THE CALL OF BOUNDLESS COMPASSION
大 悲 無 倦 常 照 我
Saying the Buddha’s Name (南 無 阿 彌 陀 佛 – Namo Amida Butsu), that embodies Amida Buddha’s Primal Vow, is our sincere response, in deep gratitude for the Compassionate Call from the Tathagata of Immeasurable Light and Life. Through the power of the Vow, the Buddha’s infinite merits and virtues are equally bestowed on us, for our going forth to the Pure Land of Peace and Bliss…
“Extremely evil persons should just Say the Buddha’s Name
Who has already grasped and embraced me
Though blind passions have obscured my eyes and I cannot see
Great Compassion is untiring and constantly illumines me.”
I take refuge in Amida Buddha, single-heartedly Saying the Name of the Tathagata of Unhindered Light, in profound gratitude for the inconceivable Gift of Salvation unconditionally bestowed on me. I fully accept and joyfully entrust myself, taking the only viable route, the easy path specially made for mundane foolish persons – the ‘White Path’ – out of this vicious cycle of birth, suffering and death…
This Blog is created out of constant reflections on The Boundless Compassion of Amida Buddha, clearly and thoroughly expounded in the excellent teachings of Venerable Master Shinran on The True Pure Land Way. Based strictly on his wonderful magnum opus the Kyo Gyo Shin Sho, his other excellent expositions and poems, most articles posted here, would have each, a calligraphic visual presentation quoting the original classical Chinese text.
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, extremely rare, precious human birth which has brought us the right conditions and opportunity to free ourselves forever from samsara – this vicious cycle of birth, suffering and death.
We should know that the Buddha Dharma is the only True Teaching in this world of absolute delusion, that gives us a chance and means of escaping from samsara. Painfully ignorant of this fact, the majority of us are led to become agnostics or to simply follow other widely touted, false spiritual teachings, which definitely and relentlessly keep us mercilessly strapped to the treacherous wheel of samsara.
All the Buddhas, in the innumerable universes and galaxies throughout the ten directions, have the same Great Compassion for all suffering samsaric beings, who are continuously and blindly trapped in the realms of gods, demi-gods, humans, animals, hungry ghosts and hell-beings. They want us to become fully Enlightened Buddhas and hence be completely free from all pain and suffering. Yet, due our intractable egos, developed over countless lifetimes – our solid intellectual and emotional arrogance – most of us simply do not have the aspiration or the humility to listen deeply to what the Buddhas taught.
These World-honored Buddhas know that, entrusting in Amida Buddha’s Primal Vow, is the easiest and most effective method of securing the Salvation of all pathetic, suffering beings – particularly during the Dharma Ages that lack the physical presence of a Buddha. Thus, all the Buddhas throughout the ten directions, praise and fully support Saying Amida’s Name which embodies the Primal Vow. Mundane foolish persons like us, should take heed of their exhortations by listening deeply to the Buddha Dharma and entrusting ourselves single-heartedly to this Universal Vow of Boundless Compassion.
Mundane foolish persons (凡 夫 – bombu), who have ‘Listened Deeply’ (深 聞) to the teachings on Amida Buddha and His fulfilled Vows, are brought to receive the Inconceivable gift of Shinjin (信 心), the entrusting faith in Amida Buddha and His Primal Vow. With the ripening of good karmic seeds from their past lives, further nurtured by listening deeply to the Buddha Dharma in this life, these extremely rare persons, are able to entrust their karmic destiny single-heartedly to Amida Buddha and the power of His Vows. Their amazing journeys are gratefully told here under blog posts, listed below, as ‘Pundarikas’- rare white lotuses that arise from the mud of blind passions.
These marvellous stories from persons of Shinjin in Amida’s Primal Vow, are told by them solely for the purpose of encouraging would-be seekers trying to find the ‘EASY’ path of getting out of samsara. They are certainly not expressions of their ego trips but are simply ways of showing how “the most difficult of all difficulties” is resolved by just “listening deeply” to the Amida Dharma taught by Shakyamuni Buddha.
With profound gratitude to The Buddhas for saving them from samsara – the dreadful cycle of birth, endless suffering and death – they Say The Buddha’s Name (念 佛, Japanese: Nembutsu), which is the act of true settlement. Thus, when Shinjin is received, even wretched persons, like ourselves, who are overwhelmed with deep-rooted ignorance and blind passions – completely incapable of extricating ourselves from the firm clutches of pain and suffering – are saved solely by Amida Buddha and the power of His Compassionate Vow. Persons with truly settled Shinjin are embraced and not forsaken by Amida Buddha, as they now belong to the Truly Settled Group (正 定 聚) whose birth in the Pure Land is absolutely assured while they are still living out this precious, yet fleeting life of perpetual suffering.
Amida Buddha’s True and Real Shinjin (真 實 信 心), is His Sincere Mind and Absolute Confidence that all persons who single-heartedly accept His Primal Vow, will definitely be born, as they wish, in His Land of Peace and Bliss, at the end of their present lives. This Great Compassionate Vow of “Sincere Mind, Joyful entrusting, Aspiration for birth and Saying the Buddha’s Name”, had been wonderfully fulfilled ten kalpas ago when the Tathagata attained Supreme Buddhahood, after trillions of years, perfectly performing the extremely difficult practices of a Bodhisattva:
“If, When I attain Buddhahood
Sentient Beings of The Ten Quarters
With Sincere Mind, Joyfully entrusting themselves
Aspiring To Be Born in my Land
And Saying My Name perhaps even ten times
Should Not be born there
May I Not Attain The Supreme Enlightenment
Excluded Are Those Who commit the five grave offenses
And Those Who slander The Right Dharma.”
The Primal Vow (阿 彌 陀 佛 本 願) is clearly the Buddha’s Promise to save all beings from the dreadful cycle of samsara. Thus, Saying the Buddha’s Name (南 無 阿 彌 陀 佛 – Namo Amida Butsu), fulfilled in the Primal Vow, is the active cause of our birth in the Pure Land. It is Amida Buddha’s Great Practice of directing His infinite virtues to us for our going forth. By the power of this Vow of Great Compassion, we are effectively pulled out from this treacherous samsaric world of delusion, at the end of this life.
Through Amida Buddha’s innumerable manifestations in this world, The Tathagata, without a moment respite, tirelessly saved countless beings in the past and continues right now to lead those in the present who are karmically ripe, out of samsara, the painful and relentless realms of unsatisfactory existences.
Being always amongst the multitudes, The Tathagata, using various skilful methods, sets up the appropriate karmic connections with sentient beings to enable them to be saved in the future. We should know that Amida Buddha has already accomplished our Pure Land births by fulfilling for each of us our aspirations and their attendant practices – all ignorant sentient beings will realise this fact sooner or later when they are karmically ready to receive Amida Buddha’s precious gift of Shinjin.
Shakyamuni Buddha, who appeared in India over 2500 years ago, taught about the persistence of suffering and how to put an end to suffering. For 45 years, The World-honored One, Teacher of gods and humans expounded countless Dharma discourses and brought immeasurable number of disciples to enlightenment. The Tathagata’s strong presence and Buddha-field enabled persons of different capacities to obtain emancipation in the Age of Right Dharma (正 法 時 代) lasting 500 years from His parinirvana.
The Buddha then revealed that the main purpose for which He came to this world was to preach Amida Buddha’s Vow of Boundless Compassion which promises to save all mundane foolish persons (凡 夫, bombu), good or evil, irrespective of age, gender, social status, intelligence or living conditions. Shakyamuni Buddha knows that Amida’s Primal Vow is fully in accord with the nature and the extremely poor spiritual capacities of suffering beings, especially during the 1000 years of The Semblance Dharma Age (像 法 時 代) that came after the Age of Right Dharma and particularly, in the present Dharma Ending Age (末 法 時 代) that followed.
We are now deep in this Dharma Ending Age (末 法 時 代) in which human beings – badly overwhelmed by greed, hatred, ignorance, jealousy and arrogance – are absolutely incapable of practising strictly in accordance with Shakyamuni Buddha’s lifetime teachings to obtain enlightenment by their own self-power, strict discipline, difficult practices. The Buddha, out of great compassion for all suffering beings, exhorts all His disciples like ourselves who truly do not have the aptitude for these practices, to sincerely entrust themselves completely to Amida Buddha’s fulfilled Primal Vow which is a sure and easy way for us to break free from the torture of samsara, at the end of this life in mortal flesh.
Shinran Shonin, a true disciple of Shakyamuni Buddha, lived in Japan from 1173 – 1263. He listened deeply to the Buddha Dharma and honestly realizing that he was utterly incapable in performing difficult Buddhist practices, he abandoned all those sundry meditative and non-meditative practices after 20 years as a fervent practitioner. Single-heartedly he entrusted himself and took refuge in Amida Buddha and His Primal Vow. Receiving The Inconceivable gift of Shinjin (信 心), the profound entrusting faith bestowed on him through the power of Amida Buddha’s Compassionate Vow, he clearly know, without any doubt, that he would become a Buddha at the end of his life.
With immense gratitude to Amida Buddha and deep compassion for his fellow suffering beings, he passionately composed in classical Chinese, 6 volumes of an excellent literacy masterpiece, the Kyo Gyo Shin Sho – The Teaching, Practice, Faith and Realization of the Pure Land Way (淨 土 教 行 信 證) – a wonderful complete exposition on the only viable and direct path to Amida’s Pure Land of Peace and Bliss. For more than 30 years, he meticulously wrote down what he had been taught, his thoughts, experiences and intimate realizations on the inconceivable compassionate activities of the Tathagatas.
His huge treasury of wonderful writings included collections of Dharma teachings from the sutras and commentaries from his lineage teachers, beautiful poems, heart-felt writings and letters to his followers. All these Pure Land Dharma expositions from the Venerable Master, carefully and aptly delineating the ‘White Path’, or ‘Easy Way’, is the only path now available for wretched beings like us to get out of samsara, at the end of our miserable lives.
The two World-honored Ones’ Boundless Compassion and the true benevolence of Master Shinran are extremely difficult to repay by a small, foolish and worthless lay follower. But strongly inspired by Master Shinran’s earnest teachings and his beautiful four line poetry, his Gatha of True Faith (正 信 偈), I make this pale attempt to convey my heartfelt gratitude to the Tathagatas and to Master Shinran. I sincerely wish that one more person will be encouraged to listen deeply to the True Pure Land Teachings of Master Shinran and come to hear The Call of Boundless Compassion; thereby putting a permanent end to that foolish person’s pain and suffering in samsara.
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 无 阿 彌 陀 佛
Namo Amida Butsu 南 无 阿 彌 陀 佛
Namo Amida Butsu 南 无 阿 彌 陀 佛
Home Page – The Call Of Boundless Compassion:
Chapter 2 – The Primal Vow (阿 彌 陀 佛 本 願)
Chapter 3 – Gatha of True Faith (正 信 念 佛 偈)
Chapter 4 – True and Real Shinjin (真 實 信 心)
Chapter 5 – True Disciple of Buddha (真 佛 弟 子)
Chapter 6 – Amida’s Gift of Salvation (南 無 阿 彌 陀 佛)
Chapter 7 – Karmic-consciousness of Shinjin (信 心 業 識)
Chapter 8 – TRUE AND REAL Teaching (真 實 教 行 信 證)
Chapter 9 – Listening Deeply (深 聞 淨 土 教 行 信 證)
Chapter 10- Hindrance of Doubt ( 疑 情 為 所 止)
Chapter 11- Dharma Ending Age (末 法 時 代)
Chapter 12- True Buddha and Land (淨 土 真 佛 土)
Chapter 13 – Ajatasatru – The Story of who we really are
Chapter 14 – Song on The Texture of Life
Chapter 15 – Stage of the Truly Settled (正 定 聚)
Chapter 16 – Natural Working of the Primal Vow (自 然 法 爾)
Chapter 17 – Saying the Buddha’s Name ( 南 無 阿 彌 陀 佛 )
Chapter 18 – Precious human birth
Chapter 19 – Embraced and not forsaken (攝 取 不 捨)
Chapter 20 – Shinran Shonin and The 7 Pure Land Masters
Blog Posts : Pundarikas – Amazing Journeys to receive Shinjin
18 Oct.2015 – Heng Ng: Embraced by Amida
03 Nov.2015 – Valerie: I Now ‘Get It’
04 Nov.2015 – Paul Roberts: Amida is a Real Buddha
08 Nov.2015 – Camille: Finding my True Dharma Family
12 Nov.2015 – Rick St.Clair: Finding a True Teacher of Shinjin
05 Dec.2015 – David Kruemcke: Abandoning self-power Pure Land
20 Dec.2017 – Paul Roberts – Tribute to a Good Teacher
19 Nov.2018 – Stage of the Truly Settled
08 Oct.2019 – Ajatasatru – Story of who we really are
Other Blog Posts: Dharma articles and poems
25 May 2016 – Embraced and not forsaken
20 June2016 – Four Seals of Dharma
17 July 2016 – Footprints of JodoShinshu
04 Sept2016 – Hindrance of Doubt
28 Sept2016 – Dharma Ending Age
03 Jan. 2018 – Natural Working of the Primal Vow
15 Oct.2018 – Amida’s Primal Vow
22 Oct.2018 – Saying the Buddha’s Name ( 南 無 阿 彌 陀 佛 )
08 Dec.2018 – Precious human birth
08 Mar.2019 – Embraced and not forsaken
22 Jun.2019 – Shinran Shonin and The 7 Pure Land Masters
03 Aug.2019 – Nagarjuna – 1st True Pure Land Master
23 Sep.2019 – Vasubandhu – 2nd True Pure Land Master
08 Oct.2019 – Tan Luan – 3rd True Pure Land Master
Blog Posts with: Songs on Shin Buddhism
16 Dec 2016 – Amida’s Gift of Salvation (music by Rick)
27 Jan. 2017 – Embraced and not forsaken (music by Rick)
07 Feb. 2017 – Nembutsu of Gratitude (lyrics & music by Rick)
09 Apr. 2017 – Song on The Texture of Life (music by Rick)