Amida’s Vow is True and Real! (Part 1)

Shinran Followers Rejoice at Thanksgiving Sermon Translated by Juliet Carpenter

The Great Premise— The Truth of Amida’s Vow

It is real! It is true! Amida’s Vow is not a lie. Everyone must hear? I, Shinran, am a living witness. I want everyone to quickly know the truth of Amida’s Vow. (You Were Born For A Reason, Page 86, Part Two, chapter 8)

The theme of this year's Ho’on’ko event (a gathering to pay our debt of gratitude to Master Shinran) on October 6-7 was this passage from the Preface to Teaching, Practice, Faith, Enlightenment: How genuine, the true words of Amida that embrace us and never forsake us, the absolute doctrine that is surpassingly wonderful! Listen and believe without hesitation or delay. Followers around the world listened intently to Amida’s immovable Vow, concerning which in this world of transience where all crumbles to nothing, Shinran made the declaration “How genuine!” Let us look back on the teaching through letters to Takamori Sensei from students of Buddhism who attended.

“It was As If You Saw through My Doubts” Yasuhiro Manabe

From beginning to end, the lecture was delivered through the words of Shinran, so I felt as if the master himself were speaking in front of me. To my regret, doubts rise in me and cause me to have second thoughts. I heard Master Shinran say with great severity, “What are you doing! Devote yourself to seeking the happiness that will make you rejoice you were born human.” Then, as if you were reading my mind, I was brought up short to hear that the master too had suffered the very same doubts as me. Through his words “How genuine!” I sensed the depth of his anguish. He made the exclamation when his mind, riddled with doubt and in the depths of despair, was brilliantly cleared of all doubt. This realization made me feel very close to Master Shinran. It was revealed to me that the master is ever at my side, whispering “I am with you in your suffering.” (Dr. C) M.D. Specialists Chapter

“Why Do We Live?” This Is the Answer Yoshihiro Terada

The truth of which Master Shinran spoke when he exclaimed, “How genuine!” consists of “the true words of Amida that embrace us and never forsake us.” I learned that these “true words” are the Primal Vow of Amida Buddha. To Shinran, truth meant only the truth of Amida’s Vow; this, it is said, was his starting point. I sensed that even if Sakyamuni Buddha, Shan-tao, and Honen should waver, what will absolutely never be destroyed is the truth of Amida’s Vow. That is why Master Shinran exclaimed, “How genuine!” All the things we seek daily—money and possessions, status and honor—are logs and scraps of wood floating in the sea of suffering, and in the end they are bound to betray us. Boarding Amida’s great Vow-ship, which will never fail even if all else does: I realized anew that this is the answer to the question “Why do we live?” (Dr. C) Osaka

Amida Saves Me, Too Sachiko Miyazawa

Learning that ?? sesshu, the characters for “embrace” in the expression ???? sesshu fusha [embrace and never forsake], means “to go after those who are using every pretext to escape, and grasp them,” was deeply moving to me. My mind has no desire to listen to Buddhism and is constantly seizing on pretexts to escape— and when I finally do sit and listen, my thoughts continually wander. How could someone seeking the truth so half-heartedly make it to the goal, I wonder anxiously; how could someone without any desire to be saved ever find salvation? But it was brought home to me that because of Amida’s great compassion, which goes after and saves all who are bent on escaping, I too can be saved and held fast. Hearing over and over the words, “How genuine!” “Amida’s Vow is real!” was also deeply satisfying and made a strong impression on me. And I was encouraged by the words “Listen and believe without hesitation.” The things we grow anxious about and fret about every day are all logs and bits of wood floating in the sea. Even if we try to solve the sufferings of this world by the methods of this world, we remain in the sea of suffering where waves never cease, and suffering comes at us continually. I learned we must not cling to logs but rather board [Amida’s ] ship. It was revealed to me that this alone is true happiness. (Dr. C) Aichi

(To be continued...)

Source: The Buddhist Village Times #23 | 2013, Amida’s Vow is True and Real! (Part 1)

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