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p. 174


From Saichi's Journals

THE FOLLOWING are translations in English of some of Saichi's utterances. As I have said before, there are several thousands of such items in his journals, and there is no doubt that they are good material for students of religious experiences. My attempt here is, however poor the translations, to afford the reader a glimpse into Saichi's inner life. Unless one has a thorough mastery of both languages, Japanese and English, it is impossible to convey to the English reader the deep underlying feelings characterizing Saichi as one of the most conspicuously myōkōnin type of Shin followers.

The following selections, numbering 148, are grouped under nine headings. The classification is not at all scientific, since it is often very difficult to classify certain expressions under a certain definite group because they include various ideas interrelated to one another. The nine are as follows:

1. Nyorai and Saichi
2. Oya-sama
3. The Nembutsu
4. The Ki and the
5. The Pure Land, This World and Hell
6. The Free Gift
7. The Heart-searchings
8. Poverty
9. The Inner Life

p. 175



I exchange work with Amida:
I worship him who in turn deigns to worship me--
This is the way I exchange work with him. 3


"O Saichi, who is Nyorai-san?"
"He is no other than myself."
"Who is the founder [of the Shin teaching]?"
"He is no other than myself."
"What is the canonical text?"
"It is no other than myself."
The ordinary man's heart has no fixed root,
Yet this rootless one takes delight in the [i.e., Dharma];
This is because he is given Oya's heart--
The heart of "Namu-amida-butsu."


p. 176


I am lying,
Amida deigns to worship Saichi,
I too in turn worship Amida


The adorable form of Nyorai
Is indeed this wretched self's form
"Namu-amida-butsu, Namu-amida-butsu! 4


Buddha is worshiped by [another] Buddha:
The Namu is worshiped by Amida,
Amida is worshiped by the Namu:
This is the meaning of kimyo 5
As expressed in the "Namu-amida-butsu."


Amida calling on Amida
This voice
"Namu-amida-butsu, Namu-amida-butsu!"


Saichi exchanges work with Amida:
When he worships Amida, p. 177
Amida in turn deigns to worship him [Saichi]--
This is the way we exchange our work.
How happy I am with the favor!
"Namu-amida-butsu, Namu-amida-butsu!"


When I worship thee, O Buddha,
This is Buddha worshiping [another] Buddha,
And it is thou who makest this fact known to me, O Buddha:
For this favor Saichi is most grateful.


What all the Buddhas of the Hokkai 6 declare
Is to make this Saichi turn into a Buddha--
"Namu-amida-butsu, Namu-amida-butsu!"


My joy!
How beyond thought!
Self and Amida and the "Namu-amida-butsu."


How fine!
The whole world and vastness of space is Buddha!
And I am in it--"Namu-amida-butsu!"

p. 178



Oya-sama is Buddha
Who transforms Saichi into a Buddha--
How happy with the favor!
"Namu-amida-butsu, Namu-amida-butsu!"


My heart and Oya-sama--
We have just one heart
Of "Namu-amida-butsu."


I am a happy man,
A glad heart is given me;
Amida's gladness is my gladness--


The heart that thinks [of Buddha]
Is Buddha's heart,
A Buddha given by Buddha--


How grateful I am!
Into my heart has Oya-sama entered and fully occupies it.
The cloud of doubt all dispersed, p. 179
I am now made to turn westward.
How fortunate I am!
Saying "Namu-amida-butsu" I return west.


Are devils 8 come?
Are serpents come?
I know not.
I live my life embraced in the arms of Oya-sama,
I am fed with the milk of "Namu-amida-butsu,"
Looking at Oya-sama's face.


When he is known as Oya,
Worship him as such:
Oya and I are one--
The oneness of ki and
In the "Namu-amida-butsu."


Amida is my Oya-sama,
I am child of Amida;
Let me rejoice in Oya-sama, in "Namu-amida-butsu."
The "Namu-amida-butsu" belongs to child as well as to Oya-sama:
By this is known the mutual relationship [between Thee and me].

p. 180


My heart and thy heart--
The oneness of hearts--


How lucky I am!
Oya is given me!
Oya who turns me into a Buddha is
The "Namu-amida-butsu!"


The Hokkai is my Oya--
Being my Oya--


Oya and child--
Between them not a shadow of doubt: 9
This is my joy!


The Namu and Amida,
Oya and child,
They quarrel: the Namu on one side and Amida on the other side.
Repentance and joyfulness--
How intimate!

p. 181


What is Saichi's understanding of the "Namu-amida-butsu"?
Yes, I am an adopted child of "Namu-amida-butsu."
How do you understand a life of gratitude?
As to being grateful, sometimes I remember it, sometimes I do not.
Really, a wretched man I am!


Namu-san 10 and Amida-san are talking:
This is the "Namu-amida-butsu" of Oya and son.


Namu-san and Amida-san--both are Amida:
This happiness is my happiness.


"Namu-amida-butsu!"--how grateful I am!
"Namu-amida-butsu" is the oneness of the worldly and the highest truth.
'Namu-amida-butsu!"--how happy I am for the favor!
"Namu-amida-butsu, Namu-amida-butsu!"
Wherefrom is "Namu-amida-butsu"?
It is the mercy issuing from Oya's bosom;
How happy I am with the favor, "Namu-amida-butsu!"
"Wherefor is Saichi bound?"
'Saichi will go to the Land of Bliss."
"With whom?"
"With Oya-sama I go--how happy I am!"
"Namu-amida-butsu, Namu-amida-butsu!"

p. 182



"O Saichi, do, you recite the Nembutsu only when you think of it?
What do you do when you do not think of it?"
"Yes, [well,] when I do not think of it, there is
The 'Namu-amida-butsu' [just the same]--
The oneness of ki and ;
Even my thinking of [the Nembutsu] rises out of it.
How thankful I am for the favor!"
"Namu-amida-butsu, Namu-amida-butsu!"


Hōnen Shōnin [is said to have recited the Nembutsu] sixty thousand times [a day];
With Saichi it is only now and then.
Sixty-thousand-times and now-and-then--
They are one thing.
How grateful I am for the favor!


"O Nyorai-san, do you take me--this wretched one such as I am?
Surely because of the presence of such wretched ones as you,
Oya-sama's mercy is needed--p. 183
The Name is just meant for you, O Saichi,
And it is yours."
"That is so, I am really grateful,
I am grateful for the favor--


All the miraculous merits accumulated by Amida
Throughout his disciplinary life of innumerable eons
Are filling up this body called Saichi.
Merits are no other than the six syllables "Na-mu-a-mi-da-buts(u)."


The "Namu-amida-butsu" is inexhaustible,
However much one recites it, it is inexhaustible;
Saichi's heart is inexhaustible;
Oya's heart is inexhaustible.
Oya's heart and Saichi's heart,
Ki and , are of one body which is the "Namu-amida-butsu."
However much this is recited, it is inexhaustible.


To Saichi such as he is, something wonderful has happened--
That heart of his has turned into Buddhahood!
What an extraordinary event this!
What things beyond imagination are in store within the

p. 184


The "Namu-amida-butsu"
Is like the sun-god,
Is like the world,
Is like the great earth,
Is like the ocean!
Whatever Saichi's heart may be,
He is enveloped in the emptiness of space,
And the emptiness of space is enveloped in "Namu-amida-butsu"!
O my friends, be pleased to hear the "Namu-amida-butsu"--
"Namu-amida-butsu" that will free you from Jigoku [hell].


The Nembutsu is like vastness of space,
The vastness of space is illumined by Oya-sama's Nembutsu.
My heart is illumined by Oya-sama.


For what reason it is I do not know,
But the fact is the "Namu-amida-butsu" has come upon me.


How wretched! What shall I do?
[But] wretchedness is the "Namu-amida-butsu"--
"Namu-amida-butsu, Namu-amida-butsu!"

p. 185


There is nothing in the Hokkai;
Only one there is,
Which is the "Namu-amida-butsu"
And this is Saichi's property.


The "Namu-amida-butsu" is transformed and I am it,
And it delights in me,
And I am delighted in it.


How wretched!
And how joyous!
They are one
[In] the "Namu-amida-butsu."


The Nembutsu of repentance over my wretchedness,
The Nembutsu of joy--
The "Namu-amida-butsu."


I may be in possession of 84,000 evil passions,
And Amida too is 84,000--
This is the meaning of oneness of "Namu-amida-butsu."


The Namu is myself,
Amida is the Namu;
And both Namu and Amida are the "Namu-amida-butsu."

p. 186


I, bound for death,
Am now made into the immortal "Namu-amida-butsu."


Life's ending means not-dying;
Not-dying is life's ending;
Life's ending is to become "Namu-amida-butsu."


Death has been snatched away from me,
And in its place the "Namu-amida-butsu."


Saichi's heart destined for death when his end comes,
Is now made an immortal heart,
Is made into the "Namu-amida-butsu."


To die--nothing is better than death;
One feels so relieved!
Nothing exceeds this feeling of relief.
"Namu-amida-butsu, Namu-amida-butsu!"

p. 187



"O Saichi, let me have what your understanding is."
"Yes, yes, I will:
How miserable, how miserable!
Namu-amida-butsu, Namu-amida-butsu!"
"Is that all, O Saichi?
It will never do."
"Yes, yes, it will do, it will do.
According to Saichi's understanding,
Ki and are one:
The 'Namu-amida-butsu' is no other than he himself.
This is indeed Saichi's understanding:
He has flowers in both hands,
Taken away in one way and given as gift in another way."


How happy I am for this favor! "Namu-amida-butsu!"
Now I know where to deposit all my amassed delusions:
It is where the ki and the are one--
The "Namu-amida-butsu."


Such a Buddha! he is really a good Buddha!
He follows me wherever I go,
He takes hold of my heart.
The saving voice of the six syllables p. 188
Is heard as the oneness of the ki and the --
As the "Namu-amida-butsu."
I have altogether no words for this;
How sweet the mercy!


No clinging to anything (kata-giru ja nai)
No clinging to the ki,
No clinging to the --
This is in accord with the Law (okite ni kanō).

This on the part of the ki,
This on the part of the .
How grateful I am!


How wretched!
What is it that makes up my heart?
It is no other than my own filled with infinitude of guilt,
Into which the two syllables na-mu have come,
And by these syllables infinitude of guilt is borne,
It is Amida who bears infinitude of guilt.
The oneness of the ki and the


Saichi's Nyorai-san,
Where is he?
Saichi's Nyorai-san is no other than the oneness of the ki and the
How grateful I am! "Namu-amida-butsu!"
"Namu-amida-butsu, Namu-amida-butsu!"

p. 189


O Saichi, if you wish to see Buddha,
Look within your own heart where the ki and the are one
As the "Namu-amida-butsu"--
This is Saichi's Oya-sama.
How happy with the favor!
"Namu-amida-butsu, Namu-amida-butsu!"


If the Namu is myself, Amida is myself too:
This is the "Namu-amida-butsu" of six syllables. 13


The Namu is worshiped by Amida,
And Amida is worshiped by the Namu--
This is the "Namu-amida-butsu" of six syllables.


This Saichi is thine,
Thou art mine--


As to Saichi's own Nyorai-san,
Where is he?
Yes, Saichi's Nyorai-san is the oneness of the ki and the .
How grateful I am I

p. 190


"O Saichi, what are you saying to Oya-sama?"
"I am saying, 'Amida-bu, Amida-bu'."
"What is Oya-sama saying?"
"He is saying, 'O Namu, O Namu'."
Thus Thou to me, and I to Thee:
This is the oneness of the ki and the .


"O Saichi, how do you see 'thee'?"
"To see 'thee' [take] Amida's mirror,
Therein revealed are both ki and .
Beyond that--repentance and joy.
How wonderful, how wonderful!
Grateful indeed I am! Namu-amida-butsu!"


How wretched!--
This comes out spontaneously.
How grateful for Buddha's favor!--
This too spontaneously.
The ki and the , both are Oya's working.


All comes out in perfection.
How grateful for the favor!
And I take no part in it.
How grateful for the favor!
"Namu-amida-butsu, Namu-amida-butsu!"

p. 191



"O Saichi, what is your pleasure?"
"My pleasure is this world of delusion;
Because it turns into the seed of delight in the Dharma ()."
"Namu-amida-butsu, Namu-amida-butsu!"


This world (sahaloka) and the Pure Land--they are one;
Worlds as numberless as atoms, too, are mine.
"Namu-amida-butsu, Namu-amida-butsu!"


The path to be born into the Land of Bliss
From this world, there is no other, after all,
Than this world itself.
This world is Namu-amida-butsu
just as much as the Land of Bliss is.
How grateful, how grateful I am!
This Saichi's eye 15 is the boundary line
[Between this world and the Land of Bliss].
"Namu-amida-butsu, Namu-amida-butsu!"

p. 192


Where are you sleeping, O Saichi?
I am sleeping in this world's Pure Land;
When awakened I go to Amida's Pure Land.


This is shaba (Sanskrit: sahaloka),
And my heart is born of Jigoku (Sanskrit: naraka).


"O Saichi, when you die, who will be your companion to the Land of Bliss?"
"As to me, Emma-san will be my companion."
"O Saichi, you tell us such tales again.
Who has ever gone to the Land of Bliss with Emma-san as companion?
O Saichi, you'd better not tell us such nonsense any more."
"In spite of your remark, I say you are mistaken;
Have you not read this in the 'Songs'?
'Emma, Great Lord of Justice, respects us; together with lords of the five paths, he stands as guardian day and night.'
You too should rejoice in the company of Emma-sama--
Here is Namu-amida-butsu.
This world, how enjoyable with Emma-sama!
This Saichi too is guarded by Emma-sama,
This Saichi and Emma-sama both are one Namu-amida-butsu:
This is my joy!"
"O Saichi, from whom did you get such a joyous note?"
"Yes, I talked with Emma-sama himself who granted this to me--p. 193
[He says] 'You are welcome indeed.'
How joyful! how joyful!
Namu-amida-butsu! Namu-amida-butsu!"


I'm fortunate indeed!
Not dead I go,
just as I live,
I go to the Pure Land!


Led by "Namu-amida-butsu,"
While living in this world,
I go to "Namu-amida-butsu."


I'm fortunate indeed!
Not dead I go,
just as I live,
I go to the Pure Land!


I am poor and immensely happy at that;
Amida's Pure Land I enjoy while here--

p. 194


If the shaba world is different from the Pure Land,
I should never have heard the Dharma:
Myself and this shaba world and the Pure Land and Amida--
All is one "Namu-amida-butsu."


This shaba world too is yours,
Where Saichi's rebirth is confirmed--
This is your waiting teahouse.


This shaba turned into the Pure Land,
And myself changing!


My joy is that while in this world of shaba
I have been given the Pure Land--


My birthplace? I am born of Jigoku (hell);
I am a nobody's dog
Carrying the tail between the legs;
I pass this world of woes,
Saying "Namu-amida-butsu."


How happy I am! "Namu-amida-butsu!"
I am the Land of Bliss;
I am Oya-sama.

p. 195


Shining in glory is Amida's Pure Land,
And this is my Pure Land--


Heard so much of the Happy Land,
But after all it is not so much [as I expected];
It is good that it is not, indeed,
How at home do I feel with it!
"Namu-amida-butsu, Namu-amida-butsu!"


The Land of Bliss is mine,
Just take "Namu-amida-butsu" as you hear it!


How grateful!
While others die,
I do not die:
Not dying, I go
To Amida's Pure Land.


Has Saichi ever seen the Land of Bliss?
No, Saichi has never seen it before.
That is good--
The first visit this.

p. 196


How grateful I am!
I live without knowing anything--
Is this living in a natural Pure Land?


How grateful I am!
Into my heart has Oya-sama entered!
The cloud of doubt is all dispersed,
I am now given to turn westward.
How fortunate I am!
Saying "Namu-amida-butsu," I turn west.


Buddha-wisdom is beyond human thought,
It makes me go to the Pure Land.


How dreadful!
This world known as shaba
Is where we endlessly commit all kinds of karma.
How thankful!
All this is turned into [the work of] the Pure Land,


The most wonderful thing is
That Buddha's invisible heart of compassion is visible
While I'm right here; p. 197
That the Pure Land, millions of millions of worlds away,
is visible
While I'm right here--


I am not to go to Jigoku (hell),
Jigoku is right here,
We are living right in Jigoku,
Jigoku is no other place than this.


The Hokkai is never filled
However much we may talk of it
Which is the Land of Bliss.


The Hokkai is Saichi's own country--


There is a man going back to Amida's Pure Land--
The Namu is carried by Amida.
The Pure Land where he returns
Is the "Namu-amida-butsu."


The being reborn means this present moment;
By means of the "Namu-amida-butsu" this is attained;

p. 198



Let this world go as it does,
Ignorance-debts, all paid up by Nyorai-san--
How happy, how happy I am!


Whatever we might say, it is all from thy side,
Yes, it is all from thee.
How thankful I am indeed, how happy I am indeed!
"Namu-amida-butsu, Namu-amida-butsu!"


The "Namu-amida-butsu" is as great as the world itself;
All the air is the "Namu-amida-butsu";
My heart is also a big heart,
My tsumi is filling the world.
However bad Saichi may be, he cannot defeat you, [O Buddha];
My tsumi is dragged along by you,
And it is now taken up [by you] to the Pure Land
This favor of yours, this favor of yours!

p. 199


The treasure of the six syllables was given me by Oya-sama:
However much one spends of it, it is never exhausted.
The treasure grows all the more as it is used;
It is the most wondrous treasure,
And I am the recipient of the good thing.
How happy I am with the favor! "Namu-amida-butsu!"


"O Saichi, you say 'I am given, I am given'
And what is it that is given you?"
"Yes, yes, I am given, I am given the Name of Amida!
And this for nothing I
Saichi is thereby set at ease.
To be set at ease means that the ki is altogether possessed [by Oya-sama].
It is indeed Oya-sama who has taken full possession of me,
And this Oya-sama of mine is the 'Namu-amida-butsu.'


Saichi has his heart revealed by Amida's mirror,
How happy for the favor! "Namu-amida-butsu!"
"Namu-amida-butsu, Namu-amida-butsu!"
"Namu-amida-butsu, Namu-amida-butsu!"


What a miracle! The "Namu-amida-butsu" fills up the whole world,
And this world is given to me by Oya-sama.
This is my happiness, "Namu-amida-butsu!"

p. 200


O Nyorai-san,
You have given up yourself to me,
And my heart has been made captive by you--


How miserable!
Saichi's heart, how miserable!
All kinds of delusion thickly arise all at once!
A hateful fire mixed with evils is burning,
The waves mixed with evils are rising,
How miserable! A fire mixed with follies is burning.

This heretic, how miserable!
Cannot you call a halt?

Saichi's heart, worrying,
A heart in utter confusion,
Saichi's heart rising as high as the sky!

Here comes the wise man giving the warning:
"O Saichi, listen, now is the time!"

How grateful!
"Now that Amida's 'Original Vow' is established as the 'Namu-amida-butsu,'
You have no more to worry about yourself,
Listen, listen!
When you hear 'Namu-amida-butsu,'
You have your rebirth in the Pure Land.
The 'Namu-amida-butsu' is yours." p. 201
How happy I am for this favor! "Namu-amida-butsu!"
Now I know where to deposit all my amassed delusions:
It is where the ki and are one--
The "Namu-amida-butsu."

With this heart [thus identified],
All over the worlds as many as atoms,
I roam playing in company with all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

Eating the "Namu-amida-butsu," this heart passes its time
In happy company with the "Namu-amida-butsu."

How happy with this favor!


O you, my friends, looking at your hearts filled with wretchedness,
Be not led to doubt Amida's mercy,
Though there is indeed this possibility.
But this is the greatest mistake you are apt to commit.
An utter wretchedness we all guilty beings experience
Does surely turn into a priceless treasure
This you will realize when karma ripens;
For the "Namu-amida-butsu" truly achieves wonders.

That the "Namu-amida-butsu" truly achieves wonders is this:
The oceans, mountains, eatables, waters, wood used for our house-building, and all other things handled by us guilty beings: p. 202
They are one and all transformations of the "Namu-amida-butsu."
O my friends, be pleased to take note of this truth,
For this is all due to Oya-sama's mercy.
How grateful I feel for all this!

"Namu-amida-butsu, Namu-amida-butsu!"


How grateful!
When I think of it, all is by his [Amida's] grace.
O Saichi, what do you mean by it?
Ah, yes, his grace is real fact.
This Saichi was made by his grace;
The dress I wear was made by his grace;
The food I eat was made by his grace;
The footgear I put on was made by his grace;
Every other thing we have in this world was all made by his grace,
Including the bowl and the chopsticks;
Even this workshop where I work was made by his grace:
There is really nothing that is not the "Namu-amida-butsu."
How happy I am for all this!


By your favor I am turned into a Buddha;
Infinitely great is this favor of yours

p. 203


"Saichi's illness, is it cured by swallowing the 'Namu-amida-butsu'?"
"O, no!"
"If so, how is it cured?"
"Yes, Saichi's illness is cured when it is swallowed up by the 'Namu-amida-bu-sama.'"
Saichi is now bodily swallowed up by the pill of the six syllables,
And within the six syllables he leads a life of gratitude.
His life of gratitude is indeed a mystery,
The mystery of mysteries this!
How happy I am with the favor!


Saichi has something good given him,
The meditation of five Kalpas is given him.
Where can he have a fit place to store such a big thing?
The fact is that he is taken into it.
How grateful I am!


Saichi has something good given him,
The meditation of five Kalpas is given him.
Where can he have a fit place to store such a big thing?
The fact is that he is taken into it.
How grateful I am! p. 204


"Namu-amida-butsu" is indeed a wonderful Name,
And I have it as gift.
It gushes out of Saichi's heart;
This is as it ought to be:
The ki and are one in the "Namu-amida-butsu."


"O Saichi, tell us what kind of taste 17 is the taste of 'Namu-amida-butsu,
Tell us what kind of taste is the taste of 'Namu-amida-butsu.'
"The taste of the 'Namu-amida-butsu' is:
A joy filling up the bosom,
A joy filling up the liver,
Like the rolling swell of the sea--
No words--just the utterance: Oh, Oh!"


There is one thing I wish to learn from Oya-sama:
How do you wipe out my guilts?
Carrying my guilts as they are
[I am] borne up by the "Namu-amida-butsu"!
How grateful I am!
"Namu-amida-butsu, Namu-amida-butsu!"

p. 205


The three poisonous passions are in company with the "Namu-amida-butsu,"
And found working with "Namu-amida-butsu"!
How thankful I am for the favor!


The love that inspired Oya-sama to go through
All the sufferings and all the hardships--
I thought I was simply to listen to the story,
But that was a grievous mistake, I find.


[What a wonder] that such a bad man as Saichi whose badness knows no bounds
Has been transformed into a Buddha!
How grateful for the favor, and how happy!
"Namu-amida-butsu, Namu-amida-butsu!"


How wretched I am!
For us ordinary people human calculations are of no avail.
As to the estimation of guilts--this is left to Oya-sama.
How grateful for the favor!


My heart given up to Thee,
And Thy heart received by me!

p. 206



The bombu 19 cannot live with Buddha,
Because he has no humility and joy;
Lives with Buddha--


Saying "I cannot understand,"
They seize upon the bonnō 20 and investigate;
But the bonnō is the body of merit;
This makes me laugh.


If there were no wretchedness,
My life would be wickedness itself;
How fortunate I am that I was given wretchedness
"Namu-amida-butsu, Namu-amida-butsu!"

p. 207


When the bombu is not understood
It is wickedness;
When understood, it is humility--


Saichi feels within himself
An endless flow of folly,
An endless flow of greed;
There is a fire constantly burning--
No wonder, this burning,
For Saichi is an evil spirit.


Saichi's heart is all rain,
Saichi's heart, like rain and rain, is all rain;
Saichi's heart is all fog, like fog within a fog.
There is nothing but wretchedness in Saichi's heart.


"How wretched I am!"
This is what we all say when we feel humiliated.
But this kind of self -humiliation we say now is all a lie.
[The real one we say is] what we say after we've visited the Pure Land.
This Saichi's self-humiliation is nothing but a lie, monstrous lie, a monstrous, monstrous lie!
And within this lie there is another lie well wrapped!
How shameful!
This "How shameful!" is also a lie bursting out of the mouth. p. 208
This Saichi putting on the mask is most irreverently playing upon the saintly masters!
How wretched, how wretched!
There, there, that Saichi is again putting on the mask!
There is nothing in this Saichi but going around in disguise and deceiving everybody;
How wretched!
Anything Saichi says is wretchedness itself.
Even this comes out of the lying lips.
The only real true thing is Oya-sama, no other there is!
All my lies have been completely taken away [by him],
[And there remains nothing but]


How did you see your own heart?
To see the heart, take Amida's mirror.
How wretched!
The wretchedness of my heart is like space, it has no limits.
How wretched!


O Saichi, you are a wretched fellow!
Your stature is hardly five feet,
And yet your heart runs wildly all over the world.
Saichi is a wretched man.
How wretched!


They understand who have had sorrows,
But those who had them not can never understand:p. 209
There is nothing so excruciating as sighs--
The sighs that refuse to be disposed of.
But they are removed by Amida,
And all I can say now is "Namu-amida-butsu, Namu-amida-butsu!"


There is no bottom to Saichi's wickedness;
There is no bottom to Saichi's goodness:
How happy I am with the favor!


The wretched heart of contrition--
The thankful heart of joy--
The "Namu-amida-butsu" of contrition and joy! 21

p. 210



Nothing is left to Saichi,
Except a joyful heart nothing is left to him.
Neither good nor bad has he, all is taken away from him;
Nothing is left to him!
To have nothing--how completely satisfying!
Everything has been carried away by the "Namu-amida-butsu."
He is thoroughly at home with himself:
This is indeed the "Namu-amida-butsu"!


My avarice has all been taken away,
And the world has turned into my "Namu-amida-butsu."


Everything of mine has been carried away by Thee,
And Thou hast given me the Nembutsu--"Namu-amida-butsu."

p. 211



To be grateful is all a lie,
The truth is--there is nothing the matter;
And beyond this there is no peace of mind--
"Namu-amida-butsu, Namu-amida-butsu, Namu-amida-butsu!"
(With this peacefully I retire.)


There's nothing with me, nothing's the matter with me
To have nothing the matter is the "Namu-amida-butsu."


That this Saichi is turned into a Buddha,
Even while I knew nothing of it:
So I am told.


How wretched!
Wretchedness too is of suchness. 24
How thankful!
Buddha's favor too is of suchness.
Both ki and are Oya-sama's work. 25 p. 212
All out, nothing kept back! 26
How grateful for the favor!
Nothing's left for me to do.
How grateful for the favor!


As regards myself, nothing is the matter:
Called by the voice the mind has been made captive,
And "Namu-amida-butsu!"


To say, "How grateful!" is a lie;
The truth is: there is nothing the matter with one;
And there is nothing more that makes one feel at home--
"Namu-amida-butsu! Namu-amida-butsu!"


O Saichi, such as you are, are you grateful?
Nothing's the matter [with me],
However much I listen [to the sermons], nothing's the matter with me.
And no inquiries are to be made.


Nothing's the matter, nothing's the matter with me;
That there's nothing the matter--this is the "Namu-amida-butsu."

p. 213


To be grateful is not anjin27
Nothing happening is nothing happening.
To be grateful is a fraud--- 28
’Tis true, ’tis true!


Whether I'm falling [to hell]
Or bound for the Pure Land--
I have no knowledge:
All is left to Amida's Vow.


Doubts have been taken away--
I know not how and when!
How to be thankful for the favor--I know not!


I am happy!
The root of sinfulness 29 is cut off;
Though still functioning, it is the same as non-existent.
How happy I am!
Born of happiness is the "Namu-amida-butsu."

p. 214


"O Saichi, won't you tell us about Tariki?"
"Yes, but there is neither Tariki nor Jiriki,
What is, is the graceful acceptance only."


Where are Saichi's evil desires gone?
They are still here:
I hate, I love, I crave--
How wretched, how wretched I am!


175:1 Nyorai is the Japanese reading for Chinese ju-lai, which is the translation of the Sanskrit tathāgata. It means "one who thus comes (or goes)."

175:2 Cf. Angelus Silesius, German mystic-poet:

I know that without me
God can no moment live;
Were I to die, then He
No longer could survive.

I am as great as God,
And He is small like me;
He cannot be above,
Nor I below Him be.

175:3 The Japanese for "worship" is ogamu, which literally means "to bow to an object reverentially and devotionally." "Worship" may sound too strong, but if it is understood in the sense of "religious reverence and homage" as it is ordinarily done, there is no harm in the use of the term.

176:4 Dreamed on the night of May 22.

176:5 Kimyo is the Japanese for namu, meaning "taking refuge," "adoration," "worshiping," etc. The author here probably intends to mean that mutual worshiping of Namu and Amida is the meaning of "Namu-amida-butsu," or that "Namu-amida-butsu" symbolizes the oneness of Amida and every one of us.

177:6 Hokkai is dharmadhātu in Sanskrit, meaning the universe as the totality of all things.

178:7 Oya has no English equivalent. It is both motherhood and fatherhood, not in their biological sense but as the symbol of loving-kindness. Sama, an honorific particle, is sometimes shortened to san which is less formal and more friendly and intimate.

179:8 Oni in Japanese, evil spirits under the King of Death (yāmarāja).

180:9 Meaning absolute trust between Amida as Oya-sama and Saichi as child.

181:10 This is Saichi himself. Namu is personified here.

182:11 The Nembutsu (literally "thinking of Buddha") and the Myōgō ("name") are often interchangeable. Both refer to the six syllables: "Na-mu-a-mi-da-buts(u)." The syllables serve three purposes: (1) as the Myōgō itself, (2) as an actual invocation, and (3) as the symbol of identity.

187:12 The following equations hold: the Ki = Jiriki ("self-power") = the Namu = the supplicating individual = the sinner = Saichi. The = Amida = Buddha = Enlightenment = Tariki ("other-power") = Reality = the Dharma = Oya-sama = Tathāgata.

189:13 Saichi generally declares Namu to be himself and Amida to be Oya-sama. To identify himself with both Namu and Amida is unusual. We may however remark that Saichi often equates himself with "Namu-amida-butsu," which means that he is Amida as well as Namu.

191:14 Jigoku is hell generally, Gokuraku is the Land of Bliss, Jōdo is the Pure Land, and shaba is "this world" or sahalokadhātu in Sanskrit.

191:15 This does not necessarily mean that when the eyes are closed which symbolize death we are in the Pure Land and that while they are kept open we are in this world. Saichi's idea probably is metaphysical or dialectical, though of course this is not to say that Saichi has reasoned out all these things consciously after the fashion of a philosopher. Saichi's allusion to the eye reminds us of Eckhart's remark on it.

198:16 The gift or favor coming from Amida is a free one, for he never asks anything in exchange or in compensation. When the sinner (ki) utters "Namu-amida-butsu" in all sincerity he is at once made conscious of his being from the first with Amida and in Amida. There has never been any sort of alienation or estrangement between Amida and sinner. It was all due to the latter's illusive ideas cherished about himself. When they are wiped away, he realizes that the sun has always been there and finds himself basking in its light of infinity.

204:17 "Taste"--Bible reference: Imitation Of Christ, Chapter XXXIV. "To him who tasteth Thee, what can be distasteful? And to him who tasteth Thee not, what is there which can make him joyous?"

206:18 While at the moment of exaltation Saichi feels he is Amida himself in company with Buddhas and Bodhisattvas who fill the whole universe, there are occasions when he feels the contrary. He then is the most despicable creature, like a homeless dog with his tail between the legs. He would cry: "How wretched, how worthless, how full of 84,000 evil thoughts am I!" But he never remains long in this state of self-commiseration, for he soon rises from it triumphantly, praising Buddha's infinite love for him. The psychologist may take him as a good example of manic-depressive psychosis. But the trouble is that Saichi is very much saner than most ordinary minds including scholars. He belongs to the group of "steadfastness," he has "something" occupying the very core of his being as Eckhart would say. Students of the religious consciousness know well that there is something of ambivalence in every devout soul. In this respect Saichi's utterances are of unusual importance.

206:19 Bombu is the unenlightened and stands in contrast to Buddha.

206:20 Kleśa in Sanskrit, generally rendered "evil passions." They are the product of ignorance (avidyā) and thirst (tṛiṣṇā).

209:21 Logically speaking, this is a case of identity in absolute contradiction. Saichi demonstrates this experientially. When he is conscious of his finiteness, being bound to the law of karmic causation, his heart is filled with contrition. But as soon as he feels that it is because of this consciousness that he has been taken up in the arms of Oya-sama, his joy knows no limits. The "Namu-amida-butsu" symbolizes the unification or rather identification of utter wretchedness and elated joyfulness.

210:22 Poverty means that all that one thinks to be one's own is taken or carried away by Amida or Oya-sama, that the self-power (Jiriki) finds itself of no avail whatever. More positively, it is a state of self-realization that Amida is all in all.

211:23 The inner life is the life of suchness, of kono-mama, of the "nothing's the matter," of the "I know not what," of the horse galloping on the heath (Eckhart), of the flea in God's is-ness.

211:24 The original Japanese reads, "onodzukara," which means "as-it-is-ness," "being natural," "being perfect in itself," or "being sufficient in itself." This is kono-mama or sono-mama.

211:25 Hataraki in the original means "function," "action," or "operation."

212:26 Marude deru, meaning "to come out in all nakedness," "nothing wanting," "in perfection," or "in full operation."

213:27 Anjin, literally, "mind pacified," meaning "faith confirmed."

213:28 Literally, bakemono is "something unreal," "something temporarily assuming a certain shape but not at all genuine."

213:29 Bombu in Japanese. Saichi uses the term also in an abstract sense, in the sense of bombu-hood, making it contrast with Buddhahood. Sinfulness here is not to be understood in its Christian sense.