Walking the Nembutsu path
On the first day of Dharma School we chanted together in front of the Buddha. That should not seem odd but it is very different from how we have been conducting services. The spirit with which this decision was made is ondobo ondogyo, walking the path of dharma together. In the Shinshu community there is no distinction between lay and priest. Shinran described his community as fellow travelers. We are companions enjoying the compassion of the Buddha, assured of the resolution of difficulties. When we sit together in front of the Buddha we are one sangha.
There is a story that Yuien tells in the Postscript of the Tannisho. Shinran is confronted by other students when he remarks that his shinjin and Honen’s are one. The other students disagree and take the matter to Honen. Honen’s reply is that shinjin comes from Amida and therefore there is no difference between Shinran and Honen.
Shinjin is the heart and mind of Jodo Shinshu. Shinjin is acknowledging my absolute inability to resolve the difficulties I cause and experience, and the absolute assurance of Amida that these difficulties will be resolved.
As we sit in the Hondo together in front of the Buddha we are neither priest nor lay. We are companions traveling and sharing in this journey together. A journey to deepen our understanding and appreciation of shinjin.