Shinran’s Awakening: Imperfect Self is Perfect

Shinran, the founder of Jodo Shinshu in 12th century Japan, discovered True and Real Life when he was 29 years old, after extremely rigorous monastic religious practice for 20 years only to discover his ego-selfishness was too tough to break.

Shinran despairs but is guided to his great teacher Hōnen, and then he heard the voice of the Innermost Aspiration speaking from him. It said, “Shinran, you don’t have to perfect yourself. You don’t have to make yourself good and pure by eliminating evil and impurity from your being. Know the pettiness of your criteria for good and evil, purity and impurity! Forget about them! Forget about your calculating mind, your dualistic mind! It’s all right to be what you are. A perfect world already exists. Something perfect, the Dharma, already exists. You are already being embraced by it. The entirety of your being, including all your flaws and imperfections, is part of the Dharma reality, the wonderful reality. Nothing in your life is meaningless or wasteful. Even what you consider evil and impure has meaning. It is an indispensable component of your life. Just awaken to the fact that you are already being embraced by the Dharma reality!”

—Dr. Nobuo Haneda
Dharma Breeze: Essays on Buddhism
Chapter 11 Absolute Passivity, p98

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