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Jesus, the founder of Christianity, had a group of elite disciples called the twelve apostles. When he was apprehended by the authorities, the apostles abandoned Jesus, even insisting that they did not know him. However, the apostles were utterly transformed by meeting the resurrected Jesus, who, having died on the cross and risen from the dead, refused to condemn them despite knowing full well of their betrayal. The apostles went on to spread Christianity at the very risk of their lives, and so the teachings of Jesus have been handed down throughout the centuries.

Jesus fully understood how frail people are, and he accepted their failings with a warm embrace. When people encounter someone who is aware of their weaknesses and failures and yet accepts them, it brings about a 180-degree change in their lives and assures them that they will not regret entrusting everything about themselves to that person.

For us, practitioners of Buddhism, the Buddha is the one who accepts all of our human frailties with a warm embrace.

The Bodhisattva Regarder of the Sounds of the World embodies this mind of the Buddha, extending hands of compassion to people seeking liberation by appearing to them in thirty-three manifestations. When we, having been embraced by this compassion, continue to work single-mindedly with the intention to become like the Regarder of the Sounds of the World, it gives birth to people who, in the words of the Lotus Sutra, further the teaching “even at the cost of their lives.”

Nikkyo Niwano

Kaisozuikan 9, pp.146-47

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