From “Being Bothered” to “Great Joy”

Before you read this WONDERFUL note from a dharma friend, you might want to read our dialogue in the prior post, which is HERE.

Then again, you might want to start with this post, and get the context later.

For anyone willing to listen deeply (like my dharma friend), Amida Buddha’s transmission of TRUE wisdom and TRUE compassion works just as well either way.

I am grateful to be one more link in Amida’s Golden Chain, whether anyone else reads my dharma friend’s letter of overwhelming gratitude below - or not.

To borrow a phrase from Pink Floyd, it’s better than being another brick in the wall of gobbledygook being erected by too many who CALL themselves teachers of Shin Buddhism - but are actually teaching lamentable divergences from Shinran’s teaching - divergences that confuse the Sangha terribly.

Same as it ever was.

Just read Yuien’s Tannisho - the names have changed, the gobbledygook has changed, but the brick wall of obscuration and doubt remains the same.

That’s why it’s so important for people of the same SHINJIN as our True Teacher Shinran to stand up and speak out, whether here on the Shin Ugly Blog, or in some other forum, or in a local Shin community.

There are untold numbers of people who are dying of THIRST, literally scouring the net, looking for a clear exposition of the True Teaching of Shinran - as I once was, and my dharma friend once was.

These people need DHARMA RAIN - not gobbledygook. That’s the reason - the ONLY reason - for the Shin Ugly Blog.

That’s why it is so critical for the Shin sangha to hear what I call “The Shinran Manifesto”:

Return to the True Teaching of Shinran, our True Teacher

That’s what we need to do - and that’s ALL we need to do - to be the legitimate agents of Amida Buddha - used by him to lead those ready to hear to the same SHINJIN - just as Shinran did and Rennyo did as well.

That’s what we need to do - and that’s ALL we need to do - to experience a renewal of the dying Shin Sangha - in the US and around the world.

And that includes Japan - where (I am told) young people serious about their spiritual destiny are turning now to Christian evangelists, because Shin Buddhism has devolved into “funeral religion” in far too many places in the land where Shinran once walked.

That’s what we need to do - and that’s ALL we need to do. Just let go of personal views, as Yuien says, and return to the True Teaching of Shinran, our True teacher.

Same as it ever was.

Here’s my dharma friend’s letter. It speaks more eloquently than I ever could about the POWER of transmission that occurs through the clear speaking and deep hearing of Shinran’s True Teaching.



Just wanted to write and let you know that your uncertainty as to the usefulness of your answer to my ”Questions” email was unfounded; your post proved immensely helpful—and cause for great joy: Waves of overwhelming, inexplicable relief! Namu Amida Butsu!

Actually, I think that Amida’s been helping me intuit this answer for some time. As I look back through my journals from this last year, I find entries like ”Do not worry at all about shinjin; leave Amida to Amida’s business,” and, ”I am completely incapable of manufacturing diamond-like shinjin.”

I suppose that, despite these moments of clarity, I got side-tracked by too much intellectualizing about shinjin…just the sort of thing you’re cautioning the Shin sangha against in your blog.

Anyway, thanks again for providing this forum. I can’t really express how grateful I am to have found this goldmine of spiritual nourishment. Thanks to your blog, I’ve started to re-read significant portions of Shinran - with new eyes.


A post-script of clarification is in order.

This blog has many different kinds of readers - from true leaders in the Shin sangha, like Professor Eiken Kobai and Reverend George Gatenby, to Shin Buddhists with no “formal credentials” or local Shin community, to Buddhists who don’t understand Shinran’s teaching, to people who aren’t even Buddhists at all.

So, in response to my dharma friend’s note, I am indeed explaining to him (and others) that our tendencies to intellectualize SHINJIN work against us. And I am citing references from Honen, Shinran and Rennyo that encourage us to listen deeply, but simply - without trying to figure it all out.

But I am doing more than that: I am actually waging a bit of a war - not against human beings - but against a set of divergent ideas that have infiltrated the Shin Sangha with the worst possible consequences - consequences that are DEPLORABLE - to use Shinran’s own blunt language.

I’ve experienced the consequences of these divergences personally. You can read about that HERE.

I’ve also seen the the consequences of these divergences in the broader Shin community. HERE is one example of how much confusion is being created by divergent teachers in Shinran’s name.

It’s no time to mince words, nor be overly polite about the current memetic viruses infecting the Sangha. Shinran, Honen, Yuien, Rennyo - all were BLUNT MEN with a laser-like focus on delivering the pristine dharma of Amida Buddha.

To provide this singular teaching (Shinran tells us) is THE reason that Shakyamuni Buddha came into the world.

It’s too important to be coy or shy or indirect about what Shakyamuni did or did not say. Karmic destinies are at stake.

That’s why I am a blunt man too.

Will that kind of BLUNTNESS offend people who don’t understand the stakes, and don’t take Shinran’s teaching seriously?

Of course. It always has, and it always will.

But the true problem is not people’s prickliness about direct speaking of dharma truth. No, the TRUE problem is their APATHY, their PASSIVITY, their UNWILLINGNESS to struggle honestly with Shakyamuni’s final teaching - as my friend has struggled, and as I have struggled too.

The truth is that ALL of us who share Shinran’s same SHINJIN have struggled similarly as part of the process of being awakened to the salvation that only Amida Buddha can offer.

That’s just what happens when foolish, deluded beings driven by egocentric impulses towards self-power engage the greatest of all the Buddhas who brings the gift of INCONCEIVABLE SHINJIN.

It’s not my job - nor anyone’s - to awaken another. But it is my job to do my best to help a dharma friend with his HONEST struggle.

How? By sharing the True Teaching of Shinran clearly - as best as I can - with my left-brain and my right-brain, without adding in my own personal views.

That’s how the next person gets an HONEST opportunity to listen deeply too.

And ultimately, that’s how all of us become links in Amida’s Golden Chain.

Same as it ever was.

NamuAmidaButsu -

Paul R.

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