Make your own free website on Tripod.com

SHIN BUDDHIST FELLOWSHIP OF WEST HARTFORD

THE NEMBUTSU AS PRACTICE

Home
OUR PROGRAM
ABOUT THE SHIN BUDDHIST FELLOWSHIP
OUR NORTH AMERICAN BUDDHIST LINKS
SHIN BUDDHIST BELIEFS AND PRACTICES
WHAT IS SHIN BUDDHISM?
DAILY BUDDHIST PRACTICE & JUSEIGE CHANT
SHOJIN PRACTICE
ZEN ESSENTIALS
GOSPEL OF THOMAS: BUDDHA & JESUS
THE NEMBUTSU AS PRACTICE
MYOKONIN STORIES
CONFUSED ABOUT BUDDHISM?
SHIN BUDDHIST READING ROOM
COMMUNITY ALBUM

The Nembutsu as Great Practice

by John Paraskevopoulos

 

The great practice is to say the Name of the Tathagata of unhindered Light. This practice, embodying all good acts and possessing all roots of virtue, is perfect and most rapid in bringing about birth. It is the treasure ocean of virtues that is Suchness or true reality. For this reason, it is called great practice. - Shinran

Introduction

This paper is primarily intended as an extended reflection and commentary on this passage by Shinran which appears in his magnum opus Kyogyoshinsho. It is a succinct statement, by the founder of the Jodo Shinshu school of Pure Land Buddhism, of the significance of the Name of Amida Buddha in the spiritual path to enlightenment. In fact, the way of the nembutsu constitutes the entire foundation of this path such that to fail to understand the meaning of this concept is to fail to understand the entire raison d'etre of the largest school of Buddhism in Japan. Regrettably, however, a number of misconceptions concerning the nembutsu abound - both within and without the tradition itself - so that one could easily be forgiven for thinking that the importance of this matter was a trivial one and that its necessity could easily be dispensed with. This paper will endeavour to provide a faithful interpretation of the meaning of the nembutsu in Shin Buddhism by examining the views of Shinran himself and, by way of a 20th century exemplar, the writings of Zuiken (1885-1981)[1].

I. The Origin and Meaning of Nembutsu

The nembutsu (nien-fo in Chinese, buddha-anusmriti in Sanskrit) has always been the principal practice in Pure Land Buddhism with its original meaning being 'mindfulness of the Buddha'. According to Professor Inagaki, it referred to 'the act of devotion to, worship, praise and contemplation of the Buddha, and is meant to control one's evil passions and lead one to rebirth in the heavenly realm and finally to Nirvana.'[2]. Over time, this practice was simplified to the point where the nembutsu was none other than the simple recitation of the Buddha's Name. In this final Decadent Age of the Dharma (mappo-ji), recitation of the Name with a sincere and trusting heart was considered the easiest and most efficacious means of securing liberation from Samsara for ordinary people through birth in the Pure Land (ie. Nirvana). The form that this Name has usually taken is not simply 'Amitabha' or 'Amida' but the phrase 'I take refuge in the Buddha of Infinite Light and Eternal Life' (Namu Amida Butsu in Japanese, Na-mo-o-mi-t'o-fo in Chinese and Namo 'mitabhaya in Sanskrit). Professor Inagaki further observes, 'What amounts to the cause of birth in the Pure Land appears only to be saying the Name. From the Sanskrit text, we see that the word nien should be taken as a mental act of 'thinking' or 'mindfulness' rather than a verbal act of 'reciting', but there is no rigid line of demarcation between the two. In actual experience, the aspirant's mindful thinking of Amitabha is usually accompanied by uttering his Name, and so a mere verbal repetition without involving mindfulness is inconceivable'[3].

In the tradition prior to Shinran, the nembutsu was considered either a meditative or recitative practice which one undertook with a view to attaining birth in the Pure Land. This ranged from visualizing Amida in his land of bliss to simply saying his Name, the former practice being more prevalent among monks and the latter considered to be more suitable for ordinary lay folk. Both of these practices were considered to be highly efficacious because they were a means of accessing, or tapping into, the power of the Buddha himself as manifested in his visual form or his Name. Nevertheless, a certain amount of effort was still required on the part of the devotee in undertaking these practices despite the assistance conferred by the Buddha's power. In time, this understanding gave rise to certain tensions and ambiguities insofar as doubts arose with respect to how much practice was sufficient to secure one's birth. How many visualizations of the Buddha or repetitions of his Name would suffice to ensure that this goal could be achieved ? Could the power of the Buddha really be thwarted if our practice was found to be wanting in some way ? The amalgam of 'self-power' and 'other-power' that was integral to this conception did not help to resolve these vexing questions.

II. Shinran's View of the Nembutsu

Shinran's major contribution to the development of Buddhist thought was to conceive of a radically new way of thinking about practice so as to remove these ambiguities and doubts regarding its ostensible sufficiency. The critical insight for Shinran is:

...that the nembutsu is not a self-power practice performed by foolish beings or sages; it is therefore called the practice of 'not-directing virtue [on the part of beings]'.[4]

The implication is that the nembutsu is the practice of the Buddha, not that of sentient beings which is why, precisely, its efficacy is assured. Shinran was very conscious of the infirmities and limitations of ordinary beings, and considered it beyond the ability of such people to be able to generate the requisite merit for dispelling our deep-seated ignorance through conventional Buddhist practices. For him, the attempt by benighted humanity to transcend its blind passions while relying on its own impoverished resources to do so was an exercise in utter futility. The task of purifying sentient beings and bringing them to enlightenment can only rest with a power free of such impurities and ignorance; namely, the power of tathata, the ultimate reality itself personified by Amitabha. In the Kyogyoshinsho, Shinran cites the following passage from the Chinese Pure Land master Yuan-chao:

Needless to say, our Buddha Amida grasps beings with his Name. Thus, as we hear it with our ears and say it with our lips, exalted virtues without limit grasp and pervade our hearts and minds. It becomes, ever after, the seed of our Buddhahood, all at once sweeping away a koti of kalpas of heavy karmic evil, and we attain the realization of supreme enlightenment. I know truly that the Name possesses no scant roots of good but inexhaustible roots of good.[5]

So we can see that when Shinran says 'saying the Name breaks through all the ignorance of sentient beings and fulfils all their aspirations' and that it 'is the right act, supreme, true and excellent' he is suggesting that the merit of saying the Name stems from the virtue of the Buddha, not our own efforts which Shinran considered ineffectual by comparison. Professor Inagaki offers this helpful interpretation of Shinran's view of practice:

Amitabha's Name, glorified by all the Buddhas in accordance with the 17th Vow, contains all the merits inherent in True Suchness, expressed in concrete forms by his Vows and practices. In the traditional Pure Land schools, the nembutsu was the central practice, whether in meditative or recitative manner, but Shinran's nembutsu is not based on the practicer's effort. His nembutsu comes from Amitabha and is, as it were, the self-manifestation of the Name through the practicer's mind and voice. Since the merits and power embodied in the Name enable the practicer to be born in the Pure Land and attain Buddhahood instantly, Shinran calls this path of salvation 'the One Buddha Vehicle of the Vow.'[6]

III. The Significance of the Name according to Zuiken

The question we must now ask ourselves is: What does it mean to say that the Name contains 'the merits inherent in True Suchness' ? How are we to understand the meaning and implication of this statement ? Zuiken, one of the great sages of the Shin tradition in the modern period, gave considerable thought to this question and it might be profitable to examine some of his views on this matter. To begin with, he makes a pertinent distinction between two kinds of names which is critical to understanding the significance of the nembutsu.

In the natural world, a thing and its name are different. For instance however loudly we may repeat the names of food, our appetites will never be satisfied; or however often we may call out the names of liquids, our thirst will never be quenched. The names of warriors, however fear-inspiring they may be, have no power to beat the enemy, and the names of their arms can never vanquish the foe. In Buddhism, the names of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have the same compassionate power to fill all beings that hear them with joy and to arouse faith in their hearts unto salvation... The True Pure Land Sect teaches that the Sacred Name of Amitabha is Amitabha himself and, at the same time, denotes His wisdom, mercy and power: the accumulation of his merits.[7]

It is clear, then, that the supreme potency of the Name in bringing about the birth of sentient beings in the Pure Land arises from its identity with the Tathagata. In other words, the Name is the Buddha in active or dynamic mode. While the essence of the ultimate reality, or Suchness, is formless, out of great compassion for ignorant and suffering beings, it assumes an intelligible and accessible form which will enable it to communicate itself most effectively in our samsaric world of delusion.

Buddha Amitabha revealed himself to all beings in the form of Namu Amida Butsu - the Sacred Name - and His power is active in the form of the Nembutsu... When the Name has permeated and penetrated the sinful mind of man, the true Faith is aroused within him. His Sacred Name and our Faith are one and the same thing, differing only in name and position. When that true Faith is expressed outwardly through the mouth, then it is called Nembutsu or Shomyo. Both Faith and Recitation are none other than the Power of the Sacred Name.[8]

What are the implications of this perspective for the notion of practice as conventionally understood ? According to Zuiken, Shinran's view was that:

'Practice' means the Power (or Light) of Amitabha, and that His Name, the accumulation of His merits, is [also] 'Practice'. Of course, the Recitation of his Name can be called 'Practice' or 'Nembutsu'. But simple repetition of the Name without Faith cannot be called 'Practice'. The Recitation which is identified with Faith is indeed 'Practice'. 'Practice' is, in the deep sense, the Sacred Name itself. Whether we recite it or not, it is [still] called 'Practice' because the Name itself has the power to destroy cravings, anger and ignorance, and to lead us to Amitabha's country.[9]

For Zuiken, true 'practice' is not something undertaken by us with a view to securing enlightenment. It is the consummation of the Buddha's practice which is available to all sentient beings through the Name. But how does the transference of the Buddha's merit in this way actually take place ? The answer may lie in the18th Vow of Amida Buddha which we find in The Larger Sutra on the Buddha of Eternal Life. The vow states that those who sincerely and joyfully entrust themselves to Amitabha, aspire to be born in his land, and call his Name even ten times, will be born there. The question then arises as to how we are able to entrust ourselves in this way. The answer is 'through hearing the Name'. In Chapter 22 of this sutra, we find a passage which says that 'all sentient beings who, having heard his Name, rejoice in faith, are mindful of him even once and sincerely transfer the merit of virtuous practices to that land, aspiring to be born there, will attain birth and dwell in the stage of Non-retrogression.' According to Professor Inagaki, 'Hearing the Name' means more than merely hearing the Name pronounced... it means encountering Amitabha through the Name. Rejoicing in faith implies wholehearted acceptance of Amitabha's message of salvation and awakening to his Wisdom and Compassion.'[10]

Not only is genuine practice effectively that of the Buddha, but we find the same can be said for genuine Faith as well. They are but two sides of the same coin. Zuiken again:

Amitabha is the Buddha of Infinite Light and Eternal Life. His Light shines all over the world in the ten quarters. His Light permeates any and every thing in the whole Universe: it pervades the hearts of all beings of the past, present and future. The nembutsu which is recited by devotees is none other than His Light and Life. His wisdom, mercy and power which are embodied in the Sacred Name manifest themselves in the hearts of men, in the form of Faith. Therefore, our Faith is not ours but Amitabha's.[11]

There is very little scope for individual initiative in such a scheme. The Pure Land way endeavours to eliminate the spectre of calculative thinking in the awakening of Faith and it does so through the promotion of a natural and spontaneous approach to the Buddha's working. The machinations of the devotee count for nought and, indeed, are often an impediment to the direct operation and influence of the nembutsu. When one has fully surrended to Amida Buddha, one merely becomes the vehicle through which the power of the Name becomes manifest, with the recitation of the nembutsu being the natural corollary.

A man of true Faith recites the Name daily, consciously or unconsciously, sometimes with effort and sometimes without, until the end of his life. If his Faith be true, his nembutsu continues as long as he resides in this world. This is by virtue of the Sacred Name or by dint of His Vow. Faith is always immanent in the nembutsu that he utters. He relies upon the power of the Name and not upon his own effort nor upon his own merit when he repeats it incessantly for so long a period of time. When he recites the nembutsu, his Faith is dormant therein, but outwardly his Faith appears as the repetition of the Sacred Name. And he ever enjoys peace of mind without any doubt about his final Enlightenment. Thus he transcends samsara without any fear.[12]

We see then that genuine nembutsu without Faith is impossible because Faith is the awakening of Amida's mind in the heart of the devotee and therefore only the nembutsu uttered by the Buddha can have any efficacy. The true nembutsu is simply Amida Buddha declaring His presence and activity through the mouths of sentient beings who have awakened to the boundless wisdom and compassion directed to them by Him. Self-willed utterance with a view to procuring spiritual benefits while in a state of doubt allows no room for the Buddha's grace to infuse the aspirant. Only when one is emptied of all calculative thinking can the infinite light of Amida shine through the hard carapace of our blind passions and primordial ignorance. This is the beginning of Amida's karmic intervention into the current of our own turbid karma - the point at which the course towards inevitable perdition sown by countless lives of unenlightened existence is permanently reversed and re-directed towards the 'Land of Utmost Bliss'. This karmic 'revolution', so to speak, can only be effected if we permit it to do so through our total submission to its beneficent working. A final quotation from Zuiken before moving on to other considerations:

The first one moment's thought of Faith is raised at the moment His Sacred Name has manifested itself in the mind of man. In that instant, the cause (or karma) of rebirth in the Pure Land shall be determined at the same time. After that, the first voicing of the nembutsu follows. In this way, Shinran taught that only True Faith is the sufficient cause for entering the Pure Land.[13]

IV. Implications and Conclusions

It is now time to explore some of the ramifications of these views on the nembutsu as espoused by Shinran and Zuiken. What are we to conclude regarding the status of the nembutsu from the perspective of both metaphysics and praxis ? What is the correct attitude to be maintained when undertaking nembutsu practice ? Why, ultimately, is the nembutsu so important ? Let us try and address these questions under a series of discrete headings which may better serve to clarify the issues at stake.

(i) The Name as the manifestation of Amida Buddha

A clear implication of the foregoing passages is the view that the entire reality of Amida is somehow contained in His Name, invoked as Namu Amida Butsu. All his power, merits and virtues are seen to be invested in this supreme manifestation of the formless Tathagata in the realm of forms. The Name emerges as the most direct and profound means by which the absolute and transcendent reality - the Dharmakaya - is able to assume a form which can be grasped and assimilated by all. There is no-one who can claim that the Name is beyond their reach for its scope is universal. It is the true measure of the compassion of the Buddha that He adopts a means best suited to ordinary people to have them entrust themselves to His boundless wisdom. It is the vehicle (yana) with the least conditions hence its appropriateness in this Decadent Age of the Dharma.

How is it, then, that something seemingly so simple as a name can constitute such a repository of limitless power ? Surely a set of words denoting a mere linguistic convention cannot possess the extraordinary influence that is claimed for it. Indeed, such a notion is difficult for many people in the modern world to believe. The key to understanding this matter, however, is to recognise that the Buddha and His Name are non-dual. This means that there is no essential difference - despite appearances - between the essence of the Buddha's innermost reality and the forms that He chooses to assume in order to communicate Himself. In fact, according to the ontological viewpoint of the Mahayana, all reality as we perceive it with all its countless forms is none other than the manifestation or the expression (in material mode) of the Absolute Reality. The infinitude of the ultimate principle of existence (tathata) unfolds from its illimitable centre and radiates itself as the variegated panoply that constitutes the universe in all its dimensions. Accordingly, no form as such can constitute an impenetrable barrier to the disclosure of the Buddha-nature because such forms are the very extension of this nature itself.

Ostensibly, the Name of Amida Buddha is assuredly just another form, and therefore no more an aspect of the Buddha's reality than any other. However, it is pre-eminent among all forms in that Amida Buddha has especially invested it with the power to bring ordinary deluded beings to enlightenment and thereby liberate them from their samsaric bondage. Although one could argue, philosophically, that all forms harbour the Buddha's presence and that it is illegitimate to single one out as exceptional, soteriologically this a much more difficult position to sustain. From the perspective of an ordinary being (bombu) who is constantly burdened with delusory thoughts and debilitating passions, the infinite forms of the universe are much less a portal to the ultimate reality than they are a source of distraction, attachment or aversion. To a fully-awakened Tathagata, of course, 'form is emptiness and emptiness is form' but the message of the nembutsu is not necessarily addressed to superior beings such as these !

Amida Buddha, then, was impelled to select a form in which to manifest Himself completely and which would be recognised and embraced by those with a sincere desire to attain Nirvana through birth in His Pure Land. In this way, the Buddha becomes His Name and, in doing so, is able to impart all that he is to those who allow Him to infuse them through the invocation of Namu Amida Butsu. It is solely through the Name that the Buddha is able to enter the hearts and minds of sentient beings, transforming their evil karma through His Infinite Light and sowing the seeds of unassailable emancipation.

(ii) Practice as 'given' by Amida Buddha

The natural corollary of this conception of the Name is a reappraisal of our ordinary understanding of 'practice'. Traditionally, in Buddhism, one applies oneself to the practice expounded in the teachings with a view to attaining realization of the truth that is taught therein. To practice the teachings in this way was considered a fundamental prerequisite in following the Buddhist path to enlightenment.

Shinran also considered practice to be indispensable to the full realization of the Dharma but his understanding of what constituted legitimate and effective practice was quite radical and controversial. He did not recognize that ordinary people in the current age of mappo had the capacity to fulfil the highly rigorous and demanding conditions required to eradicate the three poisons of samsaric existence: greed, anger and ignorance. Any efforts by sentient beings to transcend these conditions are thoroughly vitiated, according to Shinran, by the intrinsic delusion ingrained in all people who find themselves in this current age of rampant defilements. Therefore, it is not human practice that is considered efficacious but that of the Buddha. Only a being freed of the crippling poisons that characterize life in this Saha world is fully capable of practicing without delusion and the karmic bondage effected by impure actions. The only 'person' capable of such practice in the eyes of the Pure Land tradition is Amida Buddha who thereby practices on behalf of all sentient beings. Enlightenment can only be reached through the agency of Enlightenment itself. Ordinary beings are far from enlightened and must therefore rely on the power of this reality to reach it - and not just to simply rely on it but to actively suspend one's own interference in its working in order to ensure that its designs are not thwarted.

Given his starkly realistic view on the spiritual infirmities of human nature, Shinran stresses that our own practice, such as it is, simply does not suffice to ferry us to the liberating shores of the Pure Land. The practice of Amida Buddha must replace our own. How is this to be done ? Through 'hearing the Name' and awakening the bodhicitta. We encounter Amida Buddha through His Name - or, more precisely, as His Name - which inevitably leads to His infinite mind of wisdom and compassion arising within our own finite minds. The action of the Buddha in illuminating the tenebrous recesses of our darkened hearts manifests itself as the nembutsu uttered by the person of shinjin, ie. the person in whom the Buddha's practice is unhindered. This is precisely why Shinran viewed this, and only this, as 'great practice' - because it is the practice flowing from the very heart of Enlightenment itself. We must avail ourselves of this practice if we are to reach our goal and the Buddha has ensured that this is possible for us by identifying Himself and all that He is with Namu Amida Butsu.

(iii) The Importance of Engaging with the Name

It is now time to consider some of the more practical issues connected with the nembutsu and its practice. What is the correct attitude that one should adopt in relation to the nembutsu ? How does one seek refuge in Amida Buddha through His Name ? What room is there for individual effort and initiative in a spiritual path so thoroughly dominated by the perspective of 'Other-Power' ? Satisfactory answers to these questions are imperative if a convincing and intelligible account of the nembutsu is to be sustained.

The first thing to stress is that the denial of 'self-power' in the Pure Land path to enlightenment is not a denial of personal effort and perseverance. Shinran was often at pains to point out that this path was among the most difficult things to accept despite the ostensible simplicity of its method. The path is difficult because it works against all the ingrained dispositions and habits formed by the egocentric self over countless lives. It is confronting and demanding because it challenges all our cherished, but illusory, beliefs regarding ourselves and the world. It denies the validity of the 'self' in order to transcend it through an awakening to the Great Self that is Amida Buddha - the true essence of all sentient beings and all things. Such a treasure does not come without considerable effort, struggle and even despair.

In what does this effort exist ? If Amida's power is all that is required to secure our salvation, what role is there for us to accomplish ? Are we not thereby reduced to a state of utter passivity ? At the beginning of this paper, there was a brief discussion of how the Pure Land tradition understood one's first encounter with Amida Buddha as taking place through 'hearing the Name'. It was explained that this was not just hearing the sound of the Name being uttered but a full engagement with its content and meaning. This implies thought, reflection and contemplation in the act of one's 'hearing' - it is far from being a mindless activity as is sometimes supposed by critics of the nembutsu. After all, the origin of the word nembutsu connotes, precisely, mindfulness of the Buddha. When one first encounters the Name, one can be either perplexed, repelled or consumed with joy, depending on the state and quality of one's antecedent karma. If our karma is favourable, we are likely to be inclined towards the nembutsu with a corresponding desire to explore and understand it. This is the beginning of engagement with the Name. Over time, and in conjunction with our study of Amida's Dharma, the Name will begin to deepen its hold over us to the point that it permeates our consciousness leading to it being spontaneously and repeatedly invoked by the devotee.

Another way of engaging with the Name is to recite it even before one's shinjin has settled. This is a highly effective way of keeping our mind focused on Amida Buddha and even though this approach may appear contrived it will, in time, imperceptibly transform itself into a quite natural and unforced manner of recitation - a manner thoroughly informed by the working of Amida Buddha in the form of His Name. By maintaining one's mindfulness of the Buddha, we are creating a channel whereby his influence can be exercised without impediment. However, this cannot occur without our consent otherwise everyone would already be in possession of shinjin. Engaging with the Name is an active process which entails a receptivity to Amida's Dharma coupled with a strong desire for birth in the Pure Land. This is the fuel that sustains the working of the Name and yet, paradoxically, this very receptivity and desire is a direct consequence of the Buddha's working in us. Our turning towards His Infinite Light is a response to Amida's call - a call that has been fruitlessly ignored during countless squandered former lives in the cycles of samsara. And yet the call itself cannot suffice. There must be a commensurate response on our part and this response must involve our whole being and demand our total sincerity. Amida calls His Name throughout the ten directions and we respond by calling it back but this 'calling back' is really Amida Buddha responding to Himself through the medium of the person of shinjin - this is why it is called 'great practice'. The nembutsu we utter is only effective insofar as it is bereft of any trace of our own machinations and it can only be so to the extent that we have surrended our 'self-will' to the verities of His Light and Life.

Our faith can only take root if we have 'heard' the Name in all its depth and with all that we are. This is no different to saying that we need to encounter Amida Buddha and allow ourselves to be embraced by His compassion in order to become illuminated by His wisdom for Amida and His Name are one. However, despite the profound spiritual joy that such a path affords, it is, nevertheless, one that calls for great sacrifice and self-abnegation. Such struggles are a very real feature of the Pure Land way and are not, assuredly, compatible with a spiritual life of passivity and ease. The way is described as 'easy' because Amida has accomplished the work for our liberation but it remains most difficult, all the same, because of our persistent refusal to recognise and entrust ourselves to the means He has made available for our Buddhahood.

(iv) What the Nembutsu is Not

Before concluding, I would briefly like to address what appears to be a common misconception - namely, that the nembutsu is nothing other than an expression of gratitude.

This views seems to stem from the impression that before Shinran's time, the nembutsu was practiced as a means of securing spiritual benefits and assuring our birth in the Pure Land. This was seen as displaying a lack of confidence in Amida's Vows since one was attempting to 'collaborate' with the Buddha in his work of salvation. The correct attitude, it is said, is to accept that Amida has guaranteed the birth of all beings and that faith in His Vows suffice in order for us to be embraced by them. Consequently, the nembutsu has no real efficacy and should only be uttered as an expression of gratitude towards Amida Buddha.

It is certainly true that the nembutsu that flows from the lips of a person of shinjin expresses gratitude and joy in Amida's Dharma but is it correct to say that this is all that it expresses ? In such a person, it is also a manifestation of the dynamic aspect of the Buddha-nature working through them and illuminating their lives. Hence, as mentioned earlier, it is also Amida's nembutsu for it is the faith implanted by the Buddha that gives rise to genuine recitation in the first place.

Another claim that is sometimes made is that faith, and not the nembutsu, is the cause of our birth in the Pure Land. But one may ask - what is the cause of faith ? If the position maintained in this paper is correct then one would have to say that faith is the result of our 'hearing' or engaging with the Name. The working of the Name precedes faith as much as it also flows from it in the form of the uttered nembutsu. To say simply that the spoken nembutsu is a reflexive response to the awakening of faith addresses only half of the matter. One must also insist on the paramount importance of the Name in engendering this faith. In fact, this must be so if we acknowledge, as we surely have to, that the Name is the principal means by which Amida Buddha has chosen to disclose himself to sentient beings in their samsaric distress.


Notes:

[1] Zuiken S. Inagaki was the fourth master in the lineage of the Horai ('Dharma Thunder'), a school of Shin Buddhist studies founded by Dangai (1808-69). 'Like other schools of Shin studies, Horai seeks to reveal the essence of Shinran's teaching but distinguishes itself by the clear-cut presentation of the teaching from the standpoint of the spontaneous working of the Power of the Vow.' - sleeve notes to Nembutsu and Zen (Horai Association, Kyoto, 1995).
[2] Hisao Inagaki, The Three Pure Land Sutras (Nagata Bunshodo, Kyoto, 1994), p.17.
[3] Ibid.,p.40.
[4] The True Teaching, Practice and Realization of the Pure
Land Way
(HIC, Kyoto 1983), Chapter II, Section 69.
[5] Ibid, Chapter II, Section 51.
[6] Inagaki, pp. 195-96.
[7] Kyo-Gyo-Shin-Sho (Honpa Hongwanji, Kyoto, 1954), p.42.
[8] Ibid., pp.42-43.
[9] Ibid., pp.43-44.
[10] Inagaki, p.40.
[11] Kyo-Gyo-Shin-Sho, p.45
12] Idem.
[13] Ibid., p.47

"Faith does not arise
from within one's self;
the entrusting heart is itself
given by the Other-Power."
 
                                                                      --Rennyo Shonin