Collected Works of Shinran

5 Reply to Jishin-bo

I am writing you a letter. Please read this letter to the people so that all may hear it. It appears that the nun from Totomi has carefully dealt with the matter. This is splendid; I am greatly pleased. Please fully convey how great my joy is here in the capital.

What Shingan-bo is saying is extremely saddening. To favor wrong intentionally, with the excuse that one’s self is evil, not realizing that it will cause accusations of wrongdoing against the masters and the true teachers, and bring blame to all people of nembutsu, is to be ignorant of the Buddha’s benevolence. You should reflect on this deeply.

Further, you should not pass judgment on Shingan-bo regarding his remarks about those who have died in a state of possession. Concerning the circumstances of the deaths of people of the nembutsu, for those who are sick in body, nothing can be deduced regarding their birth in the Pure Land. People who are ill in mind may become heavenly demons or fall into hell. Since there is a difference between sickness of the mind and sickness of the body, you should carefully consider those who die having become ill in mind.

You say that Shingan-bo is saying that one should favor what should not be thought, perform what should not be done physically, and say what should not be said with the lips, reasoning that, since it is the habit of foolish beings, evil is our nature. This does not appear to be his remarks. I have not said that, since it is not a hindrance to birth, one should favor wrongdoing. It is altogether incomprehensible.

In short, those who speak falsehood will themselves end up as they may. I do not think such falsehood becomes an obstruction for all people of the nembutsu.

Further, concerning those who seek to suppress the nembutsu, they will themselves end up as they may. It will not become the fault of all the people of the nembutsu. The teaching of Shan-tao is clearly before us:

The time has come when the five defilements increase and those who doubt and revile [Amida’s Vow] are numerous.
Both monks and lay people despise [the nembutsu] and refuse to listen [to the teaching].
When they see those who practice it, the poison of anger arises in them;
Hindering others in every way, they vie in causing harm.

And has not Sakyamuni Tathagata taught such people to be “people lacking eyes” and “people lacking ears”? Those people, described here as such, perform deeds that will bring about the suppression of the nembutsu and act out of malice toward people of the nembutsu. In this regard, without bearing any ill will toward such persons, you should keep in mind the thought that, saying the nembutsu, you are to help them.


Ninth month, 2nd day

Reply to: Jishin-bo


Please read this letter to Nyushin-bo, Shinjo-bo, and Hoshin-bo also. This matter is indeed distressing. When Shoshin-bo came to visit in the spring, I spoke to him in detail. Also, please convey my joy to Kuge.

The right teaching must not be lost sight of just because those people are speaking falsehoods. This is also the case with worldly matters. Even though manor lords, bailiffs, and landowners are involved in wrongdoing, people should not be confused. No one can destroy the Buddhist teaching. As a metaphor for those affiliated with the Buddhist teaching who act to destroy it, it is said [in a sutra] that they are like the worms within the body of the lion that injure the lion. Thus, there are people affiliated with the Buddhist teaching who attack and obstruct people of the nembutsu. You should have a clear understanding of this.

I cannot write all that I wish to say in this letter.