★念佛,沒有信前和信後之別?

〔錯誤看法二〕親鸞聖人並未區分是信前或信後的念佛,故念佛並無信前、信後之別。

(解)聖人判別三願之念佛,即是明判真實門為信後念佛。

蓮如上人常常敦促我們,念佛是報恩之行,這是「稱名念佛」、「信心念佛」。有些人質疑,親鸞聖人並沒有區分「信後念佛」和「信前念佛」。然而事實上,親鸞聖人明確地判別了19願、20願和18願的念佛。聖人判別:

(1) 19願的念佛是「要門」:此願「修諸功德」,將念佛視為諸行之一。這是觀經的念佛,針對定散二善之機,是為方便門,往生化土。

(2) 20願的念佛是「真門」:此願「植諸德本」,視念佛超越諸行。這是小經的念佛,針對自力念佛之機,是為方便門,往生化土。

(3) 18願的念佛是「弘願門」:此願「至心信樂」,為他力念佛。這是大經的念佛,針對弘願念佛之機,是為真實門,往生報土。

《教行信證》曰:「真實信心,必具名號;名號未必具願力信心也。」這是對20願真門和18願弘願門的判明。

《親鸞聖人御消息》第26通又說:「即使努力稱念,但不具信心,亦不能生淨土。是故,是既深深歸命依名號往生,而又念佛的人,往生真實報土無疑。依此,即使稱名,卻未歸命他力本願,生於邊地。」

這裡判明了具信心的弘願門念佛,和不具信心的真門自力念佛。信前的念佛,是自力念佛;信後的念佛,是他力念佛

 


The Nembutsu With and Without Shinjin

I will now take up the second problem, namely, the Nembutsu with shinjin (the Nembutsu that is recited after receiving shinjin) and the Nembutsu without shinjin (the Nembutsu that is recited before receiving shinjin).

Master Rennyo frequently urged reciting the Nembutsu in “gratitude for our indebtedness (to the Buddha for creating the conditions that allow us to be born in the Pure Land)” (ho-on) after receiving shinjin. He expressed this in terms such as, “‘reciting the Nembutsu’ with shinjin” and “‘reciting the Nembutsu’ in ‘gratitude for our indebtedness.’” Some scholars criticize the position of “‘reciting the Nembutsu’ in ‘gratitude for our indebtedness’” (shomyo ho-on稱名報恩), and assert that the Venerable Master did not make a distinction between reciting the Nembutsu before receiving shinjin and after receiving it.

In the previous section, I made clear that for the Venerable Master, there was a difference in reciting the Nembutsu before receiving shinjin (reciting it with “self-centered effort”) and after receiving it (reciting it with “Buddha-centered power”).

The Venerable Master made a clear distinction between the 19th and 20th Vows, and the 18th Vow. He considered the 19th Vow to be the “Nembutsu of the ‘essential gate’”要門 (yomon nembutsu), that is, the Nembutsu as one practice among many. He considered the 20th Vow to be the “Nembutsu of the ‘true gate’”真門 (shinmon Nembutsu), that is, the Nembutsu that transcends the many practices. The Venerable Master considered both the 19th and the 20th Vows to be based on “self-centered effort.”

The Venerable Master considered the 18th Vow to be the “Nembutsu of the ‘broad vow’” (gugan弘願Nembutsu), based on “Buddha-centered power” (tariki). He discerned the intent of the 20th Vow (the “Nembutsu of the ‘true gate’”) and saw that it is close to the intent of the 18th Vow (the “Nembutsu of the ‘broad vow’”). He then made a distinction between “true gate” and “broad vow,” and clearly indicted that the true Nembutsu is the “Nembutsu of the ‘broad vow’ based on ‘Buddha-centered power’” (the 18th Vow).

In his Chapter on Shinjin of the Kyogyoshinsho, the Venerable Master wrote, “The true shinjin is necessarily accompanied by (recitation of) the Name. (But recitation of) the Name is not always accompanied by the shinjin based on (Amida Buddha’s) vow power.”

As indicated above, the Venerable Master made a sharp distinction between the “Nembutsu of the ‘true gate’” (20th Vow, before receiving shinjin) and the “Nembutsu of the ‘broad vow’” (18th Vow, after receiving shinjin).

Further, in Letter 12 of the Mattosho『末燈抄』(編纂従覚), the Venerable Master wrote: “. . . even though the Name is recited fervishly, if there is no shinjin, (birth in the Pure Land) will not take place. Only those with faith they will be born there through the Nembutsu, and recite the Name will be born in the true Buddha Land. Accordingly those who recite the Name without faith in “Buddha-centered power” based on the Primal Vow, will only be born in the borderland.”

Here, too, the distinction between the “Nembutsu of the ‘broad vow’” that is recited with shinjin and the “Nembutsu of the ‘true gate’” that is recited with “self-centered effort” and without shinjin, is made clear. I will make this clearer a little later, but the Venerable Master made a clear distinction between reciting the Nembutsu before receiving shinjin (which is reciting it with “self-centered effort”) and reciting the Nembutsu after receiving shinjin (which is reciting it with “Buddha-centered power”).

To say the Venerable Master did not make a distinction between the Nembutsu that is recited before and after receiving shinjin, and criticizing the teaching of “reciting (the Name) in gratitude (for assurance of our birth in the Pure Land)” is a great mistake. 

 

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