Statue of Shan-tao, preserved at the Chion-in, Kyoto
By Shan-tao (613-681)
Translated by Hisao Inagaki
1. All Buddhists of the present, both monks and lay-people, and those of the future should each awaken the highest aspiration.
Birth-and-death is extremely difficult to abhor, and the
Buddha Dharma hard to seek.
2. Together you should make the diamond-hard resolution and
leap over the four violent streams;
Take refuge in and worship Amida with joined hands wishing to enter Amida's Land.
3. O World-Honored One, with singleness of heart, I take refuge in the ocean of True Suchness,
Dharma Nature, Recompensed and Transformed
Buddhas throughout the ten directions,
4. Also in each and every bodhisattva, who is attended by
I pay homage to bodhisattvas who have bodies of glory and
transformation, those of the ten stages and three sagacities,
5. Those who have reached the end of the time of practice as
well as those who have not, those who have perfected wisdom and practice as well as those who have not,
Those who have destroyed passions as well as those who have not, those who have exhausted their residues as well as
those who have not,
6. Those who still require effort as well as those who do not,
those who have realized perfect wisdom as well as those who have not,
The Supremely Enlightened Ones and those of Equal Enlightenment, and also those, having attained the Adamantine Mind
7. And come in accord with True Suchness in a flash of thought,
have realized the fruition of Nirvana.
Let us take refuge in all the Honored Ones possessed of the
three kinds of Buddha-bodies.
8. We seek your divine protection with unobstructed supernatural powers; please take us in your embrace.
We all take refuge in the sages of the Three Vehicles who have learned the Buddha's Great Compassion
9. And forever dwell in the state of non-retrogression.
We seek their endowment of power to enable us to see the Buddhas in every thought-moment.
10. After floundering in Samsara since long, distant past, we
Have encountered the Declining Dharma bequeathed by Shakyamuni Buddha,
11. And met with the Primal Vow of Amida, the main gateway
to the Land of Utmost Bliss.
By transferring the merit of both meditative and non-meditative good toward it, I wish to attain quickly the body of no-birth.
12. Based on the One-Vehicle teaching for quick emancipation
in the Bodhisattva-Pitaka,
I have composed a verse of the three refuges in accord with the Buddha's Mind.
13. May Buddhas in the ten directions, as numerous as the sand-
grains of the Ganges, look upon me with their six supernatural powers!
I will widely open the Pure Land gate in accordance with the teachings of the two Buddhas, Amida and Shakyamuni.
14. I wish to share the merit of writing this work equally with
So that we may all awaken aspiration for Bodhi and together
attain birth in the Land of Peace and Bliss.
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