Blessed Assurance, Amida is Mine

It is a primordial tenet of Jodo Shinshu/Shin Buddhism that Amida Buddha grasps us once, never to let go.. This loving embrace permits we ourselves to let go, in the sense of “Let go, and let Amida”. This is the essence of Tariki or Other Power-reliance. In this age of Dharma decline, most of us are simply not fit to walk the Holy Way, the Path of the Sages, with all of its methods, meditations and exercises – although of course, some of us do still attempt to assay the Difficult Way.

But Master Shinran Shonin, through his experience of Shinjin mediated by Amida Buddha, realized the general folly of reliance on self power in spiritual matters. That is, self power methods and ideas, although laudatory in non-spiritual endeavors (if we want to graduate or get a job, self effort is an absolute essential), is useless and even dangerous and delusional in the spiritual quest for enlightenment and Buddhahood. This is so because for most of us, self power practices can at best only provide brief glimpses into our Buddha Nature and temporary states of Bodhi. Full enlightenment in one lifetime is not usually attainable by we bombus, we selfish beings led by blind passions and wrong ideas.

Instead, Amida Buddha provides everything we require to fulfill our twofold spiritual need for redemption and Buddhahood. There is nothing we need to do. Indeed, there is nothing (as bombus) that we can do. Amida does it all, spiritually speaking. Buddha is not an intervening creator-deity and does not manipulate the material universe on our behalf: does not tamper with our karma or our circumstances so that we may graduate or get a targeted job; does not answer our grasping petitionary prayers. No, Buddha’s work and activity are solely directed toward evolving us to Buddhahood in the Pure Land.

Amida Buddha’s assurance is, that through the grace of Shinjin granted by Amida alone and not by our own efforts, at the moment of physical death, we pass into the Pure Land where an unearned crown of Buddhahood awaits us, delivered by Buddha’s infinite merits, wisdom, compassion, unimpeded Light and eternal Being.

This post’s title is, “Blessed Assurance, Amida is Mine”. But it would perhaps be better phrased, “Blessed Assurance, I am Amida’s”, for it is Amida Buddha alone who offers and guarantees the neverending Embrace in which we pass into Buddhahood


4 thoughts on “Blessed Assurance, Amida is Mine

  1. Rob

    But how to get assurance? I can chant the nembutsu till I’m blue in the face. I think Jodo Shinshu is a beautiful religion, but I still feel lost in a hostile, meaningless universe.

  2. rennyo01 Post author

    Thanks for dropping by here.

    In Shin Buddhism, it is not *we* who get assurance. The assurance, called Shinjin, or true faith, is a free gift from Amida Buddha. It cannot be obtained, attained, or achieved by any self-power effort – including chanting the Nembutsu until we’re blue in the face. It’s a matter of realizing that self-power is useless for the strictly spiritual transformation offered by Shinjin, enlightenment and Buddhahood. It’s a matter of “letting go and letting Amida” do his work. This is why Shin eschews all self power practices, including meditation and visualization. Not only are they redundant, given Amida’s salvific power, but they are absolutely useless. In Shin, saying the Nembutsu only once with true faith is sufficient, and even in this, Amida himself causes the emergence of the once-only true faith Nembutsu. All other Nembutsu-recitations, whether verbal or mental, are not “works toward salvation”. On the contrary, they are simply grateful acknowledgements of what Amida has already done, and continues to do, for us.

    I agree that the universe is meaningless, and this is Gotama Buddha’s own teaching, which judged the universe to be “Samsara” – the abode of ego, blind passions, separation, pain, boredom, struggle, and endless birth/death/rebirth. Thus, no meaning accrues to the Samsaric cosmos. Meaning is transcendent to the universe, in the Pure Land from whence Amida works his providential grace. Amida’s gift of Shinjin does not make Samsara meaningful. Rather, it delivers us from Samsara as soon as we receive Shinjin. We are “born again” here and now, and through this process, Samsara becomes not meaningful, but irrelevant. Thus, while the cosmos is meaningless, we ourselves are meaningful because we are all Buddhas, and because Amida utilizes our aspiration toward Buddhahood as skillful means toward new birth in the Pure Land, where we become Buddhas and/or Bodhisattvas imbued with the capacity to re-enter Samsara as spiritual helpers to those beings still trapped there.

    These kinds of questions are considered at the following site;

    I would encourage you to visit there and read the recent questions/replies, as well as search the archives.

    So don’t feel bad about living in a meaningless universe. Amida has arranged that a “raft from the Other Shore” – Shinjin – comes for us, to carry us through life and on into the transcendent abode.

  3. Rob

    But I don’t have faith. I don’t even know that there is an Amida. Should I even bother then? I will look at the Yahoo group; I was a member once but I got really frustrated and split. There just seems to be no clear answer.

    Jesus said, come to me all ye who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Well, I didn’t get rest from Christianity, in fact I got the opposite. But if I were to get rest, I think it would be the knowing that this reality is not the last word, that it will be swallowed up in something greater, far greater and truly happy. I’m 47 now; I have less days in front of me than behind me (I hope). I wish I could find what I’m looking for; I’ve been searching for decades now.

    Thanks for the reply.

  4. rennyo01 Post author

    You don’t need to know _now_ that Amida is real because his working will eventually embrace all beings, including you. If your karma hasn’t ripened to the extent that you are ready for shinjin, sooner or later it will… As far as this world/cosmos being the only reality, I don’t believe it. I’ve always believed that the personal self or soul is non-material and therefore materialist explanations are incomplete at best and wildly erroneous at worst. I don’t believe that “we are the brain/body” because that which investigates brain and body is neither – it’s consciousness, without any material dimension… Anyway, I wish you the best in your search. Thanks again for dropping in here.

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