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.
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.
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.
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.
This session will delve into the meaning expressed the following metaphor of the sun that shines through clouds and mists, and how the Buddha’s wisdom illuminates our lives even in times of difficulty and confusion.
The light of compassion that grasps us illumines and protects us always; The darkness of our ignorance is already broken through; Still the clouds and mists of greed and desire, anger and hatred, Cover as always the sky of true and real shinjin.
But though light of the sun is veiled by clouds and mists, Beneath the clouds and mists there is brightness, not dark. When one realizes shinjin, seeing and revering and attaining great joy, One immediately leaps crosswise, closing off the five evil courses.
This month we consider the following verse which illuminates the the profound transformation that occurs with the arising of the one thought-moment of joy.
When the one thought-moment of joy arises, Nirvana is attained without severing blind passions; When ignorant and wise, even grave offenders and slanders of the dharma, all alike turn and enter shinjin, They are like waters that, on entering the ocean, become one in taste with it.
This month as we celebrate Sakyamuni Buddha’s Birthday, the following verse from the Shoshinge expresses our appreciation for the meaning of his appearance in this world:
Sakyamuni Tathagata appeared in this world Solely to teach the ocean-like Primal Vow of Amida; We, an ocean of beings in an evil age of five defilements, Should entrust ourselves to the Tathagata’s words of truth.