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This blog is devoted to the propagation of Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, a 750-year-old Buddhist tradition.

Friday, April 9, 2010


An excerpt from the Larger Pure Land Sutra is typically chanted in Jodo Shinshu temples in the United States, but I don't believe as much in Japan, which is usually Shoshinge, the "Hymn of True Shinjin." This excerpt is known as the Juseige, an important excerpt in the story of the Bodhisattva Dharmakara, who after making vows to save all sentient beings, repeats this in verse in the sutra:

"I have made vows, unrivalled in all the world;
I shall certainly reach the unsurpassed Way.
If these vows should not be fulfilled,
May I not attain perfect Enlightenment.

If I should nto become a great benefactor
In lives to come for immeasurable kalpas
To save the poor and afflicted everywhere,
May I not attain perfect Enlightenment.

When I attain Buddhahood,
My Name shall be heard throughout the ten quarters;
Should there be any place where it is not heard,
May I not attain perfect Enlightenment.

Free of greed and with profound mindfulness
And pure wisdom, I will perform the sacred practices;
I will seek to attain the unsurpassed Way
And become the teacher of devas and humans.

With my divine power I will display great light,
Illuminating the worlds without limit,
And dispell the darkness of the three defilements;
Thus I will deliver all beings from misery.

Having obtained the eye of wisdom,
I will remove the darkness of ignorance;
I will block all the evil paths
And open the gate to the good realms.

When merits and virtues are perfected,
My majestic light shall radiate in the ten quarters,
Outshining the sun and the moon
And surpassing the brilliance of the heavens.

I will open the Dharma-store for the multitudes
And endow them all with treasures of merit.
Being always among the multitudes,
I will proclaim the Dharma with the lion's roar.

I will make offerings to all the Buddhas,
Thereby acquiring the roots of virtue.
When my vows are fulfilled and my wisdom perfected,
I shall be the sovereign of the three worlds.

Like your unhindered wisdom, O Buddha,
Mine shall reach everywhere, illuminating all;
May my supreme wisdom
Be like yours, Most Honored One.

If these vows are not fulfilled
Let this universe of a thousand million words shake in response
And let all the devas in heaven
Rain down rare and marvellous flowers.
[Inagakai translation]

Following this chanting is a recital of 6 nembutsus and a short ekoku, or dedication of merit.
This is the "backstory" of the Amida Buddha, who thus established the Pure Land. Pure Land Buddhists consider the Vows of Dharmakara to be fulfilled kalpas ago; while there are many diverse Pure Land practices, Shin Buddhists accept that to go to the Pure Land, one does not need to do practices or other merit-making activities, but allow oneself to embraced by Amida and the Vow.

In future posts I will focus exclusively on discussing the Three Pure Land Sutras, since I have a copy with me here.
Namo Amida Butsu
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