Dharma Card for April, 2014
Let those who realize shinjin
that is Other Power,
In order to repay the Buddha’s benevolence,
Spread the two aspects of Amida’s directing of virtue
Throughout all the ten quarters.
(Hymn of the Dharma-Ages)
Photo by Isamu Tsugo
We often sing,
“Such is the benevolence of Amida’s great compassion,
That we must strive to return it, even to the breaking
of our bodies;…”
but what is the benevolence of Amida’s great compassion?
It is an outcry of joy that this hell-destined being is
now saved by the inconceivable Original Vow and Name of
the Tathagata and it is also a naturally springing wish
to repay the invaluable benevolence.
How can we repay it, then? Shinran Shonin points out
two ways. Firstly, he defines, “Solely saying the Tathagata’s
Name constantly, One should respond with gratitude to the
universal Vow of great compassion.” This constant nembutsu-saying
internal life is the basic way to respond to His great compassion.
At the same time, another outward viewpoint of his is seen in the
top hymn. Amida Buddha always directs his virtue to us in two aspects,
that is, He makes us karmic beings born in the Pure Land and then
lets us return to this saha world to save people, both by his
inconceivable eko power. If you have attained true shinjin, you should
spread this perfect saving of Amida openly to the world and it will
become a true repayment of your benevolence since it suits His will.
May the coming Shinran’s 750th Anniversary Service in my temple
become such a Dharma spreading occasion!