sitepolicy Site map Access Site map Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha Hongwanji International Center

Monthly Dharma Thoughts

The point to which our life returns


Life is a journey, they say.  If it is a journey, then it must have a final destination, a point to which it must return.  Unless this point is made clear, life just becomes a journey of wandering aimlessly.  Where, then, is that final point of return?  If this point is made not clear and guaranteed to us, we live in doubt and uncertainty as to how our journey will turn out in the end.  No matter how many happy days we may spend, it is like a castle made out of sand that washes away in time.  The teaching of Jodo Shinshu clarifies the true goal of our life and tells us the place to which our life must return.  The place to which our life must return is the Pure Land of Amida Tathagata.  This should not be understood to mean that we started out from the Pure Land.  However, just as the child returns to the home of its parents, our Founder Shinran Shonin referred to the Pure Land as our Household or Original Home.  It is to this Home that we return with a sense of nostalgia.  It is through the grand design of Amida Tathagata that we are certain to be born in the Pure Land.  It is in this sense that Shinran Shonin calls the Pure Land our Home to which we must return.  In a letter, Shinran Shonin reminisces with a good friend and disciple who had passed on, saying, ‘As I told him at that time, we shall surely meet in the Pure Land’.  The Pure Land is the world where we shall once again meet with those like us who say the Nembutsu.  The Amida Sutra calls it the place where we all meet together.  Through the teaching of the Nembutsu, it is guaranteed that we shall return Home to the world of infinite Life.  It is a place where we can once again meet our loved ones who have passed on before us.