Collected Works of Shinran

Hymns on Benefits in the Present

Fifteen Hymns


Amida Tathagata came forth and guided beings,
Teaching the “Chapter on Life-span”
In the Sutra of Golden Splendor
In order to end calamities and ensure long life.

Note: taught by Bhaisajyaguru in the eastern quarter, Samkusumitaraja in the southern quarter, Amitayus Buddha in the western quarter, and Sakyamuni in the northern quarter.
Came forth: come and regard with compassion.
End calamities: put an end to the seven calamities.
Sutra of Golden Splendor: a sutra of four fascicles. It is called the Most Excellent King Sutra.
The Chapter on Life-span: the tenth fascicle. It was taught by Amida.


Out of compassionate concern for the people of the land,
Master Saicho of Mount Hiei said that
One should utter “Namu-amida-butsu”
As a spell for eliminating the seven calamities.

Spell: to recite from memory.


When we say “Namu-amida-butsu,”
Which surpasses all virtues,
Our heavy obstructions of evil – past, present, and future –
Are all unfailingly transformed, becoming light.

Becoming light: becoming small, slight.


When we say “Namu-amida-butsu,”
The benefits we gain in the present are boundless;
The karmic evil of our transmigration in birth-and-death disappears,
And determinate karma and untimely death are eliminated.


When we say “Namu-amida-butsu,”
Brahma and Indra venerate us;
All the benevolent gods of the heavens
Protect us constantly, day and night.


When we say “Namu-amida-butsu,”
The four great deva-kings together
Protect us constantly, day and night,
And let no evil spirits come near.


When we say “Namu-amida-butsu,”
The earth-goddess called Firmness
Reveres and protects us constantly, day and night,
Accompanying us always just as shadows do things.


When we say “Namu-amida-butsu,”
Nanda, Upananda, and the other great nagas,
Along with the countless naga-gods, revere
And protect us constantly, day and night.


When we say “Namu-amida-butsu,”
Yama, the king of the dead, reveres us,
And the officers who judge the beings of the five courses of existence
All protect us constantly, day and night.


When we say “Namu-amida-butsu,”
We are protected by the great king of maras
Residing in the sixth heaven;
This he vowed to do in the presence of Sakyamuni Buddha.


The gods of the heavens and earth
Are all to be called good,
For together they protect
The person of the nembutsu.


Shinjin that is the inconceivable working of the power of the Vow
Is none other than the mind aspiring for great enlightenment;
The evil spirits that abound in heaven and earth
All hold in awe the person who has attained it.


When we say “Namu-amida-butsu,”
Avalokitesvara and Mahasthamaprapta,
Together with bodhisattvas countless as the Ganges’ sands or as particles,
Accompany us just as shadows do things.


Countless Amida Buddhas reside
In the light of the Buddha of Unhindered Light;
Each one of these transformed Buddhas protects
The person of true and real shinjin.


When we say “Namu-amida-butsu,”
The countless Buddhas throughout the ten quarters,
Surrounding us a hundredfold, a thousandfold,
Rejoice in and protect us.