Sorry about the silence. I’ve been ill for a few days but am on the mend now, building up my energy again. Before I got sick we were going through a kind of faux-autumn here in the UK, with lots of rain and overcast skies, but yesterday – going outside for the first time in days – I caught a sense of true autumn … a faint chill in the air and the scent of decaying leaves.
This is my last set of notes on Rev. Arai’s Grasped by the Buddha Vow. Having read a lot of Tannishō commentaries I have to admit I have found this one rather underwhelming but I think it’s probably useful as an introduction; especially as some of the older translations and commentaries are quite hard to get hold of these days.
K’s Notes – Day 4 (p.66-126)
p.66 / 97 - Arai says that “Amida has prepared” the Borderland (66), but on the other hand he also says (97) that the Borderland “is a realm that they [i.e. people who doubt the Vow] themselves create in the midst of the ocean of Amida’s pure compassion.”
I think the way of understanding this seeming contradiction is to realise that people are born in the Borderland as a result of their own doubt but at the same time they are born there, rather than the hells (for example), because they have heard (if not understood/trusted) and are still listening to the Buddha’s teachings. From that perspective one can see the Borderland as both the compassionate activity of the Buddha and as the creation of the individual’s own doubt.
p.77 – Arai shares a more detailed version of the Anglimala story that I had not heard before and links it to Shinran’s instruction to Yuien to kill a thousand men.
I am unclear if Arai is saying that the Anglimala story is definitely what Shinran had in mind or not though.
p.80 - Tannishō 13: “Such a person is externally showing the appearance of a wise, good and diligent seeker [kenzen-shōjin] while internally harboring vanity and falsity.”
The Japanese Mahayana Trikaya model is:
Dharmakaya (Hosshin )
- Accommodated Body (e.g. Shakyamuni Buddha)
- Transformed Bodies (Keshin) (e.g. Honen Shonin, Shotoku Taishi etc.)
The ‘Accommodated’ and ‘Transformed Bodies’ are both aspects of the Nirmanakaya and are together termed Okeshin.
p. 126 – Shinran also calls Tariki (Other-power): Daihi-koei-riki – “The Power of Great Compassion and Universal Wisdom”.
That’s all folks … not sure what book I’ll start notes on next. Will have a look at my bookshelf.
Take care, gassho, K