The sea of suffering turns to a vast sea of brightness
Aoi Kurosawa (Support Staff), Toyama Prefecture
Master Shinran expresses the world of absolute happiness by saying, “Boarding the ship of Amida's great compassion, I got afloat on the vast ocean of brightness.” Looking around from the great ship, he says, the sea of suffering that had been dark until now has been completely transformed to a vast ocean with no obstacles. I learned that we can be taken across to the Pure Land cheerfully and joyfully.
This is because although the waves of worldly passions make our life painful, the great ship has the power to rescue from the ocean those whose blind passions rage and whose sins weigh heavy, without making any change to the waves.
I do good deeds once in a while, but I do them to impress others. How deceptive of me! There is no true mind in me. Despite that, I always hope to be respected by others. I'm shocked to know that the great waves of my desire for fame are raging in my mind. It is natural that such a person cannot attain true happiness. But I came to know the existence of the ship of Amida's great compassion that saves such people into absolute happiness just as we are. I cannot help feeling thankful to the true masters who went to great toil to convey inexplicable happiness.
Being made to live by the deep compassion of Buddha
Daiki Morinaga, Lawyer
When people hear the term "absolute happiness", they tend to think that when we are granted it our worldly passions such as greed and anger will be decreased and we will not experience unhappiness or disasters. However, I heard in the lecture that even after attaining absolute happiness, our worldly passions do not decrease at all and the waves of the sea of suffering come to us just as they did before.
When I think about it, I see that Master Shinran's life was all the more tumultuous after he was saved by Amida Buddha. As he taught Amida Buddha’s Vow clearly, he was attacked and criticized by people who were ignorant about true Buddhism. He was treated coldly even by other fellow disciples. He also laid down to rest in the snow for the sake of Hinozaemon, and Bennen tried to kill him many times. It is natural for people to wonder why he had to go through such hardships despite practicing the greatest act of giving—conveying Amida Buddha’s Vow.
However, Master Shinran declared, “Mindful solely of the depth of Amida's benevolence, I pay no mind to others' derision.” Though he suffered many extremely painful experiences, all the suffering that he went through turned to joy and gratitude to Amida Buddha. Such joy is far beyond our imagination. I am totally surprised to know the wonder of the absolute world experienced by Master Shinran.