Part Three: Hymns 51-75


The record bearing the Prince’s handprint states
That in the first year of the reign of Emperor Sushun,
Relics of Sakyamuni Buddha
Were presented by Paekche.


The Prince’s words are recorded:
“After my death,
I will be born as the king and queen of this land,
And I will urge the various provinces and districts

To construct a number of great temples and pagodas
And to create great Buddhist statues to be enshrined in them.
Many sutras and treatises shall be copied,
And wealth and land donated.


Incarnated as wealthy and as humble persons,
I will cause Buddhist scriptures and statues to be disseminated;
Born as monks and nuns,
I will save sentient beings of mature conditions.


These are not other existences,
But my very body.”
Each word or expression of their reverent praise
Is the golden word of the Prince.


Regarding the bestowal of the rank of imperial prince:
In order to spread the Buddhist teaching,
He firmly declined two or three times;
But the emperor would not accept refusal.


When the Prince was thirty-three years of age,
Beginning in summer, in the fourth month,
He composed the constitution,
Writing the seventeen articles with his own hand.


He composed the seventeen-article constitution
As the standard for the imperial law.
It is the rule for the peace and stability of the state,
The treasure that makes the country prosperous.


In the year 1054, Chuzen,
In order to construct a sacred pagoda,
Was excavating the earth with his own hands,
When he discovered a box of gilt bronze.


The inscription on the lid of the box read:
“This year, 621,
An excellent site has been found at the village of Shinaga
At Ishikawa in Kawachi province.


I have decided to place my tomb there.
More than four hundred thirty years
After my death
This record will be unearthed.”


In order to spread the Buddhist teaching
And to benefit sentient beings,
He left Mount Heng
And appeared here in Japan.


Overcoming the wrong views of Moriya,
He made manifest the majestic virtues of the Buddha-dharma.
Now the Buddhist teaching spreads
And birth in the Land of Peace is widely attained.


Those who doubt and slander the teaching bequeathed by the Tathagata
And seek to destroy it in various ways
Should be thought of as [the same as] Moriya of Yuge.
Do not approach or become close to such people!


While the Prince was spreading the Buddha-dharma
In order to teach and guide sentient beings,
Moriya of Yuge, being a malicious antagonist,
Followed him like a shadow.


The traitorous minister Moriya of Yuge, of the Mononobe clan,
Harbored a mind of deep spite;
Burning temples and pagodas,
He sought to annihilate the Buddhist teachings.


At this time, pained with grief
At the destruction of the Buddha-dharma,
The Prince spoke to the emperor
And had soldiers dispatched.


Joining the bow of meditation and the arrow of wisdom,
The Prince at once
Struck down the traitorous minister Moriya
In order to benefit sentient beings.


There are those who seek to destroy temples, pagodas, and the Buddha-dharma
And to bring the nation and sentient beings to ruin;
Such people are reincarnations of Moriya;
They should be repudiated and overcome.


The traitorous minister Moriya of Yuge, of the Monotobe clan,
Passing through countless lives in many states of existence,
Follows the Prince like a shadow
And is bent on destroying the Buddha-dharma.


Those who constantly slander the Buddha-dharma,
Urge sentient beings to adopt wrong views,
And seek to destroy the teaching of sudden attainment
Should be thought of as [the same as] the minister Moriya.


As a name for Prince Shotoku
The term “Prince of Eight Ears” is used;
He is known as Prince Umayado, of the “Stable Gate,”
And as Prince Jogu, of the “Upper Palace.”

Prince of Eight Ears: He is called the “Prince of Eight Ears” because he could listen to eight people at one time.
Prince of the Stable Gate: He is known as Prince Umayado because the Empress was at the stable when she gave birth to him.
Prince of the Upper Palace: There was a palace in Tsu province, on the cliff above the east pavilion at Watanobe. Since he dwelled at that palace, he was known by this name. [Shinran’s notes]


Article Two of the Constitution states:
Deeply revere the Three Treasures!
They are the ultimate refuge for beings of the four modes of birth (manners of arising),
The beam that supports all nations.


What age, and what people, will not take refuge?
If they do not rely on the Three Treasures,
How can the people of this world
Make straight what is twisted and bent?


The petitions of the wealthy
Are like putting stones into water;
The claims of the poor
Are like putting water into stone.

Homage to great Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, the world savior!
Compassionately protect me.
Homage to the Imperial Prince, the nun Srimala!
May the Buddha constantly grasp me.
The Imperial Prince Srimala, child of Buddha.

This historical account is kept within the main temple hall and is not to be seen.
The writing is said to be disorderly.

The year wood/hare [1255]
First month, 8th day

Those who see these hymns and praise the Prince should say Namu-amida-butsu repeatedly.

Written in Kencho 7 [1255] wood/hare
Eleventh month, last day

Gutoku Shinran
Age 83