TEXT IN KYOGYOSHINSHO
真 佛 弟 子
This is what Master Shinran says 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. We do not know why we are born here, in a perishing environment firmly attached to greed, hatred, ignorance, jealousy, and pride. Constantly struggling in vain to find happiness, we may live perhaps for 100 years and finally have to blindly leave this unsatisfactory existence in agony for another unknown realm of suffering. How sorrowful it is that our extremely rare, precious human birth, would just end this way.
Shakyamuni Buddha who appeared in this world out of His great compassion for us, have effectively taught us individually or as a group, appropriate methods of ending this fearful samsaric cycle of birth, old age, unending suffering and death.
However, the sheer weight of negative karma, defilements and stubborn 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. We have therefore built up a huge and solid ego with blind passions that firmly hold us in this sphere of perpetual suffering without any suitable condition for emancipation. There is no other way out of this vicious cycle within the realms of gods, demi-gods, humans, hungry spirits, animals and hell beings.
Fortunately for us, when the ripening of good karmic seeds from the past gives rise to our strong aspiration for deliverance from this vicious cycle of painful existence, a Buddha will appear and teach us 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 – the World-honored One, Teacher of gods and humans – 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 in accordance with their natures and capacities. His disciples who practiced strictly – abandoning all false and inappropriate teachings – and single-heartedly entrusting themselves to the individual methods taught by Him, all received emancipation and belong to the assembly of those assured of Nirvana, the enlightened state permanently free from all suffering. These excellent disciples who deeply listened to Shakyamuni Buddha and practiced strictly in accordance with the appropriate teachings taught to them, are called True Disciples of Buddha.
Shinran Shonin (1173-1263) – deeply understanding the right and true intent of Shakyamuni Buddha’s teachings and the explanations transmitted by the Venerable Masters before him – taught us about the true and provisional teachings in relation to The Path of Sages and The Pure Land Way. He also carefully explained about the distinctive characteristics of The Right, Semblance and Dharma-ending Ages which define the spiritual capacities of Dharma practicers.
The 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 perfect 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 is 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 they are now in, letting this life pass by in vain and 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 and deeply 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 freed from the clutches of samsara, they single-mindedly entrust themselves and their karmic destiny entirely to Amida Buddha and the Primal Vow. Saying the Name (南 無 阿 彌 陀 佛 – Namo Amida Butsu) as they receive the inconceivable gift of Shinjin (Entrusting mind – 信 心), 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 belong to the rightly-established group whose birth in Unconditioned Land of Peace and Bliss at the end of their lives, is absolutely guaranteed. They are thus, wonderfully and appropriately described by Master Shinran as True Disciples of Buddha.
Thus, persons of Shinjin are truly settled in their search for a way out of the dreadful cycle of pain and suffering. They naturally live out the rest of their lives, remaining as foolish persons filled with blind passions. Knowing without any doubt, that this is their last life as deluded beings in samsara, they continue to Say the Name – fully endowed with the Buddha’s infinite merits and virtues – in deep gratitude to Amida Buddha for His inconceivable Gift of Salvation.
They now deeply and truly 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
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