This is podcast #108. It will therefore be the last in this series of podcasts, 108 being a very auspicious number in the Buddhist system. There was a previous podcast about the significance of this number (Podcast #76). If this is the last podcast, it should in some way summarise the whole meaning of the other 107 that have come before. This should sum it all up in a simple way.
Well, if we're looking for something that sums it all up in a simple way, we are looking to the nembutsu. The nembutsu is the epitome of the whole Buddhist way. The nembutsu is a window through which all the teachings of Buddha can be perceived in all their depth and all their breadth, in every way.
And, you might say: “How can it possibly be, that six syllables can make so much difference? How can six syllables change your whole life? Surly you need, you know, volumes as many as the Encyclopaedia Britannica!“ Of course, Buddhism offers a vast array of scriptures, sutras, commentaries and so on. So, you can immerse yourself in all that learning. That's what you can see through this window - this window, which is the nembutsu.
So, how can six syllables be enough? Will they be enough to change your life? Well, if I remind you that the three little words “I love you“ can certainly change your life, what can six do?
You see: the nembutsu is “I love you“ applied to the whole universe, applied to everything, applied to everybody. It is the universal form of “I love you“. It is the unlocking of the love in your heart and the love that shimmers everywhere in this world. The whole universe is shimmering with love. This is the meaning of spirituality, this is the essence of spiritual experience; and the spiritual path is to put this into practice, to take it in and to give it out. And this taking in and give out, rather like the in-breath and the out-breath, theses are the two sides of spirituality: the rupakaya – in the world, the dharmaykaya – in one's heart.
The dharmakaya in one's heart is shunyata, is emptiness, because true love is for nothing, true love is completely gratuitous, total generosity, generosity of spirit. A true practitioner has a big heart, a generous heart, a generosity of spirit, a generosity of spirit that reaches everywhere. This is the mind of the bodhisattva, the heart of the bodhisattva. This is Quan Shi Yin, pouring out her kindness with total liberality upon the whole world. So, this is the rupakaya, and behind it – what is there? No ego. No ego there. Nothing! Emptiness. Shunyata. This is the dharmakaya, the dharmakaya which is the fundamental principle upon which Buddhism is constructed. The sheer open willingness to be a conduit for universal love, unconditional love, love that reaches everywhere and fulfils the bodhisattva vow: Numberless are sentient beings. We vow to safe them all. Immeasurable are the Dharma teachings and we will express them all through this universal love.
So, Namo Amida Bu: Six syllables to completely change your existence.
I love you all.
Thank you very much.