Collected Works of Shinran

Hymns on Mahasthamaprapta

Based on the Sutra of
the Samadhi of Heroic Advance
Eight Hymns


Having realized the perfect, all-pervasive truth of the nembutsu,
Mahasthamaprapta, together with fifty-two bodhisattvas,
Rose from his seat and prostrated himself
At the feet of Sakyamuni Buddha.


He addressed the World-honored one, the master of the teaching,
“Ages ago, kalpas countless as the Ganges’ sands in the past,
A Buddha appeared in the world
Whose name was Immeasurable Light.”


“Thereafter Tathagatas succeeded each other,
Twelve in all, over a period of twelve kalpas;
The last Tathagata was named
Light that Surpasses the Sun and Moon.”


“The Tathagata of Light that Surpasses the Sun and Moon
Taught me the nembutsu-samadhi.
The Tathagatas of the ten quarters compassionately regard
Each sentient being as their only child.”


“When sentient beings think on Amida
Just as a child thinks of its mother,
They indeed see the Tathagata – who is never distant –
Both in the present and in the future.”


“Such beings are like people who, imbued with incense,
Bear its fragrance on their bodies;
They may be called
Those adorned with the fragrance of light.”

Fragrance of light: refers to the nembutsu, which is wisdom.


“When I was in the causal stage,
I realized insight into the nonorigination of all existence
By coming to possess the mind of nembutsu;
Hence now, in this world of Saha,


I embrace persons of the nembutsu
And bring them into the Pure Land.”
Let us respond with deep gratitude for the great benevolence
Of Bodhisattva Mahasthamaprapta.

Insight into the nonorigination of all existence: the stage of nonretrogression. To become one who will unfailingly attain Buddhahood.

This concludes the Hymns to
Bodhisattva Mahasthamaprapta,
the original state of Master Genku.