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Two Benefits in the Present and Future


Question: Amida's salvation occurs twice, once in this world and once at the moment of death. This is called “two benefits in the present and future”. Write the words of Master Shinran and Master Rennyo in which they taught that Amida’s salvation occurs twice—in this life and after death.


Answer:

Those who have become the truly settled will attain great nirvana. The Hymn of True Faith

Those who are saved by Amida in a split second [ichinen] enter shojoju. This is salvation in this life. Metsudo means going to the Pure Land and attaining the same level of enlightenment as Amida Buddha. This is salvation after death. Accordingly, Amida's salvation must be understood to confer two benefits.  【RP.148】 The Letters

Two benefits in the present and future: Two benefits in this life and after death. “Benefit” refers to Amida’s salvation, or happiness. Amida’s salvation occurs both in the present and after death. This is called “two benefits in the present and future”.

_Quote from The Hymn of True Faith “Those who have become the truly settled will attain great nirvana after death.” To paraphrase: We will be saved into absolute happiness in this life, and after death, we will attain the same level of enlightenment as Amida Buddha. Those who have become the truly settled: Benefit in this life. Attain great nirvana: To attain the same enlightenment as Amida. Benefit after death.

_Quote from The Letters In this world we are saved to the same level as Maitreya Bodhisattva (shojoju; the stage of the truly settled), and at the moment of death we attain supreme enlightenment in Amida's Pure Land. Therefore, Amida's salvation occurs twice. 【RP.148】

■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■ The exchange may be paraphrased thus:

Q: Does Amida's salvation occur once or twice? A: In this world we are saved to the same level as Miroku, and at the moment of death we attain supreme enlightenment in Amida's Pure Land. So Amida's salvation occurs twice. 【RP.149】

--------------------------------------------------- SHOJO; SHOJOJU Salvation by Amida, in this life, to the fifty-first of the fifty-two stages of enlightenment. 【RP.213】 If compared with the 52 levels of enlightenment, the "stage of the truly settled" (shojo) corresponds with the 51st level of enlightenment (near-perfect enlightenment). However, the word “enlightenment” is not used in True Pure Land Buddhism. The “stage of the truly settled” is not called enlightenment, but salvation by Amida Buddha.

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Near-perfect enlightenment: 51st level Since this level is virtually equal to a buddha’s enlightenment, this is called ‘near-perfect enlightenment’. It is the top level for a bodhisattva. Bodhisattvas at this level include Maitreya, Kṣitigarbha, and Kannon.

On Maitreya Maitreya is the buddha of the future. He is currently at the 51st level (near-perfect enlightenment). One who is saved by Amida stands side-by-side with Maitreya, at the stage of the truly settled. Furthermore, it will take Maitreya 5.67 billion years to become a buddha, but those who are saved by Amida Buddha will become buddhas as soon as they die.

quote: I know in truth. The great bodhisattva Miroku has attained the diamond faith of enlightenment, the highest spiritual stage possible for a bodhisattva, and will indeed enter into supreme enlightenment beneath the dragon―flower tree at the dawn of the three assemblies. As all those saved by Amida have attained the diamond faith bestowed by him, at the moment of death each one will be reborn in the Pure Land of Amida and become a buddha.

("on Faith," in Teaching, Practice, Faith, Enlightenment.)【RP.147】

(from the doctrine book 4-37)

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