|The Problem of "Merit-Transference In The Aspect of Returning"|
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Another matter which those who criticize Master Rennyo bring up is the problem of “merit-transference in the aspect of returning (from the Pure Land)” (genso-eko).
Regarding this matter, the Venerable Master Shinran wrote the following at the very beginning of the Chapter on Teaching of his “Teaching, Practice, Faith and Attain-ment”:
Reverently contemplating the “true teaching of the Pure Land” (jodo-shinshu), I see that Amida’s directing of virtue to sentient beings has two aspects: the aspect of going to the Pure Land and the aspect of returning to this world.
And in his “Hymns of the Eminent Scholar/Monks” (Koso Wasan), he wrote:
Amida has fulfilled the directing of virtue Which has two aspects: going (to the Pure Land) and returning.
As can be determined from these two quotations (there are many others), the teaching of Jodo-Shinshu considers two “merit-transferences” (eko):
The term translated as “merit-transference” (eko) above, has also been variously translated as, “directing of merit,” “directing of virtue,” “endowment,” “giving itself,” “to be transferred,” “to impart,” etc. It is not an easy term to find an English equivalent for, but basically refers to offering something. As used here, it has the meaning of Amida Buddha giving something to us sentient beings, as in “merittransference of Primal Vow power” (hongan-riki eko).
“Aspect of going” (oso) refers to the birth of sentient beings in the Pure Land, and “aspect of returning (genso) refers to becoming enlightened after being born there and then returning to save sentient beings in this world.
Those who criticize Master Rennyo regarding this matter say that: