The expedient of Amitabha Buddha was effective in the past.


I went to a wake held at the house of my acquaintance last night. The Buddhist monk called to the wake was from the Shinshu sect Otani-ha(浄土真宗大谷派).

  • wake 通夜
  • acquaintance 知人
  • Buddhist monk 僧侶

I had heard his lecture several times before at funerals. His talk is not a common one, including “a secret ingredient” every time. According to a person who knows him well, he used to be a principal of Otani High school in a region for many years. He is smart enough to have been a principal, so he must be a high rank monk. I was looking forward to hearing his talk after the funeral.

  • lecture 講話
  • funeral 葬式
  • secret ingredient 隠し味
  • principal 校長
  • region 地方
  • look forward to ~ing 〜するのを楽しみにする

What impressed me most in his talk this time was “When people are dying, they are to give in to the Reaper however hard they resist. Try a hundred times, and you are sure to be defeated a hundred times. Even the Buddha was defeated. So it’s best to accept death without saying anything.” Having his lecture, “Try a hundred times, and you are sure to be defeated a hundred times” remained in my mind long after I returned home. I had never given a thought to the fight against the Reaper.

  • impress  感銘を与える
  • give in  屈する
  • the Reaper 死神
  • resist 抵抗する
  • defeat 打ち負かす
  • accept 受け入れる
  • death 死
  • remain 残る
  • give a thought to A Aを考えてみる

Ordinary people forget that they have to fight this battle sooner or later. Suddenly called to the battlefield, human beings would be bewildered and distressed. I think the essence of the teachings of the Jodo sect(浄土宗)is simple one, free of abstract thinking. I feel that it suggests that we live not forgetting the fight against the Reaper even when we are well.

  • ordinary 普通の
  • battle 闘い
  • sooner or later 遅かれ早かれ
  • bewilder 当惑させる
  • distressed 悩む
  • essence エッセンス
  • teachings 教え
  • abstract thinking 思索
  • suggeest 提案する

If a person were told to believe this, who chants the name of Amitabha Buddha(阿弥陀仏) for only three days thinking “I can go to Heaven just by doing this ” he couldn’t believe it. But what about a person who believes this honestly and chants the name of Amitabha Buddha for as long as 50 years ? Yes. Such a person could bring himself to accept his death calmly in the face of the battle against the Reaper.

  • chant 唱える
  • What about A ? Aはどうですか?
  • as long as A Aも
  • bring oneself to~ 〜する気になる
  • calmly 穏やかに
  • in the face of A Aに直面しながらも

The expedient of Amitabha Buddha was effective and the best in the age of more than 1,000 years ago when people barely managed to live.


Stage 1. People call the name of Amitabha Buddha. → They cease to be afraid of death and make efforts in life not to have regret because time is finite.

Stage 2. As they keep chanting the name of Amitabha Buddha, they come to feel Buddha in their daily lives and begin to feel that they’re kept alive by Amitabha Buddha, or something great.

Stage 3. They begin to feel that they have already benefitted from Amitabha Buddha.

Stage 4. They realize naturally that life and death of the human being takes place on the hand of Amitabha Buddha after all and even after death they will stay on the same hand. And they can even enjoy the fight against the Reaper feeling great security.

  • expedient 方便
  • effective 効果のある
  • barely かろうじて
  • manage to~ なんとか〜する
  • regret 後悔する
  • finite 有限の
  • keep A alive Aを生かしておく
  • benefit 恩恵を受ける
  • security 安心感

I feel these things above are in the teachings of Jodo sect. However, it takes too much time for us to undergo the process. An ordinary person might manage to reach Stage 1, or catch a glimpse of Stage 2 at best. For ordinary people in the modern age to reach Stage 4 in a short time, they have only to think of the following words repeatedly in everyday life with gratitude for the present situations in mind:

  • undergo 経る
  • process 過程
  • catch a glimpse of A Aを垣間見る
  • at best 良くても
  • have only to~ 〜しさえすればよい
  • gratitude 感謝の気持ち
  • the present situations 現状

I Ka Shi Te I Ta Da I Te  A Ri Ga To U Go Za I Ma Su

生かして頂いて ありがとう御座位ます

Thank you so much for keeping us alive.