Hymns to Amida Based on Various Sutras

Nine Hymns


Amida, full of compassion for those lost in the great night of ignorance –
The wheel of light of dharma-body being boundless –
Took the form of the Buddha of Unhindered Light
And appeared in the land of peace.

Ignorance: the king of blind passions.
Dharma-body: dharma-body is wholly beyond thought and words. It fills all space.


Amida, who attained Buddhahood in the infinite past,
Full of compassion for foolish beings of the five defilements,
Took the form of Sakyamuni Buddha
And appeared in Gaya

Gaya: Gaya castle was where the great King Suddhodana reigned.
[Note: In Shinran’s day, Gaya – the place where Sakyamuni attained enlightenment – was sometimes confused with Kapilavastu, his birthplace.]


Let Amida be praised for a hundred thousand kotis of kalpas
By a hundred thousand kotis of tongues,
Each tongue producing countless voices,
And still that praise would be incomplete.


The Great Sage Sakyamuni teaches
That Amida’s land is easy to reach,
And calls the sentient being who doubts the Pure Land path
A person lacking eyes, or lacking ears.

Person lacking eyes: based on a passage of the Sutra of the Questions of Maudgalyayana, which is cited in Sutra of the Questions of Maudgalyayana.


The Supreme that is unexcelled is true emancipation;
True emancipation is none other than Tathagata.
When we attain true emancipation,
We become free of desire and free of doubt.

The Supreme that is unexcelled: dharma-body is called the Supreme that is unexcelled, and also true emancipation.


When a person realizes the mind of nondiscrimination,
That attainment is the “state of regarding each being as one’s only child.”
This is none other than Buddha-nature;
We will awaken to it on reaching the land of peace.

Nondiscrimination: dharma-body
State of regarding each being as one’s only child: attainment of the thought that each of the beings of the three realms is one’s only child.


Tathagata is none other than nirvana;
Nirvana is called Buddha-nature.
Beyond our ability to attain it in the state of foolish beings,
We will realize it on reaching the land of peace.


The person who attains shinjin and joy
Is taught to be equal to the Tathagatas.
Great shinjin is itself Buddha-nature;
Buddha-nature is none other than Tathagata.

Great shinjin: having entrusted ourselves to the Other Power of Amida’s Primal Vow is great shinjin. That which brings us to attain supreme enlightenment is great shinjin.


Sentient beings who, with hindered understandings,
Doubt the Buddha’s unhindered wisdom,
Will sink for many kalpas in various forms of pain
In the hells of Samvara and Pindala.

Hindered: obstructed by various things.
Samvara and Pindala: The beings therein see those in Avici hell and think it pleasant for them compared with their own state. Those who slander the Buddha-dharma fall into these hells and remain there for eighty thousand kalpas, where they undergo immense pain.