‘I simply accept and entrust myself to what my revered teacher told me, “Just say the nembutsu and be saved by Amida”; nothing else is involved.’ (CWS, p. 662)
I believe that this statement is as close one can get to a perfect description of shinjin in just a few words. Such is the all-embracing wisdom (prajna) and compassion (karuna) of Amida Buddha that to say the nembutsu is enough. It is something any human being of any age or circumstance can do.
As Shinran Shonin said in a letter:
‘Thus, it is the person who both deeply entrusts himself to birth through the nembutsu and undertakes to say the Name who is certain to be born in the true fulfilled land.’ (CWS p. 539)
In writing to a disciple by the name of Joshin, Shinran said:
‘In your question about the teaching, you state that at the point of the awakening of the one moment of shinjin we are grasped and protected by the heart of unhindered light, and hence the karmic cause for birth in the Pure Land is established in ordinary times. This is truly splendid. Yet, though what you state is splendid, I am afraid that it has become nothing but your own calculation.’ (CWS, p. 537)
We are very prone to get tied up in complex theory, thus trying to create and control Amida Buddha’s shinjin; to make it in our own image, as it were. But it is not our creation. There comes a point at which we simply abandon our concepts and give ourselves up to the Vow, the Name, in joy and happiness. The Name lives within our hearts, and all that is left is to surrender to its call.
Let’s listen to some more from Shinran:
‘If you realize that the wisdom of the Buddhas surpasses conceptual understanding, there should not, in addition, be any calculating. You simply should not fall into doubts over the different things that people say. Simply give yourself up to Tathagata’s Vow; avoid calculating in any way.’ (CWS, p. 537)
‘Once you have simply come to realize that Vow and Name surpass conceptual understanding, you should not calculate in this way or that. There must be nothing of your calculation in the act that leads to birth.’ (CWS, p. 536)
‘Birth into the Pure Land has nothing at all to do with the calculation of foolish beings. Since it is completely entrusted to the Primal Vow of the Buddha, it is indeed Other Power. It is ridiculous to try to calculate it in various ways.’ (CWS, p. 548)
‘As for me, I simply accept and entrust myself to what my revered teacher told me, “Just say the nembutsu and be saved by Amida”; nothing else is involved.’ (CWS, p. 662)