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White Path Message by Rev. Yugo Fujita for February 2017

"Each of you has come so far to see me, walking through so many provinces at the risk of your life, solely with the intent to ask me about the path to birth in the Pure Land.  However, if you think I have some special knowledge of a path to birth in the Pure Land other than the Nembutsu or know of some other special teaching, then you are greatly mistaken.   
If that is the case, then I should tell you that there are many eminent scholars in the southern capital of Nara or on Mt. Hiei to the north that you would be better to meet with them and ask them about the essentials for birth in the Pure Land.   
As for me, Shinran, I simply accept and entrust myself to what my revered teacher Honen told me, "just say the Nembutsu and be saved by Amida,” nothing else is involved nor is there anything special you need to do."   
These words come from the "Tannisho" which is a book written about some of Shinran's teachings as remembered by Shinran's disciple Yuienbo.  Even today, 500 years after this book was written, the Tannisho still remains the most purchased religious book in Japan today. In the phrase "just say the Nembutsu" Shinran means "just and only" recite the Nembutsu."  He is telling us that we are not reciting Namo Amida Butsu because of our own doing.  But rather, it is coming from Amida Buddha.  And we do not recite Namo Amida Butsu with the expectation that we're going to get some benefit from reciting the Nembutsu.  Shinran is telling us that you do not need to be calm, pure or even really understand the meaning and benefit of the Nembutsu when you recite Namo Amida Butsu. Neither do you have to always think about the Buddha or Dharma when you recite the Nembutsu. Amida Buddha will take care of you, so you don't have to even worry about how many times you have recited Namo Amida Butsu. 
Amida Buddha always thinks of you even before you think of Amida. And we surely don't pray to Amida Buddha to help us. In our Jodo Shinshu teaching, the number of times we recite the Nembutsu does not bring any benefit in helping us to become a Buddha. Amida Buddha wants each and every one of us to become a Buddha because this is Amida's wish.  This is why we say that that Amida Buddha is the Buddha of Infinite Compassion.  The Amida's compassion is truly infinite and beyond our understanding. When we recite the Nembutsu by ourself and for ourself, we call that "self-power Nembutsu."  However, "Other Power Nembutsu" is that which comes from entrusting Amida's Wish. In 2017, many of our members became Buddhas and returned to the Pure Land.  However, we can continue to communicate with these Buddhas by reciting the Nembutsu, Namo Amida Butsu. In the coming year, let's try our best to cast aside our ego, our bias and prejudices, and entrust ourselves to the Amida Buddha and recite the Nembutsu in gratitude.
Thank you.    
Yugo Fujita
この親鸞においては、 「ただ念仏して、 阿弥陀仏に救われ往生させていただくのである」 という法然上人のお言葉をいただき、 それを信じているだけで、 他に何かがあるわけではありません。    
藤田 裕豪