An Exceptional Sense of Gratitude (Part 1)

Amida's Gifts of Radiant Joy and Vigor to Overcome Any Difficulties

March 11, at 14:46 local time ...

A massive 9.0 magnitude quake hit northeast Japan. The epicenter of it was located off the coast of Sanriku. Soon after, a massive tsunami which was far beyond expectation hit Japan’s northeast Pacific coast. Clocks in the disaster stricken areas stopped at that time. In the same way, Japanese people had no choice but could not stop the pursuit of material prosperity.

“What is happiness?”

“Anything can happen at any time. What on earth do I live for?”

Isn’t this the time for us to reflect on what happiness really means and what life really is like?

“Let’s keep on pushing forward!”

“Let’s help one another to keep on going!”

“Let us keep on making progress!”

Messages of encouragement resound everywhere. But--

“Which direction is ‘forward’?”

“What is the destination we’re working towards?”

The most important thing is having a direction in which we should progress. And yet no one seems to be asking themselves whether they have one. It was the light of the world, Master Shinran, who set forth clearly the most important thing — the direction to go in.

Master Shinran made the ringing declaration in his most important work, Teaching, Practice, Faith, Enlightenment:

How genuine, the true words of Amida that embrace us and never forsake us, the absolute doctrine that is peerless and transcendent!

How joyful I am! My mind stands firm in the ground of Amida’s Vow, and my thoughts flow through the unfathomable ocean of his Law. The more deeply I come to know of Amida’s immense compassion, the greater my gratitude to the teachers who led me. My joy grows ever fuller, my debt weighs ever heavier.

There is a source of light that is never extinguished by any storm of impermanence! We will be saved clearly, in this lifetime! Master Shinran revealed the salvation of Heizei Gojo which is, Amida saves us while still alive. In this way, Master Shinran was saved into eternal happiness now and forever and achieved the purpose of many lives and myriad aeons when he was twenty-nine years old. He carried on his nine decades of life full of profoundest gratitude as he encapsulated it in Ondokusan, the Song of Amida’s Grace and Virtue:

The grace of Amida’s great compassion

I must repay, though I work myself to the bone.

The grace of the teachers who led me

I must repay, though I wear myself to bits.

(To be continued...)

Source: The Buddhist Village Times #10 | 2011, An Exceptional Sense of Gratitude (Part 1)

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