You see the formula below. These are essential items when learning the Teaching of Buddha. They go as follows:
1. To Learn Buddhism is to learn myself.
2. to learn myself is to learn Buddha's compassion.
3. to learn Compassion is to forget myself,
4. and to forget myself is to throw me into Buddha's world.
The 18th Vow
"If, when I attain Buddahood, the sentient beings of the 10 quarters who, with sincere and entrusting heart, aspire to be born in my land and say my name even 10 times, should not be born there, may I not attain the perfect enlightenment. Excluded are those who commit the five grave offenses and those who slander the right Dharma."
1. Sentient being of the 10 quarters: Sentient being = you and me
2. Sincere heart: The heart generated by Wisdom of Buddha.
3. Entrusting heart: The heart generated by Compassion of Buddha.
4. Aspire to be born in my land: The future direction of my life.
5. Even 10 times: As long as my life lasts, even very short, recitation is essential.
6. Five grave offenses: Those who commit offenses such as (1) murder father, (2) murder mother, (3) murder Bodhisattvas, (4) murder Buddha, (5) destroy harmony in sangha.
7. Slander the right Dharma: False spoken statements related to Mahayana Teaching.
Jodo-Shinshu is the Teaching of "hearing." When I listen to a song, its essence appears to me. Or, its essence generates clear experience in my mind. When I hear the essence of Wisdom (what I am) and Compassion (Namo-Amida-Butsu), it is the moment of "Aha-experience" because aha-experience contains sincere heart, aspiration of birth, and entrusting with no-doubt.
The 18th Vow does not require me to do any practice such as practice of meditation, sharing, efforts, patience, or observation of precepts. The Vow requires me only to listen to the Teaching. Then, its essence brings "aha-moment" to me. I don't create or generate any clear or joyful experience by my own power and ability - the essence of Wisdom and Compassion appear to me. That's why this experience is so-called experience of "Other Power (not My Power and Ability, or not Self-Power)."
The 18th Vow also signifies "Shinjin-Faith." "Shinjin" means that our hearts and minds become clear and distinct. This awareness and experience also include every item in the formula above.
Rev. Doei Fujii
Return to the Formula in Buddhism series of articles.