Learning about Master Shinran from the basics

What is the “Sea That is Difficult to Cross”?

Girl 1: Yesterday, I had a very scary dream.

Girl 2: What happened? Did you dream about ghosts or zombies?

Girl 1: Not like that. I was just swimming in the sea.

Girl 2: And then?

Girl 1: When I raised my head above the water, I saw the sky and the sea.

Girl 2: Of course you did.

Girl 1: But there was no land or islands. Just a 360-degree view of the horizon!

Girl 2: Oh, my!

Girl 1: I just swam, but I realized I was going to drown in no time. ‘Cause no matter which direction I went, I could only swim towards the horizon. Not knowing which direction I should go, swimming was just pointless. It was only making me tired. Feeling at a loss, I just floated there. But then...

(In her dream)

Random Person 1: What was the matter? You couldn’t swim because you didn’t know its purpose or meaning? What matters is swimming as hard as you can at this very moment! I think people in their youth think in that way.

Girl 1: I used to think in that way when I was younger, but...

Random Person 2: All you have to do is swim in your own style.

Random Person 3: Let’s swim together with all our might!

Girl 1: But where to?

Random People (in unison): You don’t have to be number one ‘Cause you are the only one by nature

Girl 1: I don’t have to be the only one. Just tell me where to swim!

Random Person 4: Swim. I think that is all we need.

Girl 1: Who’s this guy? What does he mean? Every person I met said something strange. I got tired and wanted to cling to something for support. Taking a closer look, I found logs and planks floating there. Each log had a word on it like “money,” “prosperity,” “fame,” “status,” “family,” or “hobby”. I clung to a tough-looking log, but it was soon overturned by a big wave.

I clung to another log, but it also turned over.

Girl 1: I think it’s natural for the logs to turn over and clinging to them is only being human. While hearing people say things like that, I despaired in the middle of the dark sea. Then, suddenly I heard a loud voice. “Heyyy! There’s a big ship over here! Get on board immediately!” And then I woke up.

(End of dream)

Girl 2: You startled me! Don’t shout suddenly. I think that was Master Shinran’s voice.

Girl 1: Master Shinran?

Girl 2: Yeah. The large ship surely refers to Amida Buddha's Vow.

Girl 1: What do yo mean? Tell me, tell me!

To be continued tomorrow...

Source: The Buddhist Village Times #63 | 2016, Learning about Master Shinran from the basics

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