Dharma Card for March, 2010
Bear in mind, however, that to abandon Amida, in whom we
take refuge, and to take only the good teacher as essential
is a serious error.
---Ven. Rennyo’s Letter (II-11)
The well-known Ondoku-wasan (hymn of benevolence)
“Such is the benevolence of Amida’s great compassion,
That we must strive to return it, even to the breaking of
Such is the benevolence of the masters and true teachers,
That we must endeavor to repay it, even to our bones
This is a heart-felt expression of Shinran Shonin’s deep
gratitude that, whereas he could not expect to save himself out
of delusion, he came to be saved by Amida’s original vow and born in the
pure land to become a Buddha. This immeasurable benevolence must be
repaid even if it breaks one’s body to pieces, he says. In the same way,
he stresses that the enormous benevolence of his teacher Honen-shonin
returned by all means.
Thus he placed the taking refuge in Amida first and the encounter of
his good teachers second; not the reverse. But some people have the
mistaken idea, “Even if we take refuge in Amida, this is to no avail without
a good teacher (zenjishiki). Therefore, there is nothing for us to do but
rely on a good teacher,” warns Ven. Rennyo.
Even in the present time, there are some heretical people who try to
attract people to their specific teacher saying that he is the only one in
the world that can promise them their salvation.
Those who teach the nembutsu neglecting Amida are decidedly “bad