Gobunshō – 御文章 – Fascicle 3-6 – Solely Saying the Name Constantly – 唯能常称章 –

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 [1474]

3-6 唯能常称章

それ、 南無なも弥陀みだぶつもうすはいかなるこころぞなれば、 まづ 「南無なも」 といふは、 みょう発願ほつがんこうとのふたつのこころなり。 また 「南無なも」 といふはがんなり、 「弥陀みだぶつ」 といふはぎょうなり。

さればぞうぎょう雑善ぞうぜんをなげすてて専修せんじゅ専念せんねん弥陀みだ如来にょらいをたのみたてまつりて、 たすけたまへとおもふみょう一念いちねんおこるとき、 かたじけなくもへんじょうこうみょうはなちてぎょうじゃ摂取せっしゅしたまふなり。 このこころすなはち弥陀みだぶつつののこころなり。 また発願ほつがんこうのこころなり。

これによりて、 「南無なも弥陀みだぶつ」 といふろくは、 ひとへに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あらはしたまへる御名みななりとみえたり。

このゆゑに、 がんじょうじゅもん (大経・下) には、 「もんみょうごう信心しんじんかん」 とかれたり。 このもんのこころは、 「そのみょうごうをききて信心しんじんかんす」 といへり。

「そのみょうごうをきく」 といふは、 ただおほやうにきくにあらず。 ぜんしきにあひて、 南無なも弥陀みだぶつつののいはれをよくききひらきぬれば、 ほうおうじょうすべきりき信心しんじんどうなりとこころえられたり。 かるがゆゑに、 「信心しんじんかん」 といふは、 すなはち信心しんじんさだまりぬれば、 じょうおうじょううたがいなくおもうてよろこぶこころなり。

このゆゑに弥陀みだ如来にょらいこうちょうさい永劫ようごうろうあんずるにも、 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もうすもおろかなり。

されば さん (正像末和讃) にいはく、 「南無なも弥陀みだぶつこうの 恩徳おんどく広大こうだい思議しぎにて 往相おうそうこうやくには 還相げんそうこうにゅうせり」 といへるはこのこころなり。

また 「しょうしん」 にはすでに 「唯能ゆいのう常称じょうしょう如来にょらいごう 応報おうほうだいぜいおん」 とあれば、 いよいよ行住ぎょうじゅう坐臥ざがしょ諸縁しょえんをきらはず、 仏恩ぶっとん報尽ほうじんのためにただ称名しょうみょう念仏ねんぶつすべきものなり。

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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