Formula in Buddhism & the Critical Mistake We Make - Part 1

 

Formula in Buddhism & the Critical Mistake We Make – Part 1

Here is the formula of learning the Teaching of Buddha. It goes as follows:

1. To learn Buddhism is to learn myself;

2. To learn myself is to learn Buddha’s Compassion;

3. To learn Compassion is to forget myself,

4. And to forget myself is to throw myself into Buddha’s World.

Number 1 does not say that to learn Buddhism is to learn and understand doctrines, terminology or the sutras. It says that to learn Buddhism is to learn myself by and through the Teaching. This means that #1 is pointing out the direction of when and how we learn Buddhism. This is an important point because many followers don’t know this clearly. That’s why many say Buddhism is difficult, or many say, “I don’t get it, even after listening of the Teaching for years.”

Dogen (1200-1253), Zen master, points out the right direction in Buddhism as follows: I proceed myself with efforts heading toward all-Dharma to get it. This direction is nothing but illusory one created by oneself. All-Dharma comes and clarifies myself - it is the direction of Enlightenment. In other words, when I come to realize what I am by and through the Teaching of Buddha, it is the encountering of the Teaching and me. We experience the Teaching of Buddha in this way.

Dogen clearly shows the two directions. Shinran (1172-1263) also emphasizes the two directions using different words: The direction from me to Amida is so-called “Ji-Riki (self calculation). The other direction is the direction from Buddha to me, which is called “Ta-Riki (Other power). Both great masters commonly and clearly show the right direction. In other words, one critical mistake in Buddhism is to try to get all-Dharma in the direction of “from me to all- Dharma”.

Then, how can we come to know what we are by and through the Teaching of Buddha? Shinran says that the Larger Sutra is the true Teaching showing Wisdom and Compassion. It is because the Sutra shows the Vows and the Name. All-Dharma appears to me in form of the Vows and the Name, Namo-Amida-Butsu, and the Vows clarify what I am. Thus, we listen to the Vows and the Name.

The formula, part #1 :To learn Buddhism is to learn myself by and through the Vows. I will touch the Vows in the Larger Sutra one by one in next month’s newsletter.

In Gassho,

 Rev. E.D. Fujii

 

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