This is Part One of Part Seventeen of the commentary on Summary of Faith and Practice. Part Seventeen will be in four parts.

Text: encompasses the three minds

Part One: Background
In this teaching I would like to explain the meaning of the ‘three minds’ 三心 sanjin. The three minds are explained originally in the commentary upon the Contemplation Sutra written by Shan Tao in the seventh century. Shan Tao was the greatest teacher and populariser of Pureland Buddhism in China. He was an erudite, humble and artistic monk and is regarded as a great saint. He painted many icons of the Pure Land of Amida Buddha and these became objects of worship all over China. He also wrote deeply meaningful commentaries upon Buddhist texts. In particular he wrote a commentary upon the Contemplation Sutra.

The Contemplation Sutra is one of the three texts most revered in Pureland Buddhism. The sutra has three parts. The first part is a history that sets the scene, detailing the troubles of Queen Videhi. The second part reveals a vision of the Pure Land as revealed by Buddha to the queen to console her in her troubles and the third part details the nine grades of people who enter such a paradise.

Shan Tao’s commentary advanced what, at the time, seemed a radical interpretation of the third part of the sutra. Until then the nine grades had been taken as a ladder or ascending pathway that the practitioner had to climb in order to reach the highest grade. Shan Tao, however, said that the reason for inclusion of the nine grades in the sutra was to make clear that even those of the lowest grade were not abandoned. They too enter the Pure Land. they too shall ultimately enter nirvana.

Shan Tao lived in the seventh century in China. Honen lived in the eleventh and twelfth centuries in Japan. Honen was deeply concerned to find a path of salvation for all, not merely the highly accomplished. When he read Shan Tao’s commentary he experiences a great revelation. This completely changed his life. In 1175 he ‘descended from the mountain’ and went forth into the world and it is from his teaching in the years that followed until his death in 1212 that Pureland as we know it derives.

Honen always held Shan Tao in great esteem and saw him as an incarnation of Amida Buddha. Honen is often himself seen as an incarnation of Tai Shih Chi who is, in a certain sense, Amida’s right hand assistant.

In his Commentary, Shan Tao explains the meaning of the teaching in various ways and one of the most important is by means of the doctrine of the three minds. The three minds are
Utterly Sincere Mind (至誠心) shijoshin
Profound Mind (深心) jinshin, and
Mind that vows to transfer merit (廻向発願心) ekohotsuganshin

To be continued...

Views: 53

Events

ITZI Conference 2017

Blog Posts

Mindfulness to Heartfulness: Unique international gathering on Buddhist psychology

Posted by David Brazier on June 28, 2017 at 11:58 0 Comments

I am speaking at Mindfulness to Heartfulness: Unique international gathering on Buddhist psychology - creative dialogue between psychology and spiritual practice. The WEEKEND OF 8 SEPTEMBER 2017. The International Zen Therapy Institute hosts…

Continue

A Special Weekend

Posted by David Brazier on June 26, 2017 at 23:52 2 Comments

I have spent the past weekend at meetings of the Amida Order in Malvern in UK. Apart from approving the advancement of a number of good people there was not a lot of "business" so we were able to concentrate upon our relationships with each other and with life and upon practising together. The whole thing turned out very well. The temple in Malvern is very comfortable and the location superb. It is difficult to convey the quality of interaction between people to those who were not there -…

Continue

COMPASSION FOR OUR WORLD

Posted by David Brazier on June 1, 2017 at 14:00 1 Comment

I suppose that for many people politics seems something rather remote. For me, it is always close to my heart. Not that I strongly support this or that party, but because the issues are of such consequence. This is perhaps because of my early years having been passed in the Middle East where those consequences are evident in a more raw way. Over my lifetime I have watched as a pivotal region of the world has been systematically wrecked and ruined. Beautiful, cosmopolitan, multi-religious…

Continue

First Thing's First!

Posted by Adam Dunsby on May 28, 2017 at 17:24 0 Comments

       

                                                          …

Continue

© 2017   Created by David Brazier.   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service