In one of our services, we encounter the words: „There are beings with little dust in their eyes, who are wasting through not hearing the Dharma. There will be those who will understand.” And, of course, when we hear these words, probably a bit of us thinks: “I hope I’m one of the ones with only a little bit of dust in my eyes, I hope, I’m going to be the one who understands.” But, of course, if we look more soberly, we probably realise, that we’ve got not just dust, but a whole load of clay, that we live in the world of delusion.

Not many of us are willing to give up everything for the Dharma, to give up house and home, family, children, partner, money, job, possessions, everything. The Buddha called some people to such a life. They were called bhikkhus. They accepted that lot, they accepted that share. The word bhikkhu means something like somebody who accepts their share. So, they went and they begged and people gave them and they accepted what they were given. If nobody put anything in your bowl, well, you went hungry that day. That’s one way to approach the Dharma: to give up everything in that very physical sense. It is called being a monk of body. “Are you a monk of body or a monk of mind?” one of the great teachers asked his disciple.

Well, we modern people, we’re mostly not willing to give up that much. We’re still attached to many, many things and we live in this world of conditions. So, we need a Dharma that is adapted to this, what we might call, the ordinary life. We might give up some things, we might live a simpler life, we might not have a television set, for instance, but we still basically live in the world of gain and loss, and all those ups and downs that constitute ordinary life.

So, when we live in this sort of life, there is not much point in pretending that one is living in a monastery. One is probably just going to make inconvenience for other people around you. If you try to live a monastic discipline while you’re holding down a 9-5 job, or these days probably an 8-7 job, and doing all the other things like taking the teenagers out in the car to their 101 different events and so on, it’s not practical. For this reason, the Pureland way, in which one takes to heart a faith in the helping grace of the Buddhas, is extremely well adapted to a life constrained by circumstance. The Pureland way was created for people living in a feudal society, who had no choice at all. They didn’t have the option to just give up everything. It wasn’t permitted. They would have lost their head in a very literal sense, if they tried to do so.

So, the path of faith is a path in which a different sort of simplicity reigns. A simplicity of the mind. A simplicity that cuts through the complex, stress-producing difficulties of the modern rat-race. If one can keep to this kind of faith through the midst of all the complications that one encounters just in an ordinary day with bills to pay, shopping to do, meals to prepare, children to look after, jobs to do - through all of this one can keep faith - the nembutsu can be there at any time, even if one is just sitting in an office or working in a factory or driving a car, whatever, the nembutsu can stand by us. This is shinjin, and shinjin, one of the Chinese characters, shows a person standing beside a word.

信 = 人 + 言

Those words are Namo Amida Bu.

Thank you very much
Namo Amida Bu


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