Discern & Contemplate

17264514_1002297129869762_5666006658346785556_nWith wholeness of heart

discern the sources of impurity.

Do not generate a mind that cherishes attachments.

With wholeness of heart

contemplate the reality of impermanence.

Do not awaken thoughts of greed and desire.

—Ippen Shonin, Precepts for the Practitioner

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A Gentle Countenance

15940876_957667797666029_3024511017930321752_nWith wholeness of heart

disclose a gentle countenance.

Do not manifest anger and intolerance.

With wholeness of heart

dwell firmly in humility’s insights.

Do not arouse a spirit of arrogance.

—Ippen Shonin, Precepts for the Practitioner

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daibutsuamidaWith wholeness of heart

awaken the realization of sameness.

Do not engage in discriminative thinking.


With wholeness of heart

give rise to compassion.

Do not be indifferent to the sorrows of others.

—Ippen Shonin, Precepts for the Practitioner

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With Heart

12718209_1155357537817448_866656669662187620_nWith wholeness of heart

remember the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha.

Do not overlook the power of the interaction

between the Buddha’s compassion and your aspiration.


With wholeness of heart

entrust yourself to the Dharma you revere.

do not denounce the teachings followed by others.

—Ippen Shonin, Precepts for the Practitioner

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Dependent Arising

13680614_692229974262754_805194524889048605_nye dharmā hetuprabhavā

hetuṃ teṣāṃ tathāgato hy avadat

teṣāṃ ca yo nirodha

evaṃvādī mahāśramaṇaḥ

The Tathāgata has taught the cause

of all phenomena that arise from causes,

and that which is their cessation.

Thus has proclaimed the Great Renunciant.

—Buddha Shakyamuni, The Noble Mahāyāna Sūtra on Dependent Arising

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Not by doctrine

ippen3The great diversity among the various Buddhist doctrines is a concern that emerges from attachment to self. In the Name [om amideva hrih, namu amida butsu, namo amitabhaya buddhaya] there is no doctrinal rationale.

If birth in the Pure Land were attained through doctrine, the question of which doctrine to accept would be appropriate. But birth does not depend in any way on doctrine. It depends on the Name.


Whatever spurious doctrine you may utter with your lips or accept in your mind, the Name is Dharma that does not depend on doctrine, nor on the mind. If we recite it, we will unfailingly attain birth in the Pure Land.


The Name possesses, by its own nature, the virtuous power to bring about birth. When we recite it, we will be born in the Pure Land, without any dependence on doctrine, without any dependence on the heart or mind, without any dependence on concepts.


For the practitioner who recites the Name, the body may remain in this defiled world a while longer, but the heart has already attained birth in the Pure Land.

—Ippen Shonin 

om amideva hrih

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These Two

17834863_1024975104268631_7976167805690967027_oThese two mental states are conducive to correct knowledge. Which two? Peace and clarity.

By developing peace, what purpose is served? The mind is purified. By purifying the mind, what purpose is served? Craving is abandoned.

By developing clarity, what purpose is served? Wisdom is developed. By developing wisdom, what purpose is served? Ignorance is abandoned.

Defiled by craving, the mind is not released [from emotional agitation] and defiled by ignorance, wisdom is not developed. Thus, abandoning craving through peace, there is liberation of the mental fluctuations, and abandoning ignorance through clarity, there is liberation by wisdom.

—Buddha Shakyamuni, Vijjābhāgiya Sutta

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