Dharma Card for November



As a foolish being, I feel

all the more gratitude;

To think I will be tied up

with the Original Vow

     ---by Rev. Ryokan


I wonder why great Buddhists call

themselves “foolish” as above?

Shan-tao in China judged himself as

“We ignorant beings”; Rev. Saicho or

Dengyo Daishi who initiated the Hiei

Buddhism labeled himself as “the most

foolish of all the foolish” ; Rev.Genshin,

the author of the Ojoyoshu (The Essential

Collection Concerning Birth), defined

himself as “such a foolish man as I am”;

Honen Shonin named himself as “Honenbo

of Ignorance; and lastly Shinran Shonin

designated himself as “Gutoku (Foolish

and stubble-haired) Shinran.” Why is it

that all of them sternly realized that they

are certainly “foolish”?

   Presumably, finding oneself foolish is

the conclusion of one’s sincere treading of

the Buddhist Way. If you are alien to Buddhism,

you would think of yourself as being clever and

wise, but if you encounter the light of Buddhism,

you would come to realize the fact about yourself—

“How foolish I have been!”  Rev. Ryokan sharply

remarks: My foolishness truly cannot be compared.

Bowing one’s haughty head down like this must be an

evidence that one has been immersed in the light of the

Buddha’s wisdom.

   The wise man turns out to be a foolish man in the Light

of the Buddha’s Wisdom as Honen Shonin states:.

   “Persons of the Pure Land tradition attain birth

in the Pure Land by becoming their foolish selves.