(Hymn of True
Shinjin and the Nembutsu)
by Master Shinran
|Ki myo mu ryo ju nyo rai
Na mu fu ka shi gi ko
Ho zo bo satsu in ni ji
Zai se ji sai o bus-sho
take refuge in the Tathagata of Immeasurable Life!
I entrust myself to the Buddha of Inconceivable Light!
Bodhisattva Dharmakara, in his causal stage,
Under the guidance of Lokeshvararaja Buddha,
|To ken sho butsu jo do in
Koku do nin den shi zen maku
Kon ryu mu jo shu sho gan
Cho hotsu ke u dai gu zei
|Searched into the origins of the
Buddhas' pure lands,
And the qualities of those lands and their men and devas;
He then established the supreme, incomparable Vow;
He made the Great Vow rare and all-encompassing.
|Go ko shi yui shi sho ju
Ju sei myo sho mon jip-po
Fu ho mu ryo mu hen ko
Mu ge mu tai ko en no
|In five kalpas of profound
thought, he embraced this Vow,
Then resolved again that his Name be heard throughout the ten quarters.
Everywhere he casts light immeasurable, boundless,
Unhindered, unequaled, light-lord of all brilliance,
|Sho jo kan gi chi e ko
Fu dan nan ji mu sho ko
Cho nichi gak-ko sho jin setsu
Is-sai gun jo mu ko sho
|Pure light, joyful light, the light of wisdom,
Light constant, inconceivable, light beyond speaking,
Light exceeding the sun and moon he sends forth, illumining countless worlds;
The multitudes of beings all receive the radiance.
|Hon gan myo go sho jo go
Shin shin shin gyo gan ni in
Jo to gaku sho dai ne han
His-shi metsu do gan jo ju
|The Name embodying the Primal Vow is the act of true
The Vow of entrusting with sincere mind is the cause of birth;
We realize the equal enlightenment and supreme nirvana
Through the fulfillment of the Vow of attaining nirvana without fail.
|Nyo rai sho i ko shus-se
Yui setsu mi da hon gan kai
Go joku aku ji gun jo kai
O shin nyo rai nyo jitsu gon
Sakyamuni Tathagata appeared in this world
|No hotsu ichi nen ki ai shin
Fu dan bon no toku ne han
Bon jo gyaku ho sai e nyu
Nyo shu shi nyu kai ichi mi
|When the one thought-moment of joy arises,
Nirvana is attained without severing blind passions;
When ignorant and wise, even grave offenders and slanderers of the dharma, all alike turn and enter SHINJIN,
They are like waters that, on entering the ocean, become one in taste with it.
|Ses-shu shin ko jo sho go
I no sui ha mu myo an
Ton nai shin zo shi un mu
Jo fu shin jitsu shin jin ten
|The light of compassion that
grasps us illumines and protects us always;
The darkness of our ignorance is already broken through;
Still the clouds and mists of greed and desire, anger and hatred,
Cover as always the sky of true and real SHINJIN.
|Hi nyo nik-ko fu un mu
Un mu shi ge myo mu an
Gyaku shin ken kyo dai kyo ki
Soku o cho zetsu go aku shu
|But though light of the sun is
veiled by clouds and mists,
Beneath the clouds and mists there is brightness, not dark.
When one realizes SHINJIN, seeing and revering and attaining great joy,
One immediately leaps crosswise, closing off the five evil courses.
|Is-sai zen maku bon bu nin
Mon shin nyo rai gu zei gan
Butsu gon ko dai sho ge sha
Ze nin myo fun da ri ke-
|All foolish beings, whether good or evil,
When they hear and entrust themselves to Amida's Universal Vow,
Are praised by the Buddha as people of vast and excellent understanding;
Such a person is called a pure white lotus.
|Mi da butsu hon gan nen butsu
Ja ken kyo man naku shu jo
Shin gyo ju ji jin ni nan
Nan chu shi nan mu ka shi
|For evil sentient beings of wrong views and arrogance,
The nembutsu that embodies Amida's Primal Vow
Is hard to accept in SHINJIN;
This most difficult of difficulties, nothing surpasses it.
|In do sai ten shi ron ge
Chu ka jichi iki shi ko so
Ken dai sho ko se sho i
Myo nyo rai hon ze o ki
|The masters of India in the west, who explained the teaching
And the eminent monks of China and Japan,
Clarified the Great Sage's true intent in appearing in the world,
And revealed that Amida's Primal Vow accords with the nature of beings.
|Sha ka nyo rai ryo ga sen
I shu go myo nan ten jiku
Ryu ju dai ji shut-to se
Shitsu no zai ha u mu ken
|Sakyamuni Tathagata, on Mount Lanka,
Prophesied to the multitudes that in south India
The mahasattva Nagarjuna would appear in this world
To crush the views of being and non-being;
|Sen zetsu dai jo mu jo ho
Sho kan gi ji sho an raku
Ken ji nan gyo roku ro ku
Shin gyo i gyo shi do raku
|Proclaiming the unexcelled Mahayana teaching,
He would attain the stage of joy and be born in the land of happiness.
Nagarjuna clarifies the hardship on the overland path of difficult practice,
And leads us to entrust to the pleasure on the waterway of easy practice.
|Oku nen mi da butsu hon gan
Ji nen soku ji nyu hitsu jo
Yui no jo sho nyo rai go
O ho dai hi gu zei on
|He teaches that the moment one thinks on Amida's Primal Vow,
One is naturally brought to enter the stage of the definitely settled;
Solely saying the Tathagata's Name constantly,
One should respond with gratitude to the universal Vow of great compassion.
|Ten jin bo Satsu zo ron setsu
Ki myo mu ge ko nyo rai
E Shu ta ra ken shin jitsu
Ko sen o cho dai sei gan
|Bodhisattva Vasubandhu, composing a treatise, declares
That he takes refuge in the Tathagata of Unhindered Light,
And that relying on the sutras, he will reveal the true and real virtues,
And make widely known the Great Vow by which we leap crosswise beyond birth-and-death.
|Ko-yu hon gan riki e ko
I do gun jo sho is-shin
Ki nyu ku doku dai ho kai
Hitsu gyaku nyu dai e shu shu
|He discloses the mind that is single so that all beings be
By Amida's directing of virtue through the power of the Primal Vow.
When a person turns and enters the great treasure ocean of virtue,
Necessarily he joins Amida's assembly;
|Toku shi ren ge zo se kai
Soku sho shin nyo hos-sho jin
Yu bon no rin gen jin zu
Nyu sho ji on ji o ge
|And when that person reaches that lotus-held world,
He immediately realizes the body of suchness or dharma-nature.
Then sporting in the forests of blind passions, he manifests transcendent powers;
Entering the garden of birth-and-death, he assumes various forms to guide others.
|Hon shi don ran ryo ten shi
Jo ko ran sho bo satsu rai
San zo ru shi ju jo kyo
Bon jo sen gyo ki raku ho
|Turning toward the dwelling of Master T'an-luan, the Emperor
Always paid homage to him as a bodhisattva.
Bodhiruci, master of the Tripitaka, gave T'an-luan the Pure Land teachings,
And T'an-luan, burning his Taoist scriptures, took refuge in the land of bliss.
|Ten jin bo satsu ron chu ge
Ho do in ga ken sei gan
O gen ne ko yu ta riki
Sho jo shi in yui shin jin
|In his commentary on the treatise of Bodhisattva Vasubandhu,
He shows that the cause and attainment of birth in the fulfilled land lie in the Vow.
Our going and returning, directed to us by Amida, come about through Other Power;
The truly decisive cause is SHINJIN.
|Waku zen bon bu shin jin potsu
Sho-chi sho-ji soku ne hon
His-shi mu ryo ko myo do
Sho-u shu jo kai fu ke
|When a foolish being of delusion and defilement awakens
He realizes that birth-and-death is itself nirvana;
Without fail he reaches the land of immeasurable light
And universally guides sentient beings to enlightenment.
|Do shaku kes-sho do nan sho
Yui myo jo do ka tsu nyu
Man zen ji riki hen gon shu
En man toku go kan sen sho
|Tao-ch'o determined how difficult it is to fulfill the Path
And reveals that only passage through the Pure Land gate is possible for us.
He criticizes self-power endeavor in the myriad good practices,
And encourages us solely to say the fulfilled Name embodying true virtue.
|San-pu san shin ke on gon
Zo matsu ho metsu do-hi in
Is-sho zo aku chi gu zei
Shi an nyo gai sho myo ka
|With kind concern he teaches the three characteristics of
entrusting and non-entrusting,
Compassionately guiding all identically, whether they live when the dharma survives as but form, when in its last stage, or when it has become extinct.
Though a person has committed evil all his life, when he encounters the Primal Vow
He will reach the world of peace and realize the perfect fruit of enlightenment.
|Zen-do doku myo bus-sho I
Ko ai jo san yo gyaku aku
Ko myo myo go ken in nen
Kai-nyu hon gan dai-chi kai
|Shan-tao alone in his time clarified the Buddha's true intent;
Sorrowing at the plight of meditative and non meditative practicers and people of grave evil,
He reveals that Amida's light and Name are the causes of birth.
When the practicer enters the great ocean of wisdom, the Primal Vow,
|Gyo-ja sho-ju kon go shin
Kyo-ki ichi nen so o go
Yo-I dai to gyaku san nin
Soku sho hos-sho shi jo raku
|He receives the diamondlike mind
And accords with the one thought-moment of joy; whereupon,
Equally with Vaidehi, he acquires the threefold wisdom
And is immediately brought to attain the eternal bliss of dharma-nature.
|Gen shin ko kai ichi dai kyo
Hen ki an nyo kan is-sai
Sen zo shu shin han sen jin
Ho ke ni do sho ben ryu
|Genshin, having broadly elucidated the teachings of
Wholeheartedly took refuge in the land of peace and urges all to do so;
Ascertaining that minds devoted to single practice are profound, to sundry practice, shallow,
He sets forth truly the difference between the fulfilled land and the transformed land.
|Goku ju aku nin yui sho butsu
Ga yaku zai-hi ses-shu chu
Bon no sho gen sui fu ken
Dai-hi mu ken jo sho ga
|The person burdened with extreme evil should simply say the
Although I too am within Amida's grasp,
Passions obstruct my eyes and I cannot see him;
Nevertheless, great compassion is untiring and illumines me always.
|Hon shi gen ku myo buk-kyo
Ren min zen maku bon bu nin
Shin shu kyo sho ko hen shu
Sen jaku hon gan gu aku se
|Master Genku, well-versed in the Buddha's teaching,
Turned compassionately to foolish people, both good and evil;
Establishing in this remote land the teaching and realization that are the true essence of the Pure Land way,
He transmits the selected Primal Vow to us of the defiled world:
|Gen rai sho-ji rin den ge
Ket-chi gi jo I sho shi
Soku nyu jaku jo mu I raku
Hit-chi shin jin I no nyu
|Return to this house of transmigration, of birth-and death,
Is decidedly caused by doubt.
Swift entrance into the city of tranquillity, the uncreated,
Is necessarily brought about by SHINJIN.
|Gu kyo dai ji shu shi tou
Jo sai mu hen goku joku aku
Do zoku ji shu gu do shin
Yu-I ka shin shi ko so se-tsu
|The mahasattvas and masters who spread the sutras
Save the countless beings of utter defilement and evil.
With the same mind, all people of the present, whether monk or lay,
Should rely wholly on the teachings of these venerable masters.
|Shoshinge is traditionally followed by the chanting of six sets of Nembutsu and Wasan. Wasan are poems composed by Shinran Shonin, which explain his teaching in a simple form. There are three collections of Wasan. Here, the first six of these poems are chanted. It concludes with the "Ekoku," written by Shan-tao (Zendo in Japanese, 618-681 CE), which expresses the aspiration that all beings benefit by the truth and virtue of the dharma.|
Mi da jo-u bu-tsu no ko no ka ta wa
I ma ni jik ko-u o-o he ta ma e ri
Ho-sshi-n no ko-u ri-i-n ki wa mo na ku
Se no mo-u myo-u o te ra su na-ri
Amida has passed through ten kalpas now
Chi e no ko-u myo-u ha ka ri na shi
U ryo-u no sho so-u ko to go to ku
Ko-u ke-u ka mu ra-a nu mo no wa na shi
Shi-n ji-tsu myo-u ne ki myo-o se-yo
The light of wisdom exceeds all measure,
Ge da-tsu no ko-u ri-n ki wa mo na shi-i
Ko-u so-ku ka mu ru-u mo no wa mi na
U-u mu o ha no ru to no be ta mo o
Byo-u do-u ka-ku ni ki myo-o se yo
The liberating wheel of light is without bound;
Ko-u u-n mu ge nyo-o ko-o ku-u
Is sa-i no u ge ni-i sa wa ri na shi
Ko-u ta-ku ka mu ra nu mo no zo na ki
Na-n ji-i gi o ki myo-o se yo
The cloud of light is unhindered, like open sky;
There is nothing that impedes it.
Every being is nurtured by this light,
So take refuge in Amida, the one beyond conception.
Sho-u jo-u ko-o-u myo-u na ra bi na shi-i
Gu shi-i ko-u no yu e na re ba
I is-sa i no gok-ke mo no zo ko ri nu
Hik-kyo-u e o ki myo-o se yo
The light of purity is without compare.
When a person encounters this light,
All bonds of karma fall away;
So take refuge in Amida, the ultimate shelter.
Bu-uk-ko-u se-u e-u sa-i da-i i-chi
Ko-u e-n no-u but-to na zu ke ta ri
Sa-n zu no ko-ku a-n hi ra ku na ri
Da-i o-u gu-u o ki myo-o se yo
The Buddha's light is supreme in radiance;
Thus Amida is called "Buddha, Lord of Blazing Light."
His light dispels the darkness of the three courses of affliction,
So take refuge in Amida, the great one worthy of offerings.
Ga-n ni shi ku doku
Byo-u do-u se i-sa-i
Do-u ho-su bo da-i shi-n
O-u Jo-u a-n ra-a ko-o
I vow that the merit-virtue of this truth
Be shared equally with all beings.
May we together awaken the Bodhi Mind,
And be born in the realm of Serenity and Joy.
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Last modified: 27 January 2010.