Collected Works of Shinran

2 To Shoshin-bo

I have carefully read your letter dated the first of the sixth month.

I had heard in general about the litigation involving you in Kamakura. Since I had not heard differently from what you write in your letter, I assumed that nothing beyond that had occurred; I am glad to hear of your return.

Generally speaking, this litigation is not a problem involving yourself alone; it concerns all people of Pure Land nembutsu. Regarding this matter, when the late Master was alive, I was among those subjected to various accusations, so it is not a particularly new litigation. It is not something that you have to manage by yourself. All those who say the nembutsu should, in concordance, deal with it together. There is no reason that you should be singled out for ridicule. It is truly absurd that people of the nembutsu who lack discretion should blame you. People of the nembutsu should join you as your allies. Even your mother, sisters, and so on grumble in various ways, as is often the case. Nevertheless, since the prohibition of the nembutsu [in the past] led to the arising of disturbances in society, on this occasion I hope that everyone will, deeply entrusting themselves to the nembutsu and firmly embracing prayers [for peace in the world] in their hearts, together say the nembutsu.

Your general defense, as you have written of it in your letter, has been well thought out. I am very pleased. In the final analysis, it would be splendid if all people who say the nembutsu, not just yourself, do so not with thoughts of themselves, but for the sake of the imperial court and for the sake of the people of the country. Those who feel uncertain of birth should say the nembutsu aspiring first for their own birth. Those who feel that their own birth is completely settled should, mindful of the Buddha’s benevolence, hold the nembutsu in their hearts and say it to respond in gratitude to that benevolence, with the wish, “May there be peace in the world, and may the Buddha’s teaching spread!” Please consider this carefully. I do not think you need to deliberate about any matters beyond this.

Again, I am very happy to hear of your speedy return home. If, holding [the nembutsu] well in your heart, you are certain that your birth is completely settled, then in expressing your appreciation of the Buddha’s benevolence, nothing else is necessary; you should say the nembutsu, being always mindful of it. You should say the nembutsu, being always mindful of it.


Seventh month, 9th day

To: Shoshin-bo