Collected Works of Shinran

7 To Venerable Shinjo-bo

I understand from your letter that you have undergone great difficulties stemming from matters related to the nembutsu. I deeply sympathize with you. In the final analysis, it appears that the conditions [for teaching the nembutsu] in that area have been exhausted. You must not lament about one thing or another regarding the obstruction of the nembutsu. Whatever may become of those who seek to suppress the nembutsu, for persons who say it, what hardship should they feel? You must not in any way design to spread the nembutsu by utilizing outside people for support. The spread of the nembutsu in that area must come about through the working of the revered Buddha.

I have been informed that, following the various things that Jishin-bo has said, the minds of the people have been shaken in different ways. This is deeply distressing. You should entrust all things to the working of the revered Buddha. If conditions [for teaching the nembutsu] in that area have been exhausted, you should think about moving to another place. If you accept what Jishin-bo is saying – that I have instructed people to spread the nembutsu by relying on outside people as powerful supporters, which I have never said – it will be an unmitigated error. The Buddha has taught beforehand that, as the custom of the secular world, there would be attempts to obstruct the nembutsu; hence, you should not be taken aback by it. You should never, under any circumstances, take the various things Jishin-bo is saying as coming from me. Concerning the teachings, he is making groundless remarks. You should not give him your ear. I hear of incredibly erroneous views; it is deplorable.

I am sorry to hear about Nyushin-bo and the others. That they have been long detained in Kamakura is regrettable. Some complication must have arisen now, causing their delay. There is nothing I can do about it.

It is inexpressibly lamentable and saddening that the people of the remote districts (Ogun), deceived by Jishin-bo, have all been shaken in shinjin. Further, to hear it being said that I have been deceiving people is deeply discouraging. I take these things as manifesting the fact that from before, for those people, shinjin has not been settled. It is deeply saddening.

The shinjin the people held from before was shaken by what Jishin-bo is saying; in short, the fact that their shinjin was not genuine has become manifest. This is good. It is deplorable that people believed those statements to be what I said.

It appears to have been of no value whatever that they have for a long time copied and possessed various writings. I think that Essentials for Faith Alone and the various other writings have now become useless to them. The teachings that they carefully copied out and kept are now all worthless to them. I have heard that all the people, following Jishin-bo, have discarded those splendid writings. I lament this deeply.

You should read such writings as Essential of Faith Alone and On the Afterlife carefully. It appears that the remarks of those people who had long been saying that they had shinjin were all empty. It is deplorable, truly deplorable. Concerning all those matters, I will write another time.

First month, 9th day


To: Venerable Shinjo-bo