Dharma Card for November, 2015
When sentient beings of this evil world
of the five defilements
Entrust themselves to the selected Primal Vow,
Virtues indescribable, inexplicable,
Fill those practicers
. ---Hymn of the Dharma-Ages
Haiku picture by Mrs. Miyoko Tsutsumi
Reader: “The five defilements” are mentioned in the Sutra on Amitayus Buddha,
Yes, sure. You know well. They are the defilements of time, views,
passions, sentient beings, and life-span.
Reader: But those are the old ideas conceived 2,500 years ago, aren’t they?
Priest: Yes, but they are still applicable in our age. For example, the defilement
of time refers to natural calamities and wars, which still exist now, to our regret.
Reader: Then, does “sentient beings of this world of the five defilements” refer to us?
Priest: You are quite right. We are also called “sentient beings in pain and affliction,”
so we cannot but entrust ourselves to the Primal Vow of Namuamidabutsu,
which was selected to save us.
Reader: If we do so, what incoceivable virtues will fill us?
Priest: Good question. If we believe in the Primal Vow and say the nembutsu, we are
given the wisdom that our grievances are transformed into the appreciation of
thanks to the Buddha in our own life time, and the moment we leave this world,
we will be born in the Pure Land to attain enlightenment, and further on to enter
the stage of saving various beings. How wondrous those virtues are!