The Hymn on True Faith is a supremely treasurable scripture written by Master Shinran. He put his blood, sweat, and tears into each and every word he wrote of it. Since many Japanese people had heard the first line of The Hymn on True Faith, “I, Shinran, have been saved by Amida Buddha,” in their childhood, they also wanted to know what exactly it meant.
Therefore, more and more people have decided to become Shinran Followers and join lectures on the chant book at the Shinran Center in Toyama Prefecture.
On July 12, Buddhist friends gathered at the 2,000-Tatami-Mat Hall listened attentively to the meaning of the phrase, “Only Master Honen was clear about the teachings of the Buddha.”
The line “Master Honen...” is a reference to Master Shinran’s direct teacher from whom he learned Buddhism firsthand.
Master Honen wrote his major book The Selected Vow of Amida and clearly declared that Amida Buddha’s Vow is the sole supreme teaching that saves all sentient beings.
Master Shinran’s lifetime work Teaching, Practice, Faith, Enlightenment, describes the true meaning of The Selected Vow of Amida. The Hymn on True Faith further details the essence of Teaching, Practice, Faith, Enlightenment.
Many people gathered at the 2,000-Tatami-Mat Hall in order to listen to the true meaning of The Hymn on True Faith.
Tomoyuki Yasuda (40) from Aichi Prefecture is one of them. Tomoyuki was born as the 13th generation of Honganji representative followers. His uncle passed away last June and so he was in deep despair. When he was invited by an acquaintance to a lecture on Buddhism, he joined it at the Shinran Center in Nagoya. He listened to the meaning of the very first two lines of The Hymn on True Faith , “I, Shinran, have been saved by Amida Buddha,” and was amazed to realize that this hymn teaches us the salvation of the mind.
He continued listening to lectures on Buddhism and also attended a Myogo- Granting Ceremony held at the Buddhist Village in Imizu City, Toyama in July.
Without exception, anyone who listens to a lecture at the 2000-Tatami-Mat Hall comments that they could understand the teachings of Buddhism really well. One man in his seventies used to visit temples frequently. This time, having seen Takamori-sensei’s name many times in advertisements in major national newspapers, he decided to listen to a lecture by Sensei. He said, “I was expecting Takamori-sensei to talk about his own experiences. However, I was deeply moved to see that he explains the Buddhist terms one by one.”
A Honganji representative follower from Shiga Prefecture came to realize for the first time that the true essence of Master Shinran’s teachings is salvation in this life (heizei gojo). He lamented over the fact that no-one seems to be concerned with the meaning of The Hymn on True Faith. All one hears is salvation after death. “I had never heard that salvation was possible while we are still alive.”
Displaying Master Shinran’s words that permeate the three worlds and the ten directions and ensuring that everybody understands the meaning of those words is the mission of Shinran Followers. The 2,000-Tatami- Mat Hall is the center of an ever-growing and endless circle of Buddhism.
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #56 | 2015, Thousands Listen to Lecture of the Hymn on True Faith at Great Hall
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