Monday, September 10, 2007


A full weekend, culminating in Sunday service.

I shared the account of Honen's conversion to Pureland, reflected on that alternation of effort and of revelation, or self-power and other-power. Honen was studious and learned. He received accolades from his contemporaries for his prowess, yet he saw the shallowness of such worldly achievement. He abandoned his mountain seat of honour for a more private search, a struggle to break through the received knowledge to something truer, with more integrity. He struggled and strove in his quest for a way. Then the breakthrough came, a simple realisation of the power of faith, of nembutsu.

So often it is only when we have fought with our ambitions and desires, have striven to reach peaks of knowledge and skill that we come to simplicity. We need that struggle in order to let go, just as the muscle is flexed before it can relax. In the end, though, learning comes to us. It surprises us just when we are at the point of breaking in our effort. It comes from the measureless.

Then we can go out. Honen walked out after his breakthrough, going from place to place, evangelising to the ordinary man. open handed he shared his insight through his example and became an inspiration to all.


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