2-4 Severing Crosswise the Five Evil Courses
Question: I understand that the reason why we speak of the all-surpassing Primal Vow of Amida Tathagata is that it is the supreme Vow made for foolish beings like us in the latter age of the five defilements, who commit evil and do not do any good act.
But we have no clear understanding as to in what state of mind we should be and how we should entrust ourselves to Amida in order to attain birth in the Pure Land. Please teach us about this in detail.
Answer: Out of great love and great compassion the Buddha vowed to save us, the beings of the present latter age, however deep our karmic evils may be, who wholly entrust ourselves to Amida Tathagata, taking refuge only in Amida Buddha single-mindedly and unwaveringly, without regard to other Buddhas and bodhisattvas. Since Amida sends forth great light and enfolds us in it, the [Contemplation] Sutra states: “The light shines everywhere throughout the worlds of the ten quarters, embracing and not forsaking sentient beings of the nembutsu.”
As the result, Amida Tathagata, exercising the inconceivable Vow-Power, blocks the path to the five or six evil courses to which we are destined.
The [Larger] Sutra says to the same effect, “One cuts off crosswise the five evil courses and the evil courses close naturally.”
When we entrust ourselves to the Tathagata’s Vow without a single thought of doubt, even though we feel we are to fall into hell, we will be taken in the embracing light of Amida Tathagata, for we are now destined to the land of bliss, despite worries about falling into hell.
It follows then that, since we receive, day and night, morning and evening, the Tathagata’s benevolence of great compassion, which is like the vast sky and lofty mountains, we cannot help but recite the nembutsu out of gratitude for the Buddha’s benevolence, continuously saying “Namo Amida Butsu.”
This is how it is to have attained the true entrusting heart.
Humbly and respectfully.
On the night of the 15th day of the 2nd month, 6th year of Bunmei , reflecting on the bygone days when the Great Sage, the World-honored One, passed into Nirvana. I have written this with a brush under a lamp-stand while rubbing my eyes which are weakened by age.
At the age of 60
それ､ 弥陀如来の*超世の本願と申すは､ 末代濁世の造悪不善のわれらごときの凡夫のためにおこしたまへる無上の誓願なるがゆゑなり｡
しかれば､ これをなにとやうに心をももち､ なにとやうに弥陀を信じて､ かの浄土へは往生すべきやらん､ さらにその分別なし｡ くはしくこれををしへたまふべし｡
答へていはく､ 末代今の時の衆生は､ ただ一すぢに弥陀如来をたのみたてまつりて､ 余の仏・菩薩等をもならべて信ぜねども､ 一心一向に弥陀一仏に帰命する衆生をば､ いかに罪ふかくとも仏の大慈大悲をもつてすくはんと誓ひたまひて､ 大光明を放ちて､ その光明のうちに摂め取りましますゆゑに､ このこころを 経 (観経) には､ ｢光明遍照 十方世界 念仏衆生 摂取不捨｣ と説きたまへり｡
このいはれをまた ¬経¼ (大経・下) には､ ｢横截五悪趣悪趣自然閉｣ と説かれたり｡
かるがゆゑに､ 如来の誓願を信じて一念の疑心なきときは､ いかに地獄へおちんとおもふとも､ 弥陀如来の摂取の光明に摂め取られまゐらせたらん身は､ わがはからひにて地獄へもおちずして極楽にまゐるべき身なるがゆゑなり｡
かやうの道理なるときは､ 昼夜朝暮は､ 如来大悲の御恩を雨山にかうぶりたるわれらなれば､ ただ口につねに称名をとなへて､ かの仏恩を報謝のために念仏を申すべきばかりなり｡
文明六､ 二月十五日の夜､ 大聖世尊 (釈尊) 入滅の昔をおもひいでて､ 灯の下において老眼を拭ひ筆を染めをはりぬ｡
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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