Gobunshō – 御文章 – Fascicle 2-11 – The Fivefold Doctrine – 五重義章 –

2-11 The Fivefold Doctrine

In these days, the teaching of our tradition set forth by Shinran Shonin is presented in different ways in different provinces. This is most deplorable.

For, although in our tradition the entrusting heart of Other Power comes first as the cause for birth of ordinary beings, some disregard and neglect the entrusting heart. They claim that the significance of the entrusting heart is not to forget that Amida Tathagata has settled our birth since he realized enlightenment ten kalpas ago. In such an assertion we find that taking refuge in Amida and attaining the entrusting heart of Other Power is totally lacking.

Even if we know that our birth has been settled since Amida’s enlightenment ten kalpas ago, unless we fully realize the entrusting heart of Other Power, through which we are to attain birth, we will not be born in the land of bliss.

Again, some other people say, “Even if you take refuge in Amida, without a good spiritual teacher, it is useless. Therefore, you should solely rely on a good spiritual teacher.”

These, too, are the words of people who have not admirably attained the entrusting heart of our tradition.

The function of a good spiritual teacher is simply to urge people to entrust themselves to Amida single-mindedly and unwaveringly. Accordingly, a fivefold doctrine has been established: first, stored good from the past; second, a good spiritual teacher; third, Amida’s light; fourth, the entrusting heart; fifth, the Name. It is stated that unless these five conditions are met, birth is unattainable.

Therefore, a good spiritual teacher is the messenger who urges us to take refuge in Amida. Unless we meet a good spiritual teacher through the ripening of stored good from the past, our birth is impossible. It is, however, a grave mistake to disregard Amida on whom we must rely and take only the good spiritual teacher as our refuge. This we should bear in mind.

Humbly and respectfully.

20th day of the 5th month, 6th year of Bunmei [1474]

2-11 五重義章

それ、 とうりゅう親鸞しんらんしょうにんかんのおもむき、 近年きんねん諸国しょこくにおいて種々しゅじゅどうなり。 これおほきにあさましきだいなり。

そのゆゑは、 まづとうりゅうには、 りき信心しんじんをもつてぼんおうじょうさきとせられたるところに、 その信心しんじんのかたをばおしのけて沙汰さたせずして、 そのすすむることばにいはく、 「十劫じっこうしょうがくのはじめよりわれらがおうじょう弥陀みだ如来にょらいさだめましましたまへることをわすれぬがすなはち信心しんじんのすがたなり」 といへり。 これさらに、 弥陀みだみょうしてりき信心しんじんをえたるぶんはなし。

さればいかに十劫じっこうしょうがくのはじめよりわれらがおうじょうさだめたまへることをしりたりといふとも、 われらがおうじょうすべきりき信心しんじんのいはれをよくしらずは、 極楽ごくらくにはおうじょうすべからざるなり。

またあるひとのことばにいはく、 「たとひ弥陀みだみょうすといふともぜんしきなくはいたづらごとなり、 このゆゑにわれらにおいてはぜんしきばかりをたのむべし」 と云々うんぬん


そもそも、 ぜんしきのうといふは、 一心いっしん一向いっこう弥陀みだみょうしたてまつるべしと、 ひとをすすむべきばかりなり。 これによりてじゅうをたてたり。 ひとつには宿しゅくぜん、 ふたつにはぜんしき、 つにはこうみょう、 つには信心しんじん、 いつつにはみょうごう。 このじゅう、 じょうじゅせずはおうじょうはかなふべからずとみえたり。

さればぜんしきといふは、 弥陀みだぶつみょうせよといへるつかひなり。 宿しゅくぜん開発かいほつしてぜんしきにあはずは、 おうじょうはかなふべからざるなり。 しかれども、 するところの弥陀みだをすてて、 ただぜんしきばかりをほんとすべきこと、 おほきなるあやまりなりとこころうべきものなり。

あなかしこ、 あなかしこ。


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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