4-14 [ The Settled Mind of Our Tradition ]
Concerning the essentials of the settled mind of our tradition:
You should know that they are revealed by the six-character Name, “Na-mo-a-mi-da-butsu.”
Master Shan-tao explains these six characters as follows: “‘Na-mo’ means ‘taking refuge’ and also implies ‘aspiring and directing virtue.’ ‘A-mi-da-butsu’ is ‘the practice.’ For this reason, one can surely be born in the Pure Land.”
To begin with, the first two characters, “na-mo,” mean “to take refuge”; “to take refuge” means that sentient beings entrust themselves to Amida Buddha for emancipation in the afterlife. “Aspiring and directing virtue” implies that Amida embraces and saves the sentient beings who entrust themselves to the Buddha. This is precisely the meaning of the four characters, “a-mi-da-butsu.”
What state of mind should we, ignorant and foolish beings, have and how should we entrust ourselves to Amida? If you discard various practices and single-mindedly and unwaveringly rely on Amida for your emancipation in the afterlife, you will definitely attain birth in the land of bliss. You should not have the slightest doubt about this.
Hence, the two characters, “na-mo,” imply the act of sentient beings to entrust themselves to Amida; the four characters, “a-mi-da-butsu,” indicate the working of the Dharma that saves the beings who rely on Amida. This is exactly what we mean by “the unity of beings and the Dharma” in Namo Amida Butsu.
For this reason, what is essential for birth of all sentient beings is Namo Amida Butsu.
Humbly and respectfully.
4th month, 7th year of Meio 
この六字を善導大師釈していはく､ ｢言南無者 即是帰命 亦是発願回向之義 言阿弥陀仏者 即是其行 以斯義故 必得往生｣ (玄義分) といへり｡
まづ ｢南無｣ といふ二字は､ すなはち帰命といふこころなり｡ ｢帰命｣ といふは､ 衆生の阿弥陀仏後生たすけたまへとたのみたてまつるこころなり｡
また ｢発願回向｣ といふは､ たのむところの衆生を摂取してすくひたまふこころなり｡ これすなはちやがて ｢阿弥陀仏｣ の四字のこころなり｡
さればわれらごときの愚痴闇鈍の衆生は､ なにとこころをもち､ また弥陀をばなにとたのむべきぞといふに､ もろもろの雑行をすてて一向一心に後生たすけたまへと弥陀をたのめば､ 決定極楽に往生すべきこと､ さらにその疑あるべからず｡
このゆゑに南無の二字は､ 衆生の弥陀をたのむ機のかたなり｡ また阿弥陀仏の四字は､ たのむ衆生をたすけたまふかたの法なるがゆゑに､ これすなはち機法一体の南無阿弥陀仏と申すこころなり｡
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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