“Letters” 6

Birth and Death

Buddhism should be viewed from the standpoints of ” truth ” and ” benefit “. Zen and other difficult sects are of the highest truth, but no one of the present age is qualified to be enlightened. Only Shin Buddhism is of the highest truth and every kind of man can be saved; therefore, this benefit is greatest. Zen is a religion of the Light of the Mind and Shin is a religion of the Light of the Buddha; and the Mind itself is the Buddha. Dr Suzuki said: ” self-power Buddhists are proud. ” But I should say they are full of self-reliance.

Self-reliance is praiseworthy, but alas! They are idle, ignorant and wanting in diligence; that is, they have they have no ability to be enlightened by their own power. But the Truth is the Truth. It is indispensable in Buddhism. Without the Difficult Buddhism: (1) we cannot know the absolute Truth; (2) we cannot distinguish true religion from superstition; (3) we do not resort to the Easy Way; (4) we cannot believe in the Wisdom, Mercy and Vow of Amida. Dr Suzuki said: ” Amida will extend his arms of help only when we realise that our self-power is of no account. ” But I should say: ” All sentient beings are already saved in Amidas Vow-Power, through the virtue and merit of His Enlightenment. By the Light of His Wisdom, we can cast away our Self-power and look up at His Wisdom. We can believe that we are unable by any means to save ourselves, as if we can see the shadow of a tree by the light of the moon; or we look up at the moon by the light of the moon. “

From the beginning, all sentient beings have been embraced in His arms. Amida, the Enlightened One, is the eternal Buddha but in order to save the beings, he became the Bodhisattva Dharmakara. ” Buddha ” is not superior and a ” Bodhisattva “is not inferior. Bodhisattva is the active form of Buddha. Amida, who is super-historical Truth, came down into history, and was called Dharmakara. Dharmakara is Amida; Amida is Dharmakara. Both are one and the same. Amida, surveying the actual states of all beings, sinful and wicked, drifting in the ocean of discrimination and subjectivity, vowed that He would save them through His Wisdom and Compassion and Power. His Vow is our salvation; His Wisdom and Power are our salvation; His Enlightenment is our salvation. And our faith and salvation are nothing but the Power of His Vow and of His Enlightenment. Amida’s Vow is inconceivable, because he demands of us no asking, nor prayer; He never discriminates between good and evil, wise or ignorant, young and old, poor and rich; in the Sea of the Vow, there are no waves of delusions. His Vow to save all people unconditionally is at once the realisation of His Vow; in His Vow we are assuredly saved and in His Enlightenment (the realisation of His Vow) we are already saved. He attained Enlightenment on the condition that we are saved. His attainment (of Enlightenment) and our salvation occur the same time. Why? Because in the beginning He vowed that He would not attain Enlightenment if all beings should not be saved through the power of His Enlightenment. Amida is the father and mother of all beings. When Amida was called ” Amida “, all beings were saved at that time. Amida’s life is our salvation; our lives are Amida’s Enlightenment. When a man is saved by Amida’s Vow-Power and has entered into His Land, then Buddha-Nature in a man’s mind, that is, the Bhutatathata in all things, is perfectly revealed and he becomes Buddha, who is the same as Amida.

Dr Suzuki says: ” Amida extends His arms of help only when we realise that all our self-power is of no account. ” He is right, but how can we realise that our self-power is of no account? The Reason (or Buddha-Nature) within ourselves commands us to realise Buddha-Nature by our self-power. For this reason, self-power Buddhism is reasonable and natural. But, except for the Buddha, no man has ever discovered the way by which man can realise Buddha-Nature (or the Absolute Truth). Jesus Christ taught the love of God by which man can be saved, but he, himself, could not discover the way by which every man can become God. Buddha Shakyamuni discovered the Law by which all beings can accord with the Law (or Buddha).