Question: For most people the natural way to enlightenment is to read the scriptures and recite the nembutsu [Praise to Amida Buddha].
Since you do nothing more than sit cross-legged, how can this mere sitting be a means of gaining enlightenment?
Answer: Of what use is it to read the scriptures and recite the nembutsu? It is useless to imagine that the merits of Buddhism come merely from using one's tongue or voice; if you think such things embrace all, of Buddhism, the Truth is a long way from you.
You should only read the scriptures so as to learn that the Buddha was teaching the necessity of gradual and sudden training and that from this you can realize enlightenment; do not read them so as to make a show of wisdom with useless intellection. . . .
Just to continually repeat the nembutsu is equally useless, for it is like a frog who croaks both day and night in some field. . . .
They who do nothing ... more than study the scriptures . . . never understand this, so just stop it and thereby cure: your delusions and doubts.
Just follow-the teachings of a true master and, through the power of Zazen, find the utterly joyful enlightenment of Buddha.
The Other Power of Amida's Vows, above all the Eighteenth, can accomplish all this unprompted and without repression, but with what Shinran termed jinen honi: natural ease and spontaneity. Clearly this idea owes something to Dogen and his Soto Zen and through them ultimately to Taoist metaphysics.
But when we read of Dogen saying: 'Forgetting body and mind by placing them together in the Buddha's hands and letting him lead you on, you will without design or effort gain freedom and attain Buddhahood', then he just as clearly shows the influence of Shinran's conception of the Other Power.
Again when Dogen tells busy farmers who have no time to enter a monastery and practise zazen that repetition of the Name is enough to bring them to Enlightenment, he has obviously been influenced by the Pure Land teachings of Honen and Shinran. There is an old tradition that Dogen and Shinran once met for a discussion and understood each other so well that at the end of their interview Shinran gave Dogen his nenju, or invocatory beads, while Dogen in exchange presented Shinran with his hossu, the horsetail fly-whisk of a Zen master.