As part of my ordination (tokudo 得度) training I am reading the book Jodo Shinshu: A Guide. In the book I found this interesting passage:
True liberation must be that which gives us the strength to continue, even if things do not go as we wish, fully recognizing that all problems are transient in nature. In this way, we can transcend any obstacle and live life to the utmost.
The Jodo Shinshu teaching explains that such strength comes from Amida [Amitabha] Buddha’s ceaseless work to bring about our liberation, and to have us experience the benevolence of his Vow Power, which will ultimately bring about our birth in the Pure Land. It is what sustains us spiritually and gives us life-long fortitude. Choosing to proceed along this path will lead us to attain the same awakening as the Buddha. Although all of Mahayana Buddhism recognizes the assistance provided by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, Jodo Shinshu particularly values the working of Amida’s Compassionate Vow. (Pg 65)
I think this is a good, clear summary of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism. It also reminds me of a passage from the Immeasurable Life Sutra:
“If, sentient beings encounter his light, their three defilements are removed; they feel tenderness, joy and pleasure; and good thoughts arise. If sentient beings in the three realms of suffering see his light, they will all be relieved and freed from affliction. At the end of their lives, they all reach emancipation.
“The light of Amitayus shines brilliantly, illuminating all the Buddha-lands of the ten quarters. There is no place where it is not perceived….”
The Light of Amida Buddha can mean many different things to different people, but it serves to guide us and sustain us in good times and bad.
Namu Amida Butsu