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Shinran's Word on Sect Differences

Today, the people of single-hearted nembutsu and those of the Path of Sages engage in argument, claiming that one school is superior and the other inferior. Thus, enemies of dharma appear and slandering of dharma becomes rampant. But does this not slander and destroy one's own teaching?

Even if all the other schools together proclaim, "The nembutsu is for foolish beings; its teaching is shallow and vulgar," you should not object. And instead simply reply, "We are taught that foolish beings of inferior capacity like ourselves, unlettered and ignorant, will be saved by entrusting ourselves to Amida. As we accept this and entrust ourselves, it is the supreme dharma for us, regardless of how vulgar it may seem to people of superior capacity. No matter how superb other teachings may be, if they are beyond our grasp and mastery, we cannot uphold them. Since it is the basic intention of the Buddhas that we shall all together go beyond birth-and-death, you should not hinder us." In this way, if we have no rancor, who would want to hurt us? An attesting passage also states, "Where there are arguments, various kinds of blind passion are awakened; the wise should avoid them."

The late master also said, "The Buddha predicted that there will be people who shall entrust themselves to this dharma, as well as those who shall slander it. I have already been made to entrust myself to the dharma, while there are those who slander it - by this we know that the Buddha's words are true. In fact, we should realize that our birth is even more firmly settled. If, contrary to this, no one denounced the nembutsu, we might wonder why even though there are believers, there are no slanderers. But this, of course, does not mean that the teaching should become the object of slander. The Buddha taught this because he knew that both believers and slanderers would exist. It was to dispel any doubts that might arise among us. — Chapter 12, Tannisho, Unno version

Recently I made rash statements about Zen Buddhists.

If I slandered anyone, then I apologize. This post is the final word on the matter.

When one's motive behind being of the True Pure Land school of Buddhism is through both self-power (jiriki representing desire to be reborn in the Pure Land) and other-power (tariki representing Amida calling to me through the Nembutsu), Buddha Recitation is done for the good of all sentient beings including myself.

Likewise, when the motive of Zen Buddhists is to achieve peace of mind through zazen, it is done for the good of all sentient beings including themselves.

Since both of us know that Buddhist practice is done for a cause higher than merely chanting or just sitting, any discord was due to misunderstanding the purpose of our respective paths.

I am thankful to Zen Patriarch Hui Neng as his words support both Pure Land and Zen, as do all of the Zen Patriarchs.

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