False "Ten Kalpas" Teaching
There was, in Master Rennyo's time, a serious divergence which he wrote about in a letter (in his OFUMI 1:13), refuting the divergence and defining what it means to have shinjin. Here are his words:
13. On the False “Ten Kalpas” Teachings in This Region
"Recently, some of the nenbutsu people in this region have been using strange terms, insisting that they express the attainment of faith; furthermore, they hold to this as if they knew all about our tradition’s faith.
"In their words, “Faith is not forgetting the benevolence of Amida, who settled our birth [in the Pure Land] from the time of his perfect enlightenment ten kalpas ago!”
"This is a serious error. For even if they know all about Amida Tathagata’s perfect enlightenment, this is useless without knowing the significance of other-power faith, by which we are to attain birth.
"Therefore, from now on, they should first of all know the true and real faith of our tradition very thoroughly. That faith is expounded in the Larger Sutra as “the threefold entrusting”; in the Contemplation Sutra, it is called “the three minds”; and in the Amida Sutra, it is expressed as “one mind.” Although the terms differ in all three sutras, they are simply meant to express the one mind given to us by other-power.
"What, then, do we mean by “faith”?
"First of all, when we set aside all sundry practices and steadfastly rely on Amida Tathagata and, giving no thought to any of the kami or to other buddhas, take refuge with singleness of heart exclusively in Amida, the Tathagata embraces [us] with his light and never abandons us. This is precisely how the one thought-moment of faith is decisively settled.
"After we have understood this, we must bear in mind that the nenbutsu expresses our gratitude to Amida Tathagata for his benevolence in granting us other-power faith. With this, we are to be declared nenbutsu practitioners in whom faith is decisively settled."
Respectfully. Written in Bunmei 5 (1473), in the last part of the ninth month
SO, here we see Master Rennyo confronting the "false ten kalpas" teaching and explaining how it is wrong and what the true teaching is.
Master Rennyo, over and over, demonstrated the two fundamental functions of a true teacher of Amida Dharma: To teach the Dharma in a way that is clear and simple, and To confront and refute divergences whenever they crop up. We see both functions in the above letter from his OFUMI.
So it is not enough to simply have an intellectual understanding of how the Larger Sutra on Amida Buddha recounts Bodhisattva Dharmakara's 48 Great Vows and how he fulfilled them becoming Amida Buddha. What is needed is to come to take full and final refuge in Amida Buddha and His Other Power through the Primal Vow. To come before Amida, spiritually stark naked recognizing our helplessness to save ourselves and open to His saving Light, to accept Amida's salvific embrace which does not forsake and His gift of SHINJIN without any doubts or doublemindedness, and to continue to Listen Deeply, both before Shinjin and after Shinjin .