Master Tao-ch’o

Seven Hymns based on his Writings


Setting aside the myriad practices of the Path of Sages,
Our teacher, Master Tao-ch’o,
Proclaims the single gate of the Pure Land way
As the only path that affords passage.

Tao-ch’o abandoned his study in the Nirvana school and wholly took refuge in the Pure Land path.


Setting aside his extensive work on the Nirvana Sutra,
Our teacher, Master Tao-ch’o,
Entrusted himself to Other Power – the working of the Primal Vow –
And urged the multitudes of the world of the five defilements to do so also.


Sentient beings of the five defilements in the last dharma-age
May perform the practices of the Path of Sages,
But not one will thereby attain realization;
So states the World-honored one, the master of the teaching.


Following the teaching of Master T’an-luan,
Master Tao-ch’o also determined
That to awaken aspiration for enlightenment and perform practices in this world
Is the way of self-power.


Wrongdoing and evil acts in this defiled world
Are like violent winds and torrential rains;
All the Buddhas, sorrowed by this,
Urge us to take refuge in the Pure Land.

Wrongdoing and evil acts: the commission of wrong and evil is rife.


Though we commit evil throughout our lives,
If we say the nembutsu always
With our hearts turned wholly to Amida,
Our obstructions fall away by the [Vow’s] spontaneous working.


In order to guide sentient beings
Even though they commit evil all their lives,
Amida urges them to “say the Name,”
Vowing not to attain Buddhahood “if they are not born.”

Even though they commit evil all their lives: Even though we may commit evil all our lives, we should entrust ourselves to Amida’s Vow and be born in the Pure Land.

Here ends the Hymns on
Master Tao-ch’o