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Wednesday
Jul312019

White Path Message by Rev. Yugo Fujita for August 2019

Even a good person attains birth in the Pure Land, so it goes without saying that an evil person will. 

Though it is so, people commonly say, "Even an evil person attains birth, so it goes without saying that a good person will."

This statement may seem well-founded at first, but it runs counter to the intent of the Primal Vow, which is Other Power. This is because people who rely on doing good through their self-power 

fail to entrust themselves wholeheartedly to Other Power and therefore are not in accord with Amida's Primal Vow, but when they overturn the mind of self-power and entrust themselves to Other Power, 

they will attain birth in the true and real fulfilled land. 

It is impossible for us, who are possessed of blind passions, to free ourselves from birth-and-death through any practice whatever.  

Sorrowing at this, Amida made the Vow, the essential intent of which is the evil person's attainment of Buddhahood. Hence, evil persons who entrust themselves to Other Power are precisely the ones who possess the true cause of birth. 

Accordingly, he said, "Even the good person is born in the Pure Land, so without question is the person who is evil." 

 (“Collected Works of Shinran”, CWS- Page 663)

 

Dear Temple Members,

Last month, we had the Obon Festival. Many temple members and their friends came to help out at the temple and enjoy the Obon festivities. Thank you very much for supporting the temple. I think everyone was very busy working at the Obon Festival, but I hope that all of you had the chance to take in the Obon Festival atmosphere and enjoy all the food and the stage performances. 

The passages written in the beginning is from a Jodo Shinshu text called “Tannisho” (which is attributed to Yuiyen, one of Shinran’s disciple. In the US, it is part of “Collected Works of Shinran” which is usually abbreviated as CWS, and it is available in our library). This text is instructive, and provides some flavor of how Amida Buddha treat or act on different types of people, both good and bad. Since I was still young, my father and grandfather often told me to treat Amida Buddha and Buddhist Alter with great importance, and make Amida Buddha the center of my daily life. I was also told to help out with various activities around the temple. I had thought that if I do something for Amida Buddha, Amida Buddha will do something good for me. Said in another way, I had thought that if I do not do good deeds for Amida Buddha, I will not receive benefits from Amida Buddha. I was told by my grandfather that this viewpoint was all wrong. So, the question is what type of people are saved by Amida Buddha? Who are the people that Amida Buddha is trying to save?  

As a conclusion, Amida Buddha is trying to save everyone, and he is reaching out to all of us. As everyone should be all aware, Amida Buddha does not tell us you must do this or that, he does not impose conditions or discriminate. Whether you are a good person or evil, or whether you are lost and worrying about your own existence, Amida Buddha has his sight set on everyone to save without exception. At the root of all this, there is wisdom and compassion. There is no need to worry that I will not be saved because I haven’t done this or that, or that I cannot do this or that. We often tend to care about how many times we have gone to the temple, or attended how many services, but this has no relationship to how Amida Buddha treats you regarding whether you are going to be saved or not. The Buddhas receives you just as you are. There is no good or bad in any of these things. The Jodo Shinshu teaching tells us that what matters is things that we can do, we take it one by one and we try our best. Also, to continue to recite the Nembutsu. Together with our Sangha friends, we can choose the path that allows us to be saved by just reciting the Nembutsu. Even as we try our best, it is embarrassing that we still cannot achieve our goal, but Amida Buddha will reach out to us and save us despite our deficiencies, for this we can be deeply thankful.

 

TEMPLE MINISTER’S MESSAGE FOR AUGUST 2019 IN JAPANESE

一、善人なほもつて往生をとぐ、いはんや悪人をや。しかるを世のひとつねにいはく、「悪人なほ往生す、いかにいはんや善人をや」。この条、一旦そのいはれあるに似たれども、本願他力の意趣にそむけり。そのゆゑは、自力作善のひとは、ひとへに他力をたのむこころかけたるあひだ、弥陀の本願にあらず。しかれども、自力のこころをひるがへして、他力をたのみたてまつれば、真実報土の往生をとぐるなり。煩悩具足のわれらは、いづれの行にても生死をはなるることあるべからざるを、あはれみたまひて願をおこしたまふ本意、悪人成仏のためなれば、他力をたのみたてまつる悪人、もつとも往生の正因なり。よつて善人だにこそ往生すれ、まして悪人はと、仰せ候ひき。

 

仏教会メンバー様

先月お盆祭りがありました。多くのメンバー様、メンバー様のご家族・ご友人が手伝いに来られたり、遊びに来てくださいました。仏教会をいつもサポートしていただきまして誠にありがとうございます。お手伝いなどでお忙しかったとおもいますが、すこしでもお盆祭りの雰囲気を感じ美味しいご飯や、ステージパフォーマンスを楽しまれた事を願います。

最初に書かせていただきましたご文は歎異抄からです。悪人・善人のことや阿弥陀様がどのような方々に働きかけ救うのかという事を学ばせていただけるご文だと私は味あわせていただいております。私は小さい時から阿弥陀様・お仏壇を大切にして、阿弥陀様を中心にした生活をしなさいと祖父・祖母にいわれてきました。お寺のためにいろいろなことを手伝いなさいとも言われてきました。私が阿弥陀様にいい事をすれば、阿弥陀様もいい事をしてくれると思っていました。いいかえると、いい事をしなければ、いい事をしてくれないという考えです。しかし、その考えは間違っていると祖父が教えてくれました。ではどのような人々が阿弥陀様によって救われていくのでしょうか? 阿弥陀様が救おうとしている人は誰でしょうか? 

結論から言いますと私たち全てのものを救おうとさせていて、常にはたらきかけてくださっています。皆様のご存知の通り、阿弥陀様の救いには、これをしなくてはいけないという条件や差別はありません。善人も悪人も自分でどのような存在かわからない迷える一切の方々を例外なく救いの対象としておられます。その根底には智慧と慈悲があります。これをしないから、できないから私は救われないと心配する必要はないのです。私たちは、お寺に何回行った、法要に何回でたと気にしがちですが、その回数は私たちと阿弥陀様の救いの関係上には何の関係もないのです。もちろん皆様がお寺に来ていただけることは嬉しいことですし、手伝っていただけることは大変有り難いことですが、お念仏を何回したや、お寺に何回来られたの回数の多い・少ないに関係なく働きくださっています。ありのままの私たちを仏様がたは受け入れてくださるのです。そこによしわるしはありません。私たちにできることを一つ一つ一生懸命することが大切なのだと浄土真宗の教えから学びました。それが南無阿弥陀様とお称えさせていただくことでした。御念仏一つで救われていく道を法友と歩み、一生懸命努めようと心に決めてもできないこのような恥ずかしい私ですら、働きかけてくださる阿弥陀様の救いを大変有り難く感じます。

合掌

藤田