Conversion from Zen to Pure Land Buddhism

On March 18th, Fukuyo Furui (78) and her grandson, Kosei (20) of Aichi Prefecture attended the lecture hosted by students. Sitting shoulder-to-shoulder in the front row of the 2000-Tatami-Mat Hall, they listened to Buddhism together.

She said that she devoted herself to practicing Zen meditation for 15 years before she encountered the true Buddhism. She even carried out a one-week intensive Zen meditation more than one hundred times, which made her and her master sick. It was when she was looking for the teachings that would help her look into herself that her grandson invited her to attend Master Shinranʼs 750th Commemorative Anniversary last fall.

In the lecture, she learned the difference between Amida Buddha and Sakyamuni Buddha. She said, “Sakyamuni Buddha is worshiped as the absolute being in Zen Buddhism, but I have realized that they donʼt know the essence of Buddhism that the ultimate purpose of Sakyamuni was to preach Amidaʼs Vow.”

Since then, she has been attending the lectures in the 2000-Tatami-Mat Hall every month. “My grandson encourages me, saying, ʻWe could die at any moment, so you should use your time carefuly.ʼ ”

Query by Foreigner Exposes Ignorance on Buddhism

“What is Buddhism?” “….”

“What is taught in Buddhism?” Asked by a French tourist, Yanagisawa was stuck for the answer.

That was four years ago. After his retirement from work, he used his English proficiency, which was developed on his job, as a volunteer tour guide for foreign people.

When he showed around Horyuji, that question arose his interest in Buddhism and he started attending a lecture in a famous temple in Nara Prefecture. However, they just introduced difficult Buddhist terms and sutra names without any commentaries on them.

He even went on a pilgrimage to the 88 sacred temples in Shikoku area and the 33 temples in Kansai area, and read sutras called Kannon Kyo and Hannya Shin Kyo, but still remained unclear about the essence of Sakyamuni Buddhaʼs teachings.

Then, three years ago, one of his peer volunteers invited him to a study session of Master Shinranʼs animation, saying, “The lecture is very easy to understand.” “I was surprised by the lecture based on the foundation of Buddhism, Law of Cause and Effect. I finally learned the true teachings.” He became a Shinran follower last year, and now says, “I want to convey true Buddhism to foreigners visiting Japan.”

History of Pure Land Buddhism is on Display

When followers see the panel of Shinrankai history, they give a shout of joy. Similar panels were posted on the wall at Shikoku Center. On March 2, fifty one panels which display the history of Shinrankai were posted at Shikoku Center in Kagawa prefecture.

The panels at the Shikoku Center are a smaller version of the panels which were posted on the wall of the underpass of the headquarter on the 750th commemorative event of Master Shinran last year. Kyoko Tazaka said, “These panels tell us the orthodox current of Pure Land Buddhism passed down from Master Shinran and Master Rennyo to Shinrankai. I am really glad that I could receive these awesome panels at our local center.”

Director Akira Kusanagi smiled and said, “Once people come to this room, they exclaim with joy. The key teachings of Master Shinran, for instance, “The Name is the true object of reverence,” “Salvation in this lifetime”, “Attaining salvation occurs by faith alone” are explained on panels. I would like to explain these words one by one so that people understand the teachings of Master Shinran.

Source: The Buddhist Village Times #16 | 2012, Conversion from Zen to Pure Land Buddhism

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