What is Jodoshinshu (4)

Aforementioned points are a rough outline of „Kyougyoushinshou“. I would like to make a summary now:

„Nehan Shinnyo“, as a foundational source of the world, felt compassion for human beings, who cannot find out the true meaning of life because they are untrue and full of „Bonnou“ (Blind passions/illusions) and „Nehan Shinnyo“ under the name of „Namu Amida Butsu“ had the wish of fulfilling all the virtues of truth in human beings, because within human beings truth does not exist. „Daijihi“’s wish wants to have the effect on human beings as „Eko“ and fill them with its truth .

How can we receive the effect of „Namu Amida Butsu“?

This becomes possible when we awaken to our own self. When we awaken, we understand that human beings exist having their backs turned to „Daijihi“’s truth. Awakening to this realization and apologizing to Buddha makes it possible to receive „Daijihi no Shinjitsu“. This is the birth of a new heart. 

With this new heart, we can live life anew. Humans born anew will live in Amida’s world of truth, which means Jodo having come from Nehan, as foundation for life.

Deeper and deeper we search for truth and continue our path in life. Therein exists the form of living in salvation. This is an overview of Jodo-Shinshu’s world.

With those contents mentioned above, Shinran accepted Buddha’s teaching. Of those sutras having become the foundation, I will now speak about the centre, which is „Daimuryoujukyou“.

This sutra is roughly divided into two big chapters. The first is about „Amida no Hongan, which saves human beings“ and the second chapter explains about „Human beings having been saved by Amida no Hongan“.

The first chapter is also divided into two sub-chapters. There is a two-fold explanation provided about „Amida no Hongan, which saves human beings“. Why a two-fold explanation?

Because there exists a very important point about the salvation of human beings.

The two-fold explanation is called „In“ and „Ka“ (Like cause and effect). „Amida no Hongan“ has the power to save human beings; they are saved by „Amida no Hongan“. „Who?“, „Why?“, „How?“ was „Amida no Hongan“ created? All of that will become „In“ (Like cause). This „In“ exists and therefore „Amida no Hongan“ was created as „Ga“ (Like effect).

There is an explanation of „Amidabutsu“ „In“ and „Ga“ in two separate ways. That point must absolutely not be overlooked in Jodo-Shinshu. 

What kind of thing is Amidabutsu’s „In“? „Who?“, „Why?“, „How?“ was „Amida no Hongan“ created?

„Who?“ – That is „Nehan Shinnyo“, which is the foundational source of the world. That is truth. „Why?“ – Truth saw the human existence and confirmed its true form. Human beings do not possess the heart of truth, are constantly distracted by self-centered thinking, and are living an existence of erroneous ways (called „Bonnou“).

Such an existence can never become truth no matter how hard one may try. Because of that, life might end without meaning. Truth felt pity for that and therefore gave itself to human beings in order to overcome the emptiness of life. This heart of truth is called „Daijihi“. Buddhism accepted „Daijihi“ as the contents of truth.

„Nehan Shinnyo“ gives its truth to us human beings as „Daijihi“s heart, wanting to fulfill us. This is the root and foundation of Jodo-Shinshu.

What is this truth? It is infinite virtue. This infinite virtue is given to human beings in three things, trying to fulfill us.

To be continued…

What is Jodo-shinshu (3)

First awakening to „Amida no Hongan“ wanting to save me. And second awakening to my own heart filled with deep darkness, which is saved by truth. 

„Shinjin“ is constructed upon myself and I will accept and start a new life with „Shinjin“ as my new centre of being.

This new life means living in salvation and the foundational power comes from „Shinjin“. 

The fourth is: Form of „Salvation“. 

Living in salvation means receiving the effect of Daijihi and overcoming the emptiness of life. Continuously and ever more deeply encountering Amidaʼs truth, which is „Daijihi“. 

These steps in life mean being saved and living in salvation. Praising „Daijihi“ʼs truth, living in happiness and gratitude, and at the same time being made to more deeply acknowledge oneʼs own inner darkness wanting to ignore „Daijihi“. 

Then a life unfolds, having the wish of us in the center of this reality living powerfully based on this aspiration. Thereby if we more and more hear the call of „Daijihi“, which is „Namu Amida Butsu“, and if we take steps forward, at the same time moving forward with these steps, we also want other people to know that this path exists and we will start to recommend walking this path together. 

The foundational reason for this is that Amidaʼs wish calls out through human beings toward other human beings. Moving forward within salvation stays not only with one person. Within this person there originates an outward effect of addressing other people. Therein developed the foundational rules of „Daijoubukkyou“ (Mahayana Buddhism). 

The fifth is: „Jodo“. 

Numbers one through four mentioned above have as a foundational source Amida Buddhaʼs world. This is called „Jodo“. 

We take „Amida no Honganʼ s world“, which is called „Jodo“, as our very own lifeʼs foundation to stand on. We receive the effect of „Namu Amida Butsu“. This is the wish emanating from „Jodo“ and this wish is „Return to truth, live together with truth!“. 

The heart receving the effect of „Namu Amida Butsu“ will unfold as a wish to even more receive truth and to even more walk this path. To take „Amida no Hongan“, which is „Daijihi“, as our own lifeʼs foundation, to stand on it, and to live. That is Jodo-Shinshuʼs form of life. 

„Nehan Shinnyo“ (Nirvana/Suchness) is the worldʼs foundational source and shows itself as „Jodo“, which is our foundation of life, in order to save our human existence. 

The sixth is: „The path of awakening to oneʼs own self“ is made clear.

 Awakening to oneʼs own self is the most important and the most difficult path for human beings. It could be said, that Buddhism was born through that clear explanation. 

Human beings think without hesitation that there can exist truth within them. Amidaʼs truth affects us human beings and asks whether there can really exist truth within us, shines on and illuminates our true human form. My daily steps forward in life become a „Dojo“ (training camp) where I must find out whether there can exist truth within me or not. „Buddhismʼs“ „Budh“ means „Awakening“. 

This essence of Buddhism will fully unfold in those daily steps forward in the light of Amidaʼs truth illuminating our self. During life human beings want to live having their backs turned to Buddhaʼs truth. Ignoring Buddhaʼs truth and even considering it unimportant. That is the basic form of human beings. 

Therefore, in order to encounter truth, we must apologize to this truth, which is wanting to save us, for ignoring it and even considering it unimportant. This apology is the meeting point in order to encounter Buddhaʼs truth. 

By apologizing to truth we can have the real encounter with truth and then this apology becomes the foundation, which allows joy and gratitude of being able to have this encounter to flow upon us human beings. And wanting to continue this life in search of more truth, wanting to move forward in our own life, this wish will develop within us. This is the form of „saved human beings“. 

This form originates from correct behaviour towards Buddhaʼs truth and that means awakening to oneʼs own self and the resulting apology to truth. 

This path I will explain in detail in chapter six. 

To be continued…

What is Jodo-shinshu (2)

Now I will tell you about the life of Shinran.

In his adolescence, Shinran studied the teaching of „Shodomon“, which was popular at the time and which taught the aspiration of achieving Buddha’s „Satori“ (Enlightenment) through one’s own power.

However the more he used his own power, he could not attain  Buddha’s Enlightenment, he even noticed the depth of his erroneous ways.

At age 29, he left the path of „Shodomon“ and came to Honen, who was preaching „Jodomon“ at his Dojo to ordinary people, that „Amida no Hongan“ (Amida Buddha’s primal vow) alone saves humans.

Shinran concretely and deeply listened to Honen’s teaching and thereby awoke to „Amida no Hongan“, thus awoke to himself, and finally could live in the great world of truth.

At about age 50, he wrote a book about Amida’s world of truth, which he had continuously received during his life.

This work is called „Kyougyoushinshou“.

During his lifetime he continued to ask the question „What is real salvation?“,  he wrote many books and he finally passed away at the age of 90.

I will now try to give you an outline of Jodo-Shinshu, as „Kyougyoushinshou“ teaches it.

The world of salvation is structured with six components.

The first is: „Teaching of truth“. 

A human being must encounter the teaching of truth. This signifies that inside human beings there exists no truth. The teaching of truth is concretely expressed in the teaching of „Amida no Hongan“. At the center lies a sutra named „Daimuryoujukyou“(Greater Sutra). This sutra teaches in detail for example „What is Amida no hongan, which saves human beings?“, or „What is the human form, which is saved?“, etc…

„Kanmuryoujukyou“ (Contemplation Sutra) and „Amidakyou“ (Smaller Sutra) reasoning are also based on „Daimuryoujukyou“.

The second is: There exists the effect of truth, which saves human beings.

In order to clarify what truth is, made Buddhism come into existence. Truth equals „Daijihi“ (Buddha’s great compassion/mercy).

„Daijihi“ is the wish and effect of truly wanting to save human beings. Truth’s wish is the root and source of the world, this is the Buddhist teaching and perspective on the world.

The truth, which is Daijihi, is continuously working towards human beings. This is called „ Namu Amida Butsu“ (Return to truth, live together with truth). The whole effect of truth working towards human beings is expressed with „Namu Amida Butsu“.

The third is: „Shinjin“.

One will awaken to the wish of truth, which arrives at this person as „Namu Amida Butsu“.

Thereby  truth, wanting to save human beings, can be perceived. This heart of having perceived truth is called „Shinjin“. „Shinjin“ is the heart of truth having become clear. What became clear? There are two big things.

To be continued…

What is Jodo-shinshu (1)

Jodo-Shinshu originated in India, developed in Asia and finally truly blossomed in Japan.

First, let’s start with the history of Jodo-Shinshu.

In the fifth century B.C. in India, Shakyamuni Buddha appeared and preached Buddhism.

This teaching spread westward, also to China and Korea and through this teaching many people were saved. In the sixth century A.D., this teaching arrived in Japan.

After approximately 700 years, in the thirteenth century A.D., Shinran appeared, accepted Shakyamuni Buddha’s teaching as Jodo-Shinshu and continuously preached it.

Shinran accepted the following three main sutras:

„Daimuryoujukyou“ (The larger sutra of immeasurable life), „Kanmuryoujukyou“ (The contemplation sutra), „Amidakyou“ (The smaller sutra of immeasurable life).

In these three sutras lies the explanation of „Amidabutsu no Hongan“ (Amida Buddha’s original vow). Shinran made it clear that humans are saved through this „Hongan“ (Vow).

This teaching of the sutras, which Shakyamuni Buddha preached, is not easy to interpret.

Shinran found out that 7 people over the course of about 1700 years really accepted „Amidabutsu no Hongan“ and correctly preached it.

Shinran went back to those sutras and studied the teaching, which his predecessors before him had correctly interpreted.

He clearly showed that in this world there exists the effect of truth named „ Amida no hongan“ and that by accepting the power of truth humans can be saved.

To be continued…