Great Necessary Lie

An author, Mr. Hiroyuki Itsuki(五木寛之)once wrote:

While Shinran(親鸞)emphasized that people should devote themselves to Amitabha, Rennyo(蓮如)came to preach that people should express gratitude to Amitabha. Asked by a farmer what Nanmandabu(なんまんだぶ)meant, Rennyo replied that it meant “Thank you very much. I am obliged to you,” and told the farmer to say “Nanmandabu” at any time day and night.

  • emphasize 強調する
  • preach 説教する
  • gratitude 感謝の気持ち
  • reply 答える

In time, people came to say “Nanmandabu, Nanmandabu” from morning to night.  When given something, they said “Nanmandabu, Nanmandabu.” When they finished eating, they said “Nanmandabu, Nanmandabu.” Such people were called Myoukoujin(妙好人). The teachings of Rennyo were popular among people in those days. I don’t utter the word smelling of incense, but I always says in my mind “Namuamidabutsu,” and “Thank you very much. I am obliged.”

  • teaching 教え
  • utter 発する
  • incense 線香

What Mr. Itsuki, studying and believing in Shinran and Rennyo, is saying contains a deep religious truth. Shinran’s teachings are the faith conscious of life and death because people in the early days of Kamakura Period were suffering from poverty and disease and also Shinran was desperate to propagate his new teachings.

  • contain 含む
  • religious 宗教の
  • conscious 意識した
  • poverty 貧困
  • desperate 必死な
  • propagate 広める

In the late period of Muromachi Period, people were a little bit better off than before. Shinran’s Nenbutsu Sect had already declined at that time though it was still known among people. Rennyo appeared in such days and became the restorer of the sect. He had a broad mind and he’s a very interesting person.

  • be better off 暮らし向きが良い
  • decline 衰退する
  • broad mind 広い心
  • restorer 中興の祖

Led by the spirit of Prince Shotoku(聖徳太子), Shinran started Nenbutsu Sect. Prince Shotoku believed in Baekje Buddhism, whose spiritual line, I feel, was different from Shakuson’s Buddhism. There is something different about Buddha statues of Baekje Buddhism, compared to those of Shakuson’s Buddhism. They are all long-faced and their haloes and the shapes of the pedestals make me imagine parts of space vehicles.

  • long-faced 長い顔をした
  • halo 光背
  • pedestal 台座
  • space vehicle 宇宙船

When I took a look at spiritual beings that supported Baekje Buddhism from the behind, using my psychic power, I had a vision of Sirius shining in the universe. This means the soul of Prince Shotoku came from Sirius. Sirius caused Asuka culture, Egyptian Civilization and Maya Civilization to rise and human civilizations to introduce “the miniature of the celestial map.”  It is expressed in the accurate azimuth angles of huge structures or arrangements of cities in Egypt and Maya, which is amazing from a scientific point of view.

  • being 存在
  • Sirius シリウス
  • cause A to~ Aを〜させる
  • introduce 持ち込む
  • azimuth angle 方位
  • arrangement 配置

It was Rennyo who spread the teachings of Nenbutsu Sect, which was supported by the extra-terrestrial beings from behind the scene. His teachings are simple and clear: Bear in mind the absolute being Amidabutsu(阿弥陀仏)and be grateful for everything all the time. By keeping Amidabutsu in mind, people can hope to receive good fortune from the invisible and feel secured.

  • spread 広げる
  • bear in mind A  Aを心に留める
  • feel secured 安心する

As people come to be grateful for everything in everyday life with Amidabutsu in mind, Amidabutsu, which they have longed for and been dependent on, fades from their awareness and they realize that they and Amidabutsu are one and the same. And at last, they stop asking Amidabutsu for help, which was their first purpose of faith, and find happiness in their ordinary lives, however hard they are. If they finish the rest of their lives with their minds being such, they can truly go to Heaven. This is true.

  • fade 消える
  • awareness 意識
  • purpose 目的
  • ordinary 普通の

At first, people begin to believe in Amidabutsu as if they asked for delicious-looking sweet bun. But as they practice their faith, the bun fades away before they know and they can get something much better. A proverb says “The end justifies the means.” What spiritual beings with wisdom do for people is very profound.

  • sweet bun 饅頭
  • proverb 諺
  • wisdom 知恵
  • profound 深い

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

I Am Grateful for Being Kept Alive.

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