Formula in Buddhism: 12th and 13th Vows, Part 4

"Why did Amida become the name (Namo-Amida-Butsu)?"

Although Shinran Shonin points out 47 kinds of virtue (working) that the Name possesses, I have selected and combined some essential virtues as below: 

3. Profound practice.

Recitation of the Name is profound because of deep sight which clarifies my quality and limitation. Amida became the Name in order to cover every quality of sentient being in the 10 directions. Since every being is different, there is only one way to cover every being equally: The practice goes beyond beings’ merits and demerits. That is the Name. In other words, the practice, or the Name, is the practice that does not depend on our merits and demerits, OR the practice does go beyond our quality and limitation. That is why the Name, the Great Practice, is called “not a practice” or “a good act” which belongs to me. Dharma works as it works and I simply entrust myself to the Name, or Pure Enlightenment.

When I learned Jodo ShinShu Teaching, it was not easy for me even to understand it. Or, I had a very hard time with it. Why was it hard? I came to know the reasons later: I was not educated or trained in Buddhist ways. I was a man who was good at blaming and criticizing others. However, once I realized “cause + conditions” as a basic doctrine, a different but a clear world was opened to me. I got mad at a person because he was a stupid guy. I took it for granted that his foolish behaviors made me angry and frustrated. However, Dharma of “cause + conditions” clarified that I had the cause of anger and his unwise deeds as conditions triggered my anger as the result. I was surprised to know that I had the cause of anger. So I clearly became aware of myself: I get angry because I have the cause of it. Many conditions trigger and clarify what I have in mind such as frustration, greed, and attachment.

These ugly guys in mind are usually quiet. Then, once conditions are arranged, they wake up, get up, and get wild. However, please do not misunderstand - I am not talking about something negative but talking about my profound joy. I can say that, when I see my dark parts in mind, I am in the light at the same time. If it is completely dark in mind, I recognize nothing clearly. When I see a dusty desk, I know that there is the light there. This is the way for us to experience Buddha’s Wisdom.

Again, Immeasurable Working, or Amida, became the Name in order to cover us equally despite our merits and demerits. Or, the Name, the Great Practice, does not depend upon my merits and demerits. Thus, I feel something universal in the Name. The simple practice, the Name, already contains the virtue of the profound sight of me.

In Gassho,

Rev. Ed Fujii

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