As I reflect, having observed the ways of the nembutsu followers in this temple community over the past few years, I find that they totally lack the settled mind of Other Power.
The reason I say this is that there is none among them who carries a juzu. Not carrying any juzu amounts to grasping the Buddha with bare hands. Shinran Shonin never told us to worship the Buddha without a juzu. Nevertheless, in order to attain birth in the Pure Land, only the entrusting heart of Other Power is required. Not carrying any juzu creates no hindrance to that end.
In the first place, priests of big temples are expected to wear robes and carry juzu. In this connection we notice that those who have attained the true entrusting heart never fail to express it in their voice and manifest it in their manner. From this we can conjecture that nowadays those who have admirably attained the true entrusting heart are extremely rare.
To explain this further, it appears that these priests, failing to appreciate that the Primal Vow of Amida Tathagata is befitting to us, always assume the air of understanding all about the entrusting heart and, whenever they hear the Dharma, they dismiss it as nothing new, thereby unable to take it seriously in their minds; and so they are merely imitating others.
Such being the case, their own birth in the land of bliss seems doubtful; it is even more doubtful whether they can teach their followers and members. In such a state of mind, their birth that is to come in the fulfilled land will be impossible.
How shameful and sad it is! You should simply calm your minds and deeply reflect. Indeed impermanence of human life is such that one may die at any time, when the breath that goes out is not followed by the breath that comes in. Be very careful in keeping in mind the Buddha Dharma, and seek to settle the entrusting heart.
Humbly and respectfully.
Early in the morning on the 16th day of the 2nd month, 6th year of Bunmei , I suddenly took a brush and wrote this.
そもそも､ この三四年のあひだにおいて､ 当山の念仏者の風情をみおよぶに､ まことにもつて他力の安心決定せしめたる分なし｡
そのゆゑは､ 珠数の一連をももつひとなし｡ さるほどに仏をば手づかみにこそせられたり｡ 聖人 (親鸞)､ まつたく ｢珠数をすてて仏を拝め｣ と仰せられたることなし｡ さりながら珠数をもたずとも､ 往生浄土のためにはただ他力の信心一つばかりなり｡ それにはさはりあるべからず｡
まづ大坊主分たる人は､ 袈裟をもかけ､ 珠数をもちても子細なし｡ これによりて真実信心を獲得したる人は､ かならず口にも出し､ また色にもそのすがたはみゆるなり｡ しかれば､ 当時はさらに真実信心をうつくしくえたる人､ いたりてまれなりとおぼゆるなり｡
それはいかんぞなれば､ 弥陀如来の本願のわれらがために相応したるたふとさのほども､ 身にはおぼえざるがゆゑに､ いつも信心のひととほりをば､ われこころえ顔のよしにて､ なにごとを聴聞するにも､ そのこととばかりおもひて､ 耳へもしかしかともいらず､ ただ人まねばかりの体たらくなりとみえたり｡
この分にては､ 自身の往生極楽もいまはいかがとあやふくおぼゆるなり｡ いはんや門徒・同朋を勧化の儀も､ なかなかこれあるべからず｡ かくのごときの心中にては今度の報土往生も不可なり｡
あらあら勝事や｡ ただふかくこころをしづめて思案あるべし｡ まことにもつて人間は出づる息は入るをまたぬならひなり｡ あひかまへて油断なく仏法をこころにいれて､ 信心決定すべきものなり｡
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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