Severing Crosswise the Five Evil Courses

From The Letters of Rennyo Shonin (Gobunsho) Fascicle 2, Letter 4

Question: I understand that the reason why we speak of the all-surpassing Primal Vow of Amida Tathagata is that it is the supreme Vow made for foolish beings like us in the latter age of the five defilements, who commit evil and do not do any good act.

But we have no clear understanding as to in what state of mind we should be and how we should entrust ourselves to Amida in order to attain birth in the Pure Land. Please teach us about this in detail.

Answer: Out of great love and great compassion the Buddha vowed to save us, the beings of the present latter age, however deep our karmic evils may be, who wholly entrust ourselves to Amida Tathagata, taking refuge only in Amida Buddha single-mindedly and unwaveringly, without regard to other Buddhas and bodhisattvas. Since Amida sends forth great light and enfolds us in it, the [Contemplation] Sutra states: “The light shines everywhere throughout the worlds of the ten quarters, embracing and not forsaking sentient beings of the nembutsu.”

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All Women

From The Letters of Rennyo Shonin (Gobunsho) Fascicle 5, Letter 17

All women, if you seriously care about the afterlife and turn to the Buddha Dharma with sincere devotion, you should just entrust yourselves deeply to Amida Tathagata and, casting aside various practices, single-heartedly rely on Amida with the firm assurance of your emancipation in the afterlife. Then you will be unfailingly born in the land of bliss. There should never be any doubt about this.

After having attained this understanding, you should simply say “Namo Amida Butsu, Namo Amida Butsu, …” whether awake or asleep, with gratitude and appreciation, accepting deep in your mind Amida Tathagata’s readiness to save you. You will then be called nembutsu practicers who have attained the entrusting heart.

Humbly and respectfully.

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Women Remaining in Lay Life

From The Letters of Rennyo Shonin (Gobunsho) Fascicle 5, Letter 3

Women who remain in lay life should realize and never entertain the slightest doubt that those who, without any calculation, deeply rely on Amida Buddha single-mindedly and unwaveringly, entrusting themselves to the Buddha for their emancipation in the afterlife, will all be saved.

This is the intent of the Primal Vow of Other Power, the vow of Amida Tathagata.

Beyond this, whenever they feel joy and gratitude for their emancipation in the afterlife, they should simply say “Namo Amida Butsu, …”

Humbly and respectfully.

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The 84,000 Dharma Gates (November 5)

It is said that the Buddha taught 84,000 Dharma gates, presenting a vast array of teachings in order to suit the needs of all different people. In this week’s Dharma Talk, Rev. Adams will share reflections on the importance of respecting the views and religious understanding of others while being clear about one’s own path to awakening.

From The Letters of Rennyo Shonin (Gobunsho) Fascicle 5, Letter 9

We should . . . realize that all the sacred scriptures indeed are solely meant to make us entrust ourselves to the six-character Name, “Na-mo-a-mi-da-butsu.”

Schedule
8:30 a.m. Shoshinge Sofu Chanting (click here for chanting text)
9:00 a.m. Radio Taiso Exercise
9:30 a.m. Dharma Service
10:30 a.m. Shotsuki Hoyo Monthly Memorial Service
10:30 a.m. Dharma Discussion

To join us for this hybrid service via Zoom, CLICK HERE to sign up for “Live Broadcast of Services”.

Simply Say “Namo Amida Butsu” (October 15)

When you join Dharma Service at the San Mateo Buddhist Temple you will hear the words “Namo Amida Butsu” chanted, spoken, and sung throughout the service. This Sunday, Rev. Henry will share reflections on the meaning of “Namo Amida Butsu,” when we can say it, and why we celebrate it as a Buddhist practice that is truly for everyone.

From the Letters of Rennyo Shonin (Gobunsho) Fascicle 5, Letter 17:

. . . you should simply say “Namo Amida Butsu, Namo Amida Butsu, …” whether awake or asleep, with gratitude and appreciation, accepting deep in your mind Amida Tathagata’s readiness to save you.

Schedule
8:30 a.m. Shoshinge Sofu Chanting
9:00 a.m. Mindful Meditation with David Crampton
9:30 a.m. Dharma Service
10:30 a.m. Dharma Discussion

We welcome you to join us in person!

To join us online via Zoom , CLICK HERE to sign up for “Live Broadcast of Services”.

The Buddhist Meaning of Faith (October 8)

In this Sunday’s Dharma talk, Rev. Adams will share perspectives on the meaning of faith in Buddhism. If Buddhism does not teach the existence of an all-powerful divine creator, what is it that Buddhists have faith in?

Schedule
8:30 a.m. Shoshinge Sofu Chanting
9:00 a.m. Sangha Social Hour
9:30 a.m. Dharma Service
10:30 a.m. Dharma Discussion

We welcome you to join us in person!

To join us online via Zoom , CLICK HERE to sign up for “Live Broadcast of Services”.

Shōshinge: Hymn of True Shinjin and the Nembutsu (Session 26)

Wednesday, March 8, 2023

In this month’s session we will further explore the teachings of the Chinese Pure Land Master Shan-tao (Shandao), who illuminates the path to attaining the threefold wisdom realized by Queen Vaidehi.

Shan-tao alone in his time clarified the Buddha’s true intent;
Sorrowing at the plight of meditative and non meditative practicers and people of grave evil,
He reveals that Amida’s light and Name are the causes of birth.
When the practicer enters the great ocean of wisdom, the Primal Vow,

He receives the diamondlike mind
And accords with the one thought-moment of joy; whereupon,
Equally with Vaidehi, he acquires the threefold wisdom
And is immediately brought to attain the eternal bliss of dharma-nature.

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Shōshinge: Hymn of True Shinjin and the Nembutsu (Session 22)

Wednesday, October 19, 2022

In this month’s session we will continue our study of the Chinese Pure Land Master Tanluan, whose insight that birth-and-death is itself nirvana opens the gate to realizing peace of mind for oneself, so that one can help others on their path to liberation from suffering.

When a foolish being of delusion and defilement awakens shinjin,
He realizes that birth-and-death is itself nirvana;
Without fail he reaches the land of immeasurable light
And universally guides sentient beings to enlightenment.

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Shōshinge: Hymn of True Shinjin and the Nembutsu (Session 21)

Wednesday, September 14, 2022

In this month’s session we will continue our study of the Chinese Pure Land Master Tanluan, whose commentary on the treatise of Bodhisattva Vasubandhu clarifies that our attainment of awakening and our guiding of others to awakening are both possible not through our own efforts, but by relying on Amida Buddha’s compassionate vow.

In his commentary on the treatise of Bodhisattva Vasubandhu,
He shows that the cause and attainment of birth in the fulfilled land lie in the Vow.
Our going and returning, directed to us by Amida, come about through Other Power;
The truly decisive cause is shinjin.

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Shōshinge: Hymn of True Shinjin and the Nembutsu (Session 12)

Wednesday, August 11, 2021

The nembutsu is the easy path to awakening because its liberating power does not come from our own efforts.  In this month’s gathering we will explore the challenges of entrusting our lives to Amida Buddha’s compassionate Vow.

For evil sentient beings of wrong views and arrogance,
The nembutsu that embodies Amida’s Primal Vow
Is hard to accept in shinjin;
This most difficult of difficulties, nothing surpasses.

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