Month: February 2018

The Texture of Life

A fleeting life saved by Amida Tathagata

 歸 命 無 量 壽 如 來

This poem ‘The Texture of Life’ has been set into a beautiful musical composition by Richard St. Clair and presented on his You Tube channel.

It describes the ugly, stained texture of this unsatisfactory life, contrasting it with Amida Buddha’s wonderful fabric of Infinite Compassion that assures our birth in His Unconditioned Land of Peace and Bliss.

A fleeting and impermanent life, that had been in the firm clutches of samsara – the vicious cycle of birth and death that trapped us for trillions of dreadful lives – is now saved and forever embraced and not forsaken by Amida Buddha:

THE TEXTURE OF LIFE

The texture of life
Appears rough or fine,
Fashioned by strong karmic threads
Accumulated from countless time.
Fleeting and impermanent

Closely examining the fabric
We will definitely see,
The ugly stained threads of blind passions
Weaving the net of suffering without cease.
Interdependent, interdependent

Our own wretched existence
Despite the persistent hue and cry,
Are just like dust specks
Against the vast sky.
Insignificant

Yet, we have already been proffered
The Unconditioned Land of Enlightenment,
More than fifty billion years ago
By Amida’s grace and compassion.
Inconceivable

The Buddha’s Primal Vow
Call of Boundless Compassion,
Was made to save an evil person like me
In my wretched condition.
Namo Amida Butsu

His wonderful Gift of Salvation
Received by me in this precious human life,
Is the fabric of Infinite Compassion
Assuring my freedom from pain and strife.
Namo Amida Butsu

Recognizing that my useless self-power
Cannot free me from the pain of samsara,
I take refuge and gratefully rely
On the Vow-power of Amida Buddha.
Namo Amida Butsu, Namo Amida Butsu

The Buddha’s infinite merits and virtues
Are bestowed equally on all beings.
May all accept Amida’s Gift of Shinjin
And obtain birth in His Land of Peace and Bliss.
Namo Amida Butsu, Namo Amida Butsu
Namo Amida Butsu

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May all who listened deeply to the message conveyed through this song, accept Amida Buddha’s gift of Shinjin and gratefully ‘HEAR’:

The Call of Boundless Compassion

Namo-Amida-Butsu 南 無 阿 彌 陀 佛
Namo-Amida-Butsu 南 無 阿 彌 陀 佛
Namo-Amida-Butsu 南 無 阿 彌 陀 佛

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HOME PAGE – The Call of Boundless Compassion

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Gatha of True Faith

SHOSHIN NEMBUTSU GE

正  信  念  佛  偈

 gatha-of-true-faith

Introducing this excellent composition of the Gatha of True Faith in the Nembutsu – Saying the Name (Namo Amida Butsu, 南 无 阿 彌 陀 佛),  Master Shinran expressed his deep gratitude to Shakyamuni Buddha for His true Dharma teaching on Amida Buddha and His fulfilled Land of Peace and Bliss…

Thus, taking refuge in the true words of the Great Sage and carefully examining the commentaries of the great Patriarchs, I realize the depth and vastness of the Buddha’s benevolence. So, I compose the following Gatha of True Faith in the Nembutsu.

Listening deeply to the commentaries of the seven great Pure Land Masters before him, he meticulously highlighted their essential teachings on the True Pure Land Way that he himself would single-heartedly follow.

Poetically written in Classical Chinese, these four line verses captured the intimate kindness and exhortations of The Pure Land Masters. They fervently urged all mundane foolish persons (凡 夫 , bombu) – like ourselves in this Dharma Ending Age – to entrust themselves entirely to Amida Buddha and The Primal Vow which promises to free everyone from the vicious cycle of birth, suffering and death. With profound gratitude, he wrote the Shoshin Ge…

GATHA OF TRUE FAITH IN THE NEMBUTSU –     念  佛  偈

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(1). 歸 命 無 量 壽 如 來 , 南 無 不 可 思  議 光.
Entrusting myself to The Tathagata of Infinite Life 
I take refuge in The Inconceivable Light. 
 
(2). 法 藏 菩 薩 因 立 時 , 在 世 自 在 王 佛 所,
      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 誓.
Boddhisattva Dharmakara in His practising stage
Under the guidance of Buddha Lokesvararaja,
Examined 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.
 
(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
 
(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.
                                     
(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 Name embodying The Primal Vow, is the act of true settlement 
This Vow of Joyful Entrusting with a Sincere Mind is the cause of birth         
We will realize the stage equal to enlightenment and supreme Nirvana 
And through the fulfillment of the Vow, we will surely attain Nirvana
                
(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 evil Age of the Five Defilements                         
Should entrust themselves to the absolute true words of the Tathagata 
            
(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 entrusting joy is awakened in one’s mind 
Nirvana will be attained without severing blind passions 
Commoners, sages, dharma offenders and slanderers alike are thus converted
Like water from all sources acquiring the same taste on entering the ocean.
– –
(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.
                                                              
(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.
– –
(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   
Who are also named by people as ‘Pundarikas’
                                                                
(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.
Amida Buddha’s Primal Vow that embodies saying His 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
                                     
(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
            
(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
                                                                                  
(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 Shinjin sailing joyfully by waterway
   
(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          
Gratefully respond to Great Compassion’s Universal Pledge and grace
  
(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
                                         
(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
                                              
(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 realizes the body of suchness or dharma nature               
Playing in the forest of blind passions, one uses transcendental powers 
Entering the garden of birth and death one uses skillful means to guide others
  
(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
          
(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.
– –
(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 that birth and death is Nirvana 
Without fail, that person will reach the Land of Immeasurable Light     
And then, universally guides all sentient beings to enlightenment 
                                         
(22). 道 綽 決 聖 道 難 證, 唯 明 淨 土 可 通 入,
        萬 善 自 力 貶 勤 修, 圓 滿 德 号 勸 專 稱.
Tao Cho asserted that achieving realization by the path of sages is difficult 
Clarifying that only the Pure Land Way could deliver us 
He downgraded the diligent practices of myriad good and self-power  
Urging us to solely Say the Name endowed with perfect virtues
– –
(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 
– –
(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 cause and condition of birth
When they enter the wisdom ocean of The Primal Vow.
– –
(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 
                                                  
(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
  
(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 just Say The Name of the Buddha           
Who has already grasped and embraced me 
Though blind passions have obscured my eyes and I cannot see         
Great Compassion is untiring and constantly illumines me.
– –
(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 scattered land                        
He propagated widely the selected Primal Vow to this evil world.
 
(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 home of birth and death
Is certainly due to the hindrance of doubt 
Swift entrance into the peaceful, uncreated Realm of Bliss 
Is necessarily brought about by Shinjin 
                                                                        
(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 wonderful verses convey a clear message from Master Shinran and the seven great Teachers of The True Pure Land Tradition. They exhort us to take refuge single-heartedly in Amida Buddha, abandoning all self-power efforts and sundry practices for attaining emancipation and entrust ourselves entirely to The Primal Vow. Knowing with certainty that we are assured of salvation here and now, we naturally Say the Excellent Name endowed with perfect virtues, in deep gratitude for the Great Compassion of Amida Buddha.

Let us Listen Deeply to this beautiful Gatha and HEAR The Call of Boundless Compassion, accepting the inconceivable gift of Shinjin (信 心), The Entrusting faith freely bestowed by Amida Buddha and be forever freed from the firm clutches of pain and suffering in the relentless cycle of samsara at the end of our wretched lives in mortal flesh.

The Buddha’s infinite merits and virtues
Are bestowed equally on all beings.
May all accept Amida’s Gift of Shinjin
And obtain birth in His Land of Peace and Bliss.

Namo Amida Butsu 南 無 阿 彌 陀 佛
Namo Amida Butsu 南 無 阿 彌 陀 佛
Namo Amida Butsu 南 無 阿 彌 陀 佛

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