Namu Amida Butsu
Have you ever seen Shinran Shonin? Do you know who Shinran Shonin is? Where does he live? And so on. These questions are often re-ceived from non-Buddhists who visit our Sunday morning services.
Yes, they are very curious because what they’ve heard at our temple is new to them and they would like to know more.
Shinran Shonin is the founder of the Jodo Shinshu or "True Pure Land Religion" and the great spir-itual master of all Nembutsu followers. So, if we are able to meet with Shinran Shonin, it will be a great honor and you may be not able to sleep that night. It will be just like you are seeing President of the United States of America in person. On top of that if you are able to speak with him it will be so exciting and you may not to know what to say or find it very diffi-cult to find any words to say to him. I am sure many of us will take a picture or video with him with your phone, shake hands with him and ask for his autograph. I remember when our former Abbot Koshin Ohtani and Lady Ohtani came to Hawaii, many people did what I wrote above. They were bit confused but they were so nice to the Hawaii’s Shinshu followers, they just smiled and shook hands with us, and took several pic-tures together with us. I think if Shinran Shonin were here and had these kinds of experiences, he would be confused because he has never ex-perienced what we are looking for from him. However, if we ask him about the life of the Nembutsu, Amida Buddha’s wisdom and com-passion, and so on, he would be willing to share with us the true feelings of the Amida Buddha and Nembutsu teaching. You might get sleep be-cause Shinran Shonin will spend hours of expla-nations about this issue.
Shinran Shonin joined the priesthood at the age of 9 and studied Tendai Buddhism for 20 years at Mt. Hiei. He left Mt. Hiei when he was at the age of 29 and joined Honen Shonin’s Nem-butsu guidance. Reasons why he left from Mt. Hiei and went to Honen Shonin’s Nembutsu teaching ... I really don’t know the fact, but he was struggling and had doubts about what he was doing at Mt. Hiei. This is my personal obser-vation about Shinran Shonin but what Shinran Shonin told to the one of his dharma disciples was as follows, "As for me, Shinran, there is nothing left but to receive and believe the teach-ing of the Venerable Master that we are saved by Amida merely through the utterance of the Nem-butsu.
Physically we cannot meet Shinran Shonin unless if we have a time-machine and go back to the years he lived. However, when you read his writings, indirectly we are able to meet and learn the heart of Shinran Shonin and are able to find his compassionate heart to the all Nembutsu fol-lowers. If we are able to accept his guidance as it is without having any self-calculations, you are truly listening to Shinran Shonin’s direct words and accepting Amida Buddha’s great compas-sion in your daily lives.
So, I firmly believe following his wonderful words as it is said, "When we are alone and re-joice in the Nembutsu, remember that there are two and when we are two to rejoice in the Nem-butsu remember that there are three and that other person is Shinran Shonin."
We are always meeting with Shinran Shonin through the wonderful life of the Nembutsu and receive his great guidance in our precious life and rejoice in the happiness with Shinran Shonin and Amida Buddha.