Category: enlightenment

Shinran & The Enlightenment of Evil People (Li…

matthewsatori:

One of the reasons why Shinran became the most well-loved religious figure in Japanese history is because he taught the enlightenment of the evil person. 

In his time, “evil” meant anyone who couldn’t follow the moral standard of monks and nuns, which meant pretty much everyone in society other than the wealthy.

People who had to catch fish or hunt for a living, for example, were “evil” and incapable of enlightenment, even if they were just providing for their families.

In the words of Shinran in the Tannisho, “If even the good man can be reborn in the Pure Land (the realm of Nirvana), how much more so the evil man!“ 

He wasn’t saying we should deliberately do bad things to people, but instead that we shouldn’t judge ourselves too harshly, expecting the perfection only a Buddha can attain.

Alan Watts, for example, died of alcoholism, yet what he did for Buddhism in the West was still commendable. He was the “evil man” Amida vowed to “save.” 

Shinran’s nickname for himself was “bald-headed fool.”

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Shinran’s nickname for himself was “bald-headed fool.”

Be A Lamp Unto Yourself

Therefore, Ananda, be lamps unto yourselves, refuges unto yourselves, seeking no external refuge; with the Dharma as your lamp, the Dharma as your refuge, seeking no other refuge.

And how, Ananda, is a bhikkhu a lamp unto himself, a refuge unto himself, seeking no external refuge; with the Dharma as his lamp, the Dharma as his refuge, seeking no other refuge?

When he dwells contemplating the body in the body, earnestly, clearly comprehending, and mindfully, after having overcome desire and sorrow in regard to the world; when he dwells contemplating feelings in feelings, the mind in the mind, and mental objects in mental objects, earnestly, clearly comprehending, and mindfully, after having overcome desire and sorrow in regard to the world, then, truly, he is a lamp unto himself, a refuge unto himself, seeking no external refuge; having the Dharma as his lamp, the Dharma as his refuge, seeking no other refuge.

Those bhikkhus of mine, Ananda, who now or after I am gone, abide as a lamp unto themselves, as a refuge unto themselves, seeking no other refuge; having the Dharma as their lamp and refuge, seeking no other refuge: it is they who will attain the highest, if they have the desire to learn.  
(The Buddha’s Last Words, The Maha-Parinibbana Sutta)

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The Buddha’s Last Words

matthewsatori:

The Buddha’s last words were to be a lamp unto yourself, seeking no external refuge. How do we square this with the Nembutsu, since Namu-Amida-Butsu means “I take refuge in Amida Buddha”? 

The name Amida means “boundless light.” Amida, rather than an external refuge, is the boundless light of our own Buddha-nature. In reciting the Nembutsu, we awaken to the True Self, the lamp within. 

Rather than a literal flesh and blood man who attained Buddhahood ten kalpas ago, billions of Buddha-lands to the west, Amida is Dharma-body itself, the Buddha-nature in all things and beings. 

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NAMU-AMIDA-BUTSU

Amida, rather than an external refuge, is the boundless light of our own Buddha-nature. In reciting the Nembutsu, we awaken to the True Self, the lamp within.

“The Lotus Sutra promises that all who vow to attain Buddhahood for the sake of all beings will…”

“The Lotus Sutra promises that all who vow to attain Buddhahood for the sake of all beings will ultimately attain Buddhahood, no matter how many lifetimes it takes. If you practice being kinder and more compassionate here and now, the rest will follow.”

How to Attain Buddhahood

To become a Buddha, one has to cultivate the Bodhisattva path.
The main practices for the Bodhisattva path are the six perfections and
the three sets of precepts: 

The Six Perfections

1. Giving: to give money, Dharma, and fearlessness 

2. Keeping the precepts: to do no evil and to do all good 

3. Patience: to endure and tolerate that which is difficult to endure,
and to do that which is difficult to do 

4. Diligence: to go forward bravely, undaunted by obstacles 

5. Meditative concentration: to fix the mind unwaveringly on one
object 

6. Wisdom: to have limpid, shining insight into oneself and others.

The Three Sets of Precepts

1. To uphold all the pure precepts, without exception 

2. To cultivate all good qualities, without exception 

3. To deliver all sentient beings, without exception

By invoking the supreme vow of great Bodhi-mind, great compassion,
and the wisdom of emptiness, and passing through three immeasurable
kalpas, one may attain the goal of Buddhahood…

The shared vows are made by all Buddhas; namely, the Four
Great Vows: “To deliver innumerable sentient beings, to cut off endless
vexations, to master limitless approaches to the Dharma, and to attain supreme Buddhahood.”
http://www.108wisdom.org/html/OTH_03.pdf

The Lotus Sutra promises that all who vow to attain Buddhahood for the sake of all beings will ultimately attain Buddhahood, no matter how many lifetimes it takes. 

If you practice being kinder and more compassionate here and now, the rest will follow.

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