Principal Teachings of The True Sect of Pure Land, by Yejitsu Okusa, , at sacred-texts.com
What kind of faith does the True Sect require of its followers? Not much, only to surrender themselves to the will of Amida; and his will is: "Trust in me with singleness of heart, and you will assuredly be saved." Let us, therefore, surrender ourselves to his will and harbor no other thought than to be embraced in his arms of grace, wishing to be saved in the life to come. Amida is the leader of all the Buddhas. It is he who holds the key to all the mysteries of existence. When we bow before him in all humility, we shall be protected from evils by all the gods and Buddhas. All those followers of the True Sect who pray to a Buddha or
[paragraph continues] Bodhisattva other than Amida are either misunderstanding, or do not fully believe in, the love of Amida, that saves all beings without exception. A faith one entertains for an absolute being must also be absolute and unconditional. Let us, therefore, rely upon no other mystery than Amida himself, who is the mystery of mysteries; and it is he alone that can save us unconditionally and supremely.
The name of Amida is the most worshipful one in the whole universe; and all the roots of goodness and all the stock of merit are gathered up in this name; and the reciting of it is the noblest thing to do in the world, the best of all good deeds one could think of. When we recite the name of Amida, we grow conscious of the inferiority of all other deeds to the reciting itself. However noble, honorable, and beautiful a moral or religious deed may appear to our vulgar eyes, it has no power to
lead us into the Pure Land proper where abides Amida himself, for we have nothing to add, even an iota, to the love of Amida which alone can save us from sin. All that we can do is to surrender ourselves,—our sin, our ignorance, our destiny, and our all,—into the all-embracing love of Amida, and to express our inmost feeling of gratitude for the grace of the Buddha by reciting his name.
To thus resign oneself to the will of Amida and to follow his guiding hand to salvation, is the faith required by the True Sect of its followers. In this faith we recognise two things: (1) that we are such sinful beings as are destined to be inhabitants of Hell, that we are prisoners forever to be confined in the world of pain, that our eyes of wisdom are closed and our legs of morality broken and we are spiritual invalids; (2) that it is the love of Amida who has cherished the thought of saving these sinful
creatures and taken vows that he will not stop his efforts until every single being is carried to his Pure Land, that however sinful, all who believe in Amida and his will to save will surely be born in the Land of Happiness. How could we then but rejoice in the surety of our salvation through his grace?
In these two facts of faith all the followers of the True Sect agree, and know that this is altogether due to the will of Amida himself. and that we are absolutely dependent upon him. So long as we are not aware of our salvation through Amida, we may think that we are something, not altogether a negligible quantity; but we find ourselves entirely at fault, when we come to realise the merciful design of the Buddha to save us through his will of goodness and truth, our spiritual eyes are open to the inner darkness of our hearts, full of impurities and falsehoods; and we are most penitent over our utter
ignorance. While we were not acquainted with Amida's will to save, we thought we were lonely travellers not knowing whither to go, or like helpless orphans who have no loving parents, no greeting home. But the moment the name of Amida opens our hitherto unknown spiritual region in us, we are deeply grateful and happy. We now know that we are his children, he is our worshipful father who protects us every moment of our existence, that the home we are going to abide is already magnificently built, and that we, led by the guiding hand of our father, are approaching our home step by step. Such in brief is the faith entertained by the followers of the True Sect of Pure Land.