ORIGINAL TEXT IN KYOGYOSHINSHO
真 佛 弟 子
What does Master Shinran say about True disciple of Buddha…….
In the term “True disciple of Buddha”, ‘true’ contrasts with false and provisional. ‘Disciple’ indicates a disciple of Shakyamuni and the other Buddhas. This expression refers to the practicer who has realized the diamond-like heart and mind. Through this Shinjin and practice, one will without fail transcend and realize great Nirvana: hence, that practicer is called ‘True disciple of Buddha’.
Suffering sentient beings like us have been transmigrating endlessly through countless births unable to extricate ourselves from the unfathomable ocean of pain and suffering. Out of great compassion for us, Shakyamuni Buddha appeared in this world to teach us individually an appropriate method of ending this fearful samsaric cycle of birth, old age, unending suffering and death.
The sheer weight of negative karma, defilements and evil passions accumulated by us through billions upon billions of births are so incredibly immense and varied, that they are indeed most difficult to eradicate. When the karma of beings are ripe for deliverance, a Buddha will appear and teach them a way or method in accordance with the propensity and capacity of individuals. Since the capacities, circumstances and individual nature of sentient beings are innumerable, the skillful means used by the Buddhas are also innumerable to achieve the same goal of delivering each one to the shore of absolute happiness.
It is said that Shakyamuni Buddha skillfully taught 84000 methods and more when He walked on this earth over 2500 years ago, dispensing the appropriate Dharma medicine to each individual or group according to their nature and capacities. His disciples who practiced strictly in accordance to the individual methods taught by Him all received emancipation and belong to the assembly of those assured of Nirvana, the end of endless suffering at long last. These disciples who truly listened to Shakymuni Buddha and practiced in accordance with the appropriate teachings are called True Disciples of Buddha.
Based on the right and true intent of Shakyamuni Buddha’s teaching and the explanations transmitted by the Venerable Masters of the past, Master Shinran taught us about the true and provisional in relation to The Path of Sages and The Pure Land Way. He also explained about the distinctive characteristics of The Right, Semblance and Dharma-ending Ages which define the capacities of Dharma practicers.
The lifetime teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha on the Path of Sages were intended for the period when He was in this world and through the five hundred years of The Right Dharma Age (正 法 時 代); they are altogether inappropriate for the times and nature of beings in the thousand years of the Semblance Dharma Age (像 法 時 代) and during the ten thousand years of The Dharma-ending Age (末 法 時 代). Out of billions of sentient beings who seek to cultivate the Way by performing meditative and non-meditative practices during the Dharma-ending Age, not one will gain realization.
We are now in The Dharma-ending Age; it is the evil world of the five defilements. This one gate – the Pure Land Way – is the only path that affords passage. Furthermore, even within the Pure Land Way, not one of us are able to come to the end of suffering by performing any self-power meditative or non-meditative practices. These practices are no longer in accord with the times and nature of beings. Yet most followers of the Buddha Dharma today, ignorant of this fact, do not even admit or recognize their own inability and unfavorable circumstances, letting this life pass by in vain, struggling without any hope of ever coming close to emancipation. In short, they are painfully ignorant of Shakyamuni Buddha’s skilful teachings and true intention for His appearance in this world.
However, in this Dharma-ending Age, followers who truly listened to the Buddha’s teachings will realize their own inability, utter foolishness and adverse circumstances they are in, knowing that they are doomed to complete failure by self-power practices. Wishing to be forever free from the clutches of samsara, they single-mindedly entrust themselves and their karmic destiny entirely to Amida Buddha and the Primal Vow. Saying the Nembutsu as they receive the inconceivable gift of Shinjin, they know without any doubt that they have now joined the assembly of those assured of Nirvana and are freed from the crazy cycle of pain and suffering at the end of their lives.
The practice of listening deeply to the Buddhas’ teachings and single-minded reliance on Amida Buddha and His Primal Vow are fully in accord with our true nature, capacities and The Dharma-ending Age. Followers of Shinjin are thus described by Master Shinran as True Disciples of Buddha.
People of Shinjin respond with deep gratitude to :
The Call of Boundless Compassion
Namo-Amida-Butsu 南 無 阿 彌 陀 佛
Home Page: The Call of Boundless Compassion