Master Jingzong; English translation by Foyi, edited by Fojin
Some people get panicky when they become aware of their own wrongdoings. Others stay nonchalant, as though they don’t see any transgression.
As a matter of fact, those who can see their own misdeeds have reason to be quietly relieved. By contrast, those who are oblivious to their evil deeds should be scared.
Bad deeds are like dark shadows. If you cannot see your own evil deeds, that is either because you are the light itself, or you are entirely devoured by darkness or just blind. Unlike Buddhas and Bodhisattvas who are themselves light, ordinary beings who don’t perceive the shadows of their own wrongdoings can only be engulfed in complete darkness, unable to see anything. Isn’t that cause for panic? If we can detect dark shadows, it means we are in the light and have clear vision. Isn’t that reason to rejoice?
We should be pleased to able to see the shadows of transgression in our hearts. We should also know that for as long as we exist, while we are amid the light but before we have become light ourselves, we will always be followed by the shadows. If we want to escape the distressing stalking of the shadows, there is no need to run frantically in the light or get embroiled in a fight with them. We only need to turn around and face the light.
For this reason, Master Shandao explained to us the two kinds of deep faith: believing that we iniquitous ordinary beings are already immersed in the light and thus able to see the shadows of our own sins, and turning towards Amitabha Buddha. Thus Shandao urges us to “recite Amitabha Buddha’s name single-mindedly and exclusively,” like sunflowers facing the sun.