Collected Works of Shinran

10 Reply to Kyosai-bo

I understand that that which is called “the Vow that all Buddhas say the Name” and “the Vow that all Buddhas praise the Name” is for the purpose of encouraging the sentient beings of the ten quarters [to entrust themselves to Amida’s Vow]. Further, I have been taught that it fulfills the purpose of bringing to an end the doubting thought of the sentient beings of the ten quarters. This is understood to be the witness of the Buddhas of the ten quarters taught in the Amida Sutra. In short, I take this Vow as the Vow of compassionate means.

I understand that the Vow of birth through the nembutsu is the right act and right cause that is the Tathagata’s directing of virtue for our going forth. Since persons of true shinjin are the equal of Maitreya, who has attained the stage equal to perfect enlightenment, I have been taught that the Buddhas praise them as being equal to Tathagata. Further, once one has entrusted oneself to Amida’s Primal Vow, as the great teacher Master [Honen] has said, no working is true working. Thus, it is taught that as long as one’s own working remains, it is not Other Power, but self-power.

Further, with regard to Other Power, since it is inconceivable Buddha-wisdom, the attainment of supreme enlightenment by foolish beings possessed of blind passions comes about through the working shared only by Buddhas; it is not in any way the design of the practicer. Thus, no working is true working. “Working” [that is negated] refers to the calculation of the person of self-power. Concerning Other Power, then, no working is true working. I know nothing at all about what these people are saying, so I should not comment on it in any way.

Further, the character rai (“to come”) means [Buddhas] “having come” in order to benefit sentient beings; it refers to compassionate means. When enlightenment has been attained, it means “to return.” I understand that, depending on the context, it means either “having come” or “to return.”

I will write you again more fully.

Second month, 9th day


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