WISDOM OF THE EAST
TRANSLATED FROM THE JAPANESE
BY S. YAMABE AND L. ADAMS BECK
LAUDING THE INFINITE ONE
CONCERNING THE GREAT SUTRA
CONCERNING THE SUTRA OF THE MEDITATION
CONCERNING THE LESSER SUTRA
OF THE MANY SUTRAS CONCERNING THE INFINITE ONE
CONCERNING THE WELFARE OF THE PRESENT WORLD
OF THANKSGIVING FOR NAGARJUNA, THE GREAT TEACHER OF INDIA
OF THANKSGIVING FOR VASUBANDH, THE GREAT TEACHER OF INDIA
OF THANKSGIVING FOR DONRAN, THE GREAT TEACHER OF CHINA
CONCERNING UNRIGHTEOUS DEEDS
CONCERNING HŌNEN SHŌNIN
OF THE THREE PERIODS
CONCERNING BELIEF AND DOUBT
IN PRAISE OF PRINCE SHOTOKU
WHEREIN WITH LAMENTATION I MAKE MY CONFESSION
BY L. ADAMS BECK
It is a singular fact that though many of the earlier Buddhist
Scriptures have been translated by competent scholars, comparatively
little attention has been paid to later Buddhist devotional
writings, and this although the developments of Buddhism in China
and Japan give them the deepest interest as reflecting the spiritual
mind of those two great countries. They cannot, however, be
understood without some knowledge of the faith which passed so
entirely into their life that in its growth it lost some of its own
infant traits and took on others, rooted, no doubt, in the
beginnings in India, but expanded and changed as the features of the
child may be forgotten in the face of the man and yet perpetuate the
unbroken succession of heredity. It is especially true that Japan
cannot be understood without some knowledge of the Buddhism of the
Greater Vehicle (as the developed form is called), for it was the
influence that moulded her youth as a nation, that shaped her
aspirations, and was the inspiration of her art, not only in the
written word, but in every art and higher handicraftsmanship that
makes her what she is. Whatever centuries may pass or the future
hold in store for her, Japan can never lose the stamp of Buddhism in
her outer or her spiritual life.
The world knows little as yet of the soul of Mahayana Buddhism,
though much of its outer observance, and for this reason a crucial
injustice has been done in regarding it merely as a degraded form of
the earlier Buddhism—a rank off-shoot of the teachings of the
Gautama Buddha, a system of idolatry and priestly power from which
the austere purity of the earlier faith has passed away.
The truth is that Buddhism, like Christianity, in every country
where it has sowed its seed and reaped its harvest, developed along
the lines indicated by the mind of that people. The Buddhism of
Japan differs from that of Tibet as profoundly as the Christianity
of Abyssinia from that of Scotland—yet both have conserved the
Buddhism was not a dead abstraction, but a living faith, and it
therefore grew and changed with the growth of the mind of man,
enlarging its perception of truth. As in the other great faiths, the
ascent of the Mount of Vision reveals worlds undreamed, and
proclaims what may seem to be new truths, but are only new aspects
of the Eternal. Japanese Buddhists still base their belief on the
utterances of the Buddhas, but they have enlarged their conception
of the truths so taught, and they hold that the new flower and fruit
spring from the roots that were planted in dim ages before the
Gautama Buddha taught in India, and have since rushed hundred-armed
to the sun. Such is the religious history of mankind, and Buddhism
obeys its sequence.
The development of Mahayana Buddhism from the teaching of the
Gautama Buddha has been often compared with that of the Christian
faith from the Jewish, but it may be better compared with the growth
of a sacerdotal system from the simplicities of the Gospel of
St. Mark. That the development should have been on the same lines in
all essential matters of symbol and (in the most important respects)
of doctrine, modified only by Eastern habits of thought and
environment, is a miracle of coincidence which cannot be paralleled
in the world unless it be granted that Christianity filtering along
the great trade routes of an earlier world joined hands with
Buddhism in many unsuspected ways and places. Evidence is
accumulating that this is so, and in a measure at present almost
incredible. And if it be so—if it be true that in spite of racial
distinctions, differences of thought and circumstance, the religious
thought of East and West has so many and so great meeting-points,
the hope of the world in things spiritual may lie in the recognition
of that fact and in a future union now shadowed forth only in symbol
and in a great hope. This, however, is no essay on Buddhism, either
earlier or later, and what I have said is necessary to the
introduction of these Jōdo-Wasan, or Psalms of the Pure Land, which
are a part not only of the literature, but also of the daily worship
and spiritual life of Japan. Their history may be briefly told.
Buddhism passed into Japan from China and Korea about 1320 years
ago, in or about the year A.D. 552. It adapted itself with perfect
comprehension to the ideals of the Japanese people, inculcating
among them the teachings of morality common to the great faiths
with, in addition, the spiritual unction, the passion of love and
sympathy, self-devotion, and compassion, in which Buddhism and
Christianity are alike pre-eminent. The negative side of Buddhism,
with its passionless calm and self-renunciation, is the only one
that has been realised in the West, and the teachings of Mahayana
which have borne fruit and flower, visible to all the world, of
happiness, courtesy, kindliness in the spiritual attitude of a whole
people, have never received the honour which was their due.
For with the Buddhist faith there came the germ of the belief that
the Gautama Buddha in his own grandeur bore witness to One
Greater—the Amitabha or Amida Buddha—that One who in boundless
light abideth, life of the Universe, without colour, without form,
the Lover of man, his Protector and Refuge. He may, He must be
worshipped, for in Him are all the essential attributes of Deity,
and He, the Saviour of mankind, has prepared a pure land of peace
for his servants, beyond the storms of life and death. This belief
eventually crystallised and became a dogma in the faith of the Pure
Land, known in Japan as Jōdo Shinshu, a faith held by the majority
of the Japanese people. It is a Belief which has spread also in
Eastern Siberia, many parts of China, Hawaii, and, in fact,
whereever the Japanese race has spread. And the man who stated this
belief for all time was Shinran Shōnin, author of the Psalms here
He was born in the year A.D. 1175 near City-Royal—Kyoto, the
ancient capital of Japan. He was a son of one of the noblest
families, in close connection with the Imperial House, and had it
not been for the passion for truth and the life of the spirit which
consumed him, his history would have been that of the many other
brilliant young men who sank into mere courtiers—“Dwellers above
the Clouds,” as the royalties and courtiers of the day were called
among the people. But the clear air above the clouds in which his
spirit spread its wings was not that of City-Royal, and the Way
opened before him as it has opened before many a saint of the
Christian Church, for while still a child he lost both his parents,
and so, meditating on the impermanence of mortal life, and seeing
how the fashion of this world passes away, he abandoned his title
and became a monk in one of the noble monasteries whose successors
still stand glorious among the pine woods above Lake Biwa.
These were not only monasteries, but seats of learning, as in Europe
in the Middle Ages, and here the Doctrines were subjected to
brilliant analysis and logical subtleties which had almost
superseded the living faith. In that cold atmosphere the spirit of
Shiran Shōnin could not spread its wings, though for twenty years he
gave his thoughts to its empty glitter. Therefore, at the age of
twenty-nine he cast it all behind him, and in deep humility cast
himself at the feet of the great Teacher Hōnen, who, in the shades
of Higashiyama, was setting forth the saving power of the Eternal
One who abideth in the Light and in whom is no darkness—the Buddha
of Boundless Light. And in this place and from this man Shinran
Life now lay before him as a problem. Unlike as the two men are in
character and methods, his position resembled that of Martin Luther
on quitting the Church of Rome. For the Buddhist monastic rule
requires its members to be homeless, celibate, vegetarian, and here,
like Luther, Shinran joined issue with them. To his mind the
attainment of man lay in the harmonious development of body and
spirit, and in the fulfilment, not the negation of the ordinary
human duties. Accordingly, in his thirty-first year, after deep
consideration, he married the daughter of Prince Kujo Kanezane,
Chief Minister of the Emperor and head of one of the greatest houses
in Japan, and in that happy union he tasted four years of simple
domestic joy, during which a son was born to him. Then the storm
Trouble was stirred up by the orthodox Buddhist Church with evil
reports which reached the ears of the Emperor, and Shinran was sent
into banishment in the lonely and primitive province of Echigo—a
terrible alternative for a man of noble birth and refined
culture. He took it, however, with perfect serenity as a mission to
those untaught and neglected people, and into their darkness he
brought the light of the Father of Lights, and the people flocked to
the warmth and wonder of the new hope, and heard him gladly. The
story is told by a contemporary, whom I have thus rendered:
“In the spring of the third year of the era of Kennin, the age of
Shinran Shōnin was twenty-nine. Driven by the desire for seclusion,
he departed to the monastery of Yoshimizu. For as his day was so
remote from the era of the Lord Buddha, and the endurance of man in
the practice of religious austerity was now weakened, he would fain
seek the one broad, straight way that is now made plain before us,
leaving behind him the more devious and difficult roads in which he
had a long time wandered. For so it was that Hōnen Shōnin, the great
teacher of the Doctrine of the Land of Pure Light, had taught him
plainly of the inmost heart of the Faith, raising up in him the firm
foundation of that teaching. Therefore he certainly received at that
time the true meaning of the Divine Promise of universal salvation,
and attained unto the imperishable faith by which alone the ignorant
can enter into Nirvana without condition or price.
“From the province of Echigo Shinran passed onward to that of
Hitachi, and entered into seclusion at Inada, that little village of
the region of Kasama. Very lonely was his dwelling, yet many
disciples sought after him, and though the humble door of the
monastery was closed against them, many nobles and lesser persons
thronged into the village. So his hope of spreading abroad the Holy
Teaching was fulfilled and his desire to bring joy to the people was
satisfied. Thus he declared that the revelation vouchsafed to him in
the Temple of Rokkaku by the Bodhisattwa of Pity was indeed made
It is that revelation which speaks in these Psalms—the love,
aspiration, passion for righteousness and humility which are the
heart of all the great religious utterances of the world.
“Alas for me, Shinran, the ignorant exile who sinks into the deeps
of the great ocean of human affections, who toils to climb the high
mountains of worldly prosperity, and is neither glad to be with them
who return no more to illusion, nor takes delight in approaching
more nearly to true enlightenment. O the pity of it! O the shame of
This cry alternates with the joy of perfect aspiration, and it is
that which keeps these psalms in warm human touch with the
spirituality that is neither of race nor time, but for eternity.
He was sixty-two years of age when he returned from exile to
City-Royal, and though he made it his centre, it was his home no
more. He wandered from place to place, teaching as he went, after
the manner of the Buddhas. At the age of ninety his strength
suddenly failed, and the next day he passed away in perfect peace.
Such were the outward events of his life; his own writings must give
the history of his soul. His teachings to-day are spread far and
wide in the land of his birth, and are an inspiration to millions
within and without its shores. In him was the harmonised spirit of
Buddhism at its highest. Those who can enter into the heart of
Shinran Shōnin will have gained understanding of the heart of a
mighty people which is said to be impossible of Western reading, and
yet in its essentials is simple as the heart of a child.
L. ADAMS BECK.
The object of the Editors of this series is a very definite
one. They desire above all things that, in their humble way, these
books shall be the ambassadors of good-will and understanding
between East and West—the old world of Thought and the new of
Action. In this endeavour, and in their own sphere, they are but
followers of the highest example in the land. They are confident
that a deeper knowledge of the great ideals and lofty philosophy of
Oriental thought may help to a revival of that true spirit of
Charity which neither despises nor fears the nations of another
creed and colour.
L. CRANMER-BYNG. S. A. KAPADIA.
NORTHBROOK SOCIETY, 21 CROMWELL ROAD, KENSINGTON, S.W.
LAUDING THE INFINITE ONE
1. Since He who is Infinite attained unto the Wisdom Supreme, the
long, long ages of ten Kalpas have rolled away.
The Light of His Dharma-Kaya is in this world eyes to the blind.
2. Seek refuge in the True Illumination! For the light of His Wisdom
In all the worlds there is nothing upon which His light shines not.
3. Take refuge in the Light universal.
As the Light of His deliverance is boundless, he who is within it is
freed from the lie of affirmation or denial.
4. Seek refuge in That which is beyond understanding,
For His glory is all-embracing as the air. It shineth and pierceth
all things, and there is nothing hid from the light thereof.
5. Take refuge in the ultimate Strength, for His pure radiance is
above all things. He who perceiveth this Light is set free from the
fetters of Karma.
6. Seek refuge in the World-Honoured.
Since His glorious radiance is above all He is called the Buddha of
Divine Light. And by Him is the darkness of the three worlds
7. Excellent is the Light of His Wisdom. Therefore is he called the
Buddha of Clear Shining.
He who is within the Light, being washed from the soil of Karma,
shall attain unto the final deliverance.
8. Take refuge in the Mighty Consoler. Wheresoever His mercy shineth
throughout all the worlds, men rejoice in its gladdening light.
9. The darkness of ignorance perisheth before His light. Therefore
is He hailed as the Buddha of Radiant Wisdom. All the Buddhas and
the threefold choir of sages praise Him.
10. His glory shineth for ever and ever. Therefore is He called the
Buddha of Everlasting Light.
Most excellent is the virtue of this light, for he who perceiveth it
is born into Paradise without dissolution of being.
11. The glory of the Infinite is boundless, therefore is He known as
the Buddha of Light Past Comprehension.
All the Buddhas glorify the majesty of His holiness that leadeth all
the earth into His Kingdom.
12. His clear shining transcendeth all revelation, nor can human
speech utter it. Therefore is He named the Buddha of Light
All the Buddhas glorify the glory of the Infinite One who is Buddha
through His promise of Light immeasurable.
13. Take refuge in Him who is Holiest of Holy. Sun and moon are
lost in the ocean of His splendour. Therefore is He named that
Infinite in whose radiance Sun and Moon are darkened. Before whose
Divine Power even that Buddha made flesh in India himself faltereth
in ascribing praise to the Majesty of His true glory.
14. Far beyond human numbering are the wise in the high assemblage
of the Infinite One. Therefore let him who would be born into the
Land of Purity seek refuge in the Great Congregation.
15. In Paradise are the Mighty unnumbered, Bodhisattvas ranked in
that hierarchy nearest to the Perfect Enlightenment. Thence are they
made flesh upon earth according to the way of salvation that all
having life might be saved.
16. Take refuge in the ocean-deep Soul Universal.
For the sake of all dwelling in the Ten Regions hath He kept the
fullness of all the Teachings, in His divine and mighty promises.
17. He who is Infinite never resteth, for together with the
Bodhisattvas of Compassion and Pure Reason He laboureth, that the
souls of them that duly receive Him may have salvation, enlightening
them with the light of His mercy.
18. When he who is born into the land of Pure Peace returneth again
into this sinful world, even like unto that Buddha made flesh in
India, he wearieth not in seeking the welfare of all men.
19. Seek refuge in the World-Honoured, for His Divine Power is
Almighty and beyond man’s measure, being made perfect in
20. The Srāvakas, the Bodhisattvas, the Heavenly Beings and Souls in
Paradise, they in whom wisdom is made equal unto beauty, declare
their attributes in order, according to their former birth.
21. Seek refuge in Him in whom all strengths are equal.
Nought is there to compare with the excellent beauty of the Souls in
Paradise, for their being is infinite as space, and far are they
above celestials and mortal man.
22. Whoso would be born into Paradise shall in this life be made one
with those men that return no more unto birth and death.
In that Pure Land is none who hath stood among doubting men, and
none also who hath trusted in his own deeds for Salvation. To this
do all the Buddhas witness.
23. If all having life in the Ten Regions hear this Holiest Name of
Him that is Infinite, and attain unto the true faith, they shall
obtain joy and gladness.
24. For when a man with joy accepteth the sacred vow of Him that is
infinite who saith, “I will not attain unto perfect Enlightenment
unless in Me shall all the world be made whole,” at that very time
he shall assuredly be born into Paradise.
25. Seek refuge in the Almighty Spirit.
By the divine might of His promise, by the Infinite One was Paradise
created; yea, and the Souls of men that dwell therein. And there is
nought that may compare with them.
26. Seek refuge in the unutterable Wisdom.
Of His Land of Peace the half cannot be told. Even the word of the
Buddha himself could not utter it.
27. Myriads of happy souls were born, are born and shall be born
into that Land of Purity, not from this world alone, but from the
hidden worlds also, and the Ten Regions.
28. So soon as man heareth the holy name of the Infinite One and
with great gladness praiseth him, he shall attain to the reward of
the holy Treasury of Merit.
29. Go forward, O Valiant Souls, seeking the Law though all the
worlds fall into flame and ruin, for ye shall have passed beyond
birth and death!
30. The innumerable Buddhas praise the triumphant divinity of the
Bringer of Light. To Him do gather the myriad Bodhisattvas,
unnumbered as the Sands of Ganges in worship from the Eastern world.
31. As from the East, so gather also to the Infinite One the
Bodhisattvas from the Nine Regions of the worlds.
With Sacred Psalms the Gautama Buddha himself laudeth the boundless
glory of the Infinite One.
32. Seek refuge in the World-Honoured.
To Him do the myriad Buddhas of the ten Regions bring homage with
songs and praises, that they may sow the seeds of merit.
33. Bring homage to the Hall of Great Teaching and to the living Bo
tree that is in Paradise! Yet this land, glorious with the Holy
Tree, radiant with the Hall of Great Teaching that shineth with the
Seven Jewels, where innumerable souls hastening from all the ends of
the Earth shall be born, is but the temporal Paradise.
34. In awful reverence seek refuge in the purity of Him that
welcometh. For by His Divine Promise was this glorious land, great
beyond human measurement, made to be.
35. Seek refuge in the wisdom inconceivable. For the perfection of
His Virtue—that Virtue availing for all the world, and the perfect
way by which He willeth that man shall take refuge in Him, are past
all human speech or thought.
36. Take refuge in the wisdom that is most truly infinite. For He is
faithful, having promised in His Divine Might, and on his perfect
clear promise that cannot be shaken is the merciful way of salvation
37. Seek refuge in the heavenly harmony.
For the jewel groves and gem trees of Paradise give forth a sweet
and most excellent melody in pure and ordered unison.
38. Seek refuge in the Divine Promise, the Treasury of Merit,
For the seven jewel trees are fragrant in Paradise where the
flowers, the fruits, the branches and the leaves thereof
Cast back their radiance the one to the other.
39. Bring homage to the perfect Righteousness.
As the pure wind blows over the trees glorious with jewels,
It draweth from them a noble music with five-fold strains of
40. In all the world is no place hidden from the glory shed by
hundreds of myriad rays from the heart of every flower of Paradise.
41. Like unto a golden mountain reflecting the myriad rays of these
heavenly blossoms, so is the form of the Infinite One.
42. From His Sacred Body, as from a well-spring, floweth this light
over the Ten Regions of the world.
By His Sacred teaching He leadeth all having life into the way of
43. Seek refuge in the Treasury of Righteousness.
For in Paradise is that holy lake, with its waters of eightfold
Virtue, all-glorious with the seven jewels. And all this is the
inconceivable handiwork of Purity.
44. Seek refuge in the All-Honoured.
For when sorrow and sighing are fled away, the Holy Land shall
rejoice with joy and singing. Therefore is it called Paradise.
45. The Buddhas of the Three Ages and the Ten Regions, they in whom
the Dual Wisdom is perfect and their illumination entire, lead all
the worlds marvellously into the way of Salvation, the Truth being
46. He that seeketh refuge in the Kingdom of the Infinite One is a
citizen of the Kingdom of every Buddha.
Let him that is set free, with single heart give praises unto One
Buddha, for in so doing he praiseth all.
47. The faithful believer at that moment when he rejoiceth in the
sound of the name of the Infinite One hath revealed unto his very
eyes the Buddha of Light.
48. Let him that hath faith praise the Virtue of the Divine Wisdom.
Let him strive to declare it unto all men that he may offer his
thankfulness for the grace of the Buddha.
CONCERNING THE GREAT SUTRA
49. The Venerable Ananda, rising from his seat, and looking upwards
to the World-Honoured Gautama Buddha, his eyes being opened,
marvelled greatly, seeing the glory of his Lord so transfigured.
50. The Venerable Ananda asked the Cause of that glory, for the
Lord, shining in the Light that was hitherto unseen of the world,
taught openly, for the first time, that Truth for which He came into
51. In the meditation of the Great Calm the Buddha whose countenance
is glorious, commendeth the most excellent wisdom of Ananda for that
he asked the way of knowledge, desiring to be instructed.
52. That Buddha that was made flesh in India was in this world
manifested that he might preach the Divine Promise of Him who is
Hard is it to see the hidden blossom of the myriad-century-blooming
Lotus, so hard also is it for a man’s understanding to receive the
message of that Blessed One.
53. Ten Kalpas of Ages have rolled away since He who is Infinite
attained unto the Wisdom, yet before the myriads of the Kalpas He
54. He who is of the Light Ineffable, Holiest Refuge of men,
ordaining that His saving grace should be made manifest, duly
considered all the worlds of the Ten Regions, under the guidance of
the holy Buddha of Loka-is-Vara-Raja.
55. Purity, Rejoicing, Wisdom, these three are the Supernal Essence
of the light of the Infinite One that enlighteneth all things,
communicating good to all the worlds of the Ten Regions.
56. Teaching all that have life in the Ten Regions, that they might,
with sincerity, faith, and hope, be born again into Paradise, He set
forth that promise infinite and divine—the true seed of birth
within the Kingdom of Truth.
57. Whoso attaineth unto the True Faith is in unity with them that
return no more to birth and death, for having thus attained, they
pass onward into Nirvana, their lives being ended.
58. In His great compassion the Blessed One accomplished His
infinite wisdom in His divine promise, ordaining that womanhood
shall be raised into manhood.
59. Instructing all that have life in the Ten Regions how they
should through sincerity, effort, and hope be born into the Temporal
Paradise, He faithfully promiseth to manifest Himself unto the eyes
of the dying, opening wide the gate of all righteousness before
60. By the divine promise to the dying of His consoling presence our
Lord instructeth men that they shall make to grow all righteousness
revealed in the Sutra of Meditation upon the Buddha of Infinite
61. All righteous deeds done of men in true obedience to the holy
Doctrine of Sincerity and right-doing, are but the seed of merit
that shall be born within the Temporal Paradise.
62. Instructing All that have life in the Ten Regions how that they
may through sincerity, merit, and hope be born into the Temporal
Paradise, He promiseth that no man shall lose salvation, for He hath
opened the Gate of Truth.
63. By the Divine Promise of the final salvation hath our Lord
instructed the men of the Single Vehicle to recite His Holy Name
that is the Essence of all the merit revealed in the Lesser Sutra of
the Buddha of Infinite Life.
64. He that reciteth the Holy name by his own effort and in the mind
of meditation or of dispersing, being led by the virtue of the
divine promise of final salvation, turneth naturally in at the Gate
65. He that holds not the True Faith, even though he desire to be
born into the Pure Paradise of Joy, must go unto his own place, and
it shall be in the border of the Outermost Places, for this is the
fruit of doubting the mystery of the Supreme Wisdom.
66. That a man should be a Buddha, made manifest in this world, is a
rare thing and difficult. So difficult is it also to hear the
excellent doctrine of all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. In all the
myriads of Kalpas such a way comes seldom.
67. Difficult is it for men to find a wise Teacher; so is it also
for them to be instructed and to hear the Holy Law. More difficult
still is it to receive the True Faith.
68. More difficult is it for men to receive the Divine Promise made
unto men than to receive all other teachings.
The Lord Buddha teacheth that this is of all hard things most
difficult and yet again more difficult.
69. The true Doctrine teacheth men that they may become Buddhas in
reciting the Holy Name, and so therefore is it that all other faiths
and moralities are but transitory doorways unto the Truth. Man
comprehendeth not that Pure Land of Peace unless he holdeth fast the
true Doctrine, casting aside that which is transitory.
70. Seek refuge in the Sole Vehicle of merciful promise. For the
transitory teachings have let and hindered men in the Way of
Enlightenment so that they must needs pass through the long
weariness of births and deaths.
CONCERNING THE SUTRA OF THE MEDITATION
71. That Lord that was made flesh in India, the Lord of great pity,
showing unto Vaidehi, Queen of Magadha, the golden mirror created by
his marvellous power, commanded her to choose the Land of Pure Joy
among all the worlds therein appearing.
72. Binbisara, he who commanded that an ascetic should be slain
before his pre-ordained time was come, by his own son was imprisoned
in a seven-walled prison as the due recompense of his violence.
73. Ajāta-Šatru, prince and heir of Magadha, denouncing his mother
as a traitor, with drawn sword ran furiously upon her.
74. Then said Jīvaka the minister and another with him: “This act is
worthy only of an outcast. For the fame of our race unworthy art
thou to dwell in the Palace.” And earnestly did they counsel him to
change his evil purpose.
75. Laying his hand on his sword-hilt, Jīvaka, the minister, drew
backwards a few steps, steadfastly regarding the prince, that he
might avert this great sin. And so it was that the prince laid down
his sword, and secluded his mother in a palace.
76. Certain is it that Ananda with Vaidehi, Devadatta and yet
others, bearing their part in this great sorrow of the royal palace
of Magadha, must needs so suffer that they might know the infinite
pity of the Blessed One, that Lord who in this world made manifest
the true teaching.
77. And all these wise ones having so received instruction revealed
unto us, who are of all evil-doers worst, the true way, the refuge
of His divine promise that absolveth all the sins of men.
78. For when the full time was come that by the will of our Lord and
of Vaidehi the teaching of the Pure Land should be made known here
on Earth, Ajāta-Šatru, her son, sinned this sin, Varshakara his
minister bearing testimony against it.
79. It is needful that the heart of a man be opened unto the Faith
universal which He who is Blessed hath shown us, forsaking the
belief that his own works shall save him, for in every man the power
to perform righteous deeds is differing.
CONCERNING THE LESSER SUTRA
80. The Eternal Father is called the Buddha of Infinite Light,
because very mightily He holdeth in safety all beings dwelling in
the Ten Regions of the world who, by His merciful enlightenment,
recite His Holy Name.
81. The myriad Buddhas, unnumbered as the sands of Ganges, counsel
all having life to trust in the Supernal Virtue of the Holy Name,
declaring that weighed against this even righteous deeds are the
82. The innumerable Buddhas, countless as the sands of Ganges, are a
testimony and a shield to all that have life in this sorrowful and
sinful world, declaring unto them that teaching most high and
difficult of acceptance, which is the true faith.
83. Whoso attaineth unto a Soul clear and enduring as diamond shall
testify unto his thankfulness for the limitless grace of the Blessed
One, for even the testimony and the safeguarding that he hath of all
the Buddhas proceed only from the fulfilment of His most merciful
84. The innumerable Buddhas, countless as the sands of Ganges, guide
into a sure trust in the Holy Name those sinful creatures and
evil-hearted that wander in the darkness of this wicked world
bearing the five signs of degeneration upon it.
OF THE MANY SUTRAS CONCERNING THE INFINITE ONE
85. Having great pity, our Eternal Father lighteneth the dark night
of ignorance, manifesting Himself in that Land of Joy as the Buddha
of Infinite Light which enlighteneth all the worlds with its
86. That Lord most compassionate, the Buddha of immeasurable Light,
He who had attained unto the Supreme Wisdom even before the myriads
of Kalpas were, pitying them that know not, made himself manifest in
the Palace of Kapila as the Lord Sakya-muni.
87. If a man had the duration of all the myriad Kalpas, had he
innumerable tongues and each of these tongues innumerable voices,
yet should he vainly essay the praises of that Blessed One.
88. The Lord instructeth us that the way into Paradise is straight
and easy. Therefore whoso receiveth not this Truth is, in verity,
called a man that hath not eyes to see nor ears to hear.
89. The One true freedom is the Highest, and the Absolute is perfect
freedom. And when we attain unto that freedom, for us shall desire
and doubt vanish away.
90. When every man is beloved of us, even as the son of our own
body, there is the Universal Mind made perfect in us. And this shall
be in Paradise.
91. He who is in all things supreme, is Himself Nirvana, and Nirvana
is that true light that abideth in the Land that is to come, but
this world cannot know it.
92. Our Lord instructeth us that he who rejoiceth in his faith is,
in so doing, in unity with the Highest. For true faith is the seed
of light, and the seed of true light is in itself the potentiality
of that which is Deity.
93. Whoso trusteth not in the Supreme Wisdom of the Enlightened One,
clinging unto his own purblind knowledge, must suffer by fire for
long Kalpas of ages.
CONCERNING THE WELFARE OF THE PRESENT WORLD
94. He that hath unending pity, the Buddha of Infinite Life, hath
given unto us in the Sutra of Golden Light a teaching concerning
long life, that the way of long life and the welfare of the people
might be made known unto them.
95. Dengyo-Daishi, he who taught the Tendai-shu in the mount of
Hiye, hath compassionately instructed us that we should recite
Namuamida-butsu, that Holiest Name, as a sure shield against the
seven sorts of calamities.
96. Whoso reciteth the Holy Name, that is higher than all other
virtues, shall be set free from the fetters of the past, the
present, and the future.
97. To him that reciteth the Holy Name shall be good unending even
in this world, for the sin of his former births is vanquished and
his youth set free from death.
98. To him that reciteth the Holy Name, shall Brahma and Chakra the
great king bring homage, and about him shall heavenly beings and
benignant deities keep watch throughout the days and nights.
99. That man that reciteth the Holy Name shall the four mighty
Regents in Heaven guard through the days and nights against the
disturbance of all evil spirits.
100. To him that reciteth the Holy Name shall the Deity of the Earth
bring homage, watching over him throughout the day and night, as the
shadow follows its substance.
101. To him who reciteth the Holy Name, Nanda and Upananda the Naga
Kings, together with their attendant deities shall bring homage,
watching over him throughout the day and night.
102. To him who reciteth the Holy Name, the King of Death, together
with his ministers in the five worlds, shall do reverence, guarding
him throughout the days and nights.
103. Mara, the Tempter, he who is Ruler of that heaven, where
pleasures are collected, hath sworn unto the Lord to shield him from
temptation who reciteth the Holy Name.
104. All good deities in Earth and Heaven shall be gracious unto him
who reciteth the Holy Name, shielding him throughout the days and
105. All evil spirits in heaven and earth tremble before that
believer who standeth upon the Immutable promise. For even in this
world hath he the mind of Divine Illumination.
106. Kwannon and Seishi, the Bodhisattvas of incarnate Pity and
Wisdom, together with their companions, innumerable as the sands of
Ganges, shall be beside him who reciteth the Holy Name, even as the
shadow cleaves to the substance.
107. Within the Light of Buddha of Infinite Light are unnumbered
Buddhas, and of these, each and every one shall shield him who hath
within him the true Faith.
108. Whoso reciteth the Holy Name shall be surrounded himself by
those Buddhas who cannot be numbered, who in the Ten Regions with
joy protect and guide him.
Upon the Sutra of Suraigama-Samadhi, I, Shinran Shōnin, have uttered
these eight lauds praising the virtue of Seishi the Bodhisattva of
109. Seishi, he who is the Bodhisattva of Wisdom, having
comprehended the fullness of the Holiest Name, rising from his seat,
prostrated himself beneath the feet of our Lord, worshipping Him, he
and his fellowship, and thus he spake:
110. “O my Lord, in the ancient time, before the Kalpas innumerable
as the sands of Ganges, there was manifest in this world a Buddha,
and His Name was called—The Buddha of Infinite Light.
111. “In His footsteps twelve Buddhas followed, and twelve long
Kalpas have rolled away. And of these Buddhas the last was He that
is called that Buddha in whose glory the Sun and Moon are even as
112. “Unto me hath that Buddha revealed the Path of the meditation
of the Supreme—that meditation wherein He instructeth us that all
the Buddhas of all the Ten Regions compassionate as even as a father
pitieth his child.
113. Whoso seeketh refuge in Buddha, as a child in the bosom of his
mother shall verily perceive Him now or in the time that shall be.
And it shall be soon.
114. “As a man encompassed by the cloud of incense casteth sweet
odours about him, so he that trusteth in the Holy Promise is
spiritually endued with the Divine Essence.
115. “When I was initiate in right doing, I attained unto the high
way of that assurance that freed me from birth and death, through
the teaching of the Noble Doctrine of the Holy Name.
“Therefore in this world, rejoicing, I guide the faithful believer
into the way of Purity.”
116. Now with all praise let us give thanks unto the merciful
goodness of the Bodhisattva of Wisdom.
OF THANKSGIVING FOR NAGARJUNA, THE GREAT TEACHER OF INDIA
117. Nagarjuna, the great teacher, setting forth in many excellent
writings the praise of the Kingdom of Purity, hath instructed us to
recite the Holy Name.
118. For the Lord Buddha declared in prophecy that in India, in the
Southern Parts, should arise a great Teacher, trampling upon the
false teachings of affirmation and denial.
119. Nagarjuna, the Great Teacher, he who mightily set forth the
noble doctrine of the greater Vehicle, and himself attained unto
that height whereon a man rejoiceth eternally in the Faith, hath
very sweetly persuaded men that they should receive the teaching of
the Holy Name.
120. Nagarjuna, that great priest, setting forth the two ways—the
way that is straight and plain, and the way of high austerity,
leadeth very gently to the Ark of the Divine Promise such as are
driven through the weariness of births and deaths.
121. He who receiveth this teaching of Nagarjuna the Great Teacher,
should recite always the Holy Name, believing the Divine Promise of
the Buddha of Infinite Light.
122. Whoso would quickly attain unto that resting-place where
illusion ceaseth, should recite the Holy Name holding his mind in
123. One Ark only, that Ark of the Divine Promise of our merciful
Father, doth voyage and bear us unto the shore of the eternal
peace—even us who so long have drifted hither and thither in the
ocean of birth and death.
124. This great priest hath in one utterance set forth that the Lord
is Ruler indeed of the sacred teaching, and that herein are the holy
Bodhisattvas His ministers. Therefore should we bring homage unto
125. The mighty company of the Bodhisattvas utter these words, “When
we became wise in holiness, yea, we who have striven through Kalpas
126. “Yet could we not root out our earthly desires which are the
very seed of birth and death. But through that only way of the
meditation of the Highest did we attain unto the final deliverance
that hath destroyed all our sin.”
OF THANKSGIVING FOR VASUBANDH, THE GREAT TEACHER OF INDIA
127. Among those doctrines taught of our Lord Vasubandh, the great
priest hath persuaded us who are full of sinful desires to accept
the Divine Promise of our infinite Father.
128. Only to Him who is above all things is known the glory of the
Land of Peace. Wide as the sky and boundless is it spread forth.
129. Whoso believeth in the power of the Divine Promise shall verily
be at one with the holy Essence, even as the turbid stream is clear
and pure within the ocean depth when they have flowed together.
130. When the assemblage of the believers in the holy faith is born
within that Land of Purity that hath sprung from the lotus of the
true enlightenment, soon shall their heart’s desire be fulfilled in
131. The heavenly spirits and those souls freed from illusion, they
who are born in the land of purity from the wisdom deep as the ocean
of the Divine Promise, differ not the one from the other in their
powers. Pure are they as the air is pure.
132. Vasubandh, that exalted master of excelling works, who himself
hath found refuge in the Buddha of Infinite Light, hath declared
that whoso is borne in the Vehicle of the Divine Promise shall
without doubt attain unto the Promised Land.
133. Whoso taketh refuge in the Buddha of Infinite Light, that light
that shineth unto all the worlds of the Ten Regions, shall be
called, according to the teaching of that master of excelling works,
a man whose heart is great, and to him shall the True Light be
134. He whose heart is great and who shall attain unto the true
enlightenment is he also that desireth the salvation of all living,
and verily the true faith given of that Blessed One is salvation.
135. The single heart perceiveth the true faith, and so doing is
strong and clear as the diamond, and this strength is the wisdom of
the supreme that strengthened us.
136. When we shall attain, unto the Promised Land, which is that
Nirvana past all understanding, there shall we labour abundantly for
the salvation of all living things. For so the Sutra teaches us in
these words: “A heart that inclineth to the succour of others.”
OF THANKSGIVING FOR DONRAN, THE GREAT TEACHER OF CHINA
137. Donran, that great teacher of China, being instructed of
Bodhi-ruci, the priest of India, sought refuge in the Land of
Purity, and thus doing he burned with fire the books of the Taoist
teaching which he had aforetime held in honour.
138. Having thus cast from him the writings that he had so many
years diligently studied, he preached unto all men the doctrine of
the Divine Promise, and, so teaching, he led men that are fast bound
in the fetters of illusion, in at the Gate of the Great Peace.
139. A mighty King of this world brought homage unto him in his
monastery and put unto him this question, saying: “If so it is that
the Land of Purity should be in all the Ten Regions, how then is it
declared unto us in the Sutra that it is in the Western Heaven?”
140. And with humble piety he replied:
“Of this matter can I not tell thee. It is too high for me. Still am
I in the lower rank of wisdom, even still small is my knowledge. I
cannot fathom this great mystery.”
141. All men in the priesthood or the people who know not the rock
of their trust, did Donran the Great Priest guide unto the sure
refuge of the doctrine of the Land of Bliss.
142. He abode in the Temple of the Great Rock, being favourably
bidden thereto by the King of the Gi Dynasty, and in the evening of
his days he travelled into the district of Dun.
143. And this King of the Gi Dynasty reverently offered unto him the
holy title of Shinran (Ran of Divinity) and the honourable name of
“Rock of the Venerable Ran”—that his dwelling-place should be
called by it.
144. Great and mighty upon the people was his spiritual power in the
temple of Genchu and in the fourth year of Kokwa of the Gi Dynasty
the Temple of Yosen became his beloved dwelling.
145. And when he had reached sixty-seven years, he sought his final
refuge in the Eternal Kingdom. And at that departing were vouchsafed
many holy marvels unto which all men, both of the priests and
people, came and did reverence.
146. And when Donran the Great High Priest had departed into the
Peace, the King of the Gi Dynasty by a royal order commanded there
should be built for him a holy monument in the lands of Dun.
147. What man could know the unsearchable mystery of the faith and
deeds of the Divine Promise were it not for that most excelling
commentary of Donran the wise Priest, which he wrote concerning the
teaching of Vasubandh that had lived aforetime.
148. He who believeth that the Sole Vehicle of the Divine Promise,
most perfect, most mighty, receiveth within itself the Greatest of
Sinners, and this because it is its chief will so to do, will
receive the depth of this essential teaching—namely, that before
the eyes of the Instructed, illusion and wisdom are in their Essence
149. Among the Five Mysteries that are preached in this Sutra, the
mystery of the Divine Power of the Enlightened One is highest, and
this is the holy vow of our Blessed One, this and this only.
150. Unto us hath our Father given those two spiritual gifts. Of
these the first is the Virtue whereby we attain unto His Kingdom,
and the second is the Virtue whereby having so attained we return
into this world for the Salvation of men. By the merit of these two
gifts are we initiates of the true faith and of its deeds.
151. When we shall have attained unto the faith and the deeds of the
Merciful Promise through our Father that is in all things able to
give them unto us, birth and death are henceforward as Nirvana. And
this is called the Gift of Departure.
152. And when we shall have attained unto that height which is
desire for the ingathering of all beings into Paradise, shall we
return again into this world that we may be Saviours of Men. And
this is called the Gift of Returning.
153. That “Single Mind” expounded unto us by Vasubandh, the Master
of Writings that excel, is nothing other than the faith of us that
are now fast bound in illusion. So teacheth Donran the Great Teacher
in his Commentary.
154. The Buddha of that inexpressible Light that shineth into the
worlds of the Ten Regions, being for ever enlightened in the night
of ignorance, hath most certainly opened the way of Nirvana to every
man who even for one moment rejoiceth in receiving His Divine
155. By the merit of His Infinite Light, when we attain unto that
faith divine and omnipotent, the ice of illusion shall melt into the
water of perfect wisdom.
156. Sin is made one with virtue in its essence, even as ice is one
with water. The more there is ice, so much the more water is
there. So also is the binding up of sin with virtue.
157. In the unbounded ocean of the Holy Name is not seen even one
single death of a blasphemer. For the myriad streams of sin are on
purity with the ocean of righteousness when they have flowed into
the impurity thereof.
158. When the streams of illusion have flowed into the Great Sea of
the Merciful Promise of the Enlightened One, whose light shineth
into all the worlds of the Ten Religions, then shall they too become
the pure water of the Perfect Wisdom.
159. No other way is there of attaining unto the Perfect
Enlightenment save only by birth into the Land of Gladness, and
therefore have all the Enlightened Ones exhorted men that they
should receive the Doctrine of the Kingdom Purity.
160. The Great Priest hath well taught us that in order to cleanse
our deeds, words, and thoughts of deceitfulness, our Father hath
performed the three of His pure and universal.
161. There is no way unto the Kingdom of Gladness save only by
attaining unto the true faith through that Holy Name, the very Jewel
162. When the new birth through the clearness of the Divine Promise
is attained in the Eternal Kingdom, it is not like unto the birth of
this world; then is there no inferiority even in those that in this
world were sinners, for they have entered into Paradise.
163. The Holy Name of the Buddha of that Boundless Light that
shineth into all the worlds of the Ten Regions, and the glory of His
Wisdom, destroy the darkness of ignorance in the Eternal Night, thus
fulfilling all the desires of men.
CONCERNING UNRIGHTEOUS DEEDS
164. These three things are expounded unto us by Donran
Daishi. First, that faith is not holiness, for faith is not
abiding. At one time it abideth, at another it is gone.
165. And second: This faith is not Single Minded, for it hath not
And third: It continueth not, for the other thoughts of the heart
divide it against itself.
166. The three ways of this faith lead the one to the other one. On
this must the believer fix his eyes. If his faith is not in
holiness, then hath he not the faith of resolution.
167. And having not the faith that is resolute, that faith cannot
endure, and because it endureth not, how can he attain unto the
faith of determination? And attaining not unto the faith of
determination, the faith is not sanctified in him.
168. For the attainment of Right Practice expounded by the Master of
the Written Word is according unto the true faith and this alone.
169. If a man return into the Great Way of the Divine Promise,
eschewing the narrow ways of deeds and works, in him shall the true
light of Nirvana be made manifest.
170. The mighty king So, he of the Ryo line, worshipped the Great
Teacher Donran Daishi, naming him the Bodhisattva of Ran, turning
his face in worship unto the dwelling-place of his Teacher.
171. Having cast away from him all trust in the righteous deeds of
the sages, Doshaku-Zenji, the Great Teacher, hath taught us to enter
in at the only gate that is the Gospel of the Pure Land.
172. Having thus cast away from him the laborious study of the
Doctrine of Nirvana, Doshaku, the Great Teacher, himself trusted
only in the power of the Divine Promise, and he persuaded men to
follow after him.
173. In this world of sin that is so far removed from the blessed
day of our Lord, is there no man who attaineth unto the wisdom
Supreme, yea, not though he should compass all righteous doing. So
teacheth our Lord of Great Teaching.
174. He who succeeded unto the teaching of Donran-Daishi,
Doshaku-zenji, the Great Priest, thus declareth: “To toil and labour
after righteous deeds in this life is the unavailing toil of
175. In this world, the doing of evil and the sin that is wrought of
men is violent and furious as the storm wind and rain. Therefore
have the compassionate Buddhas exhorted men to seek their refuge
within the Land of Purity.
176. From him that sinneth, throughout his life shall the fetters of
illusion fall away, if he shall recite the Holy Name with love and
177. That he might lead men into the Eternal Kingdom—those men who
are in this life fast bound unto the evil thing, our Father teacheth
us, saying, “Recite my name,” and hath promised further, “Doing
this, if they be not born again, I myself will not attain unto
178. Rising like unto an incarnation of the Mighty Ocean, Zendo, the
great teacher, came into the world.
And for the sake of mankind in this sinful place, he called unto all
the Buddhas of the Ten Regions to be his testimony unto his
commentary on the Sutra.
179. Two interpreters of Zendo-Daishi were there in the age that
followed his own, and these were Hoshō and Shōkō. They, it is, who
have opened the Treasury of teaching that the inward purpose of the
Blessed One should be wholly made known.
180. How should women turn their hearts unto wisdom—they who are
fast bound with the five fetters? No, not through the ages of
myriads of Kalpas, until they seek refuge in the Divine Promise of
Him who is mighty.
181. Having thrown open the Gate of Righteousness, our Lord hath
instructed mankind in every sort of righteous deed. He hath set
before us how the five right deeds differ from the confused deeds
that are outside the Five, so that mankind may enter the way of the
182. To mingle the right action with the action that is not akin to
it is called the confused practice. The man that erreth therein
hath not attained unto the single heart. He knoweth not thankfulness
for the grace of the Enlightened One.
183. If he entreat in prayer the good things of this world, even
though he recite only the Blessed Name, he is condemned therein,
being also a man of the confused practice. He shall not be born into
the Land of Purity.
184. Not one, indeed, but not far asunder are the confused deed and
the confused practice. The teachings that are not the teachings of
the Land of Purity are to be condemned as confused deeds.
185. Having invoked the testimony of all the Buddhas, Zendo-Daishi
hath set before us the story of the two rivers, the one, the river
of fire, the other the river of water, that he might incline the
heart to righteous deeds, and guard the true faith of the Divine
186. Verily a simple man may attain unto the true Illumination, if
he believe the Holy Promise that is the spirit of the teaching of
Shinshu. Because for this only was the Lord made manifest in this
world, and not according to those other teachings which shall pass
away and be no more.
187. Before the Almighty Power of the Divine teaching do all the
fetters of evil deeds fall away. Therefore is the Divine Promise of
our Father invoked as that Holy Thing which giveth unto us
188. Yet, to whomsoever would enter the Promised Land, created in
the power of His Divine Vow, is belief in his own strength impotent.
And because they are needless, therefore the wise who have received
the Great and Lesser Vehicles must trust unto the promise of the
189. Whoso hath known himself the slave of illusion shall yet,
relying on the Power of the Holy Promise, enter into the immortal
joy of the Truth, and all his earthly body shall fall from him.
190. Merciful and compassionate parents unto us are the Blessed One
and the Lord Buddha. For they have opened before us the ways of
good, having so purposed that the great Faith shall be.
191. He who is one with the True Soul hath attained unto a heart
clear and hard as diamond. Therefore is he at one with that man who
hath the three excellent forms of Penitence. This hath the Great
Teacher shown us.
192. By that faith alone, like unto a jewel of price, we who in this
sinful world have our being, may enter into the Eternal Kingdom,
being eternally freed from the yoke of birth and death.
193. At that moment when faith in the Enlightened One is perfected,
pure and lasting as the diamond, then shall the Spiritual Light
shine upon us and guard us, the light which for ever guideth us from
rebirth and death.
194. Whoso attaineth not unto the True Faith hath not in him one of
the Trinity of Virtues, that are Sincerity, Faith, and Hope, and the
man that hath not one of these three holdeth not the perfect faith.
195. Whoso attaineth unto the True Faith given of Him is freed from
all let and hindrance, for his heart is at one with the Divine
Promise, and he is obedient unto the true teaching that is the Very
Word of the Buddha.
196. Whoso hath comprehended the truth of the Holy Name is at that
very moment freed from doubt. He hath possessed the Right thought,
and he is commended as excellent and rare in his attainment.
197. He shall be let and hindered that is not at one with the Divine
Promise, and therefore he whose faith is not full of Peace is a man
who holdeth not the Divine Thought.
198. The attainment of the Divine Wisdom shall come unto him who
reciteth the Holy Name, for his faith cometh from the Divine Promise
of Him that leadeth him into the Promised Land. He shall not fail
to attain unto the Great Nirvana.
199. At this time when the five Signs of Degeneration are manifest,
many men are there who doubt and blaspheme the Holy Doctrine. Yea,
even the Priests, together with the people, are enemies unto him who
walketh in the right way.
200. He who blasphemeth the Divine Promise is a man born blind. He
shall sink into three evil worlds for age-long myriads of Kalpas.
201. Though the way into the Land that is in the West hath been made
plain before us, yet the age-long Kalpas have rolled away without
good fruit thereof, for we have hindered ourselves and our brethren
that we might not enter therein.
202. Without the Almighty Strength of the Divine Promise how should
we leave this sinful world? Wherefore we should live in hearty
thanksgiving for the Grace of our Father, thinking ever upon the
ocean deeps of his love.
203. For it is by the marvellous mercy of our Lord that we may cast
aside the anguish of birth and death, in the shining hope of our
Therefore should we return unto the Lord righteous deeds in
thanksgiving for His grace and mercy.
204. Genshin the Great Teacher declareth: “In this world have I,
even I, appeared as an incarnation of the Buddha, and now, my work
of Salvation being accomplished, I return unto the Eternal Kingdom
that is my home.
205. From the teaching of our Lord hath Genshin, the Great Teacher,
tenderly opened unto us the gate of the Doctrine of the Holy Name,
and hath so taught mankind in this evil world that is far removed
from the Golden Day of our Lord.
206. Genshin-Sozu, he who sat in the Assemblage on the Peak of
Vultures in the time of our Lord, hath taught us that there are two
Paradises, that which is eternal and that which is temporal, and
thus setteth forth the merit and the defect of the Right Practice
and of the Mingled Deed.
207. Acharya Genshin, the Great Teacher, considering one of the
Sutra with the commentary of Ekanzenji, hath made plain the
attributes of the Land of Outermost Places.
208. For he said: “Not one man is there of thousands who may not be
born into the Land of Purity.” And thus saying, he commendeth the
followers of the Right Practice.
“There is not even one among tens of thousands who may enter it.”
And so saying, he condemneth the doers of the mingled deed.
209. Further he setteth forth how few are the men who can enter into
the True Land of Purity. And very solemnly he warneth us that more
are they that are born into the Temporal Paradise.
210. Wheresoever men or women, be they noble or lowly born, recite
the Holy Name of our Father, there is no pre-eminence of place or
time. Freely may they do this, whether walking, resting, sitting,
211. Though our eyes are so blinded by illusion that we discern not
the light whereby He embraceth us, yet that great mercy for ever
shineth upon us and is not weary.
212. Whatsoever may be his Visible Deed that would be born into the
Promised Land, he shall not forget day or night to hold fast unto
the name of the Divine Promise.
213. To us that in this world are sinners most sinful, there is none
other way of Salvation save that we should enter into the Land of
Purity, by reciting the holy name of Him who is our Father.
CONCERNING HŌNEN SHŌNIN
214. Since the day when Hōnen Shōnin appeared in the world, and set
forth the single Ark of the Divine Promise, hath the Doctrine of the
Pure Land gloriously shone upon the hearts of all men in the land of
215. For from the strength of the wisdom of light, Hōnen, the Great
Teacher, came into the world and hath taught the chosen doctrine of
the Divine Promise, and he hath built Jodo-Shinshu upon the rock.
216. Though Zendo and Genshin, those great teachers, have well
instructed us, yet had Hōnen Shōnin kept silence, wherewith should
we know the holy teaching of Shin-Shu, we who dwell in remote
country and in an evil day?
217. Throughout the long, long Kalpas of my lives that are overpast
could I never find the way of Deliverance, and if Hōnen Shōnin, the
Great Teacher, had not arisen in this world, vainly had I spent the
precious hours of my life.
218. When his years were but fifteen, Hōnen Shōnin entered into the
Way of Illumination, for in departing from worldly life he fulfilled
his heart’s desire, and by him was clearly understanded the doctrine
of the transience of life.
219. The excellent righteousness of Hōnen Shōnin, his deeds and the
wisdom that was in him, drew unto him for refuge many even of chief
priests of the heretics that seek Nirvana through the way of the
sages. Yea, they sought him even as their appointed teacher, radiant
and stray of soul as the diamond.
220. Even while Hōnen Shōnin yet walked in this world, there issued
from his body rays of a golden shining, and this, so it is said,
hath Kanezane Fujiwara beheld with his own eyes.
221. The people passed it from mouth to mouth that this Hōnen Shōnin
was the living incarnation of Doshaku Zenji, or yet again of Zendo
222. Before the eyes of men Hōnen Shōnin stood as the Boddhisattva
of Wisdom, or, yet more, as the Blessed One again made flesh.
The Emperor and all his ministers did homage unto him, yea, and the
men of the chief city and of the far countries.
223. He who had been Emperor, in the time of Jokyu, brought homage
to Hōnen Shōnin. All the priests and scholars of the word of
Confucius had understanding of the doctrine of Shin Shu.
224. A chosen vessel of the Blessed One that men might be saved,
Hōnen Shōnin was manifested in the world, and he opened wide the
gate of perfect wisdom, having instructed mankind in the Holy Faith.
225. Of all rare things it is the rarest that we should ourselves
meet with the True Teacher, yet verily the chain of doubt in the
Divine Mercy is the true cause of unending birth and death.
226. Hōnen Shōnin issued forth from the mysterious Light and his
disciples beheld it. In his eyes was there nought of disparity
between the wise and them that know not, between the noble and the
227. And now, his time being at hand, Hōnen Shōnin spake:
“Thrice have I taken birth in the Land of Purity, and of these three
times the last hath given unto me the fullness of peace.”
228. Once did Hōnen Shōnin speak, saying: “In the glorious day of
our Lord was I among the holy Assemblage on the Peak of Vultures,
and my Spirit was rapt in self-instruction and in the doctrine of
229. Having taken birth in that small and remote island, Hōnen
Shōnin spread abroad the doctrine of the Holy Name for the sake of
all men’s salvation. And thus had he done not only then, but many
times in ages gone by.
230. That Buddha, whose light is infinite, was made flesh in this
world as Hōnen Shōnin, and when his merciful work was accomplished,
he returned into the Land of Purity.
231. When his life was drawing to a close, light was manifested
about him as a cloud of glory, yea, and music of the heavenly
places, sweet and excelling in harmony, and sweet odours scattered
232. Following steadfastly after the ensample of the Nirvana of the
Lord, he laid himself upon his right side, his head inclined unto
the north, his face turned unto the west. And the crowding people
attended upon him, even the priests and men and women of the nobles
and of the lowly born.
233. Now the time when Hōnen Shōnin departed from this life was the
twenty-fifth day of the young spring. In the second year of
Kenriyaku he returned in peace unto the Land of the Father.
On the ninth day of February and the second of Ko-Yen, the
revelation that here followeth was sent unto me in a dream of
234. It is necessary that men should believe the divine promise of
Him who is Infinite.
Whoso believeth shall attain unto Perfect Wisdom, by the virtue of
that Light which embraceth him and shall never forsake him.
OF THE THREE PERIODS
235. Two thousand years and yet more are departed since the day when
our Lord entered into Nirvana. Ended are the two glorious
periods—the orthodox and the representative. Lament, O ye
disciples, who in this closing age would follow after the Lord.
236. The teachings of our Lord have entered into the Dragon Palace,
for in this closing age they are too high for men. Men are impotent
to follow after their practice or to attain unto them.
237. Throughout the three periods hath the Divine Promise of the
Buddha of Infinite Light prospered and grown. But in this period of
the closing age all righteous deeds are hidden within the Dragon
238. In a certain Sutra are we thus instructed, since the age that
now is a part of the fifth in this closing age wherein men are fast
bound in warfare, all righteous deeds have disappeared from the
239. Since the ancient days the life of men, whose age counted as
80,000 years, hath declined and lessened. And when they could live
but 20,000 years, they were men living in an evil world, and with
the five signs of degeneration upon them.
240. And since time itself hath decayed, the bodily frame of man
hath waxed smaller and feebler, and they are as furious serpents or
as wicked dragons, for the decay of time worketh within them.
241. The illusion that is bred of ignorance increaseth, and is
driven over the world like dust. Hatred great and unbreakable as
the high mountains is in the stead of love.
242. The perversity of man is as strong and piercing as the thorn of
the jungle. With eyes of suspicion and venomous anger do they accuse
and persecute them who believe upon the Holy Name.
243. It is a mark of the degeneration of time that man’s life is
brief and death cometh upon him early and with iron hands breaketh
up his body and that which surrounds him wherein he dwelleth. And
they who leaving justice turn to wickedness do destroy one another
by their evil deeds.
244. No hope is there that the men now living in these last days
shall escape the fetters of birth and death if they refuse the
merciful promise of the Blessed One.
245. Of heretics in the faith are there ninety sorts that defile the
world and only the teaching of the Enlightened One cleanseth it. By
him alone that attaineth unto wisdom shall true joy to man be
fulfilled according to nature and in peace.
246. In these last times of decay the priests, together with the
people, do evil unto him that trusteth in the doctrine of the Holy
247. Whoso attaineth not unto wisdom is eager to harm that man who,
with single heart, accepted the exalted promise. There is no end to
the infinity of the ocean of birth and death for those men who raven
to destroy the doctrine that is mighty to save them if they would
have it so.
248. Though the days of our present time are those that are called
orthodox, we, in whom ignorance is fulfilled, have not within us the
heart that is pure and true. How, then, can we of our own help
attain unto the deeds that shall gain the wisdom that is made
249. The strong heart that is able to attain unto wisdom by
self-help is beyond human knowledge and speech. How is it possible
that men full of ignorance, fettered unto birth and death, should
possess such a heart.
250. Though we were masters of the strong will of self-effort, even
should we have seen face to face the Buddhas, myriad as the sands of
Ganges—they who in this world were manifested the one after the
other, yet were we drifted on the torrent of birth and death, in
self-effort were no rescue for us.
251. In these sinful days that are called the representative and
last times all the teachings of the Lord Buddha, the Sakiya-Muni
have vanished away, but the Divine Promise of the Buddha of Infinite
Light, shining greatly over the world, prosperously leads mankind
unto the Eternal Kingdom.
252. After choice that is peerless and beyond the world’s
understanding, after five Kalpas of musing, the Blessed One builded
up the Divine Promise of the Light and Life Infinite. And this is
the Essence of His Mercy showed upon us.
253. The noble mind that shall attain unto wisdom in the doctrine of
the Pure Land is the mind that fain would become Buddha, and it is
named: “The mind that shall save men who suffer.”
254. The mind that shall save men is that mind given by the high
promise of the Blessed One. Whoso attaineth unto the faith He
giveth shall be lord of the great Nirvana.
255. Whoso attaineth unto the mind that would fain become Buddha,
having sought refuge in the gift of the Blessed One, hath no term in
his own gift of welfare to mankind, having for ever laid down all
256. According to the all-seeing promise of the Blessed One when the
water of the faith He giveth entereth the soul, illusion passeth
straight-way into wisdom through the virtue of that true land of the
257. That man who trusteth in the two gifts granted by the Buddha of
Infinite Light, is raised up into the sphere of the Lesser
Enlightenment, and thence hath he the heart that dwelleth always on
the perfection of the Blessed One.
258. He that attaineth unto the faith that is true gift of the
promise of wisdom from the Blessed One, cometh unto the sphere of
the Lesser Enlightenment, for he is embraced in the arms of the
spiritual light that is of the Father Eternal.
259. Fifty-six thousand and seventy years shall pass before the
Bodhisattva that is Maitreya shall attain unto the Perfected
Wisdom. But whoso embraceth the true faith shall at this very time
be lord of the great Enlightenment.
260. He that hath ascended unto the height of the Lesser
Enlightenment, accepting the Divine Promise of the Holy Name, shall
enter into the Great Nirvana, being made equal unto the Bodhisattva
261. He that receiveth the true Faith, and is one with them that
return no more to birth and death, shall receive the Perfected
Wisdom, even as that Bodhisattva Maitreya that is called, “He that
262. And the wise in the age which is called Representative, having
utterly renounced all the doctrine of self-dependence, have entered
in at the gate of the Holy Name. For this is the way chosen for that
263. He who reciteth the Holy Name, having attained unto the true
faith, shall unceasingly adore the Eternal Father, that he may make
a return unto Him for His Grace.
264. Inexplicable and unutterable merit shall be given unto him who,
living in this sinful world, believeth the Divine Promise that
proceedeth from His will.
265. For the true welfare of men that shall be the Buddha of the
Great Light hath given the holy name of Wisdom unto the Bodhisattva
266. And with great compassion for mankind in this evil world the
Bodhisattva of Wisdom persuadeth them to believe upon the Holy Name,
and sweetly welcometh the believer that he may lead him into the
Land of Purity.
267. By the mercy of our Lord and of the Blessed One we are able to
attain unto the heart that desireth Buddhahood. At that time alone,
when we enter into the wisdom of the faith, shall we be ourselves
like unto them that would return good unto the Buddha for His Grace.
268. It is by the strength of the Divine Promise that we can reach
unto the holy name of Wisdom. Without the wisdom of the faith, how
is it possible that we should attain unto the Nirvana?
269. The Divine Light shineth over the Deep Night of ignorance,
therefore sorrow not that the wisdom of your eyes is darkened. The
holy Ark is at hand that voyageth over the great ocean of birth and
death; therefore fear not because your sin is heavy.
270. Great as is the night of the Divine Promise of our Salvation,
so light is the heaviest of our sins. Immeasurable is the wisdom of
our Father, and therefore they that are strong, as also they that
weary, shall never be forgotten.
271. Our Father hath perfected His mercy by uttering the Divine
Promise that giveth all His merit unto man, that He might save them
that are fast bound unto birth and death.
272. Yea, the recitation of His Holy Name is given of the Blessed
One. Therefore we must not offer this unto Him for the acquirement
of merit. For this will He most surely disdain.
273. Yea, verily, when the water of the mind of man floweth into the
great Ocean of the Divine Promise of the Perfect Wisdom it is
changed and becometh the mind of infinite compassion.
274. And the Lord saith, speaking through a certain Sutra:
“My disciples that shall be, they that are sinners because of the
lost way and love of evil things, it is they that shall destroy my
275. Whoso blasphemeth the doctrine of the Holy Name shall suffer
without ceasing, for he shall fall into the depth of the Hell of
Avichi for eighty thousands of Kalpas.
276. He to whom is given the true entrance into the True and
Promised Land, by the grace of our Lord and of the Blessed One,
shall be one with those men who return no more unto birth and death,
and after this transitory life attain unto the Great Peace.
277. Well may we understand from the teaching of the myriad Buddhas
in the Ten Regions—they that protect mankind—that the strong mind
that seeketh enlightenment by self-effort is vain and impotent.
278. The Buddhas in the Ten Regions, innumerable as the sands of
Ganges, bear witness that very few are there of men in this sinful
world and decaying time that attain unto the true faith.
279. If we accept not the two divine gifts, the gift of entering the
Promised Kingdom, and the gift of return into this evil world, then
shall the wheel of birth and death turn with us for ever. And how
shall we endure to sink into the sea of suffering?
280. Whoso believeth the marvellous wisdom of that Blessed One,
shall be joined unto them that return no more unto birth and
death. And when, possessed of excelling knowledge, such a man is
born into Paradise, soon shall he attain unto the Perfected Wisdom.
281. It is the sole way unto the Promised Land that man should
believe the wisdom that is beyond human knowledge, of the
Enlightened One. Yet it is of all hard things hardest to attain unto
the Faith, the true way that leadeth to Paradise.
282. Casting aside the sorrow of birth and death, that sorrow which
is timeless in its beginning, I hope now solely for the Great
Nirvana. There is no end to my thankfulness for the two mighty gifts
of our Eternal Father.
283. Few are the believers that shall be born into the Land that is
promised, but many are they that shall be born into the Temporal
Paradise. Because the hope that we shall see Light by our own
strength is vain, having no foundation, we have therefore drifted on
the ocean of birth and death for many myriads of Kalpas.
284. Because in the gift of the Holy Name is a grace great and
wonderful, if man attain unto the gift of departing, that of itself
shall guide him unto the gift of returning.
285. Through the great mercy of the gift of departing shall we
attain unto the compassion of the gift of returning. If it were not
the free gift of the Blessed One, how should we attain unto wisdom
in the Land of Purity.
286. The Buddha of the Infinite Light, together with the
Bodhisattvas of Compassion and Wisdom, having taken the Ark of the
Divine Promise, that is voyaging on the ocean of birth and death,
have gathered and saved mankind therewith.
287. Whoso in heart and soul believeth the Divine Promise of the
Buddha of Infinite Light must diligently recite the Holy Name both
sleeping and waking.
288. Those men in the hierarchy of Sages that have trusted unto
self-effort for the means of attaining wisdom, on entering into the
heritage of the Divine Promise believe in it as in the Reason that
transcendeth all reason.
289. Though the teachings of the Lord stand for ever, yet unto none
is it possible to follow them in exactness, and therefore is there
none that may attain unto supreme enlightenment in these last days
of the falling away.
290. In India, in China, and the land of Japan, may the many
teachers of the doctrine of the Land of Purity, with compassion and
tender acceptance, persuade mankind to strive unto the true faith
that they may be joined unto those that return no more unto birth
291. Even as His friends the Lord commendeth those men that, having
attained unto the true faith taught of the Blessed One unto us,
dwell within the joy of holiness.
292. It is very meet that our souls rejoice exceedingly in the grace
of the great compassion of the Buddha. Yea, even to the extinction
of the body. And for the gracious giving of our spiritual teachers
we must in like manner rejoice, yea, though our very bones be
CONCERNING BELIEF AND DOUBT
293. Whoso comprehendeth not the wisdom of the Enlightened One, and
doubteth concerning His illumination, shall rise no higher than the
Outermost Places, for he hath trusted in the power of Reward, and
hath relied upon the principle of morality.
294. Whoso doubteth the wisdom of the Enlightened One—that wisdom
beyond all human understanding—and reciteth the Holy Name, trusting
in the merit of himself, shall not rise beyond the outermost bounds
of the Pure Land that is the Temporal Paradise, for he hath not the
grace of right thankfulness for His Compassion.
295. Whoso shall accept the doctrine of rewards and doubteth the
wisdom of Him that hath Light that surpasseth all knowledge of man,
shall be made captive in Doubting Castle, and the three jewels of
the faith shall no more be his.
296. For his sin, in that he hath doubted the wisdom of the
Enlightened One, shall he remain in the Outermost Places of the Land
of Purity. And for as much as we are taught that the sin of doubt
is grievous, we are also instructed that he must there dwell for
297. If the prince committeth a sin against his Father, even the
Chakravarti, the King, he is fettered as a prisoner, though the
chain be of gold.
298. Whoso reciteth the Holy Name, and so doeth as a work of
self-merit, shall be bound in the prison of the sevenfold gems, for
he believeth not right by the divine promise of that Holy One, and
heavy is the sin of his doubting.
299. Yet he even that hath a doubting soul and sinneth the sin of
self-merit, must needs strive to comprehend the merciful goodness of
the Blessed One, and he shall recite the Holy Name if he would at
all be equalled unto him that holdeth the true faith.
300. It is the Law that he who soweth shall reap what he soweth,
therefore the man that is full of righteous deeds for the sake of
self-merit shall enter into the prison of the sevenfold gems, for he
doubteth the marvellous wisdom of Him that hath the Light.
301. Whoso doubteth of the wisdom of Him that hath Light beyond the
imagining of man, and trusteth to the root of goodness and
virtue—he shall not attain unto the Soul of Great Mercy, for he is
born into the Outermost Places of Paradise, and slow and dull of
heart is he.
302. Among those men that doubt the Holy Word, some are imprisoned
in the shut bud of the Lotus. And they shall be despised as they
that in illusion are born into the outermost Paradise or are held
captive within the narrow walls of the womb.
303. Whoso doubteth the omniscience of the wisdom of the
Light-Bearer, but holdeth to his belief in Reward, excellent
ofttimes in making the root of goodness to grow,
304. Because he doubteth the wisdom of the Eternal Wisdom, and is
held captive as in the strait prison of the womb, hath neither
knowledge nor wisdom, and is compared unto a man straitly bound in
305. He that is born into the outermost place, all glorious with the
sevenfold jewels, shall not in five hundred years behold that
three-fold jewel, the Tri-ratna, for there is in him no spiritual
well-doing, that he should give it unto his fellow-men.
306. To him who is born into the Palace, glorious with the seven
jewels, for five hundred years there shall befall many sorts of
sorrows from his own evil doing.
307. Whoso hopeth reward and maketh to flourish the root of
goodness, shall remain in the transitory Paradise, for though he be
a good man, yet hath he a doubting heart.
308. Because he accepteth not the Divine Promise of Him who is the
Light unspeakable, and carrieth his doubt with him unto Paradise,
therefore the shut flower of his heart openeth not, therefore is he
unshapen as a child in the womb.
309. When he perceiveth the Land of Purity, the Bodhisattva Maitreya
thus questioneth the Holy One, saying, “What is the cause and what
the circumstance of that man who, having been born, yet remaineth as
it were straitened in the womb?
310. And thus spake the Lord unto the Bodhisattva Maitreya saying,
“Whoso trusteth in the root of goodness that he himself maketh to
grow and hath a doubting soul, he it is that is in the outermost
places of the Paradise, he it is that is said to be straitened still
in the womb of ignorance.”
311. He who doubteth the wisdom of Him that is all Light, shall for
his sin be made captive until five hundred years be gone, and this
is called the conception within the womb of ignorance.
312. Whoso doubteth the wisdom that is beyond man’s understanding,
and hath believed the doctrine of reward, shall of a certainty be
born within Doubting Castle, and this is called conception within
the womb of ignorance.
313. Whoso trusteth upon self-righteousness rather than upon the
wisdom of the Enlightened One that is beyond man’s knowledge, shall
be conceived within the womb of ignorance, and to him shall the
mercy of the Three Jewels be unknown.
314. Whoso doubteth the wisdom of the Enlightened One that
surpasseth all knowledge of man and trusteth in the hope of reward,
and would attain unto birth in Paradise by making the root of
goodness to grow, shall be straitened in the womb of ignorance.
315. Heavy is the sin of doubting the wisdom of the Buddha. He who
is instructed taketh refuge in the wonderful wisdom of the
Enlightened One, being in contrition for his foolishness.
These twenty-three psalms above-written are made by me that men
should know the heaviness of their sin in doubting the Divine
Promise of the Buddha of Infinite Light.
IN PRAISE OF PRINCE SHOTOKU
316. Through the compassion of Shotoku the great prince we, having
accepted the Divine Promise sprung from the unsearchable wisdom of
the Illuminated One, are made equal unto Maitreya. Bodhisattva—the
Buddha that shall be—having been united unto those men who return
no more to birth and death.
317. The mighty Bodhisattva of Compassion, he who is the Saviour,
was made manifest in this world as Shotoku the Prince, who, like a
father, hath not forsaken us, and like a mother is ever amongst us.
318. From that past where was no beginning until the day that now
is, hath Shotoku the great prince, the Compassionate, dwelt among us
like unto a father and a mother.
319. Shotoku the Prince, from his Compassion, hath persuaded us to
enter in at the Divine Promise of the wondrous wisdom of the
Light-Bearer. And through this are we joined unto those men who
return no more unto birth and death.
320. Whoso attaineth unto the holy faith that is the power of
divinity, must, in the Ten Regions of the world, find the twofold
gift of the Enlightened One, that he may live in thankfulness for
321. Shotoku, he who is mercy’s self, the Compassionate, he who is
like unto a father, and the Bodhisattva of Mercy, the divine
tenderness, his succour is merciful as the pity of a mother.
322. Testimony is there that Shotoku the prince hath mercy upon us,
from the myriads of Kalpas even unto this day, because the wondrous
wisdom of Him who is Light beareth the load of his debt for the
Therefore before the eyes of His wisdom is the evil as the good, the
pure as the unclean.
323. Shotoku, the Prince, he that is in Japan called the Lord of
Teaching, he whose great mercy overtops all spoken words of
gratitude, must we therefore praise for evermore, having with single
heart sought refuge in him.
324. He who hath pitied the dwellers in the lands of Japan, the
Prince of Jogu, he whose ways are merciful, hath spread abroad the
Divine Promise of the Enlightened One. Therefore let us praise him
with great rejoicing. Throughout the many myriads of Kalpas, birth
after birth fell hitherto upon us.
325. We to whom he showed forth his compassion must be swift to
praise him, having continually sought refuge in him, and with a
326. The high Prince Shotoku, he who hath guarded us and with great
carefulness led us upwards from remotest times, hath lovingly
entreated us to seek our refuge in the two-fold gift of the
WHEREIN WITH LAMENTATION I MAKE MY CONFESSION
327. Though I seek my refuge in the true faith of the Pure Land,
Yet hath not mine heart been truly sincere.
Deceit and untruth are in my flesh,
And in my soul is no clear shining.
328. In their outward seeming are all men diligent and truth
But in their souls are greed and eager and unjust deceitfulness,
And in their flesh do lying and cunning triumph.
329. Too strong for me is the evil of my heart. I cannot overcome
Therefore is my soul like unto the poison of serpents,
Even my righteous deeds, being mingled with this poison, must be
named the deeds of deceitfulness.
330. Shameless though I be and having no truth in my soul,
Yet the virtue of the Holy Name, the gift of Him that is
Is spread throughout the world through my words being as I am.
331. There is no mercy in my soul.
The good of my fellow-man is not dear in mine eyes.
If it were not for the Ark of Mercy, the divine promise of the
How should I cross the Ocean of Misery?
332. I, whose mind is filled with cunning and deceit as the poison
of reptiles, am impotent to practise righteous deeds.
If I sought not refuge in the gift of our Father, I should die the
death of the shameless.
333. It is a token of this evil age that in this world the priests,
together with the people,
In secret serve strange gods,
While bearing the appearance of the devout sons of Buddha.
334. Sad and corrupt is it that the priests and people, following
after the superstitions of auspicious times and days, seek
sooth-saying and festivals
And worship the gods of heaven and earth.
335. Though I have heard that the names of priest and monk are
Yet now are they held as light as the five shameless precepts of
336. Being of one accord with the many minds of the heathen,
They bow in worship before devils,
While yet wearing the robe of the Buddha.
337. Sad and sorrowful is it that all the priests and people now in
the land of Yamato should worship the devils of heaven and earth, in
the name of the holy mysteries of the Buddha.
338. It is a mark of the downward way of this evil age that men
despise the name of priest or monk as a mean thing, considering them
like unto slaves.
339. May they yet bring offerings with homage unto the priests, even
as you do unto Saliputra or Mahamonugalyayana, those two great
servants of the Lord; though they are priests but in name and
without discipline, for this is the time of degeneration and of the
340. Though sin hath no substance in itself, and is but the shadow
of our illusion, and soul is in itself pure, yet in all this world
is there no sincere man.
341. Great sorrow is it that, in the wicked world of this age now so
near its end, the high priests who are born in the palankin, and the
monks who bear it now in Nara and Mount Hiyei, desire high secular
rank as the greatest honour.
342. That they consider the monk and nun as their slaves, and mock
at the honourable title of priest and minister, even as at the mean
name of slave, gives testimony that they despise the teaching of the
These sixteen psalms written above are written by me, Gutoku, with
lamentation, to be a record. To me even the honourable priests and
monks of the Central Temples seem now to be despised.
343. Having fulfilled forty and eight of the Divine Promise,
He attained unto the supreme enlightenment, and was manifest as the
Buddha of Infinite Light.
Whoso seeketh refuge with Him shall be certainly born into the Land
344. Into the Promised Land—the Paradise of the Great Calm.
He who practiseth the righteous deeds of the mingled motive hath no
claim of birth,
Therefore He that is Infinite would have us follow the deeds of the
single practice that is chosen of Him as teaching that is at the
345. The merit of His holy austerities throughout the myriads of
Kalpas is fully declared in his name of Amida (the Infinite).
And the Holy Name, after the consideration of five Kalpas,
Will be accorded unto us who are alive in this degenerated age.
346. Because action, speech, and mind of the Infinite Life and the
believer in the Holy Name are welded as into a diamond, therefore
shall he certainly be one with the men that return no more unto
birth and death.
347. He that hath much knowledge and keepeth the Pure Land is not
And whoso breaketh the Holy Law and sinneth is not disdained.
Only he that seeketh refuge in the Eternal Father shall enter into
Buddhahood as a pebble is transmuted into gold.
348. Our faith that endureth as the diamond cometh from the mind of
the Buddha that eternally endureth.
Lacking the aid of the Divine Power, how should we attain unto the
349. In the great ocean of the Divine Promise
Is there no ripple of illusion.
If we enter into the ark of the Holy Vow,
The spirit of mercy shall take part with our self-endeavour.
350. Since we have believed the Divine Promise,
How is it possible we should be in the power of life or death?
Unchanged may be our sinful body,
But our heart is in the Paradise for ever.