Gobunshō – 御文章 – Fascicle 1-2 – Renouncing the World and Awakening the Bodhi-mind – 出家発心章 –

1-2 Renouncing the World and Awakening the Bodhi-mind

The basic teaching of Shinran Shonin in our tradition is not primarily that you should renounce the world and awaken the Bodhi-mind or leave home and abandon worldly desires, but simply that, in settling the entrusting heart of Other Power through taking refuge in Amida in a single thought-moment, there is no distinction between men and women, old and young.

Attaining the entrusting heart is described in the [Larger] Sutra as “immediately attaining the state in which one’s birth is assured and thus dwelling in the stage of non-retrogression,” and is referred to in a commentary as “Upon awakening a single thought of entrusting, one joins those who are in the stage of the truly settled.”

This is the teaching of “not expecting to see Amida come to welcome one at the time of death” and “settling the cause for birth in everyday life.”

It is said in a hymn:

We who aspire for Amida’s fulfilled land,
Though we differ in outward condition and conduct,
Should truly receive the Name of the Primal Vow
And never forget it, whether waking or sleeping.

Concerning “outward condition and conduct,” no discrimination is made between laypeople and monks, men and women.

Next, “should truly receive the Name of the Primal Vow and never forget it, whether waking or sleeping” means that it does not matter whatever your outward appearance may be and even if you have committed the ten evil acts and the five grave offenses and have slandered the Dharma or are lacking the seed of Buddhahood; if you have a change of heart and feel repentant, and deeply realize that the Primal Vow of Amida Tathagata saves such worthless people like us - single-heartedly entrusting yourselves to the Tathagata and always being mindful of this whether awake or asleep - then you are called the practicers with the entrusting heart who have attained the definitely settled mind through reliance on the Primal Vow.

Beyond this, whenever you say the nembutsu, whether walking, standing, sitting or lying down, you should remember that this is the nembutsu to express your gratitude for the benevolence of Amida Tathagata. Then you are called practicers who have attained the true entrusting heart and whose birth has been settled.

Humbly and respectfully.

The sweat streaming down my face
On this hot day is indeed tears;

The smudged brush-work -
How strange this must look!

18th day of the 7th month, 3rd year of Bunmei [1471]

1-2 出家発心章

とうりゅう、 親鸞しんらんしょうにんいちは、 あながちにしゅっ発心ほっしんのかたちをほんとせず、 しゃよくのすがたをひょうせず、 ただ一念いちねんみょうりき信心しんじんけつじょうせしむるときは、 さらに男女なんにょろうしょうをえらばざるものなり。

さればこのしんをえたるくらいを、 ¬きょう¼ (大経・下) には 「即得そくとくおうじょうじゅ退転たいてん」 とき、 しゃく (論註・上意) には 「一念いちねんぽっにゅう正定しょうじょうじゅ」 ともいへり。 これすなはち来迎らいこうだん、 平生へいぜいごうじょうなり。

さん (高僧和讃) にいはく、 「弥陀みだほうをねがふひと 外儀げぎのすがたはことなりと 本願ほんがんみょうごう信受しんじゅして 寤寐ごびにわするることなかれ」 といへり。

のすがた」 といふは、 ざいしゅっ、 なん女人にょにんをえらばざるこころなり。

つぎに 「本願ほんがんみょうごう信受しんじゅして寤寐ごびにわするることなかれ」 といふは、 かたちはいかやうなりといふとも、 またつみじゅうあくぎゃく、 謗法ほうぼう闡提せんだいのともがらなれども、 しんさんして、 ふかく、 かかるあさましきをすくひまします弥陀みだ如来にょらい本願ほんがんなりとしんして、 ふたごころなく如来にょらいをたのむこころの、 ねてもさめても憶念おくねんしんつねにしてわすれざるを、 本願ほんがんたのむけつじょうしんをえたる信心しんじんぎょうにんとはいふなり。

さてこのうへには、 たとひ行住ぎょうじゅう坐臥ざが称名しょうみょうすとも、 弥陀みだ如来にょらいおんほうじまうす念仏ねんぶつなりとおもふべきなり。 これを真実しんじつ信心しんじんをえたるけつじょうおうじょうぎょうじゃとはもうすなり。

あなかしこ、 あなかしこ。

あつきにながるるあせはなみだかな かきおくふでのあとぞをかしき


Index of individual letters:

Fascicle 1-2 – Renouncing the World and Awakening the Bodhi-mind – 出家発心章
Fascicle 1-3 – Hunting and Fishing – 猟すなどり章
Fascicle 1-5 – Journey in the Snow – 雪中章
Fascicle 1-6 – Drowsiness – 睡眠章
Fascicle 1-8 – Construction at Yoshizaki – 吉崎建立章
Fascicle 1-13 – A Wrong View Concerning “Ten Kalpas Ago” – 此方十劫邪義章
Fascicle 2-4 – Severing Crosswise the Five Evil Courses – 横截五悪趣章
Fascicle 2-5 – Juzu – 珠数章
Fascicle 2-7 – Going Is Easy, but No One Is Born There – 易往無人章
Fascicle 2-11 – The Fivefold Doctrine – 五重義章
Fascicle 3-4 – The Great Sage, the World-honored One – 大聖世尊章
Fascicle 3-6 – Solely Saying the Name Constantly – 唯能常称章
Fascicle 4-10 – This Present Age – 今の世章
Fascicle 4-11 – The Unity of Beings and the Dharma – 機法一体章
Fascicle 4-12 – The Meetings Twice Every Month – 毎月両度章
Fascicle 4-14 – The Settled Mind of Our Tradition – 一流安心章
Fascicle 4-15 – Construction at Ozaka – 大坂建立章
Fascicle 5-1 – Those Lacking Wisdom in the Latter Age – 末代無智章
Fascicle 5-2 – Eighty Thousand Dharma-teachings – 八万法蔵章
Fascicle 5-3 – Women Remaining in Lay Life – 在家尼入道章
Fascicle 5-4 – Whether Men or Women – 抑男子女人章
Fascicle 5-5 – Attaining the Entrusting Heart – 信心獲得章
Fascicle 5-6 – Singleness of Heart, Great Benefit – 一念大利章
Fascicle 5-9 – All the Sacred Scriptures – 一切聖教章
Fascicle 5-10 – The Tradition of Shinran Shonin -聖人一流章
Fascicle 5-11 – The Annual Memorial Observance for Shinran Shonin – 御正忌章
Fascicle 5-12 – Holding on to Amida’s Sleeves – 御袖章
Fascicle 5-13 – The Unsurpassed, Profound Virtues – 無上甚深章
Fascicle 5-16 – White Ashes -白骨章
Fascicle 5-17 – All Women – 一切女人章
Fascicle 5-18 – The Master of Our Tradition – 当流聖人章
Fascicle 5-21 – Clear Statements in the Scriptures – 経釈明文
Fascicle 5-22 – The Teaching of Our Tradition – 当流勧化章

Other Resources:
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
  • ¥1,100
  • 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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