Buddhist Phrases Explained in Simple Terms


(A Funny Husband and Comical Wife)

I Am a Mystery to Myself?

Translated by Juliet Carpenter

Wife: What’s wrong, honey? You look down in the mouth. Kind of like a monkey in a daze.

Husband: Give me a break. I’m wrestling with a huge question in my mind.

Wife: Oh? What question is that? Hus: You want to know, it’ll cost you. Wife: Now don’t be that way. What is it? Tell me.

Hus: OK, here goes. Does Amida really exist?

Wife: Idiot.

Hus: What do you mean, idiot? It’s a perfectly reasonable doubt for any person to have. If you’re so sure he exists, prove it!

Wife: Like I say, you’re an idiot.

Hus: Hey, what kind of a way is that to talk?

Wife: Never mind Amida, do you even understand anything about yourself?

Hus: Eh? Myself?

Wife: You heard me. Who are you?

Hus: What’s the matter, you’ve forgotten your own husband’s name and face?

Wife: Don’t make me sound like I’m senile or something. You’re talking about your name and face, right? What if you changed your name and had plastic surgery? You wouldn’t be you anymore?

Hus: No, I’d still be me.

Wife: Right? That shows that your name and your face aren’t the real you.

Hus: Okay…

Wife: IPS cells can grow into any tissue, so someday it might be possible to replace every part of the human body. If they experimented on you, what do you think would happen to the real you?

Hus: Doesn’t matter. Even if I got all new cells, I’d still be me.

Wife: Probably. So where do you think the real you is?

Hus: Huh?

Wife: There’s an old saying: “Eye can’t see itself, sword can’t cut itself.” No matter how good a person’s eyesight is, his eyes can’t see themselves. No matter how good a famous sword may be, the one thing it can’t cut is itself.

Hus: True.

Wife: It’s the same way with yourself. You can’t possibly see yourself, you’re too close. That’s why in the old days somebody said, “Certain though we are that this one thing above all else is what we know the best, the one thing most unknowable is nothing but the self.”

Hus: Okay, so I really don’t know the first thing about myself.

Wife: You say that like it’s obvious, but think a minute. If you don’t know the first thing about yourself, how the heck do you expect to under stand anything about Amida Buddha, the master and teacher of all the buddhas in the universe? You’re telling me to prove to your satisfaction that he exists? You’re dreaming. Seems to me you’re a little out of bounds.

Hus: Oops

Wife: Let it go. You know what Shinran said? That once we receive the wisdom of Namu Amida Butsu, it becomes clear that even if everything in this world is lies and deceit, Amida Buddha exists, with out a doubt.

Hus: Is that right!

Wife: Absolutely. Shinran said, “How genuine, the true words of Amida that embrace us and never forsake us, the absolute doctrine that is surpassingly wonderful!”

Hus: I see.

Wife: What gave you doubt in the first place?

Hus: Guy at work. He said Amida Buddha’s a fabrication. Sounded real sure of himself.

Wife: Must be someone from the fringe

Hus: Makes me cringe.

Wife: Don’t get unhinged.

Source: The Buddhist Village Times #24 | 2013, Buddhist Phrases Explained in Simple Terms

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