What the Original Japanese Buddhism Means

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In foreign countries, religious rituals glorifying God are common, while those for ancestral spirits are rare. There are some countries that have no such customs. In Japan, holding memorial services for ancestral spirits have been practiced a lot since ancient times, compared with other countries, because the Buddhism in Japan, which originally came through the Eurasian Continent, valued ancestral spirits and spread all over Japan as such.

  • glorify 讃える
  • custom 習慣
  • compare 比較する
  • the Eurasian Continent ユーラシア大陸
  • value 重んじる

In the earliest Buddhism founded by Shakuson, the teachings of memorial services for ancestral spirits are very few. According to an episode, for example, when Shakuson spiritually saw the mother of Mokuren(目連), one of his Ten Disciples, was suffering in Hungry Ghost Realm of Hell, he suggested to Mokuren that he contribute food to as many monks and people as possible and get the monks to pray for his mother so that she could rest in peace.

  • the earliest Buddhism 原始仏教
  • found 創設する
  • contribute 寄付する
  • monk  僧侶

I think this episode is suggestive.

● the importance of contributing to others

●the importance and practical power of consideration by a lot of people

I feel that this just one episode caused Japanese Buddhist monks to perform funeral services and have a ceremonial dinner after the service. I also feel that the episode was used in its broad interpretation and as a result Buddhist monks came to live their lives depending on alms.

  • suggestive 示唆に富んだ
  • importance 重要性
  • consideration 思いやり
  • interpretation 解釈
  • alms 施し

This is how memorial services for ancestral spirits, which didn’t exist in the earliest Buddhism, led to the present “funeral Buddhism.” It goes without saying that this is different from the earliest Buddhism founded by Shakuson. It’s the original Japanese Buddhism. I interpret this incident as a good thing for Japan as a whole. I feel that holy spirits of the World of Gods of Japan concerned themselves with the establishment of this system.

  • funeral Buddhism 葬式仏教
  • interpret 解釈する
  • incident 出来事
  • concern oneself with A Aに関与する

The idea of worshipping ancestral spirits had existed before Buddhism was introduced to Japan. Though the present Buddhism in Japan has a  lot of problems, such as Buddhist monks enjoying luxury or exploiting people by the system of collecting money, it has surely contributed to the custom of directing people’s mind to their ancestral spirits periodically. The thing is it’s important never to forget gratitude toward ancestors and to direct your mind to them once in while. There are  various ways for doing this.

  • worship 崇拝する
  • introduce 紹介する
  • luxury 贅沢
  • explot 搾取する
  • direct 向ける
  • periodically 定期的に
  • once in a while 時折

If some spirits related to you are in pain in this World of Reality, they will try to make you notice their existence. Therefore you need to direct your mind to them by holding memorial services before you are forced to notice them. Otherwise, you would be made to notice their existence in some way. Also, even if the spirits in pain give up informing you of their existence, your spiritual line will be clogged, which, in turn, will affect the life force, fortune, and mental stability of their descendants, including you.

  •  related 関係した
  • notice 気づく
  • existence 存在
  • be forced to~  〜せざるを得ない
  • otherwise さもないと
  • inform 知らせる
  • clog 詰まらせる
  • descendant 子孫

A lot of people are going through difficulties in life, burdened with spiritual handicap. They are being tortured doubly hard. It is true that people, living in this World of Reality, world, have the hardships of life even if they hold memorial services correctly every day. Efforts are important in real life. But without spiritual handicap, they could overcome the hardships with a positive mind. There is a difference of heaven and earth here.

  • difficulties 困難
  • torture 苦しめる
  • correctly 正しく
  • effort 努力
  • overcome 乗り越える
  • positive 積極的な

生かして頂いて ありがとう御座位ます

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

Thank you so much for keeping me/us alive.

 

Enlightenment is Living a Life According to Conscience

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December 8 is the day when Joudoue(成道会)ceremonies celebrating Buddha’s enlightenment are held around the world. Hearing that Buddha reached enlightenment on that day, you would imagine that he had his consciousness change or saw an invisible world suddenly on the day.

  • celebrate 祝う
  • enlightenment 悟り
  • consciousness 意識
  • suddenly 突然

But this is not true. According to my vision of it, he had an indomitable resolve on that day. He thought then “I’ll believe in myself in this world. I’ll follow the dictates of my conscience. I won’t depend on others.” He decided that he’d live his life obeying the dictates of his conscience wholeheartedly like a rhinoceros.

  • indominable 不屈の
  • resolve 決心
  • dictate 命令
  • conscience 良心
  • wholeheartedly 脇目も振らず
  • rhinoceros サイ

What is the conscience he said about, then? It is consideration for others that everyone has by nature, which is like thinking “If I do this, it will benefit him,” or “If I do this, it will harm others.” Even the most brutal criminals have conscience common to general people. They just don’t follow their conscience. Consideration for others is what the Fundamental Being has shared with humans.

  • considerarion 思いやり
  • by nature 生まれつき
  • benefit 為になる
  • harm 害になる
  • brutal 残忍な
  • common 共通の

Shakuson(釈尊) decided that he would tell people the ways to eliminate people’s distress. He thought that to do this would benefit people in a true sense and that, in order to do this, he’d have to leave everything behind and devote himself to others.

  • eliminate 除去する
  • distress 悩み
  • devote 捧げる

He said that the main cause of people’s distress is attachment. For example, attachment to a loved one causes distress when the loved one is gone. Attachment to property causes distress when you think you might lose it. Attachment to social status or personal appearance causes distress when they’re gone.

  • attachment 執着
  • property 財産
  • personal appearance 容姿

Well, then, what should you do in order not to have attachment to these things? He suggests that people should enjoy those things with gratitude while they have them but at the same time, have the attitude of giving them to others anytime.

  • suggest 示唆する
  • gratitude 感謝の気持ち
  • attitude 考え方
  • anytime いつでも

Strangely, as you live your life, depending on not others but your conscience, you will begin to feel hidden aspects of things. You will begin to understand various things somehow. In a sense, you will begin to feel the spiritual world correctly and see the true essence of things. A broad viewpoint will begin to develop inside yourself. Since the Fundamental Being that created the universe has the same conscience, these phenomena may be natural.

  • hidden 隠れた
  • aspect 側面
  • various 様々な
  • correctly 正しく
  • viewpoint 視点
  • phenomena 現象

You, a human being, will have difficulty acting according to your conscience even if you have decided to do so. But even if you’re disheartened, you can make up your mind every time. Try to live according to your conscience, and you will find the path you’ve walked a straight one, even with small adjustments, as if it were a path rhinoceros has walked.

  • have difficulty ~ing 〜するのに苦労する
  • dishearten 落胆させる
  • every time 毎回
  • path 道
  • adjestment 修正

生かして頂いて ありがとう御座位ます

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

Thank you so much for keeping me/us alive.

The Age Has Come When Each of You Becomes the Founder of Your Own Religion

Tendai(天台) sect of Buddhism, which Saicho(最澄) founded in the early years of Heian age, produced the founders of Jodo sect(浄土宗), Jodo-shin sect(浄土真宗), Rinzai sect(臨済宗), Soto sect(曹洞宗), and Nichiren sect(日蓮宗), which are all representative sects of the modern Buddhism. The basic principle of  Saicho’s teachings is that everything has Buddha nature, which echos the idea of Ise-Hakusan Dou that all human beings are entrusted with Inner God.

  • sect 宗派
  • representative 代表的な
  • entrust 任せる

A major reason why Saicho produced a lot of great religious founders was that neither Saicho nor his teachings had strong religious magnetism that ties down people. His teachings were unconstrained in a good sense and he had a pure heart. His handwriting also shows that he was not an unusual person but a serious one. A different way of looking at him is that he was not so interesting a person as Kukai(空海).

  • tie down 束縛する
  • unconstrained  縛りがない
  • sense 意味

In order for you to develop spiritually, a master with a strong personality is obstructive. A lot of self-proclaimed experts say that the relationship of master and pupil is necessary for spiritual growth. This saying proves that they don’t understand the spiritual truth.

  • personality 個性
  • obstructive 邪魔になって
  • self-proclaimed 自称の
  • relationship 関係
  • prove 証明する

Conventional relationship of master and pupil would make pupils covered with their masters’ spiritual magnetism, and as a result their Inner Gods would hide themselves. Such pupils could never go beyond their masters. There are a lot seekers after the truth who feel good in taking on their masters’ color and mistake it as spiritual progress. Therefore, psychics or religious persons who worship their masters absolutely can be said to be fake.

  • conventional 従来の
  • go beyond A Aを超える
  • fake 偽物

As proof of this, Kukai, full of individuality, didn’t produce any great founders of large sects.  No one could reach enlightenment by his ascetic practices and rituals because they were too unique for anyone but Kukai.

  • proof 証拠
  • individuality 個性
  • enlightenment 悟り
  • unique 独特の

To reach enlightenment is to become one with Inner God, which has nothing to do with others. Kukai’s practices were effective for only Kukai. The most those who try his methods can do is to experience chance encounters in limited, small spiritual worlds. Do not confuse this kind of experience with becoming Buddha.

  • have nothing to do with A Aと関係がない
  • effective 効果のある
  • chance  偶然の
  • encounter 邂逅
  • confuse 混同する

Given the truth that such pupils will never be able to go beyond their masters, it follows that all the pupils worshipping Shakuson(釈尊) have been deteriorating for the last two thousand years. It is natural that Shakuson should have predicted that the age of decadence would come when his true teachings disappear. Now is exactly the age of decadence.

  • worship 崇拝する
  • deteriorate 質が悪化する
  • predict 予言する
  • the age of decadence 末法

The time has come when each of you becomes the founder of your own religion. In order to walk the path to truth rightly without getting sidetracked, it would act as a guide to hold memorial services with gratitude for the spirits related to you and remind yourself of gratitude to God. Spiritual colors of others are nothing but obstacles. Believe in your ancestors and Inner God.

  • get sidetracked 脇道にそれる
  • obstacle 障害物
  • nothing but A A以外の何ものでもない

生かして頂いて ありがとう御座位ます

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

Thank you so much for keeping me/us alive.