using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Spri 2007
buddhadharma| 61 |spring 2007 each situation with a fresh and open mind, she can really use her knowledge by becoming atten- tive and responsive to the ever-changing, actual conditions of the present moment. Honen, Shinran’s teacher, similarly emphasized the importance of becoming free of any pretense of knowledge, especially with regard to the spiri- tual path. Shinran quotes his teacher, saying, “The person of the Pure Land path attains birth in the Buddha Land5 by returning to his foolish self.” 6 No one was more aware of the difficulty of maintaining beginner’s mind, of truly realizing one’s foolish being, than Shinran himself. His follower Yuien asked him about this very point, saying, “Although I say the Name,7 I rarely experi- ence joyful happiness, nor do I have the desire to immediately go to the Pure Land. What should be done about this?” To which Shinran replied, I, Shinran, have been having the same question also, and now you, Yuien, have the same thought. ... It is the working of blind passion which suppresses the heart that would rejoice and prevents its full- est expression. All this the Buddha already knew and called us foolish beings filled with blind pas- sion; when we realize that the compassionate vow of other-power is for just such a person like myself, the vow becomes even more reliable and dependable. 8 Normally when we hear about “beginner’s mind” or “foolish being,” we tend not to really listen and instead think that these are ideas about something or someone else. Yet, according to Shin- ran, there is no time or place that we can realize the meaning of these things apart from the present moment. It is precisely this self in this moment, filled with blind passion and foolishness, and thereby unable to feel the flow of Amida’s vow, that is being called by life itself to join the great flow of boundless compassion. Like a lonely boat afloat on the ocean whose occupant is afraid of sinking, we do not realize that it is actually the ocean itself that keeps us afloat. In fact, when we come to truly trust in the deep currents of life, then we know we should dive right into the ocean of compassion. When we realize that the vow of Amida, the boundless flow of life itself, is waiting for no one else but us, then “the vow becomes even more reliable and dependable.” This also describes the relationship between self-power, jiriki, and other-power, tariki – between foolish beings and Amida Buddha. There is no other-power apart from self-power. In each moment, by exerting ourselves to the fullest, by diving into life, we are simultaneously shown our foolishness – the limits of self-power – and illumi- nated by boundless compassion, which is other- power. Thus Shinran describes the two types of deep entrusting that are complementary: deeply entrusting oneself to self-power and deeply entrust- ing oneself to other-power. Without the one, the other cannot be realized. As the Shin Buddhist teacher and poet Kai Wariko sings, The voice with which I call Amida Buddha Is the voice with which Amida Buddha calls to me. Becoming One with All Beings As one gradually deepens awareness of the true self, the gentle awareness of foolish being becomes second nature and foolish being merges with boundless compassion. Of course, Amida’s compassion was always there, but for us human beings, the realization of this oneness takes time, just as a reluctant child learns to swim by first slowly dipping his toes in the water. As awareness deepens, the spiritual sojourner realizes that all beings have always been there in oneness. We can see this by exploring the simple question, who am I? Am I husband, teacher, son, Japanese, American, Japanese-American? Am I made of blood, muscle, and bone, or do I think of myself more in terms of my mind? At one time, I was nothing more than an embryo in my moth- er’s uterus. Receiving the nourishment that came through the umbilical cord, her body became my body, her dinner mine. But did I not also receive the personality and character of my parents? Of my grandparents? And what of my life ever since my physical birth? I have received nourishment, both physical and mental. Through experiences with other beings, they have become one with me so that I could live today. Even the hearts and minds of ancient peo- ples enter into me through words on a page and images in ink and stone. Their legacy includes their accomplishments, yes, but also their failures and sufferings, which become one with mine to teach me about the deep bonds of humanity and all sen- tient beings. As Thich Nhat Hanh sings, Look deeply: I arrive in every second to be a bud on a spring branch to be a tiny bird, with wings still fragile, learning to sing in my new nest, to be a caterpillar in the heart of a flower, to be a jewel hiding itself in a stone. I still arrive, in order to laugh and to cry, in order to fear and to hope, the rhythm of my heart is the birth and death of all that is alive. ... I am the 12-year-old girl, refugee on a small boat, who throws herself into the ocean after being raped by a sea pirate, and I am the pirate, my heart not yet capable of seeing and loving. ... 5 The Buddha Land is the realm of true freedom. 6 Translation adapted from Letters of Shinran: A Translation of Mattosho, edited by Yoshifumi Ueda (Honganji International Center), p. 31. 7 The Name refers to Namu Amida Butsu. 8 Taitetsu Unno, trans., Tannisho: A Shin Buddhist Classic (Buddhist Study Center Press), pp. 12–13. Turning bad into good is at the heart of the Pure Land path, in which the limited self of foolish being is transformed into the boundless compassion of Amida.