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Wednesday
Sep302015

What is Shinjin? Essay by Reverend Professor Toshikawasu Arai

Reverend Professor Toshikawasu Arai visited Salinas on August 9, 2015 and gave a lecture at Salinas' first Furutani Memorial Lecture series.

What Is Shinjin?

I visited the Buddhist Temple of Salinas on August 9, and gave a Dharma message in English and Japanese and a lecture followed by a Q & A session. I would like to thank Rev. and Mrs. Orai Fujikawa and the members of the temple for their hospitality and kindness.

When we had a question-and-answer session, a lady asked me, “What is shinjin?” I had not expected this question partly because I thought I had been talking about shinjin and nembutsu in my lecture, and partly because I was not sure what kind of answer would be appropriate to her needs. I thought if she was serious about that question, I should meet her and discuss this matter face to face. In any case, if she had not found the answer for that question, she should really hurry and find the answer. 

In any case, I would like to add the following to what I said at that time.

Shinjin is, literally, “trusting heart.” What do we trust in? Most simply put, we trust in the Buddha, we trust in the Dharma (the Buddha’s teaching), and we trust in the Sangha (a body of Buddhist practicers). The Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha are combined and called the three treasures of Buddhism. These three are not separate. The Buddha lives in the Dharma and the Dharma is studied and propagated by the body of its followers. If you entrust yourself to any one of the three, you will have taken refuge in all the three. Honen, for example, entered the Buddha path through his encounter with Shan-tao’s teaching of the exclusive practice of the nembutsu. Shinran entered the Buddha path through his encounter with Honen and his teaching. What is important is that it was the Shan-tao’s teaching that gave rise to shinjin in the heart of Honen. The same thing can be said about Honen and Shinran. 

Shinjin, or the entrusting heart, is always given by the Buddha, Dharma or Sangha, but not created by the practicer. You might attend the service regularly, but you might not have attained shinjin because your attendance at services might have been just a habitual or social matter. You have to think how the teaching as explained in Dharma messages relates to you. Only then the teaching will make sense to you and before you realize, you will rejoice at the newly growing shinjin within you.

 

「信心とは何ですか?」

8月9日にサリーナス仏教会を訪問し、英語と日本語の法話と英語での講義をさせていただきました。不二川往来師および奥様を始めとする仏教会の方々のご親切に心からお礼を申しあげます。 

講義をした後の質疑応答で、年配の女性から「信心とは何ですか」というご質問を受け、しばらく考え込んでしまいました。一つの理由は、私が法話や講義で言っていたことはすべて信心と念仏についてだったからであり、もう一つの理由は、どのような意図でその質問をされたのか分からなかったからです。本当に真剣に求めておられるなら、これは個別面談で話し合わなければならない問題でしょう。もし本当にまだ信心の意味がお分かりになっていないのなら、大急ぎで求めなければなりません。 

あの時どうお答えしたか忘れましたが、ちょっと信心の意味を考えてみたいと思います。

信心とは文字通り「信じる心」です。何を信じるかというと、仏を信じる、仏の教え(法)を信じる、仏の弟子を信じる、すなわち仏法僧の三宝を信じるということです。仏は法の中に生きておられ、法は仏弟子によって伝えられます。これらの三つは別々のものではありません。どれか一つを本当に信じたら、全部を信じることになります。例えば、法然聖人は善導大師の『観経疏』の一節から専修念仏の神髄を体得され、本当に仏道に入られました。親鸞聖人は法然聖人という人格に出遇い、その教えに出遇ったことから本当の仏道を歩み始められました。

大切なことは、信心は行者が自分の力でこね上げたものではなく、仏・法・僧が行者の心の中に入り込んできたものです。信心は常に仏法僧の方から行者「私」に与えられるものです。

ただ習慣的に社交的にお寺での法要に毎回出席して法話を聞くだけでは、信心は得られません。法話を聞いた後、それが自分の人生・生活にとってどのような意味を持つか、を常に考えることによって、初めて仏の教えが身についてくるのです。すると気がつかない間に、信心が生まれることになります。