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The Hymn of True Faith  (Vasubandhu Bodhisattva [Tenjin Bosatsu]) [Part 2]

天親菩薩造論説 Vasubandhu Bodhisattva composed a discourse

帰命無礙光如来 Declaring that he had been saved by the Buddha of

Unhindered Light

(Chant Book pg. 21)

Approximately 900 years after Shakyamuni Buddha passed away, Vasubandhu was born in the kingdom of Gandhara, located in Northern India. He was innately bright and entered a Buddhist monastery at the age of 20. He learned every sutra that existed in the country in no time.

There are two types of Buddhism: “Hinayana” and “Mahayana.” Hinayana refers to the teaching of Buddhism that focuses on the individual attaining enlightenment by himself. In other words, it is the teaching of "my benefit, my benefit" (garigari; as long as I get what I want, I don’t care about others). Mahayana, on the other hand, focuses on seeking salvation together with many other people. The very genuine spirit of Shakyamuni Buddha lies in this teaching of Mahayana, which is "benefiting oneself, benefiting others" (jiririta).

In the beginning, Vasubandhu believed that Hinayana was the correct Buddhist teaching. Furthermore, he criticized the Mahayana sutras as the creations of somebody other than Shakyamuni Buddha. He said that they were not the words of Buddha.

Asanga Bodhisattva, Vasubandhu Bodhisattva's older brother, took refuge in Mahayana Buddhism and played a very important role in conveying the Mahayana teachings. Asanga was greatly distressed over his own brother criticizing Mahayana Buddhism, so he preached to Vasubandhu at every opportunity that the Mahayana Buddhist teachings were the true intention of Shakyamuni Buddha.

However, Vasubandhu was a prominent master of Hinayana Buddhism at the time. He had already written many books, including the Abhidharma Storehouse Treatise. He therefore could not accept the teaching from his brother. This situation caused conflict between them. In the end, Vasubandhu set out on a journey to somewhere far away in order to get away from his brother. So Asanga Bodhisattva thought out a plan to bring him back. (to be continued)

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