Sin & Forgiveness

“Sin and Forgiveness” is a big theme for humankind in the religions especially Christianity. In Buddhism, 浄土真宗(Jodo Shinshu) founded by Shinran in the Heian period is one of the sects of Buddhism is similar to Christianity in terms of placing an importance on pray to Buddha (God) to ask for forgiveness rather than practicing hard disciplines comparing to other Buddhist sects like Soto shu.

In the noble “出家とその弟子”(Master and Disciples) written by Sanzo Okakura, Shiran talks about sin and forgiveness in the scene that one of his dear disciples, 唯円(Yuien) had committed a religious crime that he had a relationship with かえで(Kaede) who is a prostitute . Knowing this sin three older disciples had accused Yuien, saying the oldest one “if you don’t abandon a relationship with her, I will leave from the temple”, but Yuen didn’t obey his order.

After leaving from Yuien they asked Shinran a judgement on him. Shinran showed his mercy to Yuien because he had same scene before explaining like “There is no one who has never committed crimes before, we all are sinners cannot judge others, only Buddha(God) can judge. Also saying to Yuien “Don’t commit it too much, whether you can be allowed to marry with her or not, it depends on Buddha’s favor. Pray to Buddha by correcting your desire going with his will.”

This is very much Jodo Shinshu way, but not like other sects, which more insisting on attaining wisdoms to resolve this kind of lifetime problems, but Shinran’s persuasion and his wisdom that settled conflicts between two opposite opinions and emotions is something that very impressed.

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