1-13 A Wrong View Concerning “Ten Kalpas Ago”
These days, there are some among the nembutsu practicers in this region who use strange words, saying that these express how one has attained the entrusting heart, with a pretentious air that they know very well about the entrusting heart of our tradition.
According to them, “The entrusting heart is not to forget our indebtedness to Amida, who settled our birth in the Pure Land at the time of his enlightenment ten kalpas ago.” This is a great mistake. For, even though they know all about Amida Tathagata’s attainment of enlightenment, it would be futile if they failed to realize the significance of the entrusting heart of Other Power that ensures our birth.
Therefore, from now on, you all should first thoroughly understand what the true entrusting heart of our tradition means. The entrusting heart is explained as “threefold mind” in the Larger Sutra and as “three minds” in the Contemplation Sutra, and is shown as “single mind” in the Amida Sutra.
Although the terms are different in the three sutras, they are simply meant to express the single mind of Other Power.
How, then, should we understand the entrusting heart? To begin with, discard various practices and unwaveringly rely on Amida Tathagata. Give no thought to any deities or other Buddhas and single-heartedly take refuge in Amida, and then the Tathagata will embrace you within his light and never forsake you. This is how the single thought of entrusting is decisively settled.
After you have understood thus, you should remember that your nembutsu is to express your gratitude for the benevolence of Amida Tathagata who bestows you the entrusting heart of Other Power.
Those who have this understanding are to be called nembutsu practicers in whom the entrusting heart has been decisively settle.
Humbly and respectfully.
Written in the latter part of the 9th month, 5th year of Bunmei 
そもそも､ ちかごろは､ この方念仏者のなかにおいて､ 不思議の名言をつかひて､ これこそ信心をえたるすがたよといひて､ しかもわれは当流の信心をよく知り顔の体に心中にこころえおきたり｡
そのことばにいはく､ ｢十劫正覚のはじめより､ われらが往生を定めたまへる弥陀の御恩をわすれぬが信心ぞ｣ といへり｡ これおほきなるあやまりなり｡ そも弥陀如来の正覚を成りたまへるいはれをしりたりといふとも､ われらが往生すべき他力の信心といふいはれをしらずは､ いたづらごとなり｡
しかれば､ 向後においては､ まづ当流の真実信心といふことをよくよく存知すべきなり｡
その信心といふは､ 大三信と説き､ 観経 には三心といひ､ 阿弥陀経 には一心とあらはせり｡
されば信心といへるそのすがたはいかやうなることぞといへば､ まづもろもろの雑行をさしおきて､ 一向に弥陀如来をたのみたてまつりて､ 自余の一切の諸神・諸仏等にもこころをかけず､ 一心にもつぱら弥陀に帰命せば､ 如来は光明をもつてその身を摂取して捨てたまふべからず｡ これすなはちわれらが一念の信心決定したるすがたなり｡
Index of individual letters:
Letters of Rennyo: The Essence of Shin Buddhism (essay/talk by Rev. Daien T. Haseo)
Letters of Rennyo – On Youtube (presented by Rev. Sugahara Yuki)
Complete Letters of Rennyo translation by the Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai follow this link to their website to download a copy.
To purchase the book ‘Letters of Rennyo’ , Translated by as part of the Hongwanji Shin Buddhism Translation Series, this is the publication information & link:
- Title ：Letters of Rennyo
- Author ：Shin Buddhism Translation Series
- Language ：English
- ISBN ：4-938490-20-X
- pages ：164
Buy from Hongwanji International Center: https://international.hongwanji.or.jp/html/c3b1p1.html
If you would like a digital copy containing more translated letters than listed above (albeit not translated by Hongwanji), you can download a PDF from the Bukkyo Dendo Kyokai (BDK – Amercia) website here: Link: https://bdkamerica.org/product/tannisho-passages-deploring-deviations-of-faith-and-rennyo-shonin-ofumi-the-letters-of-rennyo/
Credits: The text for the Letters of Rennyo as presented on this and subsequent pages was originally shared on the following site : http://www.yamadera.info/seiten/seiten_index.htm
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