Recently, while preparing for the Introduction to Buddhism courses at the temple, I was reading the Essentials of Faith or yuishinshō (唯信鈔) composed in 1221 by a former Tendai monk, later Pure Land Buddhist, named Seikaku (聖覚, 1167-1235). I mentioned this text briefly in an earlier post.
In particular, I liked the following passage:
Some people who read this will surely ridicule it. Nevertheless, both belief and slander will become a cause for each one’s birth in the Pure Land. With the pledges of friendship in this life – brief as a dream – to guide us, we tie the bonds for meeting before enlightenment in the coming life. If I am behind, I will be guided by others; If I go first, I will guide others. Becoming true friends through many lives, we bring each other to the practice of the Buddha-way, and as true teachers in each life, we will together sunder all delusion and attachment.
This is a lovely expression of the Mahayana Buddhist notion of interdependence, goodwill (e.g. “metta”) and enlightenment for all beings.
P.S. Compare with a much older Buddhist sutra, the Upaddha Sutta (SN 45.2, “Half of the Holy Life”) of the Theravada Buddhist tradition.