Original Text in The KyoGyoShinSho
信 心 業 識
This wonderful passage, beautifully written by Venerable Master Shinran, vividly tells us that our Karmic-consciousness of Shinjin – the Entrusting faith in Amida Buddha and the Primal Vow – is the essential cause for our birth in the Land of Peace and Bliss. Nurtured by listening deeply to the Dharma on Amida Buddha, this Karmic-consciousness of Shinjin naturally arises in us, with the ripening of the seeds of our accumulated, good karma from the past…
“Truly we know, that without the virtuous Name, our compassionate father, we would lack the direct cause of birth. Without the Light, our compassionate mother, we would stand apart from the indirect cause of birth. Although direct and indirect causes may come together, if the Karmic-consciousness of Shinjin is lacking, one will not reach the Land of Light.
The Karmic-consciousness of True and Real Shinjin is the inner cause. The Name and Light – our father and mother are the outer cause. When the inner and outer causes are united, one realizes the True Body in The Fulfilled Land.”
Suffering beings like ourselves do not know why we are born here – in a fleeting environment firmly attached to greed, hatred, ignorance, arrogance and doubt – living perhaps for only a short period of a 100 years and then blindly leaving this world in agony for another unknown existence of continued pain and suffering. How painfully foolish and blind we are, not making use of this extremely rare human birth which has brought us the right condition to free ourselves from samsara – this vicious cycle of repeating birth, old age, sickness, suffering and death.
Master Shinran’s deep self-reflection and personal experience of the Inconceivable gift of Entrusting Faith (Shinjin – 信 心) in Amida Buddha’s Primal Vow are truly heart-felt and marvellous. Thus, they are wonderfully expressed through his large treasury of beautiful and direct expositions, written in profound gratitude to Amida Buddha for His Great Compassion and grace that have saved him from samsara, “the ocean of suffering”.
Knowing that the karmic-consciousness of Shinjin (信 心 業 識) is the inner cause required for our birth in Amida’s Pure Land, Master Shinran tells us that, it arises through ‘Listening Deeply’ to the Buddha Dharma in general and to the pristine Amida Dharma in particular, as taught in The Larger Sutra of Infinite Life. With the ripening of the positive karmic energy carried forward from our past lives, these repeated exposures to the Dharma, would, at some point, suddenly cause us to fully awaken, to the Boundless Compassion of Amida Buddha.
Comparing this with what Shakyamuni Buddha had spoken about our extremely rare human birth and the necessary causes – fertile father, fertile mother and the appropriate karmic-consciousness of the being to be born – which must be present and inter-dependently fused together, for birth to take place in this human realm. However, we should clearly be aware of the vast, incomparable difference between the two distinct categories of karmic-consciousnesses, that would certainly lead beings to the two different types of births.
The impure karmic-consciousness of a sentient being, would certainly lead that being to look for its parents inside the desire realms of samsara, according to the karmic energy it possesses at the point of death. That being will, without fail, be naturally pulled to the appropriate location and take birth in one of the unenlightened, defiled realms of perpetual suffering in samsara – as a god, demi-god, human being, hungry ghost, animal or hell-being. How painful this is!!
On the other hand, the Pure Karmic-consciousness of Shinjin, freely given by Amida Buddha and willingly accepted by us, is the decisive cause that would definitely lead us to be born in His Enlightened Pure Land of Nirvana. We would know, instantly, that our complete freedom from the pain and suffering of samsara, is absolutely guaranteed. How joyous this is!!
The above classical writing in Chinese, clearly reveals to us, that the good karmic connections with the Buddha Dharma from our past must be present, accumulated, nurtured and ripened to that point, when they would spontaneously trigger off this extremely rare Karmic-consciousness of Entrusting Faith in Amida Buddha and His Primal Vow. This is the one-thought-moment (一 念), when we are fully awakened to the compassionate presence of Amida Buddha and His Primal Vow which embodies Saying His Name.
Good karma from the past, accumulated through our repeated exposure to The Buddha Dharma in countless lives – which hitherto, stayed unrealized – suddenly ripens in us through ‘Listening Deeply’ again, to the Amida Dharma in this life.
Instantaneously, at that moment, we become aware of the Great Compassion of Amida Buddha, in trying tirelessly to save incorrigible beings like us from the distant past. Thus, we are now able to entrust ourselves fully in Amida Buddha and the power of the Primal Vow. This wonderful fact has been strongly emphasized in the following verses found in The Larger Sutra of Infinite Life:
“Without a stock of goodness from the past
One cannot HEAR this Sutra,
But those who had observed the precepts
Can HEAR the Right Dharma.
One who had met a World-honored One in the past
Can accept this teaching
Such a person respectfully worships, HEARS
And upholds it, and rejoices so greatly as to dance.
Arrogant, corrupt and indolent people
Find it hard to accept this teaching
But those who had met Buddhas in their past lives
Rejoice to HEAR it.”
The True and Real Shinjin (信 心) of Amida Buddha is His Absolute Confidence in saving all sentient beings. It is the ever-present Light of Great Compassion that have illumined all suffering beings a long, long time ago. It is received and accepted by those of us, who, knowing that they absolutely incapable in performing difficult practices, have now abandoned all self-power meditational and non-meditational practices and disciplines. Our only option, then, to escape from samsara, is to single-heartedly entrust our karmic destiny entirely to Amida Buddha’s Shinjin.
Truly settled Shinjin on our part is the entrusting faith that is unwavering, single-hearted, entirely free from doubt and naturally rely on the Natural working of The Primal Vow which embodies Saying the Buddha’s Name (Nembutsu – 念 佛 ). We know that in this Dharma Ending Age, a degenerated, evil period of the five defilements, in which Shakyamuni Buddha’s strong energetic field of influence have receded in time, everything is fleeting and ultimately false. Only the Nembutsu is true and real. True Shinjin is always accompanied by gratefully Saying the Buddha’s Name.
Saying The Buddha’s Name (Namo Amida Butsu – 南 無 阿 彌 陀 佛), we take refuge in Amida Buddha, deeply grateful to Him for having saved us. We are now truly settled in our minds and hearts in our quest to get out of samsara. Truly we know, without any doubt, that our births in Amida’s Pure Land are absolutely assured at the end of this painful existence in mortal flesh.
Thus, together with the active outer cause of Amida’s virtuous Name and Compassionate Light and our Karmic–consciousness of Shinjin (信 心), the inner cause, we have now completed the required causes for our birth in The Pure Land. It is truly inconceivable that, even spiritual idiots like us, are embraced and not forsaken by the Buddha’s Light of Boundless Compassion.
Master Shinran earnestly tells us to leave all non-Buddhist paths, which are FALSE teachings that definitely and firmly keep us in samsara and to put aside all other Buddhist paths which are just provisional teachings which cannot free us from all suffering in this Dharma Ending Age. This extremely rare human existence has finally given us the precious opportunity – after countless billions of dreadful transmigrations in samsara – to extricate ourselves from the endless cycle of pain and suffering.
He sincerely exhorts us, the multitudes of foolish beings drowning in the ocean of suffering – those whose good karma from the past have now ripened – to seize this rare opportunity of coming into Amida’s presence by Listening Deeply (深 聞) to Amida Buddha’s Dharma of Salvation. Hear, receive and accept The Inconceivable Gift of Shinjin from Amida Buddha and Say the virtuous Name – which surpass our conceptual understanding – for as long as we live in this unsatisfactory world.
May all who are brought here due the ripening of good karma from the past, listen deeply to the wonderful teachings of Master Shinran and not to squander away their exceedingly rare human births. How marvellous it is to be forever free from the evil realms of perpetual pain and suffering!!
Single-mindedly take the Easy Path of Shinjin and Nembutsu, without any distraction whatsoever from any self-power practices. As you have now placed your karmic destiny entirely in the hands of Amida Buddha, you have, clearly and definitely HEARD:
The Buddha’s infinite merits and virtues
Are bestowed equally on all beings.
May all accept Amida’s Gift of Shinjin
And obtain birth in His Land of Peace and Bliss.
Namo-Amida-Butsu 南 無 阿 彌 陀 佛
Namo-Amida-Butsu 南 無 阿 彌 陀 佛
Namo-Amida-Butsu 南 無 阿 彌 陀 佛
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