We ran these questions on the previous issue. Have you tried to answer them?
1. Amida Buddha stated in his 18th Vow that all people are masses of worldly passions. So why, when he knew this full well, did he encourage us to do good deeds in his 19th Vow?
2. What decides whether one’s good deeds are zōgyō or deeds done to repay one’s debt of gratitude?
3. Write brief descriptions of more than three differences between the awareness of one’s sins and the revelation of the true self.
4. There are people who say, “If you can’t talk about your experience of attaining faith, that’s proof you haven’t been saved!” Refute this in brief.
5. Write two quotes from Master Shinran that state it is only Amida Buddha who has the power to eliminate the dark mind. Give the sources too.
6. Write two quotes from Master Shinran in which he declared unequivocally that the one and only obstacle to boarding the Vow-ship of Amida’s great compassion is the self-power mind. Give the sources too.
7. Write the hymn by Master Shinran that teaches us the reason why one is made to live in the world of no hindrance when one attains other-power faith. Give the source too.
The Answers to the High-Level Doctrinal Quiz
1: It was because there were no other means to make us aware that we are nothing but worldly passions.
2: It is decided by whether or not one’s self-power mind has been abolished.
3: The awareness of one’s sins means scrutinising one’s own sins by oneself. The revelation of the true self means having one’s true self revealed under Amida’s light. The awareness of one’s sins is different according to each person. The revelation of the true self is one in flavour, meaning completely the same, for all people. The awareness of one’s sins only applies to the present life. The revelation of the true self means being made aware of the self that has been transmigrating for countless aeons and the self that will never be saved for all eternity. No matter how deeply one reflects upon one’s own sins, it will never become the revelation of the true self.
4: So was Master Rennyo not saved, then? He did not talk about his own experiences at all.
5: Amida’s inconceivable Vow is a great ship that carries us across the sea that is difficult to cross, and his unimpeded light is the sun of wisdom that destroys the mind of darkness. (“Preface” in Teaching, Practice, Faith, Enlightenment) As only he can destroy the darkness of no light he is named the Buddha of the Light of Wisdom. All the buddhas and bodhisattvas together join in praising him. (Hymns on the Pure Land)
6: Circling among the houses of the birth-and-death cycle Is caused by one thing alone: the doubting mind. (Hymn of True Faith) To meet with a true master/is difficult above all else;/the endless wheel of suffering/ comes only from the doubting mind. (Hymns on the Masters)
7: Those who have received other-power faith have coincided with Amida Buddha’s Vow. Because they followed Śākyamuni Buddha’s teaching and the words of countless Buddhas, there is nothing that obstructs them. (Hymns on the Masters)
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #62 | 2016, High-Level Doctrinal Quiz
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