1-5 Journey in the Snow
From the beginning of this year a large number of people, both monks and laypeople, men and women, from the three provinces of Kaga, Noto and Etchu, have been flocking to this mountain at Yoshizaki; I feel uneasy about the state of mind of each one of them.
The reason I feel so is, to begin with, that in the teaching of our tradition the cause for birth in the land of bliss is attainment of the entrusting heart of Other Power, but there is hardly anyone in this school who has definitely attained it. How then could these people ever expect to be born with ease in the fulfilled land? This is the matter of the greatest importance.
In what state of mind have these people come here in spite of this snow after having managed to complete the long journey of five or ten ri? I am most concerned about this.
Whatever your frame of mind may have been in the past, I will explain in detail what you should bear in mind from now on. Listen with utmost attention.
You should firmly keep in mind the entrusting heart of Other Power, and then say the nembutsu, whether walking, standing, sitting or lying down, to express your gratitude for the Buddha’s benevolence. With such an understanding, you are assured of the birth that is to come. With overflowing joy, you may go to the temples of the priests who are your teachers and perhaps make offerings to them.
Those who do this are called practicers with the entrusting heart who have thoroughly understood the teaching of our tradition.
Humbly and respectfully.
8th day of the 2nd month, 5th year of Bunmei 
そもそも､ 当年より､ ことのほか､ 加州・能登・越中､ 両三箇国のあひだより道俗男女､ 群集をなして､ この吉崎の山中に参詣せらるる面々の心中のとほり､ いかがと心もとなく候ふ｡
そのゆゑは､ まづ当流のおもむきは､ このたび極楽に往生すべきことわりは､ 他力の信心をえたるがゆゑなり｡ しかれども､ この一流のうちにおいて､ しかしかとその信心のすがたをもえたる人これなし｡ かくのごとくのやからは､ いかでか報土の往生をばたやすくとぐべきや｡ 一大事といふはこれなり｡
幸ひに五里・十里の遠路をしのぎ､ この雪のうちに参詣のこころざしは､ いかやうにこころえられたる心中ぞや｡ 千万心もとなき次第なり｡
所詮以前はいかやうの心中にてありといふとも､ これよりのちは心中にこころえおかるべき次第をくはしく申すべし｡ よくよく耳をそばだてて聴聞あるべし｡
そのゆゑは､ 他力の信心といふことをしかと心中にたくはへられ候ひて､ そのうへには､ 仏恩報謝のためには行住坐臥に念仏を申さるべきばかりなり｡ このこころえにてあるならば､ このたびの往生は一定なり｡ このうれしさのあまりには､ 師匠坊主の在所へもあゆみをはこび､ こころざしをもいたすべきものなり｡
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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