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The Three Characteristics of Untrue Faith and of True Faith


三不三信誨慇懃 Carefully and earnestly he made clear the three

characteristics of untrue faith and true faith 像末法滅同悲引 Throughout the ages of Semblance, Decline, and

Extinction, [Amida Buddha’s Vow] compassionately

saves all beings 一生造悪値弘誓 Even though one commits evils all one’s life, if one

encounters the Universal Vow 至安養界証妙果 One will reach the Land of Utmost Bliss and realize the perfect fruit of enlightenment

----Chanting Book. on page 28


This part is from a section about Master Tao-cho, one of the seven great Buddhist masters whom Master Shinran revered. Carefully and earnestly he made clear the three characteristics of untrue faith and of true faith: He meticulously taught the differences between the mind before salvation by Amida (three characteristics of untrue faith) and the mind after salvation by Amida (three characteristics of true faith). Throughout the ages of Semblance, Decline, and Extinction, [Amida Buddha’s Vow] compassionately saves all beings: “The ages of Semblance, Decline, and Extinction” refers to three ages that occur in the time after Śākyamuni Buddha’s death, as taught in the Sūtra of the Great Assembly and many other sūtras. After the Age of the Right Dharma (the 500-year period after Śākyamuni’s death) comes the Age of Semblance Dharma (the 1000-year period after the Age of the Right Dharma), the Age of Dharma Decline (the 10,000-year period after the Age of Semblance Dharma), and the Age of Extinction of the Dharma (the eternal period after the Age of Dharma Decline). These three ages are expressed as “the ages of Semblance, Decline, and Extinction.” It is taught that Amida Buddha’s Vow is the true Buddhism that saves all people regardless of the age they live in. If one encounters the Universal Vow: If one is saved into absolute happiness in accordance with Amida Buddha’s Vow. One will reach the Land of Utmost Bliss and realize the perfect fruit of enlightenment: One becomes able to go to the Pure Land (Land of Utmost Bliss) and attain the same enlightenment as Amida (perfect fruit) at the moment of death.

reference:

From Buddhism Doctrine 6, Number 48

  1. Age of the Right Dharma: The 500-year period after the Buddha's death.

  2. Age of Semblance Dharma: The 1000-year period after the Age of the Right Dharma is over.

  3. Age of Dharma Decline: The 10,000-year period after the Age of Semblance Dharma is over.

  4. Age of Extinction of the Dharma: The eternal period after the Age of Dharma Decline is over.

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