What We Believe?
Below is a brief summary in 21 points of the core beliefs and tents of our international association.
These basic beliefs are skillful instruments given to us by the Buddha, so that we can awaken to our deepest inner
potential of compassion and wisdom. They are not creedal pronouncements that bind us into dogmatism. In order to
touch the Ultimate Dimension, we must go beyond all words and ideas, and experience the ineffable Oneness of Reality
as it is. Words and ideas can help us along the path, but let's not be attached to them. Let them serve as guideposts
The 21 points cover such topics like the ultimate nature of reality, the significance of our Buddha,
the purpose of life, basic practices, death, hell, evil, eternal life, salvation, scriptures, etc. Ultimately, these 21 points
can be summed up in the belief in the One Life, compassion, love, hope, and the inner potential of every human being.
1. We believe….there is only One Life,
present in everybody, in everything and everywhere, manifesting in infinite forms who is the beauty and power of the cosmos.
This is not a God but is that which transcends Creator and creation and is our
true nature; for this reason, the Buddha is known as the teacher of gods and humans.
2. We believe….in universal compassion.
The One Life, symbolized in our tradition as Amida, the Buddha of Immeasurable Life and Light, is infinite in space and time,
identifies with our sufferings and joys and enjoins us to be compassionate and loving with others
3. We believe….in universal liberation.
The One Life actively seeks to liberate all beings by embodying itself as the nembutsu-Namu-Amida-Butsu;
this living nembutsu reveals itself when we are spiritually guided to believe, hear, affirm and entrust ourselves
to the One Life.
4. We believe...the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni
was the human manifestation of Amida Buddha who in turn is the compassionate expression of the non-conceptual ultimate dimension,
known as the dharmakaya.
5. We believe….in the Three Jewels:
the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha, as the best vehicle to touch that which is true and real, to engage in the beauty of
life, and to offer a practical way to transcend suffering and accept impermanence.
6. We believe….life is a bumpy ride,
but the universe is fundamentally good; it is our ego-driven life that causes most of the suffering but luckily our self-centeredness
can be transformed into a source of wisdom and compassion (Buddhahood). This is the Buddha’s teaching of the Four Noble
7. We believe….nothing just happens
but all is the result of karma (cause and effect); this reality emphasizes individual responsibility and the universal karmic
power of Amida Buddha, symbolized as the Primal Vow.
8. We believe….in the interdependence
of all things, in which everything simultaneously co-arises with everything else (mutual creation) and that every form is
intimately part of everything else.
9. We believe….in Other Power (grace).
No one human life is wasted or abandoned but all will be transformed by the natural working of the boundless one Life.
10. We believe…every person has a natural
and endowed purpose to realize enlightenment by embodying the nembutsu for the sake of all beings.
11. We believe…faith is a transformative
experience whose source is Life itself; it is based on confidence, trust, and noetic (intuitive) understanding and is not founded in blind belief, creeds or dogma.
We believe…. spiritual rebirth
is the direct result of awakening and entrusting ourselves (shinjin) to our transcending one Life.
We believe… without severing blind passions, one attains
Nirvana. Spiritual rebirth through the nembutsu allows us to live at the juncture of the historical and ultimate dimensions;
this corresponds to Shinran’s statement, “I am neither monk nor layman.”
14. We believe…eternal salvation is here and
now, and regardless of your race, gender, moral status, age, religion, intelligence or education, all can experience this
inner reality by just awakening to and entrusting themselves in the One Life, and voicing the nembutsu.
15. We believe….the Pure
Land is the realm of enlightenment (nirvana) and a concrete image of
emptiness (shunyata), which is the transcending deathless and eternal dominion beyond conception, devoid of hatred, greed
We believe….death is a new beginning, in which we ascend to the Pure
Land, only then do we return to this world to help all beings realize
We believe….hell is not eternal but is a temporary condition or mind-set, which many of us experience on and off on a daily
basis. Evil is not a living entity but is simply the symptom of spiritual ignorance; thus, it can be transformed into compassion
We believe….our shadow side (bonpu) must be fully and honestly embraced in order to truly experience the inner transformative
light; thereby, we become authentically whole, as we truly are, in the continuous interplay of light and darkness.
19. We believe….the Threefold Pure Land
Sutras, are inspired scriptures, demonstrating the true intent of the Buddha, and for us, are the best teaching to live our
lives; but we are open to the entirety of the Buddha Dharma and world spirituality.
20. We believe….our community serves
people and the Earth, as the historical Buddha served people and the Earth.
21. We believe…every Shin practicier
should grow in the dharma, have a true engagement with Life, serve others and learn to embody the nembutsu for the sake of
regards beliefs as powerful human inventions that serve as skillful instruments pointing to that which is beyond conception
and beyond belief. Therefore, we should not become attached to any belief, even Buddhist ones. We should avoid entangling
our spiritual path by concretizing any conceptual model for truth; instead let us awaken to and embody the non-dual
truth of Nirvana."
-- G.R. Lewis, BFF Senior Dharma Teacher