Gatha Of True Faith

SHOSHINGE –     信   偈

 white-lotus-tumblr_DAP_Golden Age

Pundarika –  An Excellent Pure White Lotus that rose from the mud of blind passions…
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This excellent Gatha of True Faith was composed by Master Shinran expressing his deep gratitude for The Boundless Compassion of Amida Buddha and for the benevolence of the great Masters who transmitted down The True Pure Land Teachings taught by Shakyamuni Buddha. Beautifully written in Classical Chinese, these four line verses captured the intimate kindness and exhortations of The Pure Land Masters. They fervently urge all mundane foolish persons (凡 夫 , bombu) in this Dharma ending Age, to entrust themselves solely in Amida Buddha’s Primal Vow which promises to free everyone from the relentless cycle of birth, suffering and death:
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(1).歸 命 無 量 壽 如 來 , 南 無 不 可 思  議 光 . 法 藏 菩 薩 因 立 時 , 在 世 自 在 王 佛 所
Entrusting myself to The Tathagata of Infinite Life                                                       
I take refuge in The Inconceivable Light 
Boddhisattva Dharmakara in His practising stage                                               
Under the guidance of Buddha Lokesvararaja
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(2).覩 見 諸 佛 淨 土 因 , 國 土 人 天 之 善 惡 . 建 立 無 上 殊 勝 願 , 超 發 希 有 大 弘 
Examining the causes that create the various Buddhas’ Pure Lands                    
And the good and evil of humans and devas in those Lands,
He established the unsurpassed, incomparable Vow                                               
And boldly declared this extremely rare, Universal Vow.
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(3).五 劫 思 惟 之 攝 受, 重 誓 名 聲 聞 十方. 普 放 無 量 無 邊 光, 無 㝵 無 對 光 炎 王
And after five kalpas of deep contemplations and reflections                                
He strongly pledged that His Name shall be heard in the ten directions            
Everywhere, He sends forth Immeasurable, Boundless Light                                   
Unhindered, Incomparable, Majestically Brilliant Light
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(4).清 淨 歡 喜 智 慧 光, 不 斷 難 思 無 稱 光, 超 日 月光 照 塵 剎, 一 切 群 生 蒙 光 照
Pure Light, Joyful Light, The Light of Wisdom                                       
Continuous, Inconceivable, Ineffable Light                                                                        
The Light that Outshines the sun and moon, illuminating countless worlds   
The multitudes of beings are all embraced by His Light.
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(5).本 願 名 号 正 定 業, 至 心 信 樂 願 為 因, 成  等 覺 證 大 涅 槃,  必 至 滅 度 願 成 就
The Primal Vow embodying The Name, bestows true settlement           
This Vow of Sincerity and Joyful Entrusting is the cause of birth                           
We are brought to the stage equal to enlightenment and supreme Nirvana               
And through the fulfillment of the Vow, we will surely attain Nirvana
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(6).如 來 所 以 興 出 世, 唯 說 彌 陀 本 願 海, 五 濁 惡 時 群 生 海, 應 信 如 來 如 實 言
The reason for the Tathagata’s appearance in this world                             
Is solely to teach the ocean-like Primal Vow of Amida                                                
The multitudes of beings in this Age of the Five Defilements                                  
Should entrust themselves to the absolute true words of the Tathagata 
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(7).能 發 一 念 喜 愛 心 , 不 斷 煩 惱 得 涅 槃 , 凡 聖 逆 謗 齊 回 入 , 如 眾 水 入 海 一 味
When the One-thought moment of joyful trust is awakened in one’s mind        
Nirvana will be attained without severing blind passions                                            
Commoners, sages, dharma offenders and slanderers alike receive Shinjin    
Like water from all sources acquiring the same taste on entering the ocean.
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(8).攝 取 心 光 常 照 護, 已  能 雖 破 無 明 暗, 貪 愛  瞋 憎 之 雲 霧, 常 覆 真 實 信 心 天
The embracing light of compassion illumines and protects us always               
Having already broken through the darkness of our ignorance                                 
Still the clouds and mists of greed, desire, anger and hatred                                        
Constantly obscure the sky of true and real Shinjin.
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(9).譬 如 日 光 覆 雲 霧, 雲 霧 之 下 明 無 暗. 獲 信 見 敬 大 慶 喜, 即 橫 超 截 五 惡 趣
But just like the light of the sun being blocked by clouds and mists                       
Beneath those clouds and mists, there is brightness, not darkness                     
So on receiving Shinjin we experience gratitude and great joy                                    
And instantly transcend cross-wise the five evil courses.
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(10).一  切 善 惡 凡 夫 人, 聞 信 如 來 弘 誓 願, 佛 言 廣 大 勝 解 者, 是 人名 分 陀 利 華
All ordinary foolish persons whether good or evil                                                                  
When they have heard and entrust in the Universal Vow of the Tathagata           
The Buddha called them persons of vast excellent understanding                       
And also named by people as ‘Pundarikas’
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(11).彌 陀 佛 本 願 念 佛, 邪 見 憍 慢 惡 眾 生, 信 樂 受 持 甚 以 難,  難 中 之 難 無 過 斯
Entrusting in Amida Buddha’s Primal Vow and saying the Name                                   
For arrogant sentient beings with perverted views                                                                
To accept and be blessed with Shinjin is difficult indeed                                                    
It is the most difficult of all difficulties that anyone could meet 
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(12).印 度 西 方 之 論 家, 中 夏 日 域 之 高 僧, 顯 大 聖 與 世 正 意, 明 如 來 本 誓 應 機
The treatise Masters from India to the west                                                                                  
And the Eminent Monks from China and Japan                                                                      
Clarified the true intent of The Great Sage’s appearance in this world         
Revealing that Amida’s Primal Vow accords with the capacities of beings
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(13).釋 迦 如 來 楞 迦 山, 為 眾 告 命 南 天 竺, 龍 樹 大 士 出 於 世, 悉 能 推 破 有 無 見
Shakyamuni Tathagata on Mount Lanka                                                        
Prophesied to the masses that in south India                                                                              
Mahasattva Nagarjuna would appear in this world                                                                
To dispel the views of being and non-being
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(14).宣 說 大 乘 無 上 法, 證 歡 喜 地 生 安 樂, 顯 示 難 行 陸 路 苦, 信 樂 易 行 水 道 樂
Proclaiming the unexcelled Mahayana Teachings                                                                   
He realized the Stage of Joy and was born in the Land Of Peace and Bliss      
Revealing that difficult practices are like hardships on the overland way              
He urged us to take the easy path of true entrusting like joy on the waterway
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(15).億 念 彌 陀 佛 本 願, 自 然 即 時 入 必 定, 唯 能 常 稱 如 來 号, 應 報 大 悲 弘 誓 恩
When one deeply remembers Amida Buddha’s Primal Vow                                        
Naturally in that instant, one enters the Stage Of Definitely Settled                          
And solely Saying the Tathagata’s Name always                                                   
One responds gratefully to Great Compassion’s Universal Pledge and grace
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(16).天 親 菩 薩 造 論 說, 歸 命 無 㝵 光 如 來, 依 修 陀 羅 顯 真 實, 光 闡 橫 超 大 誓 願
Bodhisattva Vasubandhu, composing a treatise declared                                                  
That he himself took refuge in The Tathagata Of Unhindered Light.
In accordance with the sutras, he revealed the true and real                                        
And elucidated the Great Vow of Cross-wise Transcendence
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(17).廣 由 本 願 力 回 向, 為 度 群 生 彰 一 心, 歸 入 功 德 大 寶 海, 必 獲 入 大 會 眾 數
Through the power of His Primal Vow, Amida directs His merits                                
Manifesting the one-mind in order to save the multitudes of beings                         
So when one takes refuge and enters the great treasure ocean of virtues               
Definitely, one obtains entry into Amida’s Great Assembly
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(18).得 至 蓮 華 藏 世 界, 即 證 真 如 法 性 身, 游 煩 惱 林 現 神 通, 入 生 死 園 示 應 化
 When one reaches that lotus-store world                                                                          
One instantly realises the body of suchness or dharma nature                                       
Roaming in the forrest of blind passions, one uses transcendental powers  
Entering the garden of birth and death one uses skilful means to guide others
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(19).本 師 曇 鸞 梁 天 子, 常 向 鸞 處 菩 薩 禮, 三 藏 流 支 受 淨 教, 焚 燒 仙 經 歸 樂 邦
Facing toward the dwelling of our Teacher Tan Luan                                                           
The emperor of Liang paid tribute to him as a Bodhisattva                                               
When he received the Pure Land teachings from tripitaka Master Bodhiruci    
Tan Luan burnt his Taoist scriptures and took refuge in The Land Of Bliss
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(20).天 親 菩 薩 論 註 解, 報 土 因 果 顯 誓 願, 往 還 回 向 由 他 力, 正 定 之 因 唯 信 心
Bodhisattva Vasubandhu explains in his treatise                                                                     
That the fruition of the Fulfilled Land is itself manifestation of The Vow.
Going to the Pure Land and returning are merit transference of Other Power  
And the cause of true settlement is solely due to Shinjin.
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(21).惑 染 凡 夫 信 心 發, 證 知 生 死 即 涅 槃, 必 至 無 量 光 明 土, 諸 有 眾 生 皆 普 化
When a deluded and defiled, mundane foolish person awakens Shinjin          
That person realizes, knowing about birth and death and Nirvana                                                        
Without fail, that person will reach the Land of Immeasurable Light                                                  
And then, universally guides all sentient beings to enlightenment 
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(22).道 綽 決 聖 道 難 證, 唯 明 淨 土 可 通 人, 萬 善 自 力 貶 勤 修, 圓 滿 德 号 勸 專 稱
Tao Cho asserted that achieving realisation by the path of sages is difficult    
Clarifying that only the Pure Land Way could deliver us         
He discouraged the diligent practices of myriad good and self-power                    
Urging us to solely Say the Name endowed with perfect virtues
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(23).三 不 三 信 誨 慇 懃, 像 末 法 滅 同 悲 引, 一 生 造 惡 值 弘 誓, 至 安 養 界 證 妙 果
With deep concern he taught the three aspects of entrusting and of doubt
And Compassion in the Dharma Ages of Semblance, Ending and Extinction 
So, those with lifelong evil, should solely depend on The Great Vow,
Realizing the perfect fruit of nirvana in the Land of Serene Sustenance 
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(24).善 導 獨 明 佛 正 意, 矜 哀 定 散 與 逆 惡, 光 明 名 号 顯 因 緣, 開 入 本 願 大 智 海
Shan Tao alone understood the Buddha’s true intent                                                           
Pitying meditative and non-meditative practicers and people of grave evil         
He revealed that Amida’s Light and Name are the causes of their birth
When they enter the wisdom ocean of The Primal Vow.
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(25).行 者 正 受 金 鋼 心, 慶 喜 一 念 相 應 後, 與 韋 提 等 獲 三 忍, 即 證 法 性 之 常 樂
Followers would certainly receive the diamond-like mind                                                 
When the one-thought moment of joy and gratitude arises                                              
Like Vaidehi they would similarly acquire the three insights                                          
And instantly realize the eternal bliss of Dharma Nature 
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(26).源 信 廣 開 一 代 教, 偏 歸 安 養 勸 一 切, 專 雜 執 心 判 淺 深, 報 化 二 土 正 辦 立
Genshin widely expounded the Buddha’s lifetime teachings                                             
Yet, he took refuge in the Land of Peace, urging others to do the same                      
Discerning that single-minded practice is profound; sundry practices shallow  
He differentiated the respective births in The Fulfilled or Transformed Lands
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(27).極 重 惡 人 唯 稱 佛, 我 亦 在 被 攝 取 中, 煩 惱 障 眼 雖 不 見, 大 悲 無 倦 常 照 我
Extremely evil persons should only Say The Name of the Buddha                               
Who has also grasped and embraced me                                                                                         
Though blind passions have obscured my eyes and I cannot see                                  
Great Compassion is untiring and constantly illumines me.
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(28).本 師 源 空 明 佛 教, 憐 愍 善 惡 凡 夫 人, 真 宗 教 證 興 片 州, 選 擇 本 願 弘 惡 世
Our teacher Genku was well-versed with Buddhism                                                             
And he showed pity on ordinary foolish people, whether good or evil  
By spreading the True Teaching and Realisation in this remote land                        
He propagated widely the selected Primal Vow to this evil world.
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(29).還 來 生 死 輪 轉 家, 決 以 疑 情 為 所 止, 速 入 寂 靜 無 為 樂, 必 以 信 心 為 能 入
Our continued return to this cyclic existence of birth and death                                   
Is certainly due to the hindrance of doubt                                                                                      
Swift entrance into the peaceful, uncreated Realm of Peace and Bliss                 
Is necessarily brought about by Shinjin  
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(30).弘 經 大 士 宗 師 等,  拯 濟 無 邊 極 濁 惡, 道 俗 時 眾 共 同 心, 唯 可 信 斯 高 僧 說
The Mahasattvas and Teachers of the tradition who propagated the sutras         
Save boundless beings of grave evil and defilements                                                        
Both monks and lay people of this present Age, should, with one mind                   
Solely trust in these great Masters’ expositions.                                                     
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These beautiful verses convey a clear message from Master Shinran and the other great Teachers of The True Pure Land Tradition. They exhort us to take refuge solely in Amida Buddha, abandon all sundry practices, single-mindedly entrust ourselves to The Primal Vow and Say the Excellent Name endowed with perfect virtues. Let us Listen Deeply, hear The Call of Boundless Compassion and accept the inconceivable gift of Shinjin freely bestowed by Amida Buddha.
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NAMO AMIDA BUTSU   南 無 阿 彌 陀 佛

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