Hindrance of doubt

 Hindrance of doubt

 疑 情 為 所 止

hindrance-of-doubt-fa

In his Shoshinge – Gatha of True Faith (正 信 偈), Master Shinran clearly tells us that the Hindrance of Doubt persistently obscures our path to The Pure Land of Peace and Ultimate Happiness…

“Our continued return to this cyclic home of birth and death
Is certainly due to the hindrance of doubt
Swift entrance into the peaceful, uncreated Realm of Bliss
Is necessarily brought about by Shinjin.”

>>>

Hindrance of Doubt is the main fetter that keeps us strongly imprisoned inside the dreadful realms of samsara – the vicious cycle of birth, suffering and death marked by impermanence, relentless pain and suffering. We have transmigrated endlessly within the six realms – gods, demi-gods, humans, animals, hungry spirits and hell-beings – without an effective condition that could put an end to this treacherous cycle of painful existence.

Suffering beings like ourselves do not know why we are born here, in a fleeting life firmly attached to greed, hatred, ignorance, arrogance and doubt. Many of us might have, in our previous lives or the present life, come into contact with the Buddha Dharma, which had taught us how to escape from samsara. Yet, due to the stubborn hindrance of doubt in our arrogant minds, we are unable to fathom the inconceivable Compassion and Wisdom of The Buddhas. Therefore, perpetually engulfed by the darkness of ignorance, we continue to drift in the painful ocean of samsara.

>>>

The persistence of Doubt, is a natural mechanism and manifestation of one’s intractable ego. It is the self-centered tendency of human beings, to dismiss anything we cannot see or perceive with our eyes and to construe as false, transcendental existences that are absolutely true but beyond the limited field of cognition of spiritually blind persons.

Our self-centered egos, solidly hardened through billions of existences, take as real the relative knowledge of science, technology and the huge overload of useless materialistic informations. These illusive fetters further boost up our arrogance and doubt that firmly dismiss the metaphysical energies that cause our births in this world. In another words, the majority of us are made, spiritually blind.

Therefore, we lack the aspiration to escape from samsara by not listening deeply to the Buddha Dharma. Strongly attached to the massive habitual behaviours accumulated by us over billions of lives, we are strongly attached to samsara, our familiar home of insatiable desires. Therefore, we are naturally reluctant to leave this world of pain and suffering, for an unfamiliar place which we cannot perceive.

“If in this lifetime still you are entangled in a net of doubt, then unavoidably you must pass once more in the stream of birth-and-death through myriads of kalpas”.

How sad and lamentable this is, that we would simply squander away again, our extremely rare human lives, which have now given us this wonderful opportunity, to free ourselves forever, from this dreadful cycle of pain and suffering. Our continued transmigration within samsara is, therefore sadly inevitable.

>>>

Doubts regarding Shakyamuni Buddha hinder most of us from ‘Listening Deeply’ to what He has taught. Many doubt His teachings on Impermanence, laws of karma (cause and effect), dependent origination and rebirth. We question His sublime skillful methods for emancipation and unreasonably ask for scientific proofs for these absolute truths, which are clearly beyond the limited scope of our miniscule mental capacities and outside the conventional gauge of material measurements.

These persons of doubt have no trust in The Buddha Dharma and therefore, exclude themselves from the Buddhas’ Teachings – the one and only the true spiritual path in this world – that could lead us to Salvation. Yet, being foolish beings with deep blind passions, we must accept that the darkness of doubt cannot be eliminate through our human intelligence and arrogance .

It is only through ‘Listening Deeply’ to the Buddha Dharma that full entrusting in the wonderful teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha can occur, thereby causing doubt to simply dissipate in our minds, with the spontaneous presence of the Light of Wisdom. 

>>>

Doubts regarding Amida Buddha hinder many of us from Listening Deeply to the only teaching of salvation available to mundane foolish persons in this Dharma Ending Age. Human beings these days, simply do not have the aptitude to perform difficult, self-power spiritual practices, to receive permanent freedom from samsara. Yet, they doubt the True and Real existence of Amida Buddha and His Pure Land as taught by Shakyamuni Buddha in The Larger Sutra of Infinite Life.

The Absolute Confidence (Shinjin – 信 心) of Amida Buddha in saving all beings from samsara, is manifested in His fulfilled Vows, that created Sukhavati, the Land of Peace and Happiness, trillions of years ago. The Buddha is ever-ready to receive all sentient beings who aspire to escape to this pure, conducive environment for attainment of Buddhahood. It is the Buddha’s Boundless Compassion that affords, ignorant persons with stubborn mental defilements, the Easy Path that would unfailingly extricate them from samsara.

The hindrance of doubt, however, strongly prevails in our minds both intellectually and emotionally. We are constantly assailed by self-doubts and doubts regarding the real existence of Amida Buddha and His aspiration to save us. Doubt is deep-rooted and is a natural part of being human. Yet, if we give ourselves the chance by temporarily putting aside our preconceive ideas and are opened to the Amida Dharma by ‘Listening Deeply’, these doubts will disappear at some point, when our minds would be suddenly illumined by The Light of Boundless Compassion.

Master Shinran clearly tells us, in his Gatha of True Faith, that the real reason for Shakyamuni Buddha’s appearance in this world is solely to teach The Primal Vow of Amida Buddha. Foolish persons like ourselves should not doubt the true words of the Buddha and should single-heartedly rely on the Great Vow for our deliverance from samsara.

>>>

Doubts regarding Amida’s Primal Vow hinder us from ‘Listening Deeply’ to the Other-power teaching of complete reliance on The Primal Vow . In order that our extremely rare human births are not regrettably wasted, we should give ourselves the chance we deserve, to be free from all suffering, which is easily achieved by securing our births in Sukhavati. By simply entrusting ourselves to the power of the Primal Vow, our births is absolutely assured by Great Compassion.

Namo Amida Butsu, 南 無 阿 彌 陀 佛

We would know that the stumping blocks, created by the persistent intellectual and emotional doubts in our minds, for trillions of lives until now, have been removed. The arising of our entrusting mind (shinjin), which is the most difficult of all difficulties, has now manifested itself, as the ‘Easy Path’ to Salvation.

Earnestly, Master Shinran exhorts all defiled foolish persons like us, to abandon all self-power meditative and non-meditative practices and entrust our karmic destiny entirely to Amida Buddha and The Primal Vow. Doubt in The Primal Vow, is also invariably expressed by us, when we struggle to do self-power practices, which we consider will increase our merits and chances of birth in the Pure Land. Actually, these poisoned good practices, would only cause us to be born in the ‘borderland’ or ‘womb-palace’ which are unfavourable environments that significantly delay our enlightenment in the True Fulfilled Land.

>>>

In his songs on the Dharma Ages, Master Shinran wrote these verses to alert us of the grave offence caused by the fault of doubting the Primal Vow:

“As a mark of not apprehending Buddha-wisdom
People doubt the Tathagata’s various kinds of wisdom
Believe in recompense of good and evil, rely on their practice
Of the root of good, and hence remain in the borderland”

“Because of the offense of doubting the Buddha-wisdom
They remain in the realm of indolence and pride or borderland
Because the offense of doubting is grave
They pass long years and kalpas there; thus it is taught”

“People who say the Name in self-power
All fail to entrust themselves to the Tathagata’s Primal Vow
Because the offense of doubting is grave
They are chained in a prison of seven precious materials.”

“People who perform various good acts in self-power
All doubt the inconceivable Buddha-wisdom
Hence, by the law of receiving the results of one’s acts
They enter a prison made of the seven precious materials.”

“Those who practice the root of good
While believing deeply in the recompense of good and evil
Are good people whose minds are possessed of doubt
Hence, they remained in the provisional, transformed lands.”

>>>

Completely lacking the mind of truth and reality, we have been badly tainted and overwhelmed by the hindrance of doubt. As we are strongly bound by the darkness of blind passions, karmic evil and false wisdom, we have been dishonest and deceitful.

The Hindrance of doubt, however, would mysteriously disappear with the one-thought-moment of true entrusting (shinjin) in Amida’s Primal Vow. It is like the darkness, in a room closed and dark for a thousand years, instantly dissipating by itself, the moment when Light suddenly enters the room.

The natural process by which the Light of true entrusting is spontaneously manifested in our hearts, occurs when the repeated exposure to the Buddha Dharma in the past, is now nurtured and enhanced by ‘Listening Deeply’ to the Dharma again and again in the present life.

Therefore, when we constantly come into Amida Buddha’s presence through The True Pure Land teachings and dialogues with persons of shinjin, we humbly give ourselves the opportunities to become aware of the Tathagata’s true and real Sincere Mind of benefitting others. Amida Buddha’s Vow-mind of Shinjin, is completely untainted by the hindrance of doubt in our Salvation. It is the Light of Boundless Compassion freely given to us and, when accepted by us, instantly becomes our entrusting mind.

>>>

Our entrusting mind (shinjin – 信 心) is the faith-mind that places complete reliance on the Primal Vow. It is spontaneously manifested in us, due to the ripening of good karmic seeds from our past, in that instant, the one-thought moment (一 念) when all our doubts, regarding Amida Buddha, His Pure Land and the Primal Vow are completely resolved.

This wonderful moment will only occur, when we are prepared to let go of all our self-power practices and inclinations, allowing ourselves to be carried by the natural working of The Primal Vow. Deeply grateful to the Buddha for saving us, we would single-heartedly, Say the Buddha’s Name:

Namo Amida Butsu 南 無 阿 彌 陀 佛

Thus, embraced and not forsaken by the Light of Boundless Compassion, we know without any doubt, that we are assured of Buddhahood at the end of this deluded life. Amida Buddha has bestowed on us, here and now, His infinite merits and virtues for our going forth to The Land of Peace and Bliss.

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.

>>>

May, those who are brought here due to the ripening of good karma from the past are altogether free of the hindrance of doubt.

Clearly knowing that we are now saved and constantly being protected by
The Light of Boundless Compassion, we gratefully say the Amida’s Name:

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