Honen's Last Momemts And The Apperance of Amitabha Buddha

Post Reply
Posts: 50
Joined: Mon Dec 11, 2017 4:04 pm

Honen's Last Momemts And The Apperance of Amitabha Buddha

Post by vikas113 » Thu Mar 15, 2018 7:28 am

From the 2nd of the New Year of 1212, Honen was feeling so poorly that he could hardly eat anything. For the past three or four years, Honen’s sight and hearing had become so dull that he could neither clearly distinguish color nor recognize voices. But now as the end approached, both senses became as sharp as before, and everyone who saw him was filled with delight and surprise. He talked of nothing but Birth in the Pure Land, repeating the name without ceasing in a loud voice, and even in his sleep his lips continued to move.

On the 3rd, one of his disciples asked him, “Do you think this means Birth in the Pure Land this time for sure?" To which he replied, "I came from the Land of Bliss, and I am sure I am going back there." Then another disciple Horen-bo asked him, "All famous priests from ancient times have left memorial temples behind them, but none has yet been built for you. Where then should we build yours?" His answer was, "If you erect a memorial to me over my grave, the influence of my teaching will be confined to one place, and not widely disseminated. But I assure you my memorial shall fill the land.  The one purpose of my life has been the universal spread of the nembutsu. So wherever among the high class or low you find a nembutsu community, there is my memorial temple, even if it’s just the thatched cottage of a humble fisherman."

At around 8:00 in the morning on the 11th, Honen arose from his bed and in a loud voice repeated the nembutsu. All who heard were moved to tears. He said to his disciples, "Repeat the nembutsu in a loud voice. The Buddha Amida has come, and no one who repeats the name can fail to be Born in the Pure Land." And then, as he always had done, he began to speak about the merits of the nembutsu, saying, "The Bodhisattvas Kannon and Seishi and many holy beings are appearing to me. Don't you see them?" When they said, "No," he urged them all to more earnestly repeat the sacred name.

At 10:00, his disciples brought him an image of Amida three feet high, and, as they put it on the right side of his bed, asked him if he could see it. With his finger pointing to the sky, he said, "There is another Buddha here besides this one. Do you not see him?" Then he went on to say,”As a result of the merit of repeating the sacred name, I have for the past ten years continually been gazing upon the glory of the Pure Land and the very forms of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. But I have kept it secret and said nothing about it. Now, however, as I draw near the end, I disclose it to you." The disciples then took a piece of cord made of five-colored strands, fastened it to the hand of the Buddha's image, and told Honen to take hold of it. Declining, he said, "This is the ceremony for most people, but it’s hardly necessary for me."

On the 20th at 10:00 in the morning, purple clouds were seen over the roof of his room. And, as a halo encircles the Buddha's head in art, there appeared a beautiful five-colored circular cloud, quite visible even to the crowds passing along the street. At the sight of them, his disciples told him, "There are purple clouds above you. Are you about to enter the Pure Land?" He replied, "This is wonderful! My Birth in the Pure Land is for all sentient beings. These good omens are to help people towards faith in the nembutsu. Later in the afternoon at 2:00, he looked up towards the sky five or six times without blinking, His attendants asked in surprise, "Has the Buddha come?"; and Honen replied,"Yes, he has."

From the 23rd, Honen began incessantly repeating the name, calling it out in a loud voice for a half hour or an hour at a time. From 6:00 in the evening on the 24th right up to 10:00 in the morning on the 25th without the least interruption, he continued with all his might in a loud voice calling upon Amida. Five or six of his disciples assisted him in turn with their voices, until they became tired. But Honen, old and sick as he was, incredibly went right on. All those who surrounded him, both monastic and lay alike, were in tears.

From midday, his voice began to grow weaker and weaker, only at intervals did it became loud again. As he drew near to the end, he put on the nine-stripped robe of the lineage of “precepts for perfect and immediate enlightenment" (endon kai), established by Saicho, the founder of the Tendai school on Mt. Hiei, and passed down through his disciple Ennin, the great nembutsu hijiri Ryonin, and Honen’s Kurodani hermitage master Eiku. Then, he laid down with his head to the north and his face turned toward the west in the manner in which the Buddha Shakyamuni died. The lion, the king of beasts, is said to sleep this way, and so did Shakyamuni, the lord of humans. To lie down with one’s head thrown back was said to be the way evil spirits (asura), and to lie with one's face downward was to imitate hungry ghosts (preta).

Honen then recited the following passage from the Meditation Sutra: "The light (of Amida) illumines all sentient beings throughout the ten quarters, who call upon the sacred name, protects them, and never forsakes them." With these words on his lips he breathed his last, as one falls asleep. After his voice was silent, his lips and tongue continued moving over ten times, while a bright smile came over his face. His departure took place just at 12:30 on the 25th of January, 1212. He was then in his eightieth year - the very age at which Shakyamuni himself died and also in the very same calendar year of the monkey and water. With his death went out the light of knowledge from the world, as once more the Buddha's sun sank from human sight behind the western horizon. People of all classes alike mourned his death, as they would that of their own loved parents.

Sentient Light
Posts: 345
Joined: Thu Sep 15, 2016 8:40 pm
Location: Pacifica, California

Re: Honen's Last Momemts And The Apperance of Amitabha Buddha

Post by Sentient Light » Thu Mar 15, 2018 2:51 pm

purple clouds


Thanks for sharing.
:buddha1: Nam mô A di đà Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Quan Thế Âm Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Đại Thế Chi Bồ Tát :bow:

:buddha1: Nam mô Bổn sư Thích ca mâu ni Phật :buddha1:
:bow: Nam mô Di lặc Bồ tát :bow:
:bow: Nam mô Địa tạng vương Bồ tát :bow:

Posts: 676
Joined: Thu Oct 13, 2011 9:37 am

Re: Honen's Last Momemts And The Apperance of Amitabha Buddha

Post by steveb1 » Fri Mar 16, 2018 3:04 am

Beautiful. I had not read this before. Thanks for contributing.

Posts: 2609
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2014 2:37 am

Re: Honen's Last Momemts And The Apperance of Amitabha Buddha

Post by Fortyeightvows » Sat Apr 07, 2018 10:53 pm

Wow that was a great post!

Post Reply

Return to “Pure Land”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 18 guests