Rennyo Letter 06

Volume 1 Letter No. 6

SUIMIN NO SHO

(CHAPTER ON DROWSINESS)

On thinking with concern this Summer as to why I have lately come to be afflicted with an exceptional case of drowsiness and constantly desire to sleep, I conclude that, perhaps without question, the time of my death for rebirth is near at hand.  In all truthfulness, I feel wretchedly unreconciled.  However, I have carefully prepared myself from the past

in the thought that the occurrence of my death for rebirth might come in the very next moment.

Be that as it may, the sole heartfelt wish that I harbor day and night continuously is that following my death there will not be a change of heart among those of this temple

that will acquire Faith

.  Personally, though I should have no worries even if I were to experience rebirth at this very moment, I am concerned about your rebirth of which many of you appear to be totally and sadly unconcerned.  While we have life, we must all be aware that we have long since been living with the potential instance of rebirth from moment to moment.

Because our life, in particular, is one where even a tomorrow is uncertain, what ever is said would become useless after that life is ended.  Unless all doubts

in the Primal Vow are completely dispelled while alive, in all probability, there will only be remorse later.  It behooves you all to understand this well.

With reverence

, I remain

P.S.  I entrust this letter to the people on the other side of these shoji panels who have been taking care of me.  One year after my death, bring it forth and read it.

This letter was written by me on the 25th day, 4th month, 5th year of Bunmei (1473)

Group Study Notes:

Rennyo is saying these words to his caregivers, his daughters.  He does not want any of them to regress after his death, and that is all he has been thinking about, day and night, without stopping.  He is worried that they do not concern themselves with shinjin.  If they have a change of heart they will regress and go back to ignorance.

He is dissatisfied with the understanding that each of them has in their hearts, because in life we do not know even if there will be a tomorrow.  Regardless of what they say, when their lives comes to an end what will remain?  If they do not figure it out now all they will have left are regrets.  He admonished them to believe this firmly.  They have to get this.  (This translation was really well done; it captures the chastisement.)

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