Z U I O. H . I N A G A K I
2 0 0 8
F o r e w o r d
It has long been in my mind to write about shinjin - the central experience
in Shin Buddhism. While busily engaged in producing translations of Shin
works and Buddhist dictionaries, the urge to write about it has been dormant
but not dead. Instead, it has grown stronger and stronger, seeking an opportunity
to express itself at the appropriate time. The time finally came when my
Dharma friend from Australia, Rev. John Paraskevopoulos, came to Japan
this autumn to do his research at Ryukoku University for several months.
Every week, we would meet for about two hours before we joined the translation
meeting at the Honganji International Center. While exchanging views
on various aspects of Buddhism, we found ourselves at the door of shinjin.
He reminded me that I had not written a book on shinjin, though I had published
books and articles on the doctrinal implications of shinjin. While explaining
to him the subtleties and difficulties in presenting shinjin as it is,
I felt deeply in my mind that I should give my dormant urge the chance to express itself
before the shinjin experience becomes blurred in my memory.
This discussion on shinjin covers various aspects of our spiritual life
and the fundamental principles of Mahayana Buddhism, including the basic
nature of oneself, the problem of karma, the relationship between us and
Amida, the meaning of birth in the Pure Land, the relationship between
shinjin and one's basic consciousness, and the relationship between shinjin
and Buddha-nature. The problem of shinjin is not limited to the teaching
of Shin Buddhism. We cannot emphasize too much that it exists in every
aspect of our daily life. We have dealt with these and incidental problems
in the form of questions and answers. Some thirty-eight of these are presented
in this paper(site). It is deplorable that so many Shin followers may not attain birth in
the Pure Land and realize enlightenment because of a failure to attain
shinjin. If this booklet (essay) helps them to remove fundamental obstacles to their understanding of this most important matter, I can consider myself profoundly satisfied.
Lastly, I wish to express my thanks to Rev. Paraskevopoulos for his valuable
suggestion that I should write a book on shinjin and for taking the trouble
to check the draft and improve the style. My thanks are also due to Rev.
George Gatenby of Australia, another important Dharma friend of mine, for
giving me useful suggestions. It may be noted that he was awakened to shinjin,
some ten years ago, during a period of correspondence with me on this matter.
Last but not least, I wish to thank Mr. Doi Yau of Singpore for his valuable
4 November 2008 (79th birthday)
Zuio Hisao Inagaki
(Uploaded on 1 August, 2009)
Question 1 What is shinjin?
Shinjin (literally, 'believing mind') is a term commonly used in Japan to refer to 'faith' in general towards divine beings, called kami. The term is also used widely for gods of foreign origin, including the Christian god. In all Buddhist schools, followers are expected to dedicate their shinjin to Buddhas, bodhisattvas or other deities. In ordinary parlance, shinjin can very well be translated as 'faith' but it is usually left untranslated when it refers to the shinjin of Shin Buddhism. When we were preparing the publication of The Collected Works of Shinran (published by the Honganji in 1997) we agreed, after a long discussion not to translate this term into English because we believed that no English word could adequately express the full implications of shinjin. We hoped that people would gradually understand the meaning of the term as is the case with satori in the Zen tradition.It may be added that, in modern Chinese, the term 信心 xinxin means confidence, as in 'I am confident of fulfilling a task ahead of schedule' .
Question 2 What is the basic differnce between shinjin and faith?
Faith presupposes two opposing aspects, one who believes and the object
of faith -- in ordinary circumstances, man and divine reality. In Shin
Buddhism, shinjin is not directed to an object completely separate from
oneself. In many cases, a believing person offers love or prayer to a god.
This gap or distance between the two sides cannot possibly be filled by
any means. In Shin, Amida and you are essentially unopposed. From the viewpoint
of the Mahayana principle of voidness and non-duality, nobody or nothing
is opposed to Amida. Amida embraces all beings or things and the realization
of this constitutes the experience of shinjin.
Question 3 Can anyone attain shinjin?
Yes. Anyone, young or old, male or female, rich or poor, can attain shinjin, if properly guided. One's moral calibre is not a consideration. Even a heinous criminal or murderer can attain shinjin. A dying person as well as healthy people can attain shinjin.
Question 4 Do not good people easily attain shinjin?
Yes and No. Yes, because good people, by definition, are conscious of the law of cause and effect and are more ready to accept the law of Amida's supreme karma than ordinary people who are totally ignorant of this law.
No, because good people are generally proud of their goodness, and may be slow to acknowledge that the good in them is a result of Amida's working and not their own merit.
Question 5 How important is hearing the Dharma?
It is imperative to hear the Dharma directly from a good teacher or through
good books. Hearing much and increasing one's knowledge of Shin Buddhism
are certainly encouraged but be careful not to depend too much on your
own knowledge. You cannot attain Shinjin by accumulating knowledge about
it, just as hearing only of the taste of delicious food does not satisfy
your appetite. What is required in Shin Buddhism is 'true hearing' or 'thorough
hearing'. Hear the Dharma, with all your mind and body, then you will be
able to hear Amida's Call in the form of the Name. That is the moment when
you awaken shinjin.
Shinran says in a wasan:
"It is difficult to hear the teaching well;
Even more difficult is it to believe and accept it."
(Hymns on the Pure Land, 69)
Question 6 Is there a prescribed method for attaining shinjin?
Yes. Shinran prescribes the process of conversion through three vows, the 19th, 20th and 18th. The 19th vow promises that those who awaken the Bodhi-mind, do various meritorious acts, and wish to be born in the Pure Land, will be welcomed by many sages at the time of death. According to the 20th vow, those who, having heard of Amida's Name, direct their thought to the Pure Land, perform various good acts and transfer the merit from reciting the Name to the Pure Land, wishing to be born there, will accomplish their aspiration. In Shinran's view those who follow either the 19th or the 20th vows will be born in the Transformed Pure Land and will not attain enlightenment for a long time. When the followers of these two vows convert their self-power effort and come to take refuge in the 18th vow, they will give themselves up to the Other-Power. This is the moment when they attain shinjin.
The three vows may be presented from a more general viewpoint as follows:
(1) The 19th vow is meant to lead followers of general Buddhism, especially
the Path of Sages, to the Pure Land Path by making them aspire for the
Pure Land; (2) The 20th vow leads Pure Land aspirants to concentrate on
the Nembutsu and; (3) The 18th vow brings not only Pure Land Buddhists
but all beings to leap over the boundary of self-power and entrust themselves
to Other-Power, thereby ensuring that they attain shinjin.
For Transformed Pure Land,see jodo.htm
Question 7 Did Shinran himself go through the 'three-vow conversion'?
In my view, Shinran did go through this conversion process. Firstly, while
he was engaged in the Tendai practice on Mt. Hiei, he is believed to have
concentrated on shamatha (concentration) and vipashyana (visualization), including walking Nembutsu practice. This is the 19th
vow stage. Secondly, he went down the mountain and attempted a 100-day
confinement at the Rokkakudo Temple in Kyoto, where he prayed to Kannon
that was enshrined there while he presumably recited the Nembutsu continuously.
This is the 20th vow stage. Thirdly, led by an inspiration in a dream,
he visited Honen at his hermitage in Kyoto. It did not take Shinran long
before he realized Other-Power and attained shinjin. This is the 18th vow
Question 8 Do I necessarily need to go through the three- vow conversion process to attain shinjin?
No. Some people go through this process but many others do not. Anyone wishing to attain shinjin can start delving into the problem of shinjin just as he or she stands. You can go straight to the 18th vow and entrust yourself to Amida wholeheartedly, thereby attaining shinjin.
generally established in other Pure Land schools that people go through the conversion
process in two or three lives. For example, during the first life, you
hear the Name and become mindful of Amida; in the second life, you concentrate
on the recitation of the Nembutsu; and in the third life, you attain birth
in the Pure Land through the realization of shinjin.
Question 9 Do I need to recite the Nembutsu to attain shinjin?
Yes. It is imperative for anyone who wishes to attain shinjin to recite
the Nembutsu. The Nembutsu can be recited alone or jointly with your Dharma
friends. Even more important than recitative Nembutsu is 'mindful Nembutsu.'
'Mindful Nembutsu' is more a mental act than an oral one. To think of Amida
with concentration of mind brings you nearer to shinjin.
"Recitation of the Name is the most supreme, truly wonderful
right act; the right act is Nembutsu; Nembutsu is Namo Amida Butsu; Namo
Amida Butsu is right mindfulness."
In the above three−vow conversion process, concentration on the Nembutsu is practiced in the stage of the 20th vow. There is, in fact, no clear demarcation line between the 20th and the 19th vows on the side of the nembutsu practitioner
Shinran says in a wasan,
"Those who recite the Nembutsu with self−power, whether in a meditative
or non-meditative way,
Having recourse to the vow of accomplishing salvation (the 20th vow),
Will spontaneously, even without being taught,
Turn into the gate of True Suchness (the 18th vow)."
(Hymns on the Pure Land, 66)
He also says in another wasan,
"With a resolve to be equal to people of shinjin,
Practitioners of self-power, while entertaining doubt,
Should realize the Tathagata's benevolence
And strive hard in reciting the Nembutsu."
(Hymns on the Three Dharma Ages, 66)
Question 10 What is the original meaning of the Nembutsu?
'Nembutsu' or mindfulness to the Buddha is one of the three acts of mindfulness,
along with mindfulness of the Dharma and Sangha, which form the 'Three
Refuges'. All Buddhists, whether Mahayanists or Theravadins, show their
reverence to these three throughout their lives.
Question 11 What is the Sanskrit word for 'nembutsu'?
The Sanskrit text of the Amida Sutra gives two words: buddha-manasikaara and buddha- anusmriti. Anusmriti or smriti is more often used for nen of nenpo (mindfulness of the Dharma) and nenso (mindfulness of the Sangha). This is evidence that the Nembutsu was originally
'mindfulness of the Buddha'.
Question 12 What is the meaning of 'nembutsu' in China?
In China, 'nembutsu' acquired new dimentions of meaning. With the development
of visualization of Amida, contemplation of Amida through pictures or statues
or in meditation, coupled with the popularization of the Contemplation Sutra, became widespread. Recitative Nembutsu, therefore, came to be used side
by side with contemplation of Amida, which is specifically called kanbutsu.
Question 13 How important is the recitative Nembutsu in Pure Land Buddhism?
It has been long established in China and Japan that the 18th vow promises birth in the Pure Land of those who entrust themselves to Amida and call his Name even ten times. Shinran defines the true practice in Shin as "calling the Name of the Tathagata of Unhinderd Light" (Kyogyoshinsho, chapter 2). He further explains "calling the Name is the most supreme,
truly wonderful right act; it is the Nembutsu and is Namo Amida Butsu;
it is the right mindfulness." The Nembutsu in the 19th vow is practiced
as one of many meritorious acts, whereas the Nembutsu in the 20th vow is
above ordinary acts of merit. The Nembutsu in the 18th vow is the spontaneous
act originating from Amida's wisdom − the ultimate reality of true suchness.
Question 14 How different is Shinran's Nembutsu from the traditional Nembutsu?
Before Shinran's time, the recitative Nembutsu had been widely practiced
in China and Japan, mainly as a means of gaining merit. Besides Amida's
name, other Buddhas' names and Bodhisattvas' names were popularly chosen
for recitation. In the Pure Land tradition, Shan-tao and Honen's recitative
Nembutsu became widespread. While inheriting this form of Nembutsu, Shinran
went a step further to emphasize Amida's Name as it was promised in the
18th vow. To recite his Name is not the final objective of practice, but
the emphasis is now placed on the glorification of the meritorious Name
so that all the virtue of Amida can be transferred to aspirants. One's
shinjin is established when one receives Amida's Name in one's mind.
For Shinran, the recitative Nembutsu is to acknowledge Amida for his compassionate salvation.
Question 15 Isn't okunen (mindfulness) used for shinjin?
Yes, Okunen is used for shinjin to clarify its meaning and continuity. It refers to the whole span of life from the first moment of awakening shinjin to the subsequent period of continuing shinjin. Nagarjuna remarks, "If one is mindful of Amida's Primal Vow, one enters into the Certainly Assured State." (Kyogyoshinsho, chapter 2) Shinran explains, "Mindfulness is the true One Mind;
the true One Mind is the great Joyful Mind; the great Joyful Mind is the
true shinjin; the true shinjin is the Adamantine Mind..." (Kyogyoshinsho, Chapter 3)
Shinran also says at the beginning of the Hymns of the Pure Land:
"Those who attain shinjin, true and sincere,
While reciting Amida's Name,
Are always mindful of him,
Wishing to repay him for his benevolence."
Question 16 One Mind and Three Minds are mentioned in the scriptures. How are they
related to shinjin?
One Mind originally comes from Vasubandhu's Hymns on the Pure Land,
"O World-Honored one, with singleness of mind, I
Take refuge in the Tathagata of Unhindered Light
Shining throughout the Ten Quarters,
Aspiring birth in the Land of Peace and Bliss."
"Singleness of mind" is One Mind. This is shinjin, the Adamantine
Mind, the Other-Power Bodhi-Mind.
The Three Minds are the three aspects of shinjin presented in the 18th
Vow: sincere mind, joyful faith and desire for birth. After explaining
the full implications of the three minds, Shinran concludes that they refer
to the true shinjin free of doubt (Kyogyoshinsho, chapter 3).
Question 17 Do I need to abide by the precepts?
Yes and No. Yes, because the precepts that were laid down by the Buddha are conducive to enhancing people's moral behavior and bringing them happiness. By trying to keep one or two of the prescribed precepts, you will know how much you owe to Amida for transferring to you the merit that he has gained by keeping all the precepts.
No. By trying to observe the precepts, you are likely to count on the
merit of that act for your salvation and overlook Amida's great merit that
is transferred to you.
Question 18 Do I need to practice meditation?
Yes and No. Yes, because moderate meditation helps induce concentration
of mind, which can assist you to attain shinjin.
No. Intensive meditation, like Zen, frequently leads you away from the
Way of Other-Power.
Question 19 How can I find a good teacher?
Academic qualifications are not always the standard for determining this question. My father, Zuiken, used to say that a good teacher (zenjishiki) is scholarly, ethical and of deep faith. In Shin Buddhism, a good teacher is one who guides you to shinjin. Be careful if your teacher expects monetary reward from you. The Dharma is the common property of all beings. All should share it equally and freely. Your zenjishiki could be just a Nembutsu practitioner with no academic background. By far the most important qualification for a zenjishiki is that he or she has had an experience of shinjin. How can someone who
does not have shinjin lead others to attain it? If you are sincerely seeking
shinjin, a casual remark of a boy or a girl of ten can awaken you to it.
Shinran says in a wasan,
"It is difficult to encounter a good teacher of the Way;
It is also difficult for a teacher to instruct people."
(Hymns on the Pure Land, 69)
Question 20 How important is reflection on my evil?
Reflection on your own evil is as important as hearing the Dharma. In fact, expositions of the Dharma include clarification of your evil nature which has been long established during your past lives. All the good and evil done with your body, mouth and mind are stored deep in your consciousness - called Alaya - which may be called your 'karma-consciousness'. The evil and good
karmic elements stored in the Alaya are called 'karmic seeds'. Each one of us possesses an enormous amount of evil karmic seeds. Reflecting on your evil karma is a step towards eliminating it. Reflection leads to repentance and the resolution to do good.
Question 21 Hell is often mentioned in the scriptures. What kind of evil karma constitutes a cause for falling into hell?
The five gravest offenses are described in the sutras as the cause of falling into hell. They are: killing one's own father, killing one's own mother, killing an arhat (a Hinayana sage), hurting the Buddha's body with an evil intention, and disrupting the harmony of the sangha.
Even if you have not committed any of those acts, you will realize, in
the course of reflection, that you have committed the gravest offenses
in the past. An accumulation of evil karma committed over many lives will
cause you to fall into hell or, as Shinran is quoted as saying in the Tannisho (chapter 2), "Since I am incapable of any practice whatsoever, hell
is definitely my dwelling anyway."
Question 22 Is hell in Buddhism same as hell in Christianity?
Falling into hell and undergoing untold agonies there for a long time
is the result of evil acts committed in the previous life. Hell is one
of the states of samsaric existence produced by one's karma. When the due
retribution for one's karma is exhausted one will be liberated from hell
and reborn in another realm within samsara. In Buddhism, there is no such
thing as 'eternal perdition'.
Question 23 Do good deeds produce good karma, which leads to birth in the Pure Land?
As promised in the 19th vow, various meritorious acts, whether meditative or non-meditative, can be turned into the cause of birth in the Pure Land.
By definition, good acts are those that yield benefit to both oneself and others. In Pure Land Buddhism, those acts that center on Amida, bodhisattvas, and the Pure Land yield greater merit than ordinary good acts.
The difference between ordinary morality and Pure Land practices is that
the former are weak and not very efficacious, whereas the latter are strong
and bring about a lasting effect, leading to birth in the Pure Land.
Question 24 What is the qualitative difference between ordinary good acts and Pure Land practices?
Mahayana Buddhism distinguishes two kinds of karma, defiled and undefiled.
Morally good acts which ordinary people are capable of doing are defiled
by self-attachment and bring about, at best, the reward of a blissful state
in a heaven after death.
Undefiled (anaasrava) and pure karma is either given by a Buddha or arises from pure wisdom. Since shinjin is the Buddha's pure wisdom, one who attains shinjin will have all one's impure karma purified.
Question 25 Can I know the exact moment of attaining shinjin?
Not necessarily. Some insist, erroneously, that you must know the exact
moment of attaining shinjin - even to the day, hour and minute. Attainment
of shinjin is an evolving process. It is not the end of our Buddhist quest.
To remember the exact moment of attaining shinjin is an attachment, if
not altogether mistaken. Normally, however, you are able to remember the
approximate time when you attained shinjin.
Question 26 How do I feel when I attain shinjin?
We note that the passage of the fulfillment of the 18th vow states, "one
attains shinjin with joy". Shinran explains in the Kyogyoshinsho (chapter 3), "the true One Mind is the great joyful mind. Great joyful mind is true shinjin." He also says, "those with mixed mind do not attain the great joyful mind." The great joyful mind is not an ordinary joy which arises out of contact with some other person or something pleasant. The joy of shinjin is an overflowing joy which wells up from the bottom of our minds. This is the joy which arises out of contact with the Buddha or True Suchness. So it is also described as 'pure mind.' It is similar to the joy attending a satori experience in Zen. In the actual experience of shinjin, the great joy
lasts for a few days or weeks. Then the joy gradually subsides and your
mind becomes calm. But whenever you remember Amida's compassion, you are filled again with the same joy.
Question 27 Is there a Sanskrit term for shinjin?
Yes. Prasaada or prasanna-citta corresponds to shinjin. They are used for faith in the Buddha Dharma.
It is also translated as 'pure faith'. According to the classification
in terms of moral value, shinjin and its Sanskrit equivalents are good
and beneficial. They are opposed to 'disbelief', which is an unfavorable
state of mind.
Question 28 How is shinjin related to Alaya and Buddha- nature?
Shinjin is a pure, undefiled mind, whereas the Alaya is a phenomenal consciousness, which contains both the good and unwholesome elements of an individual. So, the Alaya cannot contain shinjin as it is. However, Buddha- nature is different. Shinjin is Amida's mind and so it is the same as Buddha- nature. It must be added, however, that as long as a person lives, his or her Alaya continues to exist and consumes energy for his or her subsistence. When one becomes a Buddha, the name 'Alaya' can no longer be used. It turns into the 'great mirror' wisdom.
Shinran says in a wasan,
"Those who rejoice in shinjin
Are equal to Tathagatas, so it is stated.
Great shinjin is Buddha-nature;
Buddha-nature is Tathagata."
(Hymns on the Pure Land, 94)
Qestion 29 What happens to my karma when I attain shinjin?
All your karma which you have carried along since eternal kalpas ago will
perish at the moment of awakening shinjin and you will be filled with Amida's
pure karma. However, when you return to your daily life, you will realize
that you are still a bombu full of evil passions. Right up to the end of
your life, you remain a bombu but what distinguishes you from other people
is that all your karma, whether good or evil, has already been 'processed'
and can no longer influence the course of your karmic life after death.
Question 30 In which part of my consciousness do I receive and retain shinjin?
I have already clarified that Alaya is an individual's consciousness and that it contains all his or her karmic seeds. Shinjin, however, is not an individual's property. Besides, shinjin is the pure wisdom which contains all Amida's pure merit. When you have attained shinjin, it does not become yours. Rather, you become part of Amida's eternal activity.
Question 31 What will happen to me if I die without attaining shinjin?
If you die without attaining shinjin but have performed Pure Land practices,
especially the Nembutsu, you are likely to go to the Transformed Land in
accordance with the 20th vow. If you have performed many Buddhist practices
and wish to be born in the Pure Land by transferring the merit of those
practices to the Pure Land, you will be born in the Transformed Land in
accordance with the 19th vow. Ordinary Shin Buddhists who occasionally
say the Nembutsu, chant sutras and attend Dharma meetings will either go
to the Transformed Land or continue their samsaric existence under the
influence of their karma. Such Shin Buddhists rarely attain birth in the
In many lives to come, all sentient beings will eventually attain shinjin and be born in the Pure Land. A seed of hearing the Name even once, will multiply and give rise to shinjin.
Question 32 What change does shinjin bring about in my body and mind?
Shinjiin brings about a complete change in your existential basis (aashraya- paravritti) and of your ethical outlook. You will cease to be what you have been
and the standard that you have accepted as good or evil will be abolished.
This radical change takes place beyond words and concepts, and it can only
be experienced as a mystical one -- this, however, is the most realistic
experience in the true sense of the term.
In no time, you will come back to the mundane world and see a complete
change of your life and the world. The objective of your life, whether
seeking a higher position in society or making more money, will be influenced
by Buddhist ideals; you will be born as a new person. In your actual life,
your mind will become generally more peaceful and contented.
If your mind is peaceful, you are restrained in your actions and are
kind and understanding towards others. Even though your evil passions continue
to exist, they are like cut flowers - they do not bear fruit.
Question 33 What will be the new guidelines for my actions?
You will be guided by the "principle of naturalness" (jinen-honi), which is beyond conventional ethical frameworks or ordinary rules of
conduct. Amida's karma becomes the basis for your existence and actions
- it holds sway over your mind and body. Though invisible, Amida's karma
which has been produced by his Primal Vow is now the impetus behind your
mental and physical acts. If you think and act in conformity with the Vow-Power,
you are likely to live a life of naturalness. A warning, though - many
people have a misguided idea about this and live out their natural urges
(bonno). Unprocessed bonno is harmful.
Question 34 How can I comply with Amida's Vow and act in accordance with the principle of naturalness?
Stay as you are, full of evil passions and dark-minded. It is no use trying
to eliminate them with your limited wisdom and power. Amida embraces you
just as you are. A deep awareness of this spiritual fact brings you under
the influence of Amida's karmic power. Leave everything - mind and body
- to Amida.
Question 35 Do the "ten benefits" in the present life accompany shinjin?
Shinran would say, "Yes." What are the "ten benefits"?
They are: (1) protection by unseen divinities; (2) attainment of the utmost
virtue; (3) all one's evils are turned into good; (4) protection by all
Buddhas; (5) praised by all Buddhas; (6) always protected by Amida's spiritual
light; (7) having much joy in mind; (8) acknowledging our indebtedness
to the Buddha and wishing to repay him for it; (9) always practicing great
compassion, namely, the Nembutsu and; (10) attaining the rank of non-retrogression.
(Kyogyoshinsho, Chapter 3)
If you have attained shinjin, you will accept the existence of Buddhas,
bodhisattvas and other sages, though unseen, who protect you (1,4,6). You
will naturally wish to repay Amida for his compassionate salvation (8).
You will seek to engage in altruistic activities, including transmitting
shinjin to others (9). Needless to say, attainment of shinjin promises
birth in the Pure Land and the realization of enlightenment (10). Since
you have received the Name of utmost virtue, you will have much joy in
your mind and your evil thoughts will abate (2,3,7). Recitation of the
Name is an assurance that all the Buddhas glorify Amida and praise those
who recite the Name (5).
Question 36 Do I need to continue to hear the Dharma after awakening shinjin?
Yes. As Rennyo says, you should "always clear the channel of shinjin
and let Amida's Dharma flow freely." You should remember that, if
you leave your shinjin unattended, it will get rusty and blocked. You always
need to hear and study the Dharma. Even without being told, you will spontaneously
have a deep hunger to hear more about it.
Question 37 Is there any difference between Shinran and Rennyo in dealing with shinjin?
In the face of mounting criticisms of Honen's Nembutsu teaching by scholarly monks of his day, Shinran composed the Kyogyoshinsho, in which he discusses shinjin at length. While drawing upon scriptural references and etymological investigations, he deals with all the relevant problems in Chapter 3 of that work. Since this is written in classical Chinese, it defies easy access for ordinary people. However, his other writings in Japanese, especially the three collections of Wasan or hymns, help clarify his view of shinjin.
From the beginning, Rennyo was keenly aware of the need of presenting
the Shin teaching in plain, everyday Japanese. His central concern was
to see all his fellow-beings awaken shinjin and attain birth in the Pure
Land. He was a devoted follower of Shinran and an avid reader of the Kyogyoshinsho. His central Dharma message is not different from Shinran's.
Shinran’s other writings in Japanese also help clarify his view of shinjin.
Question 38 Please show me some examples of Rennyo's instruction on shinjin?
The best example is his Ryogemon (On Understanding Shinjin). It is believed that reciting this text at each Dharma meeting became established around 1482.
"Having abandoned the mind of self-power to engage in sundry practices and mixed acts, I have entrusted myself single-mindedly to Amida Tathagata with the assurance of my birth to come in the Pure Land, a matter of paramount importance for me. I understand that at the moment of my entrusting to Amida, my birth in the Pure Land is definitely settled and that the Nembutsu I say after that is an expression of joy and gratitude to Amida for his salvation..."
Readers who would like to consult the Kyogyoshinsho in an English translation can find it in the BDK Tripitaka Translation Series 105-I orThe Collected Works of Shinran, pp.3-292.
Namo Amida Butsu
Readers are kindly requested to send questions on Shinjin to the web master
A−1911, 1−2 Akutagawacho, Takatsuki, Osaka, 569−1123, Japan