Dharma Card for November

   Although I take refuge in the true Pure Land way,

   It is hard to have a true and sincere mind.

   This self is false and insincere;

   I completely lack a pure mind.

            Gutoku’s (Shinran’s) Hymn of Lament and Reflection

…………………………………………………………..

Mr. Q:   When did Shinran compose this hymn?

Priest:   At the age of 85 or 86.

Mr. Q:  When he should have been mature enough, how

            come he sounds diffident of  his shinjin (faith)?

Priest:  No, he wasn’t.  As his shinjin was firm, he said so.

            After he met Honen at the age of 29 and entrusted

himself to the nembutsu of Amida Buddha’s original

vow, he lived all the time in the light of the Buddha.

Mr. Q:  What does it mean to live in Buddha’s light?

Priest:  His light lets us see how defiled we are, and yet it holds

            and accepts us as we are. 

“Revealing how we cannot save ourselves,

   Namuamidabutsu vows to save us all the more

   because of our unsavability.”

           As Shinran had such firm shinjin through his life, he kept on

          realizing his false and insincere self by Buddha’s light and

exclaimed his gratitude of such a self being saved by Amida.

Mr. Q:  Now I understand why he named himself “Gutoku” (Fool and Bald).