Dharma Card for January, 2008

   When Amida, on becoming a Buddha, first taught the dharma,

The sages present were numerous beyond reckoning;

All who aspire to be born in the Pure Land,

Take refuge in Amida, of the vast assembly.

                                      ---Hymns of the Pure Land


I make it a rule to recite this hymn when a temple follower

comes to deposit the ashes of his or her kin in the temple.

The reason is that, although the original meaning of the First

Meeting is when Amida became a Buddha, there is something in the phrase

that makes me think of the first meeting between Amida and those who have

reached the Pure Land.

    The vast assembly implies Amida Buddha Himself who presides over the vast

assembly, but Shinran Shonin interprets

“The sentient beings of the ten quarters will all attain Buddhahood in the land of bliss;

this is the significance of dharma-body.”

So all who are born in the Pure Land are to attain the same Buddhahood as Amida.

likewise the Shoshinge goes, “And when they reach that lotus-held world, they immediately

realize the body of suchness or dharma-nature.”

    The previous Temple Wife, my mother, must now be in the midst of such  bliss.