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Looking back over the past year, some of you may be disappointed that you couldn’t follow through on that one thing that you had promised yourself you would stick to. However, you’ve taken a step forward just by learning how hard it is to carry your determination out, despite having made up your mind.

The Japanese monk Shinran is famous for saying, “If the good person can attain rebirth in the Buddha’s pure land, how much more the bad person!” Now, that sounds like it’s backwards. It seems to make more sense if put this way: “Because the Buddha liberates even the worst people with his boundless compassion and mercy, all the more reason that he will certainly liberate the good person.”

However, if someone arrogantly thinks they are not even the slightest bit wide of the mark, they will never seek the Buddha’s liberation nor his teachings. It is those who are truly aware of their own weaknesses and faults that inevitably seek out the teachings. It is those who have this self-realization who are closest to the Buddha.

If we are conscious of ourselves as weak and easily mistaken human beings, we can renew our resolve.

If it didn’t work out this year, I hope you make up your mind to do it next year without fail. If you can, your wish will certainly come true.

Acknowledgement and remorse represent taking astep forward with newfound determination.

Nikkyo Niwano

Kaisozuikan 9, Kosei Publishing Co. pp.104-105

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