Why did Shinran designate not a wooden statue or a painting as the principal object of worship, but the Name of Namu Amida Butsu? In the televised forum of September 26, this was explained in detail. Here are some of the letters on the topic from followers.
This is Where the True Object of Worship Gets Mistaken
Chiori Iwanaga, Aichi Prefecture
Until now, even though I heard that we are saved by receiving Namu Amida Butsu, I felt that since it is Amida Buddha who saves us, it might as well be a painting or a wooden statue. But when I heard it said that “The Name has power to bring us into the truly settled; we are saved by receiving the Name; we are not saved by Amida Buddha. This is where the true object of worship gets mistaken,” I thought, “So that’s it! That’s why the true object of worship has got to be the Name, and that’s why Shinran made the Name his lifelong object of worship.” I was as amazed as if I were hearing this for the very first time.
Anyone who mistakes the true object of worship that we should revere, without even realizing why they are mistaken, cannot possibly transmit the teachings of Shinran correctly. Thankful that I can hear the true teachings, I will walk toward the light.
They Leave Out the “Crucial Matter”
Takahiro Suzuki, Aichi Prefecture
I understood there to be three principal objects of worship, wooden statues, paintings, and the Name—but there are essentially two, Amida Buddha and the Name. Until now I thought that if the Name scored a full 100 points, a painting would score around 20, and a wooden statue around 10. But on this occasion it was clearly revealed to me that it is the Name that has power to save us from the crucial matter of the afterlife, and not Amida Buddha. I was able to see that it is only reasonable for Honganji temple, which leaves out the crucial matter of the afterlife, to be deluded into thinking that wooden statues, paintings, and the Name are all equal.
Translated by Juliet Carpenter
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #24 | 2013, The True Object of Reverence in Pure Land Buddhism
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