Original Text in The KyoGyoShinSho
信 心 業 識
What does Master Shinran say about our Karmic-consciousness of Shinjin – the Entrusting faith in Amida Buddha and the Primal Vow – and our 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 perishing 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 precious human birth which has brought us the right condition to free ourselves from this vicious cycle of birth and death.
Master Shinran’s deep self-reflection and personal experience of the Inconceivable gift of True Entrusting, Shinjin ( 信 心) in Amida Buddha’s Primal Vow (阿 彌 陀 佛 本 願) are wonderfully expressed through his large treasury of beautiful and direct expositions written in profound gratitude to Amida Buddha for His Boundless 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, he tells us that it arises through our repeated exposure – in our past lives as well as in this life – to the Buddha Dharma in general and particularly to the true Dharma on Amida Buddha taught in The Larger Sutra of Immeasurable Life.
Comparing what Shakyamuni Buddha had spoken about on our precious human birth, the causes necessary for birth – fertile father , fertile mother and the appropriate karmic-consciousness of the being to be born – must be present and united for birth to take place in this human realm. However, the incomparable difference is this – while the karmic-consciousness of a sentient being leads that being to be born in an unenlightened, defiled realm of perpetual suffering within samsara – the karmic-consciousness of Shinjin leads one to be born in Amida’s Enlightened Pure Land of Nirvana.
The above classical writing 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 instant – that one-thought-moment (一 念) – when they would spontaneously trigger off this extremely rare karmic-consciousness of True Entrusting (信 心) and naturally allows us to know at that moment, without any doubt, the presence of Amida Buddha and His Primal Vow which embodies His Name.
The Shinjin (信 心) of Amida Buddha, His Absolute Confidence in saving all sentient beings, is the ever-present Light of Great Compassion bestowed on all suffering beings a long, long time ago. It is received and accepted by those of us, who, having abandoned all sundry practices and disciplines, are able to single-heartedly entrust our karmic destiny entirely to Amida Buddha and The Primal Vow. Thus, we are instantly embraced and not forsaken by the Buddha’s Light.
Saying The 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 immediately belong to the Group of the Truly Settled (正 定 聚) whose birth in Amida’s Pure Land is absolutely guaranteed 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, this karmic–consciousness of Shinjin (信 心), the inner cause, when spontaneously activated in our ordinary lives, completes the required causes for our birth in The Pure Land. True and Real Shinjin is necessarily accompanied by Saying the Name. However, Saying the Name is not always accompanied by Shinjin which comes from the power of the Primal Vow. Shinjin is the essence of the True Pure Land Way and all that is required for us to be born in the Land of Happiness at the end of our lives.
The importance of good karma from the past, accumulated through our repeated exposure to The Buddha Dharma in countless lives – which hitherto, stayed unrealized – is suddenly awakened in us, when, through “Listening Deeply“, we become aware of Amida’s compassionate activities. This wonderful fact has also been strongly emphasized in the following verses found in The Larger Sutra of Immeasurable 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.
This diamond-like Shinjin is unwavering, single-hearted, not mixed with any self-powered practices, entirely free from doubt and naturally rely on the inconceivable working of The Primal Vow which embodies Saying the Name (Namo-Amida-Butsu 南 無 阿 彌 陀 佛) endowed with infinite virtues. Mundane foolish persons (凡 夫 – bombu) in this Dharma Ending Age who aspire to be forever freed from pain and suffering at the end of this life, have no other choice but to fully rely on Amida Buddha and The Primal Vow.
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 suffering in this Dharma Ending Age. This precious human existence has given us an extremely rare 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 who have good karma from the past, realizing that we are incapable of saving ourselves by our own self-power – 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 precious human birth. Single-mindedly take the easy Path of True and Real Shinjin in The Primal Vow of Amida Buddha without any distraction whatsoever from self-power practices. Put your karmic destiny entirely in the hands of Amida Buddha, clearly and definitely HEAR:
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
HOME PAGE: The Call of Boundless Compassion