We are living in an era where the One True Dharma is in decline, moreover we are living an existence that is fraught with worldly desires and material satisfactions. It is hard enough to hear and listen to the Dharma and its teachings, let alone develop a firm faith within the Dharma. Within the ever-evolving world of our experience, we have become too busy for the Dharma, in favor of our worldly desires, and because of this we suffer greatly at the hands of our delusion and our karmic weight. When we can develop a firm faith within the Dharma however, we can begin to understand the conditions which bring about our suffering, and the sufferings of all sentient beings, and work towards eliminating them.
When we say the name of Amitabha Buddha, for example, not only are we relying on the boundless compassion of Amitabha, and his dedication to have all sentient beings, regardless of their class, race, gender or affluence, reborn into his Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss, we are in fact generating within ourselves, a firm faith within the Vows of Amitabha, that allows us to be reborn into that pure land. Because of Amitabha’s boundless love, and compassion for us, defiled and worldly beings, there IS a Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss, but without any sort of faith within the Dharma, our ability to be reborn there is impossible. By simply saying the Nembutsu, “NAMU AMIDA BUTSU”, with a firm resolve, even once, we can discover within ourselves the firm and unshakable faith of Amitabha himself.
Knowing of such a land
Where all beings are a golden hue
Where no classes, gender or race exist to discriminate,
Why not settle to be reborn there,
Instead of this world of afflictions
Its layers of dust covering everything?
A firm faith
In the unlimited compassion of Amitabha
Shrivels this world of afflictions
Into a gateway to the Pure Land
Where birth, death, sickness and old age
Have no room to sqeeze through
Nor any desire, a foothold to grasp
Only the unshakable resolve of liberation
Giving numberless offerings to numberless Buddhas
In this Dharma ending age, the number of deluded beings is many, myself included. There is much confusion, and karmic weight holds down many beings to unfavorable births or painful deaths. Slaughterhouses kill millions of animals each year who never have the opportunity to hear, let alone practice the Dharma. Some of this meat might even go to practitioners of the Dharma in order to sustain them: how sad, not that these animals die, but rather that they had to have such a cruel birth in the first place, and have either disgraced or have never heard the Dharma in any of their previous rebirths. Their karmic weight is so heavy that it is best not to eat meat or any animal products at all, and instead offer the Nembutsu to every animal that one encounters, so they at least have an opportunity to hear the Dharma in their lowly state.
If animals can develop a faith to be reborn into the Pure Land, how much more so can humans, who are of a higher birth and the most adaptable to the Dharma? In the west, where Buddhism is scarce, let alone a faith in the vows of Amitabha, those who do have faith, must offer their faith to all beings, no matter of their birth, class, beliefs, or any other discrimination. We must be like Amitabha, who has compassion for all beings and wishes for them to generate a faith to be reborn into his Pure Land. We must say the name of Amitabha, not just for us then, but for each and every deluded being suffering in Samsara alongside us. Our Nembutsu must have no discrimination.
Self blends to other
While saying the Nembutsu
Silent or aloud
With the weight of karmic misdeeds;
Whether born a human or an animal
That which is flesh must also be allowed to rot
Spoiled-yet still loved by Amitabha
Whose compassion urges vegetables
And a firm faith within his Pure Land!