Tariki: Embracing Despair, Discovering Peace
Drawing upon his remarkable personal history, novelist and Buddhist scholar Hiroyuki Itsuki introduces us to tariki, the Other Power that is the core belief of Pure Land Buddhism. The Other Power derives from the true and full acceptance of the reality that is within us and that surrounds us. It is not a philosophy of passivity and irresponsibility, but one of radical spiritual activity, of personal, existential revolution. Its essence is the spontaneous, wondrous force that gives us the will to act, to "do what man can do and then wait for heaven's will." Importantly, tariki is a power that flows from the fundamental realization that, in the lives we live, we are already enlightened.
This enlightenment does not come easily. It is born of the unwelcome understanding that, despite our protestations, we are insignificant, imperfect beings, born to a hell of suffering that defines human existence. But in this hell, we sometimes encounter small joys, friendship, the kind acts of strangers, and the miracle of love. We experience moments when we are filled with courage, when the world sparkles with hopes and dreams. There are even times when we are deeply grateful to have been born.
These moments are paradise. But paradise is not another realm; it is here, in the very midst of the hell of this world. Tariki, a power that transcends theological distinctions, avails us of these moments. In the endless uncertainties of contemporary life, tariki confers upon us a flexibility of spirit, an energy to feel joy, and the respite of peace.
Some of these competing belief systems have displayed terrific energy in recent...