5. Classification of the Teachings

As related in Part 1, when Shinran Shonin was 29 years of age, he abandoned the way of “self- – centered effort” and entered the way of “Buddha-centered power.” He was firmly convinced that the 18th Vow (the Primal Vow) of “absolute ‘Buddha-centered power’” was the only way available for himself, and this lead him to feel that the teaching which he accepted was the highest. That is how he evaluated Buddha-dharma and religion in general. This is referred to as, “classification of the various Buddhist schools” (kyoso hanjyaku), in which each Buddhist school shows how it is related to other Buddhist schools with the goal of showing why their own school is the best. The Venerable Master’s classification has two parts:

  • “Division of a pair into four parts”
  • “Classification of the ‘true,’ ‘provisional’ and ‘false’ teachings”