4. Purpose of the Buddha’s Appearance in this World

As the Venerable Master Shinran wrote in the Chapter on Teaching of his Kyogyoshinsho: “Now if I were to reveal the True Teaching, it is the Larger Sutra on the Buddha of Immeasurable Life…,” he considers the Larger Sutra to be the sutra that expresses the truth.

A little later, the Venerable Master asks: “How do we know (this sutra) was the great matter for which Shakyamuni appeared in this world?” He then quotes Ananda’s words from the Larger Sutra:

Today, Oh World-Honored One, you seem filled with joy, your body is pure and your face radiates a brightness that is like an image in a mirror without blemishes. Further, your august appearance is magnificent and beyond measure. I have never seen you look as majestic as you do today. Oh World-Honored One, today you seem to dwell in a marvelous meditative state, that you dwell in the World of Enlightenment where all base desires have been destroyed, and as the eye of wisdom that lights up the world of delusion, you are blessed with the virtue of leading others. As the Most Honored in this World, you dwell in the realm of Wisdom, and as the Most Honored in all the Worlds, you put into practice the virtue of the Tathagatas.

This passage is referred to as “Realizing the Essence of the Five Virtues” (gotoku zuigen) because Ananda sees “the five virtues” in Shakyamuni Buddha.

There are other translations of the Larger Sutra (with different titles) that refer to the same “five virtues.” the Venerable Master then states in the conclusion to the Chapter on Teaching:

Accordingly, this is clear evidence that (the Larger Sutra) reveals the True Teaching.

In other words, Shakyamuni Buddha preached the Larger Sutra with the “five virtues” that he did not usually reveal, and that is why it is considered the teaching that he appeared in this world to preach.

Regarding this, in the Shoshin-ge (Hymn of True Shinjin), the Venerable Master wrote:

The reason for the Tathagata’s
appearance in the world,
Was to preach the ocean-like Primal Vow
of Amida.