Reading an early passage of the Kegon Sutra, I came across a poem by the Ho-E Bodhisattva which made me want to cry out, “How Wonderful!” Here it is:
Be free from subject and object,
Get away from dirtiness and cleanness.
Sometimes entangled and sometimes not,
I forget all relative knowledge:
My real wish is to enjoy all things with people.
This poem expresses so clearly what I am thinking about these days that I use it to explain my feelings to everyone I meet.
Subject or object, myself or someone else, individualism or socialism, egotism or altruism – forget about such relative knowledge, be free from it! Right or wrong, good or bad, beauty or ugliness – don’t cling to that either. Forget about ignorance or enlightenment! Simply enjoy your life with people – this is the spirit of Gautama Buddha, isn’t it? I’m glad that Shinran Shonin said, “When we enter into the inconceivable Other Power, realize that the Reason without Reason does exist,” and again, “I cannot judge what right or wrong is, and I don’t know at all what is good and bad.” I hate to hear about the fights of isms or clashes between two different faiths. I don’t care about these things. Somehow I just long for people. I hate to be separated from people by the quarrels of ism or dogma or faith, and what is more, I hate to be separated from other people by profit and loss.
I don’t care whether I win or lose, lose or win. I just long for the life burning inside me. I just adore people, in whom there is life. I don’t care about isms, thoughts of faiths. I just long for people. I throw everything else away. I simply want people.
It makes me miserable when close brothers are separated by anything. Why can’t they be their own naked selves? Why can’t longing people embrace each other?
I love myself more than my isms, thoughts, or faiths. And because I love myself so, I long for people. I am not asserting that my way is Love-ism or Compassionate-Thinking-ism! Somehow I just can’t keep myself in a little box of ism, thought, or faith.
I must admit that I am timid. Because I am timid, I can’t endure my loneliness. I want to enjoy everything with people.
I go to the ocean of the great mind.
I go to the mind of the great power.
Once I hated people because they lived a lie; once I saw them as devils. Once I lamented because there was no one who cared about me. But now I long for them, even when they are devils and liars, even when they are evil. I don’t care, I can’t help it – I adore them! They breathe the same life that I do, even though they hate me, cheat me, make me suffer.
I am so filled with a thirst to adore people that there is no room in me for judging whether a person is good or bad, beautiful or ugly, right or wrong. This is not the result of something I reasoned out, such as that I live by being loved or by loving. Regardless of any ism, thought, or faith, I cannot be separated from people. Without reason or discussion, I just want to hug everyone! My missionary work is nothing but a confession of this mind.
This is an excerpt from Popular Buddhism in Japan, Shin Buddhist Religion & Culture edited by Esben Andreasen, reprinted with permission from University of Hawai’i Press.
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