3-6 Solely Saying the Name Constantly
What is the meaning of “Namo Amida Butsu”? To begin with, the two-character word, “na-mo,” means “taking refuge in” and “Amida’s aspiring and directing virtue.” Also “Namo” implies the Vow, and “Amida Butsu” implies Amida’s saving activity.
When you abandon various practices and miscellaneous acts of virtue and awaken a single thought of entrusting for your emancipation through exclusive and single-minded reliance on Amida Tathagata, Amida compassionately sends forth the universally illuminating light and enfolds you in it. This is the meaning of the four-character word, “a-mi-da-butsu,” and of “aspiring and directing virtue.”
Now, then, you can see that the six-character word, “na-mo-a-mi-da-butsu,” is the Name which precisely indicates the significance of the entrusting heart of Other Power through which you are to attain birth.
In regard to this point, the passage of fulfillment of the Vow reads, “Hearing the Name, one attains the entrusting and joyful heart.” The meaning of this passage is that having heard the Name, one attains the entrusting heart and rejoices in it.
“Hearing the Name” is not simply hearing it in the ordinary sense of the term. It should be remembered that, when you meet a good spiritual teacher and hear with deep understanding the significance of the six-character word, “na-mo-a-mi-da-butsu, this is the entrusting heart of Other Power, through which you attain birth in the fulfilled land. It follows then that “the entrusting and joyful heart” is the heart that rejoices, free of any doubt about birth in the Pure Land, when the entrusting heart is settle.
And so, reflecting upon Amida Tathagata’s painstaking efforts in contemplating for five kalpas and in practicing for innumerable and uncountable kalpas, we cannot express enough our gratitude for his benevolence of saving us so readily.
We read in a hymn to this effect:
The directing of virtue embodied in Namo Amida Butsu
Is, in its benevolent working, vast and inconceivable;
Through the benefit of the directing of virtue for going forth,
We enter the directing of virtue for returning to this world.
There are in the Hymn of True Shinjin and the Nembutsu the following lines:
Solely saying the Tathagata’s Name constantly,
One should respond with gratitude to the universal Vow of great compassion.
This teaches us that we should simply recite the nembutsu, or call the Name, as an expression of gratitude for the Buddha’s benevolence, whether walking, stopping, sitting or lying down, irrespective of time, place or circumstance.
Humbly and respectfully.
Written on the 20th day of the 10th month, 6th year of Bunmei 
それ､ 南無阿弥陀仏と申すはいかなるこころぞなれば､ まづ ｢南無｣ といふ二字は､ 帰命と発願回向とのふたつのこころなり｡ また ｢南無｣ といふは願なり､ ｢阿弥陀仏｣ といふは行なり｡
されば雑行雑善をなげすてて専修専念に弥陀如来をたのみたてまつりて､ たすけたまへとおもふ帰命の一念おこるとき､ かたじけなくも遍照の光明を放ちて行者を摂取したまふなり｡ このこころすなはち阿弥陀仏の四つの字のこころなり｡ また発願回向のこころなり｡
これによりて､ ｢南無阿弥陀仏｣ といふ六字は､ ひとへにわれらが往生すべき他力信心のいはれをあらはしたまへる御名なりとみえたり｡
このゆゑに､ 願成就の文 (大経・下) には､ ｢聞其名号信心歓喜｣ と説かれたり｡ この文のこころは､ ｢その名号をききて信心歓喜す｣ といへり｡
｢その名号をきく｣ といふは､ ただおほやうにきくにあらず｡ 善知識にあひて､ 南無阿弥陀仏の六つの字のいはれをよくききひらきぬれば､ 報土に往生すべき他力信心の道理なりとこころえられたり｡ かるがゆゑに､ ｢信心歓喜｣ といふは､ すなはち信心定まりぬれば､ 浄土の往生は疑なくおもうてよろこぶこころなり｡
このゆゑに弥陀如来の五劫兆載永劫の御苦労を案ずるにも､ われらをやすくたすけたまふことのありがたさ､ たふとさをおもへばなかなか申すもおろかなり｡
されば 和讃 (正像末和讃) にいはく､ ｢南無阿弥陀仏の回向の 恩徳広大不思議にて 往相回向の利益には 還相回向に回入せり｣ といへるはこのこころなり｡
また ｢正信偈｣ にはすでに ｢唯能常称如来号 応報大悲弘誓恩｣ とあれば､ いよいよ行住坐臥時処諸縁をきらはず､ 仏恩報尽のためにただ称名念仏すべきものなり｡
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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