Volume 1 Letter No. 7
YAYOI NAKABA NO SHO
(CHAPTER ON THE MIDDLE OF THE MONTH OF YAYOI)
As I recall, it may have been around the middle of the 3rd month of Yayoi, in the 4th year of Bunmei that one or two women, accompanied by male attendants and obviously refined, were discussing things pertaining to this mountain. During their conversation, they stated:
“…It is said that they have built a temple on the summit of Yoshizaki, and the picturesque beauty of the site is reputed to be indescribable. The story is known to all that the followers of the Chief Priest there, particularly those priests and laymen, both male and female, from the seven provinces of Kaga, Ecchu, Noto, Echigo, Shinano, Deba, and Oshu, make pilgrimages to this mountain in great masses. This is a very extraordinary occurrence in this Degenerate Third Era
and cannot be passed off as just a common thing of no significance.
However, in what manner are the teachings of the Nembutsu presented to these many followers? In particular, what is this point that seems to be taught that the primary thing is what is called, “FAITH
,” that people are talking about…?
They commented to a resident of this mountain that, in as much as they, too, possessed this body of gravely sinful and utterly hopeless
females, they also would like to understand this point called “Faith
” and place reliance on rebirth in the Pure Land after hearing about it in all its details. The gist of what this mountain resident pointed out to them was that they need not resort to any of the forms of self-effort, but need only to realize that they were hopeless beings enmeshed in the Ten Major Evils
, the Five Cardinal sins
, the Five Impossibilities
, and the Three Reliances
: that they need only to thoroughly believe that Amida Tathagata is the One that will deliver them from these encumbrances
. He explained to them further that by the placement of trust in Amida without doubt and gaining Faith instantaneous with the complete reliance placed on Him, Amida will emit 84,000 rays of light and graciously embrace them
. He showed them that this was what was meant by Amida Tathagata embracing the followers of the Nembutsu and that by “Sesshu Fusha” was meant, “to embrace and never cast aside
.” He told them that the significance of this was termed “a person who had acquired Faith
When this man politely explained, further, that the Nembutsu of “NAMU AMIDA BUTSU” recited awake or asleep, standing or sitting, should be understood to be the Nembutsu recited as “Namu Amida Butsu,” to express gratitude for the gracious deliverance by Amida, what these ladies and the others said was:
“Truly, there is no way to express the shamefulness of not having believed, until this day, that the primal Vow of Amida Tathagata is the answer to the capacity of sentient beings who receive the Dharma
. From this day, by placing complete trust in Amida with a singleness of thought, and believing without doubt with Faith that comes instantaneous with complete reliance on Amida that our rebirth is through the deliverance of Tathagata, we should understand that the Nembutsu, henceforth, is the recitation
of Buddha’s name for the expression of gratitude owed
We know that it would be impossible to express the gratefulness
and sacredness of having here experienced a fruition of incomprehensible past conditions whereby we were able to encounter this wonderful Doctrine. For the present, we bid you farewell.
So saying, the ladies departed with tears brimming their eyes.
With reverence, I remain
12th day, 8th month, 5th year of Bunmei (1473)