12.3: Chapter Summary
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Jodo-shin-shu as expounded by its founder, Shinran, is presented as a Buddhist example of the way of devotion. Jodo-shin-shu centers upon whole-hearted devotion to Amida Buddha, a devotion concretely expressed in the recitation, "Namo-amida-butsu," which invokes Amida's presence and acknowledges his lordship. The experience of faith (shinjin) in Amida's boundless compassion is said to involve a displacement of self-power with Amida's infinite power, whereby one assuredly is said to attain Rebirth and Enlightenment in Amida's Pure Land, be given abundant grace to meet the misfortunes and temptations of life, and be impassioned to embody Amida's compassion for others. For this faith to arise, it is necessary first to be convinced of one's helplessness to escape the predicament of human sin and second to throw oneself wholly upon the divine power of Amida, trusting in his promise to save. A sampling of stories is given that tell of persons who exemplify faith in Amida and the personal transformation consequent to the arising of faith.
To exemplify the way of devotion in Christianity, an account by the Protestant Evangelist Billy Graham is given of what is involved in "finding God" and being "born again" as a Christian. Evangelical Christianity centers on whole-hearted devotion to God for the gift of salvation in Jesus Christ, in whom redemption from the predicament of human sin is to be found. Reception of this gift in the experience of Christian faith, according to Graham, involves four principles: (1) God loves each person and has a wonderful plan for that person's life; (2) the sinful nature that separates persons from God, God's love, and God's plan for their lives must be acknowledged and relinquished by them; (3) the redemption wrought by Jesus Christ's suffering and death on the cross is God's provision for sin, enabling reconciliation with God; and (4) openly placing faith in Christ as Savior and Lord opens the door to his revolutionary power to transform one's life, restore kinship with God, and renew God's plan for one's life in realizing his purposes in the world. Here too a sampling of stories is given that show what Christian faith and the life transformation consequent upon faith in Christ is all about.