Formula in Buddhism: The 19th Vow: Part 2

The formula below consists of essential items for learning the Teaching 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 19th Vow

“If, when I attain Buddhahood, the sentient beings of the 10 quarters, while awakening the mind aspiring for enlightenment and performing meritorious acts, should desire to be born in my land with sincere aspiration, and yet should I not appear before them at the moment of death surrounded by a host of sages, may I not attain the perfect enlightenment.”

There was a very serious criticism against Honen Shonin who independently established Nembutsu Teaching from “traditional teaching of Buddhism.” It was the criticism that Homen-Shonin denied “awakening the mind aspiring for enlightenment.” In old days, when a person wanted to learn Buddhism, the person renounced the world, left home and society, joined a Sangha or monastery, and learned and practiced under great masters. In short, there was only one way for the person to learn Buddhism: To become a priest.

Open up Buddhism for everyone equally

Consequently, there was no chance for laypeople to learn Buddhism. Although Honen- Shonin was called “the wisest priest at Mt. Hiei,” he could not realize a clear path to enlightenment until he experienced the heart and mind of Immeasurable Working of Wisdom and Compassion.

His struggling before Nembutsu Teaching went as follows: I have been learning the Teaching of Buddha for years. But nothing happened to me. I don’t attain enlightenment, yet. I am empty. What’s wrong with me? Buddha’s Wisdom and Compassion is equally given to anyone. If so, what is it? How can I know it?

Finally, he came to realize the heart and mind of Amida: Nembutsu alone covers any kind of person - equally without asking any question. Amida’s Dharma already contains necessary virtues and power to take me to the highest enlightenment. Then, he started sharing the Nembutsu Teaching mainly with laypeople.

Teaching of Buddha

It is said that Buddhism is the Teaching of Buddha and Buddhism is the Teaching to lead people to enlightenment. I would like to add one more: Buddhism is the teaching for us to realize truly what we have been looking for in this life. To learn Buddhism is to learn myself by and through Wisdom and Compassion.

In Gassho,
Rev. Doei Fujii

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