussed this a bit last time); those people shall eventually fall into hell.

First of all, this assertion simply doesn’t make sense in the least. There is no evidence of this in any sort of sutra or commentary. Those who are born in the borderland are, for example, those who at the surface claim to have attained true faith, but deep down still have doubts in the Nembutsu. We discussed a little bit about these types of people the last time, and said that the border land is usually the destination for these types of people. But these people are still pursuing the path of the Nembutsu! There is no evidence at all that they will fall into hell or go deep into extreme suffering. There is also no truth that they will never achieve Buddhahood or be on level with Maitreya (Miroku) Bodhisattva and achieve the 51st level of enlightenment.

If you are born into the border land, this is merely temporary, and you will get out once you have contemplated further and resolved the problem of true faith. To achieve true faith is very rare, and so it is pretty common for people of the path of the Nembutsu to be born in the border land at first, only to achieve enlightenment later. Yes, it takes more time, but it doesn’t mean that you will fall into hell and go through endless sufferings.

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