Portrait of Honen preserved at the Nison-in temple, Kyoto.
nmd|rgdds oqnedrrhnm
ne e`hsg

hbghl`h jhrgnlnm


translated by Hisao Inagaki

[The Nembutsu that I teach] is not the contemplative Nembutsu expounded by many learned masters of China and Japan, nor is it the recitative Nembutsu practiced with full understanding of the meaning of 'nen' that becomes clear from study. It is nothing but saying 'Namu Amida Butsu' with a conviction that by saying it one will certainly attain birth in the Pure Land. The Three Minds and the Four Practices, which are spoken of [in relation to the Nembutsu], are contained in the conviction that all attain birth without fail through Namu Amida Butsu. If your faith is based on other ground than this, you may not be received by the Compassion of the two Buddhas and may be left outside the Primal Vow.

Those who accept the Nembutsu in faith, however well versed in the lifetime teachings of the Buddha, should consider themselves as illiterate, stupid persons, and without pretensions to wisdom, should single-heartedly recite the Nembutsu with ordinary devotees of Buddhism of little learning, whether men or women.

Sealed with the imprint of my palms as testimony


The faith and practice of the Jodo school are exhaustively presented in this single sheet of paper. I know no doctrine apart from this. I have written down my thoughts in order to prevent wrong views from arising after my death.

Honen met Shan-tao in a dream. From the Pictorial Biography of Honen Shonin, preserved at the Chion-in.

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