Ten Hymns based on his Writings
Master Genshin stated:
“Originally a Buddha, I appeared in this world;
The conditions for teaching others having already run their course,
I am returning to my primal land.”
Our teacher Genshin earnestly set forth,
From among all the teachings of the Buddha’s lifetime,
The single gateway of the nembutsu,
And spread it among the beings of this defiled world in the latter age.
Master Genshin, who was among the assembly
That heard Sakyamuni on Vulture Peak,
Taught the difference between the fulfilled and transformed lands,
Thereby clearly setting forth the benefit of single praxis over mixed.
Our teacher, Master Genshin,
Following the discourse of Master Huai-kan,
Quoted the Sutra of the Bodhisattva’s Dwelling in the Womb
To clarify the realm of indolence and pride.
l.2: he clarified the nature of birth through various practices in accord with Response to Various Questions Concerning the Pure Land Teaching by Master Huai-kan.
l.3: fascicle 2 of the sutra, which explains the realm of indolence and pride and the borderland, is quoted.
In praise of persons of single practice,
He teaches that not one in a thousand will fail to attain birth;
In admonition of persons who perform mixed praxis,
He states that not one in ten thousand will be born.
l.4: not one in ten thousand will be born in the fulfilled land.
He declares that births into the fulfilled Pure Land
Are not numerous,
And teaches that sentient beings born into transformed lands
Are not few.
For all people – men and women, of high station and low –
Saying the Name of Amida is such
That whether one is walking, standing, sitting, or reclining is of no concern
And time, place, and condition are not restricted.
My eyes being hindered by blind passions,
I cannot perceive the light that grasps me;
Yet the great compassion, without tiring,
Illumines me always.
We who aspire for Amida’s fulfilled land,
Though we differ in outward condition and conduct,
Should truly receive the Name of the Primal Vow
And never forget it, whether waking or sleeping.
Conduct: walking, standing, sitting, reclining; the four modes of physical activity.
For sentient beings of extreme evil, profound and immense,
There is no other way;
Wholeheartedly saying the Name of Amida,
We will be born into the Pure Land.
No other way: it is hard to gain liberation from birth-and-death through other forms of good or the means taught by other Buddhas and bodhisattvas.
Here ends the Hymns on
* Genshin is the name of the Master of Eshin-in in Ryogon-in temple.
He is also known by the name “Eshin-in,” which is his “monk’s residence” name.