Trust No One
Really I was angry that I had "let" myself trust someone. It's a very stupid thing to trust.
And yet we need to trust. We need to trust that the floorboards will not fall out from underneath us, that our lungs will keep working, that people will obey traffic laws, that our stomach will digest food, that our partners will not leave us, that the water from the tap is clean enough to drink. If we didn't have trust we would be in constant panic and suspicion.
Pure Land Buddhism is known for "nembutsu," a practice in which one repeatedly recites the Buddha's name. Pure Land Buddhists believe that this recitation will lead to rebirth in the heavenly "Pure Land." The phrase in nembutsu is "Namu Amida Butsu," which sometimes is translated as "homage to Amida Buddha," or "I take refuge in Amida Buddha." However, Aoyama Roshi believed that the meaning of the word "namu" is "to trust," and that is the meaning I like most as well. The word "namu" 南無 appears in many sutras, for example, the Daihishin Dharani, or the Full Moon Precept Renewal Ceremony (ryakufusatsu). It's a somewhat misunderstood term.
"Namu Shakyamuni Buddha" or "Namu Amida Butsu" does not mean blind faith in an external deity, or an external Buddha, or even really in Buddha at all. Namu means "to trust," and trusting in the Buddha does not mean handing over power or relinquishing our own agency. It does not mean believing everything will be fine because of the Buddha's power. When we trust in the "Buddha," this is just trusting the Dharma (teachings) and Sangha (community) as well.
So, trusting in Buddha means trusting in truth. It means deeply investigating and being intimate with the truth. And what is the truth? The truth is that shit falls apart. People lie. The dog pees on the floor. Trump trumps. It's all true. And Buddhist teachers, well... they are who they are. Haters gonna hate hate hate hate and players gonna play play play play play.
It's very hard to have complete trust in this. It's hard to take refuge in losing your job. It's hard to chant, "Homage to impermanence and constant disappointment." But I suspect that is the right direction. Trusting in the truth means that when disappointment comes, it comes. It is true and it is painful and it will change. Truth promises us that things will only and always be as they are. Maybe this seems like small comfort, but it's a promise we can actually trust.