Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Ten Benefits of faith in Amida during this life: 3. The benefit of our karmic evil being transformed into good

Due to the influence of Amida we can transform an unpleasant experience into an opportunity to understand life as it is and the Dharma.  It doesn’t mean that we will no longer have problems, or experience lack of material things, etc., but that we can understand these unfortunate events as being the effects of our karma, using them to become more aware that this is samsara, the world of suffering, from which we must escape once and for all through birth in the Pure Land. Bad events in our lives can thus be transformed through the light of the Dharma into useful ones – useful for our understanding.

Also this benefit refers to the fact that in the instant we receive shinjin (faith) our karma is cut or sterilized and cannot plant its seed into another life. When shinjin enters our heart we receive the pure karmic energy of Amida Buddha. Our evil is turned into good in the sense that it is no longer an obstacle for our birth in the Pure Land at the end of this life:

"When we say 'Namo Amida Butsu'
The karmic evil of our transmigration in birth-and-death disappears".[1]

"Though we commit evil throughout our lives,
If we say the nembutsu always
With our hearts turned wholly to Amida,
Our obstructions fall away by the Vow's spontaneous working.”[2]

"The power of the Vow is without limit;
Thus, even our karmic evil, deep and heavy, is not oppressive.
The Buddha's wisdom is without bounds;
Thus, even those of distracted minds and self-indulgence are not abandoned".[3]

 „Although the sun and moon may be covered by clouds and mists, the darkness is dispelled and beneath the clouds and mists it is light; know that in the same way, although shinjin is overcast by clouds and mists of greed, desire, anger, and hatred, they form no obstruction to birth in the Pure Land."[4]

No matter what we did in the past or will do in the future due to our illusions and attachments, our evil becomes as good as non-existent once we receive faith and say the Nembutsu of faith. Being an ordinary person of grave karmic evil brings us to the special attention of Amida’s Compassion:

"Amida guides sentient beings who are filled with blind passions and karmic evil."[5] 

"Concerning the people who say the nembutsu, it is splendid that they entrust themselves to Amida's Vow realizing it is for the sake of those possessed of blind passions."[6]



[1] Shinran Shonin, Hymns of the Pure Land - Hymns of the Benefits in the Present, The Collected Works of Shinran, Shin Buddhism Translation Series, Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, Kyoto, 1997, p.353
[2] Shinran Shonin, Hymns of the Pure Land Masters (Koso Wasan), The Collected Works of Shinran, Shin Buddhism Translation Series, Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, Kyoto, 1997, p.376
[3] Shinran Shonin, Hymns of the Dharma Ages (Shozomatsu Wasan),The Collected Works of Shinran, Shin Buddhism Translation Series, Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, Kyoto, 1997, p.408
[4] Shinran Shonin, Notes on the Inscriptions on Sacred Scrolls, The Collected Works of Shinran, Shin Buddhism Translation Series, Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, Kyoto, 1997, p.519
[5] Shinran Shonin, Notes on Once-calling and Many-calling, The Collected Works of Shinran, Shin Buddhism Translation Series, Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, Kyoto, 1997, p.488
[6] Shinran Shonin, A Collection of Letters, Letter 4, The Collected Works of Shinran, Shin Buddhism Translation Series, Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha, Kyoto, 1997, p.544

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