Formula in Buddhism: 12th and 13th Vows, Part 3

“Why did Amida become the Name


The Name, Namo-Amida-Butsu, appears in the 17th Vow. However, I want you to keep in mind here that the 12th and 13th Vows became the Name that shows the working of Immeasurable Light and Light (Amida). The Name clarifies what I am, clearly, and what I have been looking for, truly. The Name also indicates the world which goes beyond time (life) and place (light). The Name is leading me to “Highest Enlightenment.”

The Name is called as “Buddha’s Practice” or “Great Practice.” When I am reciting Namo-Amida-Butsu, I am practicing the Buddha’s Practice. Why is it referred to as Buddha’s Practice? It is because the Practice is made of “Pure Cause (Buddha’s Wisdom)” and “Pure Condition (Buddha’s Compassion).” That’s why we see “Pure Result” which goes beyond life and death. In other words, the Name does not require me to be wise or pure. Or, my quality is not reliable for the solution of life and death. 

In addition, Great Practice should be thoroughly suitable for my quality as a human being. Or, the practice should fully overcome what I am. Thus, before we check why Amida became the Name, I would like to start with some virtues (working) of the Name. 

Although Shinran-Shonin points out 47 kinds of virtues (working) in the Name, I have picked out and combined some essential virtues as below:

1. Easy to practice. The word of “easy” contains many profound meanings, including my quality as a human being. In this case “easy” does not mean “lazy” but it means “sure.”

One day I was putting things in order in the office while checking each paper to keep it or not. Then, I found the old notes of lectures related to philosophy. “Oh, here it is!” I was quite happy to find it. That was the unforgettable note because I just became all eye-and-ear during the lectures and desperately took notes of everything. Then, the notes helped me for next two years. But when I met the notes again, I remembered nothing! I came to realize that my ability was so limited that I would forget many and soon. In other words, I am a man who can’t hold or keep something difficult and complicated for a long time. The Name does not require my understanding and memory.

Thus, the practice should be easy and simple to hold, and it should include everything necessary for me. However, the practice should be very difficult for me to forget. I already knew this! So I did not take a look of the note because I didn’t need anything complicated any more. “Nembutsu alone” is enough for me!

In Gassho,

Rev. Fujii


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