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Nyorai-in in Settsu

Just reciting
through Amida
brings emancipation
from deed, word and thought.

by Honen Shonin



It is taught that we are ordinary, deluded beings (bonpu) who create bad karma through our deeds, words, and thoughts and feelings which surely leads to hell . However, Amida Buddha's guidance is not concerned with the weight of these sins. Rather, Amida's guidance is the hand of emancipation when we rely on the voice of the nembutsu, Namu Amida Butsu. On his way to exile in Shikoku, a group of prostitutes in the region of Kanzaki in present day Hyogo asked Honen Shonin for such guidance. Honen explained about Amida Buddha's compassion, and the women were persuaded to do the simple act of reciting the nembutsu. The women who became convinced of this teaching cut off their black hair with joy and relief. Soon, reciting the nembutsu together in one voice, they cut off the bonds of their fate. Today, their black hair is still preserved in this temple.

Explanation of Verse: Amida Buddha's compassion is happy to emancipate us regardless of our sinful deeds, words and thoughts. This emancipation relies on the simple recitation of the nembutsu - Namu Amida Butsu, Namu Amida Butsu. We should call on the complete power of Amida's Original Vow and recite the nembutsu earnestly and truly with faith in this emancipation.

Painting:
A prostitute from Muro awakens from Honen's words and attains Birth in the Pure Land (Muro-no-yujo, Honen-ni yori hosshin-shite ojo-o togeru) from the Honen Shonin gyojoezu, scroll 34, section 24-25.

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