(11) THE WORLDLY PASSIONS AFTER AMIDA BUDDHA'S SALVATION
The Worldly Passions after Amida Buddha’s Salvation
In the Shoshinge, Master Shinran teaches about what happens to our worldly passions after we are saved by Amida Buddha’s Promise:
“Even though my dark mind has been eliminated,
As ever, clouds of desire, anger and hatred
Block the sky of the true Shinjin.
Even though clouds block the sunlight,
Below the clouds it is clear;
Darkness no longer exists.”
The purpose of our lives is to eliminate our dark minds. Through the power of Amida Buddha, Master Shinran had his dark mind eliminated when he was 29 years old. Master Shinran refers to his life after being saved by Amida Buddha’s promise in the words: “even though my dark mind has been eliminated.” Thus, the purpose of life is achieved when we are still alive, not after we die.
“As ever, clouds of desire, anger and hatred” is a metaphor for the worldly passions. The total elimination of the dark mind is compared to “the sky of the true Shinjin.” Thus, Master Shinran used clouds to describe our worldly passions such as desire, anger, and hatred. Even though we have our dark minds eliminated and attain Absolute Happiness, the worldly passions are still present. Throughout our lives, we have worldly passions.
However, in the same way that sunlight is not obscured by the clouds and mist below it, our Absolute Happiness is not obscured by our worldly passions.
The dark mind is totally different from the worldly passions. The power of Amida Buddha eliminates our dark minds in an ichinen (instantly) while we are still alive. On the other hand, the worldly passions are not eliminated in this life.
When Master Shinran was at Mt. Hiei, he suffered because of his worldly passions. After he left Mt. Hiei and was saved by Amida Buddha’s Promise, he still had his worldly passions. However, he says, “waves of misfortune have become waves of bliss.” After he had floated “on a vast ocean of Light,” his worldly passions did not bother him anymore. On the contrary, after being saved by Amida Buddha, his worldly passions became the source of energy he used to spread Amida Buddha’s Promise throughout his life.