Secret of Anjin 安心の極意

By Zuiken Saizo Inagaki
in 1979 at the age of 95

Translated by Zuio Hisao Inagaki in 2015
Proof-read by Zuiko John Paraskevopoulos

Part One

1. Dark is the night
When I have lost my way
Amida Tathagata leads me by the hand;
How great the Vow-Power is!

2. When you die
Where do you go?
Darkness awaits you.
Absolutely dark, absolutely hopeless;
Absolutely lonely, absolutely powerless.
Such a time will come; it will come any minute.
What will you do? What can you do?

3. No use thinking of attaining Shinjin;
No use being proud of having attained it.
The end of your life is painful;
You will cease to breathe –
That’s why it will be painful.
This pain is the result of your evil karma;
There is no way to escape from
The law of cause and effect
Nothing you can do about it.

4. You commit evils like torrential rain, as Shinran says.
What will be the result of evils?
The law of causality
Sends you to hell
Willy-nilly.

5. Hell is the outcome of your karmic evils.
Though there is no knowing where it is,
It certainly comes to be
Definitely!

6. Bombu is a mass of evil karma –
Likened to a charcoal-ball,
Deep black to the core.
Your karma is heavy –
Likened to a lump of lead;
You are doomed to sink
In the ocean of birth-and-death!

7. Not knowing the depth and weight
Of the karmic evil you have made,
When Impermanence makes a surprise visit
And sends you to a death-bed,
You must leave behind everything
And set out for the journey to Death!

8. When you hear a sermon,
Hear it with an attentive ear
‘I shall go to hell without fail’.
Don’t hear the sermon
With a careless ear.

9. How can this lump of lead,
Doomed to hell, be saved
Without sinking deep into the abyss?
There is no means of escape.
What will you do? What can you do?

10. Amida Tathagata, my Parent,
In the midst of pitch darkness,
When I have lost my way,
Extending his hand of ‘saving and not forsaking’,
Lends me his hands
To lead me There with ease.

11. I didn’t ask Amida,
But at the start of my journey to the World of the Dead,
Amida, in the night of pitch darkness,
Takes my hand or carries me on his back,
Brings me to the Land of Purity with ease.

12. Your Parent – do you or do you not understand? –
Is the One of Great Compassion with the Buddha’s Wisdom,
The One of the Buddha’s Wisdom with Great Compassion;
To wit: the Power of the Primal Vow is your Parent.

13. Your Parent
Deigns to watches over you,
Securely protects you
And waits for your coming.

14. Your birth in the Pure Land is attained
By the Buddha’s Mind and Power –
Above all, the Power of the Primal Vow.

15. No use expecting birth in the Pure Land
By attaining Shinjin,
While forgetting the Primal Vow.
No use hoping to be born there
By reciting the Nembutsu
While forgetting the Name.

16. Birth in the Pure Land is
No problem of yours
Because your Parent is awaiting you.
What a bombu knows and thinks
Is, after all,
Delusion!

17. Amida Tathagata is beyond our thought.
If you want to hear his voice,
Here you are: Namo Amida Butsu.
If you want to see his face,
Here you are: Namo Amida Butsu.

18. Do not want to know a deeper truth;
Namo Amida Butsu
Is the deepest truth!

19. Namo Amida Butsu
Shows the Power of the Primal Vow.
We attain Birth
By the Power of the Primal Vow.
The Power of the Primal Vow
Is the Royal Command;
The Royal Command becomes our Shinjin.

20. Our Parent is the Great Compassion
Of the Buddha’s Wisdom;
It is the Buddha’s Wisdom
Of the Great Compassion.
He is one with the Truth of Heaven and Earth.

21. “I don’t know who my Parent is.”
“That’s too bad.”
“I don’t know what is the Buddha’s Wisdom.”
“That’s too bad.”
“I don’t know what is bombu.”
“That’s too bad.”

22. The Buddha Dharma is hard to meet and hear
Even in a myriad of kalpas;
A human body is hard to attain, too.
Seek and hear it, even at the risk of your life.

23. Amida Nyorai, Shakyamuni Nyorai,
The Seven Masters and Shinran Shonin –
Oh! Great persons!

24. When you come in touch with great persons such as these,
Shinjin arises;
Shinjin arises from personal contacts;
Without Shinjin you wouldn’t know
How much you owe them.

25. Shinjin is the royal command of
Namo Amida Butsu.
The irresistible command of the Buddha
Brings out your Shinjin.

26. Straightforward way
To the Pure Land;
Is Namo Amida Butsu;
Don’t lose time
By pondering and dilly-dallying.

27. “Now I’ve got it.” Fine, but you cannot go there
With mere understanding.
“This is how I think.” Fine, but mere thinking
Does not take you there.
Understanding and discernment are self-power ways:
Bypassing these and
Meeting your Parent of the Primal Vow Power
Face-to-face
Brings you Perfect Understanding
And Entry into his Mind.

28. If you do not understand
That you are falling into Hell,
Just, for a while, become a person
Lying on your death-bed;
Nothing you can do – you are
Utterly powerless.
There you see yourself
Falling into Hell.

29. Nothing I can do, except evil acts;
I only see the image of myself
Falling into Hell.
Amida’s Primal Vow Power
Keeps you from
Falling into Hell;
Do you not hear
Your Parent Amida’s voice saying
“Don’t worry.”

30. Have you seen a sick man
On the verge of falling into Hell
Shrieking and shaking his brothers’ hands?
Too late, too late.

31. There is no me, apart from Nyorai;
There is no Nyorai, apart from me,
Herein lies
The Primal Vow Power.

32. Death is a matter of great importance;
Birth in the Pure Land
Is a matter of great importance.
They cannot be resolved
By your self-power.
Oh! The Parent Buddha,
The Primal Vow Power
How reliable it is!

33. Since you were born,
Death is inevitable.
How horrible, how painful, how fearful!
Leaving both birth and death
To the Buddha,
I enjoy the life’s journey.

34. I thought to live and lead my life cheerfully
Was the end of the Buddha-Dharma.
The way of leaving behind birth-and-death
Was, in fact, what the Buddha-Dharma is for.

35. “Just as you are”;
Do you understand the taste of this?
Or do you not?
However many times you may have heard this,
You are the same you;
You remain the same You.

36. Do not be deceived by the word ‘Shinjin’;
The Primal Vow Power
Becomes your Shinjin;
Namo Amida Butsu
Becomes your Shinjin.

37. How inconceivable
The Buddha Dharma is!
The Buddha’s Wisdom is inconceivable.
Our Birth in the Pure Land is attained
By the Power of the Primal Vow.

38. When our Shinjin continues
It comes out as the Nembutsu.
The Nembutsu does not come out
Through our effort, by our self-power.
Its spontaneous appearance on our lips
Is our Parent’s Call,
“I am waiting for your Birth!”

39. How grateful!
When I think of Amida,
The Nembutsu comes to my mouth.
Is it the Buddha’s or mine?
Whatever belongs to the Dharma,
Belongs to me.
How wonderful!

40. While you adore Myokonins.
Don’t try to be like them.
Under their skin,
Lie lumps of desire and anger.

41. The Buddha Dharma comes first;
Secondly, filial duty;
Then kindness to others.
Those three are fundamental
To your securing of a long life.

42. No use praying to God;
Your prayer will not be answered.
No answer is the answer.
Why?
Because your prayer
Lacks sincerity.

43. What is the true learning?
To know that you are doomed to hell
Is the true learning.

44. Don’t bear grudge against this painful life.
Make one more step
And seek to teach others Shinjin.
What a worthwhile life this is!

45. A human life is hard to receive!
Hard it is to hear the Buddha Dharma!
Don’t you think it inconceivable
For a bombu
To become a Buddha?

46. Miscellaneous self-power practices
Are in vogue;
Only a few out of a million
Restrain themselves from them.
The problem of Shinjin can only be resolved
After you have stopped
Self-power engagements.

47. Belief in a god and true Buddhism –
How do they differ?
Stupid! You don’t know?
You do not deserve
Sitting in the hall
To hear the Buddha Dharma!

48. Who is your teacher of the Dharma?
Without a good teacher,
Shinjin won’t become yours!