Collected Works of Shinran

This should never occur

I have heard that, knowing nothing of the scriptures or of the true foundation of the Pure Land teaching, you are telling people who are appallingly self-indulgent and lacking in shame that a person should do evil just as he or she desires. This is absolutely wrong. Were you not aware that I finally broke of relations with Zenjo-bo, who lived in the northern district?

If a person, justifying himself by saying he is a foolish being, can do anything he wants, then is he also to steal or to murder? Even that person who has been inclined to steal will naturally undergo a change of heart if he comes to say the nembutsu aspiring for the land of bliss. Yet people who show no such sign are being told that it is permissible to do wrong; this should never occur under any circumstances.

Maddened beyond control by blind passions, we do things we should not and say things we should not and think things we should not. But if a person is deceitful in his relations with others, doing what he should not and saying what he should not because he thinks it will not hinder his birth, then it is not an instance of being maddened by passion. Since he purposely does these things, they are simply misdeeds that should never have been done.

If you say something to stop the wrongdoing of the people of Kashima and Namekata and correct the distorted views of the people in that area, it will be the sign that you are representing me.

It is deplorable that you have told people to abandon themselves to their hearts’ desires and to do anything they want. One must seek to cast off the evil of this world and to cease doing wretched deeds; this is what it means to reject the world and to live the nembutsu. When people who may have said the nembutsu for many years abuse others in word or deed, there is no indication of rejecting this world. Thus Shan-tao teaches in the passage on sincere mind that we should be careful to keep our distance from those people who are given to evil. When has it ever been said that one should act in accordance with one’s mind and heart, which are evil? You, who are totally ignorant of the sutras and commentaries and ignorant of the Tathagata’s words, must never instruct others in this way.


Birth into the Pure Land has nothing at all to do with the calculation of foolish beings. Since it is completely entrusted to the Primal Vow of the Buddha, it is indeed Other Power. It is ridiculous to try to calculate it in various ways.

Eleventh month, 24th day