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Sincerity Isn't Cheating but Non-attachment

I am sure after reading about the Buddhas, the Bodhisattvas, the devas and devis — the whole Buddhist pantheon, the gentle reader is confused.

When I wrote that "Buddhism is not a religion; it's a psychology", it stands to reason that Buddhism as a toolkit is a religion, a psychology, and a philosophy.

However, there may be people who still don't get it — they scratch their heads when I say "All Buddhas point to Sakyamuni Buddha."

For the purpose of the Buddhas is to focus on a Buddhist term like "compassion", not for followers to adore one of them like a god, even though Adi-Buddha isn't even a Buddhist god. He represents the whole Buddhadharma as ultimate reality.

Yet that revelation is beyond human comprehension for the average person. And so it should be.

For not everyone is capable of fully comprehending what Buddhism actually is.

It's like a bunch of blind men trying to discover what an elephant is.

As long as each of us has made up our minds what Buddhism is, our cognitive biases will kick in and filter out everything else.

This even happens to people who are of the opinion that the Pure Land way only serves to leave a few followers with attachment to the idea that Buddha Remembrance is a cheat because it offers the reward of an easy path to Enlightenment.

This is not so, because anyone with such an attachment is letting his ego guide the way to rebirth in the human realm and thus is only causing himself suffering.

This is because the practitioner who says the Nembutsu thinking that it is a free pass to the Pure Land is not saying it with sincerity.

Rather, when a Pure Land practitioner practices Buddha Remembrance with sincere intent to be reborn in the Pure Land, she has faith in the Primal Vow to be reborn in the Pure Land.

For the reason why Buddha Remembrance is called the Name-that-calls is that the practitioner sincerely believes that Amida Buddha is calling through him, for this is to clearly affirm the sincere intent to be reborn in the Pure Land.

I for one say the Nembutsu with this intent and in doing so, burn off karma so that I may be reborn in the Pure Land.

In burning off karma in this way, the Nembutsu practitioner is assured rebirth in the Pure Land.

Therefore it is actually not a cheat or attachment. For there is no expectation of reward. Both attachment and reward require a soul that lives after death.

According to the non-self principle of Buddhism, it is not my soul that is reborn in the Pure Land, it is the fruit of my actions ( the sincere practice of Buddha Remembrance).

It is not "I" who is reborn as a bodhisattva but karmic merit accumulated by chanting the Nembutsu transforms the seed of Buddha Nature planted when the faithful hears the Buddha's teaching is transformed into Self Nature.

For the karmic merit of chanting acts like fertilizer to help the seed of Buddha Nature transcend this life when this body dies, and be reborn in the Pure Land. Amida nurtures the resulting Self Nature as bodhisattva into its awakened form called Buddha.

This foolish one's sincere chanting of the Nembutsu is empty of attachment and thus is non-attachment.

As well, sincerity in the belief that one will be reborn in the Pure Land means the same as having faith that one will be reborn there, which is the same as non-attachment.

Thus Buddha Remembrance (the practice of the Nembutsu) is empty of attachment due to faith in Amida Buddha and belief in the Primal Vow.

Pure Land Buddhists do not see rebirth as reward for their faith, but as working of Other-power.

When the practitioner's faith in Amida and belief in the Primal Vow is sincere, Amida embraces this old fool on his deathbed. The 48 Vows assure him of this.

Therefore the Pure Land path is not a cheat and is but non-attachment due to sincere practice of the Nembutsu.

By such Buddha Remembrance, one realizes the concept of non-self. In realizing non-self, Amida nurtures the seed of Buddha Nature in the heartmind of this foolish one. As a result, one is truly assured of rebirth in the Pure Land at this deathbed. For that is what it says in the 48 Vows of Amida Buddha.

For I was not born a Buddhist for my own Nirvana but for the Nirvana of all sentient beings. Therefore I practice Buddha Remembrance by chanting the Nembutsu for all sentient beings.

Namu Amida Butsu

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