The Song of the Pure Land School (Part 2)

(Read previous part HERE)


The 1st lyrical lines expresses the Joy of Meeting Buddhism.

“The deepest teaching” refers to Amida Buddhaʼs Primal Vow which Śākyamuni Buddha spent his whole life expounding. In human history, we find various kinds of religions; however, only Buddhism teaches clearly the ultimate purpose of our life and leads all humanity to the attainment of true happiness. Śākyamuni Buddha preached that the instant we hear and believe in Amidaʼs Vow, the root cause of our suffering is eliminated and we are saved into absolute happiness.

On top of that, we cannot meet Buddhism unless we have a karmic bond with Amida Buddha since the inconceivably distant past. “Human form is difficult to obtain; I have already attained it. Buddhist truth is difficult to hear; I have already heard it,” said Śākyamuni Buddha. You cannot be too overjoyed at having met the true teaching of Buddhism.

“With all our might, I must go forward on the path to birth in the Land of Utmost Bliss until I receive the true mind of Amida Buddha.”

This is because Amida Buddha has pledged that he will save anyone who hears his Vow. Hearing is the only way to salvation. So we should engage in the single-minded effort of listening to Amidaʼs Vow with so much determination that it is as though we are pushing through a ferocious fire which surrounds us until we receive the true mind of Amida, becoming people of absolute peace of mind and satisfaction.

The 2nd lyrical lines expresses the Delight in Having Been Saved.

The reason why we continue to transmigrate in the deluded worlds, is that we all possess a dark mind since the eternal past. When we face our own death, we see nothing but darkness in regards to the afterlife. There comes the time when this darkness of mind will be eradicated by the light of Amida. Then we will be saved from eternal darkness and our mind will be crystal-clear.

Master Shinran refers to it as “a vast ocean of brightness.” Indeed, the joy of being saved in that world is so immeasurable that once we are saved from eternal darkness, we cannot help but give a shout of joy, “what can we compare this happiness to?”

As this lyric goes, once you are saved by Amida Buddha, you will know it clearly. Master Shinran described this happiness in his masterpiece, Teaching, Practice, Faith, Enlightenment, with this exclamation: Such a wonderful world of joy is beyond words, beyond expression and beyond imagination. When you are saved by Amida Buddha, you also will be born in the same world as Master Shinran

The six-character Name means Amida Buddhaʼs Name. A person who is saved by Amida Buddha cannot help but recite the nembutsu, which is saying Namu Amida Butsu, to pay oneʼs debt of gratitude to Amida Buddha.

“I must put my heart into my temporal affairs.”

A person who has attained the true faith has to organize their social life in such a way that one can share the teaching.

The social life of a person who is saved by Amida Buddha is nothing other than paying the debt of gratitude to Amida. The greatest act of repaying the debt of gratitude is sharing Buddhist truth to as many people as possible. Being mindful of this mission is most important.

The 3rd lyrical lines expresses the Urge of Sharing Buddhism.

Master Shinran taught us that a person who is saved by Amidaʼs Vow should convey this truth to people all over the world, which is the greatest act of repaying the debt of gratitude to Amida; an act that Shinran, himself put into practice. Therefore, regardless of the country, we must convey the existence of Amida Buddha who has the virtues of both unlimited light and unlimited life, to as many people as possible.

“Waga harakara” means all humans. As Master Shinran said, “For when I remember my parents, it comes home to me that all living beings have, over the course of endless cycles of birth and death, at some point been father and mother, brother or sister to me,” all of humanity are our family members.

We would like all human beings to become Buddhists who go towards the light, listening to Amidaʼs Vow. Then we could all enjoy the journey to Amidaʼs Pure Land together.

Source: The Buddhist Village Times #18 | 2012, The Song of the Pure Land School (Part 2)

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