Yuien Bo asked Shinran if he had seen any Religious people in the room. Shinran replied, he did not even see one. In he path of Sages we see people in robes and ministering full time.
In the world of average people, we wouldn’t know who a Sage is. But are we evil? Let us look at it this way. In Christianity a Minster would say to you, that you are blessed and good with god. Yet another would see you as an evil sinner and must be blessed by God to absolve your sins. You are a sinner.
On a Jodo Shin Shu basis, one is no judged, but it is acknowledged that we are not Buddha’s yet and we live an average life. In Sutras it says in order to know Nirvana on must learn Samsara. How would one know Nirvana if we do not know Samsara?
Towards the end of his life, Sigmund Freud became largely disenchanted with the human species and considered us one of the worst types of animals.
Thomas Hobbes had a similarly pessimistic view of humanity and famously wrote that the life of man in his natural state is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.” Essentially, he believed all men were equally capable of killing, and when two people want the same thing the inevitable outcome is war. In his mind, government and civil society were the only ways to curb the brutishness, yet he admitted even governments and the elite were full of corruption.
Taoist Yang Chu, like Rennyo and Shinran, Acknowledge In Suffering and transience One hundred years is the limit of a long life. Not one in a thousand ever attains it. Suppose there is one such person. Infancy and feeble old age take almost half of his time. Rest during sleep at night and what is wasted during the waking hours in the daytime take almost half of that. Pain and sickness, sorrow and suffering, death (of relatives) and worry and fear take almost half of the rest. In the ten and some years that is left, I settled in my mind, there is not one moment in which we can be happy and at ease without worry. This being the case, what is life for? What pleasure is there? For beauty and abundance, that is all. For music and sex, that is all. But the desire for beauty and abundance cannot always be satisfied, and music and sex cannot always be enjoyed. Besides, we are prohibited by punishment and exhorted by rewards, pushed by fame and checked by law. We busily strive for the empty praise which is only temporary, and seek extra glory that would come after death. Being alone ourselves, we pay great care to what our ears hear and what our eyes see, and are much concerned with what is right or wrong for our bodies and minds. Thus we lose the great happiness of the present and cannot give ourselves free rein for a single moment. What is the difference between that and many chains and double prisons?
Proverbs 28:13 tells us,
“He who covers his transgressions will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will obtain mercy.”
We all try and become religious people and we wish to be betters people. I have been to self powered temples where people would not be so kind and the lead minister was a bit narcissistic, yet people thought they where Buddha’s.
Shinran said: We are filled with all manner of greed, anger, perversity, deceit, wickedness, and cunning, and it is difficult to put an end to our evil nature. … In the Nembutsu teaching of Shinran Shonin, we begin by recognizing the light of Amida Buddha that continually shines into our hearts and minds, showing us that our path to The Pure Land
Since we are not born Buddha’s, we lose our Original Nature. Some of us have well disciplined life but how many of us are perfect? There is no such thing as pre-Nirvana. But also, this is called the Land of Recompense, where we retrieve our original stainless Nature.
We truly strive to be good people and we embrace our values with imperfect vigor. But we are human. As the saying goes, hard is it to born into human life, now we are living it.