The Light of the World (Part 2)

Continued... Read Part 1 HERE

‘The Buddha of Infinite Life’ is another name for Amida Buddha, who is the master of all buddhas. We have been abandoned by all other buddhas. Amida alone stood up, saying, “I alone will save,” and made the great ship that will rescue us. That’s why the conclusion of the complete sutras is “Turn only to Amida Buddha; believe only in Amida alone.”

Master Shinran devoted the 90 years of his life to conveying these golden words of Sakyamuni Buddha: Ikko Sen’nen Muryojubutsu — “Believe only in Amida, the Buddha of Infinite Life.” He was so unequivocal on this point that his teachings became known as the ‘single-minded school’ in later ages.

Then what must we do in order to be taken aboard this great ship of Amida? To this question that concerns all humanity, Master Shinran answered, “Listen and believe without hesitation or delay.” Master Rennyo taught, “The most essential in Buddhism is Chomon (listening to Buddhism).” Both of them taught that we do so “only by hearing.” So what should we listen to and how should we listen to it?

The word ‘Mon’, or ‘hear’, means that sentient beings, having heard the original cause and the root and the outcome (‘Shoki’, ‘Hon’ and ‘Matsu’) of Amida Buddha’s Vow, do not have a trace of doubt in their minds. This is to ‘hear’.

He said that we must listen to three things: ‘Shoki’, ‘Hon’ and ‘Matsu’. ‘Shoki’ means for whom Amida made his great ship. He made it in order to take aboard and save those who are suffering in the painful sea of birth and death. ‘Hon’ means the great ship of Amida. ‘Matsu’ means how Amida takes us aboard this ship.

Having heard these three things and been freed from having even “a trace of doubt in [our] minds” in the split second of ichinen, we will be taken aboard Amida’s great ship and filled with the joy of receiving absolute happiness. Master Shinran’s cry of joy at that point was expressed as follows: “How genuine, the true words of Amida that embrace us and never forsake us, the absolute doctrine that is peerless and transcendent!” He encourages us: “Listening is the one and only path. Don’t dawdle and delay! You will be saved without fail!”

The 2,000 Tatami-Mat Hall is the place for listening to the “origins and outcome of Amida’s Vow” and being brought aboard Amida’s great ship. The hall has no other purpose. The people who are listening to Buddhism in the 2,000 Tatami-Mat Hall are the representatives of all 7 billion people on this planet. Therefore, we must listen to Buddhism intently and tell this to the people that are still suffering in the painful sea of birth and death: “You have no need to resign yourself to suffering! Amida’s great ship is right here!”

That is the responsibility and the grand mission of those who have encountered the truth. The teachings of Master Shinran, who revealed the one and only way for all people to be saved, are truly the light of the world. The fifty-five years of Shinrankai since its formation have comprised a history of revealing the truth. We Shinran followers, who are trying to convey the real and rock-solid existence of Amida’s great ship to all humanity, must be very deeply-bonded comrades. The sea of all sentient beings in agony is still waiting now, more desperately by the minute, for the great ship that can rescue us. Let us radiantly fly the flag of ‘the light of the world’ by sharing the ichinen salvation of Amida with all humanity.

Source: The Buddhist Village Times #36 | 2014, The Light of the World (Part 2)

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