People generally have a hard time hearing when my teacher Shinran said, “I am an evil person”…and “Hell is my only home”.

Why can’t they hear? Because they just can’t see when THEY look in the mirror what Shinran saw when HE looked in the mirror.

Here’s what he saw, displayed as a metaphor in one amazing picture:


When I heard Shinran describe himself and his predicament, I finally understood me, and mine.

It finally became clear: the part of myself that I am conscious of is that small bit of iceberg that sticks out above the surface of the ocean.

The HIDDEN DEPTHS - my blind passions - remain entirely out of my awareness.

The Shin Ugly truth is, I don’t even know what I don’t even know.

That’s what Shinran means by an EVIL PERSON. Not the western idea of someone who disobeys a creator god. No, for Buddhists - and for Shinran - evil is a matter of pure blind ignorance - plain and simple.

An EVIL PERSON is someone who is living an ICEBERG US life.

It’s that massive hidden ICEBERG beneath the waves - whose mass and contours I cannot even see - that doom me to endless lives of rebirth into suffering yet again.

That’s not a happy, fuzzy-bunny new-age perspective on re-birth. It’s the dead-sober teaching of the only one who REALLY knows - Shakyamuni Buddha.

Once I understood Shakyamuni’s and Shinran’s perspective on ICEBERG US, my confusion about my inability to become enlightened by my own efforts was finally cleared up.

I wanted to stand up - and not fall down again.
I wanted to be fearless - and not fearful again.
I wanted to be free - and not be bound again.
I wanted to be serene - and not angry again.
I wanted to be present - and not get distracted again.
I wanted to be awake - and not fall asleep again.

And so I practiced.
And practiced.
And practiced some more.

But when I faced the truth
, I had to admit: EVERYTHING I did was a temporary fix. Nothing ever worked in a full and final way - no matter what I did, or did not do.

I didn’t know why, for the longest time.

But now I know.

This picture explains it - in the most graphic terms. It’s the picture of my life.

And finally, I heard Shinran’s plain talk for plain people about the REASON for my suffering, despite my best efforts to STOP.

Then Shakyamuni Buddha and Shinran and the other Pure Land Masters explained in the True Teaching, Practice and Realization of the Pure Land Way: it’s not just me.

It’s not just the picture of my life and my blind passion - but of your life, and your blind passion too.

In fact, it’s the picture of ALL our lives in this age of Dharma Decline.


So if you have begun to suspect that something is terminally screwed up - that you can’t get to the far shore of full enlightenment from where you are right now - no matter what you do for practice - Buddhist or otherwise - you’re reading the right blog.

This is the blog for people who are coming to realize that can’t save themselves - no matter what practice they do, for how long.

I invite you to start listening deeply to others who have had the self-same realization of their own impossible to remedy situation.

Amida Buddha has a remedy for us all.

That is why I have taken refuge in HIM.

Namu-Amida-Butsu. Thank you Amida Buddha.

Paul R.

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