Nembutsu and Zen

Translated and edited by Hisao Inagaki

Originally published with Zuiken’s calligraphy, Romanized Japanese,
passages for reference and glossary

 

Namo Amida Butsu

Zuiken at the age of 82 – October 17, 1966

[1]
Nori no mizu iwao no shitao nagaru nari
horihorite kume fukaku fudanni.
The Dharma-water runs under the rocks; Keep digging down and get the water from the depths.

[2]
Ganriki no fushigi ga makoto wakattara
motomezu totemo dekiru anjin.

If you really know the inconceivable power of the Vow,
Anjin comes to you even though you do not seek it.

[3]
Sonomamano hotoke no oose arukara wa
tsuneni konomama itsumo konomama.

Since the Buddha tells us to be as we are,
I am just as I am always at any time.

[4]
Daichi oba tsukamite sora ni naguru yori
nao mutsukashiki bonbu jobutsu.

More difficult than grasping the whole earth with bare hands
and throwing it up in the sky
Is it for a bombu to become a Buddha.

[5]
Meikai ni buji taihei wa nakimono zo
goin goka inga hitsunen.

In the world of delusion there is no such thing
as safety or peace;
Karmic effects ensue from karmic causes —
this law is inevitable.

[6]
Tsumi fukaku tada aoge kashi ganriki o
kotoba gonku ni saerare na yume.

However deep your karmic evil may be,
you should only look up at the Power of the Vow.
Never allow words and phrases to interrupt you.

[7]
Koto aru nibuji to omoe ba
ichidaiji.

If you think youare safe,
you are really in danger,
For you are never safe.

[8]
Mumi no dan nantomo ienu ajiga aru.
Tasteless taste
is the true taste.

[9]
Tsumi omoshi jigoku kabutte
ho o kike.

Grave indeed are your karmic evils.
Listen to the Dharma
as seriously as though you were in hell.

[10]
Aijakuno niwani chiriyuku sakura kana.
Ah, cherry-blossoms fall
in the garden
while loving attachment lingers in the mind.

[11]
Bonno to sumo o toruna daisozu.
Don’t try sumo on your evil passions,
Your Eminence!

[12]
“Shido bunan aizo nakereba
tonen to shite meihaku.”

“The ultimate path is not difficult to reach.
If you are free of love and hate,
you will see it clearly and manifestly.”

[13]
Buppo wa kono yo ano yo mo
daihishin.

The essence of the Buddha-dharma
is the Great Compassion
in both this and the other world.

[14]
Daiichigitai wa
amida nyorai no innenho.

The highest principle of truth —
it is the law of cause and effect
through which Amida Tathagata works.

[15]
Butsudo wa
zangi no uchini hikari ari.

The Buddha-dharma shines
through self-reflection and repentance.

[16]
Ho joju
haru wa hana saku aki momiji.

Things are as they really are —
cherry blossoms in the spring
and maple leaves in the autumn.

[17]
Shinjin bussho — shitsuu bussho
ryogen ni.

With the one eye see Buddha-nature in shinjin;
with the other see Buddha-nature in every being.

[18]
Mangan no kyokan subete
daihishin.

All the scriptures in thousands of volumes —
they are nothing but Great Compassion.

[19]
Shin to shiki
nosan shosan to wakachi e zu.

Mind and matter,
the producing and the produced,
cannot be divided.

[20]
Sangai wa yuiisshin to
daishishiku.

The Buddha proclaims with the Lion’s Roar:
the Three Worlds are One Mind only.

[21]
Yuishin to iedomo wasuruna
engiron.

Although everything is Mind-Only
don’t forget the law of causation.

[22]
Gedatsu oba shoji no uchini
yakusokusu.

Emancipaption is promised
while we are in Samsara.

[23]
Yuishin to iedomo genzen
yamakawa wa.

Although everything is Mind-Only,
we see before us the mountain and the river.

[24]
Gyozezu ni ichinyo o gyozu
nyojitsugyo.

Without practising, practice Suchness;
this is the true practice.

[25]
Hana wa saki hana wa chiritsutsu
ku jakujo.

Flowers bloom and scatter
in Transquil Voidness.

[26]
Hotteoke kiraeba shigeru
natsugusa wa.

Leave summer weeds alone;
if you hate them, they’ll grow rank.

[27]
Keron oba sutete tadachini
ganshin ni.

Cast aside idle discussions
and go straight to Amida’s Mind.

[28]
Hogejeku
kikutsu katto sora akan.

Give up everything!
Don’t be trapped in the devils’ cave
or caught by creepers!

[29]
Gimon oba tsukushite ku wa
soku ze ku.

Empty youself of all doubts,
then you will see Voidness as Void.

[30]
Muga mushin
hajimete hannya no ku satoru.

By forgetting oneself and mind,
one really understands Voidness of Prajna.

[31]
Mihotoke wa
omushoju no muga no jihi.

The Buddha provides selfless Compassion
which knows nowhere to dwell.

[32]
Mayouna yo
aku mo ichiji no sakae ari.

Don’t be misled!
Evil thrives, though short-lived.

[33]
Zen’aku no
kubi wa yasuyasu ochiwa senu.

Dualism of good and evil —
hard to cut off.

[34]
Uki shizumi
kakugo wa yoika shinukotomo.

While drifting on the tide of life,
are you prepared for death?

[35]
Shi o nenji
nenji nenjite myokyo ni.

Contemplate death, concentrate on it–
and reach the wonderful world beyond.

[36]
Buppo wa
myomon riyo no uchini nashi.

The Buddha-dharma does not reside
in fame and profit-making.

[37]
Shinnin wa
isho kitamama maruhadaka.

A true man is completely naked
while fully dressed.

[38]
Tani no yuri
myori omowazu ano eiga.

Lillies of the vale
bloom beautifully
without desiring fame or profit.

[39]
Bongen o
butchi no me to irekaeru.

Let the eye of an ordinary man
be replaced by the eye of the Buddha.

[40]
Kaze tsuyoku nami takaki mama
daigankai.

I rest secure on the sea of Great Vow
while tossed about by high waves
in the strong wind.

[41]
Suika oba osoreshi ware mo
ware wasure.

I was afraid of the fire and the water;
Now I forget my own self.

[42]
Kanno no myochumyo ya igyodo.
The first and foremost of all wonderful teachings
of spiritual correspondence is
the Path of Easy Practice

[43]
Daijo wa
fudan bonno toku nehan.

The essence of the Mahayana is:
Without severing evil passions,
one attains Nirvana.

[44]
Shochi nite shinri o mire ba
kageboshi.

If you see Truth with limited wisdom,
you see only its shadow.

[45]
Konomamade
idakarete yuku daiojo.

Being embraced just as I am,
I go to the Great Birth.

[46]
Itsu mitemo
bonno gusoku
konomamade.

Whenever I reflect,
I find myself full of evil passions,
I accept myself as such.

[47]
Daiichi no kan o tariki de
torinuke.

The First Barrier has been cleared
by the Other Power!

[48]
Jodo hanahada yuki yasushi
Ganriki ni yoru ga yueni.

The Pure Land is extremely easy to reach
if one depends on the Power of the Vow.

[49]
Gansen de
shikiro sawagu
shojikai.

By the boat of the Vow
I cross the sea of birth and death
turbulent with waves of consciousness.

[50]
Mugeko ya
mumyo no joya yami haruru.

Oh, the Unhindered Light!
The long night of ignorance is past.