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»Voice of the Nembutsu    »Dharma Teachings    »Jodo Shu Hymns (eisho)
Jodo Shu Hymns (eisho)
Honen-ji in Sanuki
It's just a rumor
that this is a small pine,
these are actually the branches of a tall pine
that hold up the clouds.
by Honen Shonin

In 1207 (the second year of Ken-ei) at the age of seventy-five, Honen Shonin bore responsibility for the delusions of his disciples and was exiled to Shikoku. Under the care of Kujo Kanezane, he was sent to the Tosa region, stopping along the way in Sanuki in the area of Komatsu ("small pine") no Sho. At that time, there was a temple called Shofuku-ji which years later was moved and reconstructed under its present name Honen-ji. Honen stayed in this area for nine months during which time he made pilgrimages to Zentsu-ji and other nearby temples while spreading the teachings of the nembutsu to the people.

Explanation of Verse: Nembutsu practice has been called "a small pine" (komatsu) taught to only those with no wisdom. Though these people are ridiculed as followers of an inferior practice, the reverse is the case. Nembutsu practice can be compared to the large branches of a tall pine which appear as if holding up the clouds in the sky. All the good practices which are seen as higher have a reliance on what is actually the most superior practice of all, the nembutsu.

At Shofuku-ji in Komatsu-no-sho,Sanuki, Honen encourages the people to practice the nembutsu (Honen, sanuki-koku komatsu-no-sho-no shofuku-ji-de, nembutsu-o susumeru) from the Honen Shonin gyojoezu, scroll 35, section 7.
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