Formula in Buddhism: The 17th Vow; Part 3

You see the formula as below. These are essential elements in learning the Teachings of Buddha: 

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 me into Buddha's World.

The 17th Vow

Please recall that each Vow appears to clarify what I am. The 17th Vow goes as below:

"If, after my obtaining Buddhahood, all the immeasurable Buddhas of the 10 quarters do not glorify and recite my name, may I not achieve the Highest Enlightenment."

Why is this Vow one of the 5 true vows?

The translation of "recite my name" in the vow does not clearly show one more meaning. The word "recite" as used here, has the same meaning of "evenly balanced" or "well-matched." In other words, my recitation is well-matched and evenly balanced with Amida's Working. That's why the Name is so-called "Buddha's Practice" or "Great Practice." In short, the recitation of the Name = what Amida did for us. Then, how can we know and experience the Name as Buddha's Practice?

The Name and Nembutsu

The name is Namo-Amida-Butsu; Nembutsu is recitation of the Name. What is the difference between the two? The Name is just a meal before you eat; the recitation of the Name or Nembutsu, is the meal you already ate. The meal you ate liberates you from hunger because it fills your stomach and becomes your energy, blood, muscles, and so on. So the meal you ate is equal to the virtues that the food possesses.  Buddhas in the 10 quarters guarantee its greatness of the practice: Recitation of the Name. How can we experience Amida by and through the recitation?

Again, there are many practices to attain Enlightenment. For example, the practice of sharing is the practce that targets "greed." The practice of keeping precepts aims at "selfishness." The practice of effort aims at "laziness." Each practice has its own target to conquer. However, if a person possesses greed, anger, laziness, etc. all at once, there is no practice which can cover every taget area except the Name. That is why Buddha-Nature appears in the form of the Name as the practice to cover any kind of people. Then, how can we experience the Working? Is it good enough to recite the Name? It sounds like blind faith. It does not make sense because the teaching is supposed to clarify myself clearly.  What is the true meaning of the Name and the recitation of the Name?

In Gassho,

Rev. Doei Fujii


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