Some time ago I was in correspondence with a drug addict who showed great interest in the Jodo Shinshu teaching. He had a hard time trying again and again to give up taking drugs but he always returned to his bad habit. More than this, he was afraid that he cannot be saved by Amida as he is.
I said to him: Just entrust to Amida Buddha as you are. If you can abstain, and is useful to try, this would be good for your health, but if you cannot, don’t worry. Jodo Shinshu is especially for people who cannot abstain, who are incapable of any practice, for those that any advice or any treatment is useless, for people whose minds are too sick to recover from their problems, anxieties, and deviations. Its not that they especially want to be like this, but their habitual karma is too strong for them to overcome. After many years and even many lives of taking the drugs of ignorance and blind passions how can one think and act like a normal person? How can one practice Buddhism and become a Buddha by himself?
I met many times with alcoholics and told them the same if they asked me questions on Buddhism. If you tried and cannot give up, then be an alcoholic who entrusts to Amida. Be an alcoholic or drug addict nembutsu follower. Be a bad Buddhist who entrusts to Amida.
Jodo Shinshu is the path for sick people, for those without hope. Its the path for alcoholics, drug addicts, and all kind of people with strong attachments. All are equally accepted by the Compassion and Primal Vow of Amida Buddha. So please, come as you are. Your salvation is in Amida’s hands, not yours.
You can try to cure yourself of any addiction you have, but do NOT postpone taking refuge in Amida Buddha until you become ready, or clean or worthy… You are saved not because you “deserve”, but because Amida loves you unconditionally.
You, as you are, you are just right Your face, body, name, surname, For you, they are must right.Whether poor or rich Your parents, your children, your daughter-in-law, your grandchildren They are, all for you, just right.Happiness, unhappiness, joy and even sorrow For you, they are just right.The life that you have walked, is neither good nor bad For you, it is just right.Whether you go to hell or to the Pure Land Wherever you go is just right.Nothing to boast about, nothing to feel bad about, Nothing above, nothing below. Even the day and month that you die, Even they are just right.The Life in which you walk together with Amida, There is no way that it can’t be just right.When you receive your life as just right Then a deep and profound faith begins to open up. (Source: “Just Right” by Goromatsu Maekawa)
A young woman going through hard times began to ask Amida Buddha for help. Suddenly, in her mind’s eye, she saw two sets of footprints side-by-side on a sandy pathway.
Immediately, her spirits lifted because she interpreted this to mean that Amida Buddha was with her and was walking beside her. Then the picture changed…
She now saw the footprints located in a vast desert wilderness, and instead of two sets of footprints, there was only one. Why was Amida no longer beside her?
As despair settled back over her, she began to cry. Then the inner voice of Amida Buddha softly spoke and said, “I have not left you. The one set of footprints is mine. You see, I am carrying you through the wilderness.“
(A paraphrased this common story as a Buddhist version.)
Your results are scored on a curve. The highest possible score, 100%, represents the closest match to your Spiritual Belief System Selector responses. It does not mean that Mahayana Buddhism matches every one of your response to every question. Any, or a combination, of the top scoring results may closely match your expressed preferences.
In this episode of Journeys to Orthodoxy, Christy Pessemier interviews Fr. Seraphim Majmudar, who was raised Hindu, converted to Orthodoxy, and is now an Orthodox priest serving at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Tacoma, WA.
Fr. Seraphim tells the story of how a trip to India in his youth began to make him question the Hindu faith of his childhood. When he saw the deep poverty, he was drawn to search out answers to why there is suffering and poverty in the world. Eastern religions stress that suffering is an illusion, a belief that Fr. Seraphim could no longer accept.
When eventually confronted with the person of Jesus, Fr. Seraphim came to realize that he had to make a decision about who this Jesus was. He recounts how, when he asked God to give him a sign as to what path he should follow, he found a surprising and glorious response.
The ultimate goal is theosis – an even closer union with God and closer likeness to God than existed in the Garden of Eden. This process is called Deification or “God became man that man might become ‘god’”.
However, it must be emphasized that Orthodox Christians do not believe that man becomes God in His essence, or a god in his own nature.
More accurately, Christ’s salvific work enables man in his human nature to become “partakers of the Divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4); that is to say, man is united to God in Christ.