Notes on the Nembutsu
Reflections on the wasan of Shinran

Koso Wasan 77

When the time comes,
For shinjin, indestructible as diamond, to become settled,
Amida grasps and protects us with compassionate light,
So that we part forever from birth-and-death.

Settled Shinjin

This verse affirms that at the moment that true shinjin is settled we attain the state of non-retrogression.

Even though our destiny is settled at the time that shinjin becomes firm and diamond-like, we nevertheless remain ordinary beings (bombu, Sk. prthagjana): we are neither bodhisattvas nor buddhas. We show neither physical nor mental signs of enlightenment after the fixing of shinjin. Throughout the history of Jodo Shinshu, two moments of awakening are delineated. The first is when Other Power shinjin becomes settled and the second is enlightenment, which occurs at the moment of birth in the Pure Land.

Shinjin is the indispenable condition for 'freeing us completely from the cycle of birth-and-death', but it is not enlightenment. In the corpus of Shinran Shonin's own writings, there is not a single word or phrase that can be used to support any view other than that enlightenment occurs at birth in the Pure Land and not before that.

Current image

Jodo Wasan

Koso Wasan

Shozomatsu Wasan

Home

Back | HOME | Next