On Faith

Written in 1957, and translated by Zuio H. Inagaki.

Don’t chase your mind! Your mind moves about, following myriads of objects.

Don’t concern yourself with your deeds! Your deeds of body, mouth and mind sink into the abyss of evil.

Don’t seek peace of mind! The Pure Land is not the place you can be born after attaining peace of mind.

Don’t rely on your own mind! The mind is like running water, never resting even for a second.

Don’t expect tomorrow! The deadly demon of Impermanence chooses any time to attack. The law of karma is to be feared. Karma never fails to bring its result.

Don’t try to grasp faith! Reflect and ask yourself, “Who is the master of the mind that seeks to grasp faith?” Isn’t the mind that tries to grasp faith the mind of a foolish man defiled by clinging to selfpower? Amida Buddha’s sincere, pure and true mind cannot be grasped by a foolish mind clinging to self power just as the reflection of the moon cannot be grasped by the hand. Faith cannot be hoarded in your mind either.

Don’t concern yourself with any of the thoughts that arise in your mind!

Don’t concern yourself with the knowledge you have acquired!

We have deep and heavy karmic evil; our thoughts are constantly distracted and our actions are unruly and unbridled. Don’t chase good or evil; just leave them! There is, beyond good and evil, a way to salvation.

The call of Vow Power, namuamidabutsu, is the way to salvation. Outside the merit power of Enlightenment, consummated by Vow Power as namuamidabutsu, no faith is to be sought. As there is nothing we foolish people can contribute towards establishing the faith and practice necessary for birth in the Pure Land, namuamidabutsu does all the work needed to save us. Amida is our parent who has seen through our foolish minds and the evil we have accumulated during ages past. He has accomplished our faith and practice and has done everything for us even the acts of hearing his Name and attaining peace of mind free from doubt. Consequently, he has attained our birth in the Pure Land also. Amida, as he stands holding us in his arms, is manifested as ‘namuamidabutsu’. In his Light we are embraced and never forsaken.

What we think, know, have heard and believe is of no avail. I cannot but hear more about the Dharma. The more I hear, the more deeply I know how inconceivable the Dharma is. The inconceivable wisdom of the Buddha in action is namuamidabutsu. The living voice of the Buddha, which calls us, saying, “Leave all worries to me”, is the Nembutsu, namuamidabutsu.

The moment we receive the inconceivable and boundless virtue of namuamidabutsu, the great ocean of birth-and-death disappears and becomes a thing of the past. How can we conceive of this? It is due to the all powerful working of namuamidabutsu. We have only to hear and accept the all powerful working of namuamidabutsu. By hearing the Name in action, we spontaneously attain peace of mind, true faith.

Apart from the all power working of namuamidabutsu, there is no faith, no Nembutsu and no peace of mind. We have only to hear Amida’s living voice, ‘namuamidabutsu’, in which our birth, even our faith is accomplished. It calls us unceasingly. We hear the compassionate voice of the Buddha; we hear the Vow Power of the inconceivable wisdom of the Buddha. How grateful I am for the Vow in which Amida resolved, “If sentient beings are not born in my Land, may I not attain Enlightenment.” This is my lifeline.

Believing does not come after hearing. Peace of mind does not come after believing. Listen carefully to the call of the Original Vow, which has accomplished namuamidabutsu and also accomplished our hearing of it, believing in it and peace of mind. If you have listened well, you will be relieved of the heavy burden on your shoulders.

Look! Throughout the universe Amida’s Light is shining unhindered all the time. How deeply inspiring it is! How grateful I am!

Namuamidabutsu, namuamidabutsu, namuamidabutsu!