In order to clarify and to bring us to know that the light of Amida surpasses conceptual understanding, the expression “I take refuge in the Tathagata of unhindered light filling the ten quarters” is used. When we constantly hold in mind and say the Name of the Buddha of unhindered light, since it embodies the virtues of all the Buddhas of the ten quarters, in saying the Name of Amida, all the virtues and roots of good come to fullness in us. Hence Bodhisattva Nagarjuna has taught, “I have expounded the virtues of that honored-one; the good [I have received] is boundless, like the waters of the ocean.” Thus, the expression “Buddha of inconceivable light” is taught. Because Amida is Buddha of inconceivable light, we may also say “Buddha of unhindered light filling the ten quarters”; this is stated by Bodhisattva Vasubandhu in the Treatise on the Pure Land. Amida Buddha has names based on the twelve kinds of light...
Recently, I was helping with an elementary school homework assignment researching various animals. We came across the picture of the Peacock. I have fond memories of hearing the peacock’s call while walking with the family at the zoo. I probably knew, but forgot an important point. As I looked at the page with the picture, it didn’t say peacock on top. It said peafowl. I remember just saying “boy peacock and girl peacock.” I wonder if the birds could understand what we call them if they would be upset and correct us or just find compassion and let us continue in our ignorant joyful appreciation of their beauty.
The passage I began with was composed by Shinran at the age of 83 years old. It says there are many names to which we could say when thinking about Amida Buddha. It specifically refers to Namu-Fukashigiko-butsu (The Buddha of Infinite Light.)
This is another way to recite the Nembutsu. Just like saying Namu Amida Butsu.
I think about the Buddha’s Heart. The passage says to hold the Buddha in your mind and think about the virtues and say the name. Even though there are several names, it is your heart during this time of reflection which is important.
Even Shinran had many names; Matsuwaka-Maru, Han’en, Shakkū, Zenshin, Gutoku, Shinran, and posthumously named Kenshin Daishi. When we reflect on our lives as Jodo Shinshu followers, why not be flexible and change your name to the different periods that you have gone through? It isn’t just about labels. It is about what inspires us through the evolution of our path and what inspires us towards Buddhahood.
It doesn’t matter what others say about you always stay focused on the Buddha’s virtues and the names you take for yourself.
Let us all begin with the Buddha of Immeasurable Light and Life and say together in Gassho, Namu Amida Butsu.
In Gratitude and Appreciation,
Rev. Kory Quon