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 
当流､ 親鸞聖人の一義は､ あながちに出家発心のかたちを本とせず､ 捨家棄欲のすがたを標せず､ ただ一念帰命の他力の信心を決定せしむるときは､ さらに男女老少をえらばざるものなり｡
さればこの信をえたる位を､ ¬経¼ (大経・下) には ｢即得往生住不退転｣ と説き､ 釈 (論註・上意) には ｢一念発起入正定之聚｣ ともいへり｡ これすなはち不来迎の談､ 平生業成の義なり｡
和讃 (高僧和讃) にいはく､ ｢弥陀の報土をねがふひと 外儀のすがたはことなりと 本願名号信受して 寤寐にわするることなかれ｣ といへり｡
｢外儀のすがた｣ といふは､ 在家・出家､ 男子・女人をえらばざるこころなり｡
つぎに ｢本願名号信受して寤寐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､ また罪は十悪・五逆､ 謗法・闡提のともがらなれども､ 回心懴悔して､ ふかく､ かかるあさましき機をすくひまします弥陀如来の本願なりと信知して､ ふたごころなく如来をたのむこころの､ ねてもさめても憶念の心つねにしてわすれざるを､ 本願たのむ決定心をえたる信心の行人とはいふなり｡
さてこのうへには､ たとひ行住坐臥に称名すとも､ 弥陀如来の御恩を報じまうす念仏なりとおもふべきなり｡ これを真実信心をえたる決定往生の行者とは申すなり｡
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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