Namu Amida Butsu

This work is especially dedicated to Zuiken Saizo Inagaki, who sheds light on the pristine and original teachings of Jodo Shinshu (Shin Buddhism) for many people, including myself. I regard him as my soul teacher and I am very much influenced by his words and thoughts, which are deeply imbued with the Wisdom of Compassion of Amida Buddha. I read most of his writings available in Chinese language and I wish to share some of his golden words in this blog in English. Rev. George Gatenby and Mr. Gabriel Schlaefer have been kindly and untiringly assisting me to edit the translated essays so that they are readable and true to the intent of Sensei. May all partake of the wisdom of Shinshu teaching and be overpowered by the light of Amida Buddha.

Namu Amida Butsu!

Monday, July 30, 2012

Prologue 41 & 42

Revised on the 18 August 2016.

Prologue 41

“The explication of the six syllables” is not based merely on verbal expression. It means “relying on Namo Amida Butsu to attain Birth,” which can also be articulated as “relying on the virtue-power of the perfect enlightenment of Amida Tathagata to attain Birth.” This is Shin Buddhism, which is about Other-power—the great noble truth that, the more you listen to it, the more it touches you to the heart.

What is this noble truth that stirs people? It is Amida Tathagata’s “all-inclusive enlightenment of the perfection of self-benefit and benefit of others.”

The truth of Namo Amida Butsu is the great noble truth that moves heaven and earth. One must pay attention to this when addressing “the explication of the six syllables.”

The Dharma-realm of all things is substantially “selfless,” which is known as “the great compassion” of selflessness. As it does not discriminate, it is also called “the wisdom of non-discrimination.” The great compassion of selflessness and the wisdom of non-discrimination are themselves “Dharmakaya Buddha,” also called “Dharma nature” or “True Reality.”  When the virtues of the True Reality (power, merits) are entirely converted into human dignity manifesting as the Buddha, this is Amida Tathagata. Amida Tathagata consummates all the merits and virtues in the form of the Name and Call, which is Namo Amida Butsu, the six-syllable Name.

The six-syllable Name is not a product from the world of unenlightened beings (bombu).

Prologue 42

The Primal Vow of Amida Tathagata is the vow to enable sentient beings to hear and rejoice in faith (monshin) through Namo Amida Butsu, and so receive them into the Land of Happiness. As a matter of fact, both the Primal Vow and the Name are indivisible and equivalent. “The explication of the six syllables,” referring to the analysis of the Primal Vow, is to entrust in and be indebted to the Primal Vow.

Concerning “the six syllables,” many only regard them as a mere string of six characters. One will never ever grasp the import of “the six syllables” if one treats them as something that is dead.

“The six syllables” are “alive,” vibrantly and excitingly “leaping forth” from the inestimably distant past, and are still active even today. They share their life with heaven and earth (in an immeasurable span of life); their entirety is inconceivable in virtue. Most people believe as follows: “If I have started saying the Nembutsu, I can avail myself of the power of the Nembutsu to attain Birth.”  Such a state of mind belongs to practicers of the 20th Vow.

“The Shinjin of the 18th Vow” as well as “the Nembutsu of the 18th Vow” and morally ethical conduct (that is, to think that one has to entrust oneself in order to accrue the power from saying the Nembutsu before one could achieve Birth) are totally out of place. The Practice of the Tathagata has His realization, which now clearly manifests as “the Primal Vow-power,” also the “Nembutsu” of everyone, of presence.


  1. It's just great! Melvin, many thanks for the work of translation and bringing the light of Sensei's words!