NOTE: The following verses came to me in a moment of inspiration after reading the late Rev. Zuiken Inagaki's essays on the blog Diamondlike Shinjin, maintained by Mr. Melvin Lim. Since they still convey my eternal gratitude for the teaching of Zuiken-sama, as well as for spiritual friendship of likeminded fellow-travelers, I reproduce them here exactly as they were first composed. Gassho
Don't listen to human beings,
Whether they mean well or no.
Don't listen to sages,
Don't listen to philosophers,
Don't listen to devas or maras.
Don't listen to your mind!
Your mind is impure,
Led about by a multitude of thoughts.
Don't listen to your heart!
Your heart is passionate,
Led about by a multitude of feelings.
Only listen to the words of the Buddha,
The wonderful Dharma,
Perfect all through,
Pure to its depths.
If you listen carefully, humbly, quietly,
You will hear the Voice that is calling unceasingly,
Calling to you in particular,
Calling to you alone.
"Come to me, beloved child, I will save you.
"I have gone through fire and water to rescue you;
"I have given up all my possessions,
"Even my own body,
"All for your sake.
"Why do you linger? Why delay?
"Come into the arms of your Parent,
"NAMU AMIDA BUTSU!"
When you have truly heard well,
And understood deep down that you are lost,
Without hope in the dark night of birth-and-death,
Then you will know with certainty
That Amida Buddha grasps you forever.
Then will come joy with tears,
And genuine Faith from the Buddha's mind,
Indestructible as diamond,
Bright and unchanging.
Then you will live the rest of your life,
Whether long or short,
In gratitude and praise,
A white lotus of the Nembutsu,
Unstained by the mud of the world.
No matter how evil your deeds
In the three modes of action --
Mind, body, or speech --
Your true Father will not neglect you,
Your true Mother will not forsake you.
You will be born in the Land of Utmost Bliss,
As surely as the cherry blossom in the spring.
February 26, 2013
The radiant light, unhindered and inconceivable, eradicates suffering and brings realization of joy; the excellent Name, perfectly embodying all practices, eliminates obstacles and dispels doubt. This is the teaching and practice for our latter age; devote yourself solely to it. It is eye and limb in this defiled world; do not fail to endeavor in it. Accepting and living the supreme, universal Vow, then, abandon the defiled and aspire for the pure. Reverently embracing the Tathagata's teaching, respond in gratitude to his benevolence and be thankful for his compassion.
~ Shinran Shonin, Passages on the Pure Land Way