Dharma Card for August, 2017
Fireflies of good deeds don’t come along,
However hard we call them in;
Mosquitos of evil passions don’t leave us,
However hard we try to flap them away.
Throwing away the fan of self-power practice,
Let us enjoy being safe inside the mosquito net.
Ven. Ryokan was an eminent priest of Zen Buddhism in the latter part of
the Edo era of Japan, but he deeply appreciated the nembutsu of the Other
Power as is shown in his tanka poem:
“How grateful I am as an ignorant being
To be allowed to meet the Original Vow of
Once when a devout follower of his asked for a Dharma motto, he brush-
penned the above poem. Surely, we are not capable of practicing good deeds
that will cause our enlightenment, nor getting rid of daily lives full of evil
passions. Having realized so, why not desert the endless struggle to achieve
enlightenment by self-power and entrust ourselves to the great compassion
of Amida Buddha who vows to save all beings in delusion? This
Other-Power nembutsu is the only way for us to reach the final enlightenment,
says Ven. Ryokan.