I was scarcely able to maitain any decorum on the bus when reading Soho Machida’s Life and Light, The Infinite. A friend who wrote about some of the personal profound revelations on “Light” managed to maintain the presence of mind to reference Machida’s article.

Although I have been reciting the Nianfo () for the past eight or more years, I know very little to nothing about the origins of Pure Land. The little I know is contained in No Abode: Record of Ippen (Ippen Shonin Goroku) and Plain Words on the Pure Land Way (Ichigon Hodan) both titles have been impeccably translated by Dennis Hirota. I was absorbed if not captivated by Ippen’s revelation at the Kumano Shrine. I have found it more common to read about Hijiri in connection to Ippen.

Machida wonderfully traces the origins and influences on the name and culture associated with Amitabha in his paper. I was especially thrilled to read about the influence of Zoroastrianism, Mithraism and Manichaeism. I had only two months ago accidentally come across Gandharan Buddhist art whilst aimlessly wondering about at The Metropolitan. One may never know what was lost during the upheaval in these regions.

None of it really matters in the end, it is all Namu Amituofo.

Laks Indrakaran

Somerville, MA

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