Namu Amida Butsu
This is a very common word for all Buddhists,and we are always hearing this particular wordduring the months of March and September."What is the meaning of “The Other Shore?” InBuddhist society, we express the Land of theBuddha as “The Other Shore" the place calledNirvana in Sanskrit and the opposite side is usuallycalled "This Shore" where we all live in thispresent place.
Many years ago I received a greeting cardfrom Mr. Wes Wong, and it said "Happy NewYear from the Other Shore." It was a reallyunique card from Mr. Wong. As you may know,his house is located on the other side of the plantationwater ditch and the ditch divides two locations.Mr. Wong’s house is on the other side ofthe former plantation water ditch and the templewhere I am living is opposite side from his house.
Using a bit of humor, he described his homeas follows, “My house has a nice vegetable garden,fruits trees, birds, cats, and so on. It is surroundedby our fantastic Mother Nature and alwayshas many different kind of birds (includingthe loud sounds of Geese) singing. My family receivesfeeling of peace and tranquility. How luckyI am. Namo Amida Butsu, Namo Amida Butsu,Namo Amida Butsu.”
In the Amida Sutra, the Pure Land of Amida isdescribed as follows: Shakyamuni Buddha said,Shariputa, "Westward from here and beyond tenbillion miles, there is Paradise so called UtmostHappiness (Gokuraku). In that land there is aBuddha called Amida, who is preaching theDharma endlessly.In the Land of Utmost Happiness there aremany pools of gems brimming with the water ofeight virtues. The bottoms of the pools are pure,covered with sand of gold. On the four sidesthere are stairways of gold, silver, lapis lazuli, andcrystal. The lotus flowers in the pools are as largeas cart wheels. Those of green color give offgreen splendor, those of yellow color, yellowsplendor, those of red color, red splendor, andthose of white color, white splendor. They aresubtly, wonderfully fragrant and pure. The Landof Utmost Happiness is perfected thus andsplendidly adorned with such excellence." (Buddhatells of the Infinite The Amida Kyo p. 13 & 22)
Even if Shakyamuni Buddha explained to usthrough the Amida Sutra, in fact even if peoplewent to the Land of Amida (Pure Land or UtmostHappiness place) we have never heard from anyonewho has returned from the Pure Land ofBuddha to describe this secret place.
However, I firmly believe that the importantthing that the Buddha was applying towards us isthat even if our lives are difficult and hard, as longas we rely upon Amida’s Vow without any doubtand rejoice in our precious lives with the greatguidance of the Nembutsu, when the time comes,we are able to be reborn into the land of the Buddhawhich we call Pure Land or Ojodo in Japanese.
That place does not have any suffering, anger,or greed but instead, it allows us to purelyenjoy the precious life for eternity with all of ourfellow Buddhas. (We all forgive the mind of angertowards anyone and become a Buddha.) Andspiritually we are able to return to the sentient beingsand guide them to follow the path of thetruth. (Amida’s directing of virtue for our return tothis world)
At temple services, ministers are always encouragingeveryone to rely upon "Namo AmidaButsu" which Amida Buddha’s infinite life andlight is always showing us, guiding us the path ofthe truth in our precious lives.
So, "Where is the Other Shore?" It is not rightacross the water ditch of the Wailuku Hongwanjibut "It is the place for us to become a true Buddha."We just rely upon Namo Amida Butsu andwhen our time comes, Amida Buddha will take usto the Land of the Buddha which the Amida Sutrais explained to us.Namo Amida Butsu.