^Let Amida’s virtues be praised for a hundred thousand kotis
of nayutas of kalpas, by tongues a hundred thousand countless kotis
of nayutas in number, each tongue producing countless voices,
and still those virtues could not be exhausted.

^The Sutra of Praise of the Pure Land
Translated by Tripiṭaka Master Hsüan-tsang

 

Hymn of the Two Gateways of
Entrance and Emergence

COMPILED BY GUTOKU SHINRAN,
DISCIPLE OF ŚĀKYAMUNI

 

^On the Treatise on the Sutra of Immeasurable Life, one fascicle, translated by the Indian Tripiṭaka Master Bodhiruci during the Wei dynasty.

^This treatise is by Bodhisattva Vasubandhu (P’o-sou-p’an-tou).

“P’o-sou-p’an-tou” is a transliteration of the Sanskrit.

In old translations, his name was translated T’ien-ch’in, which is inaccurate;

in later translations, it is given as Shih-ch’in, which is correct.

The Upadeśa in a Gatha of Aspiration for Birth

has been named Treatise on the Pure Land by Master Shan-tao.

This treatise is also called the Treatise on Birth.

The “two gateways of entrance and emergence” come from this work.

 

^Bodhisattva Vasubandhu, relying on the true

And real virtues taught in the Mahayana sutras,

^With the mind that is single, took refuge

In the Tathagata of inconceivable light filling the ten quarters.

^Unhindered light is great compassion;

This light is the wisdom of all the Buddhas.

^In contemplating that world [of the Pure Land], it is boundless,

And vast and infinite, like space.

^The fifth of the five inconceivabilities is the power of Buddha-dharma,

Which includes the Buddha-land’s inconceivability.

^In it, there are two kinds of inconceivable power,

Which manifest the supreme virtues of that land of happiness.

^The first is karmic power; [the land] has been fulfilled

By the karmic power of Dharmākara’s great Vow.

^The second is the power of the good of Amida,

The perfectly enlightened Dharma-king, by which [the land] is embraced.

^Women, the disabled, and those of the two vehicles

Are never born in the Pure Land of happiness as they are;

^The sages of the Tathagata’s pure lotus

Are born transformed from Dharmākara’s lotus of perfect enlightenment.

^Although there are initially nine grades among practicers,

Now [in the Pure Land] there are no distinctions whatever;

^For all are the same in saying the nembutsu, following no other way.

It is like the rivers Tzu and Sheng becoming one taste on entering the sea.

^Contemplating the power of the Tathagata’s Primal Vow,

One sees that no foolish being who encounters it passes by in vain.

^When a person single-heartedly practices the saying of the Name alone,

It brings quickly to fullness and perfection [in that person] the great treasure ocean of true and real virtues.

^[Dharmākara] Bodhisattva, having practiced the five gates of entrance and emergence,

Has fulfilled the practice of both self-benefit and benefit of others.

^Through inconceivable billions of kalpas,

He has gradually fulfilled the five gates.

^What are the “five gates of mindfulness”?

Worship, praise, aspiration, discernment, and directing virtue.

^How is worship accomplished? He performed worship with bodily acts,

For Amida Buddha, the perfectly enlightened one,

^Guiding all beings with skillful, compassionate means,

Brings them to aspire to be born in the land of happiness.

^This is called the first gate of entrance;

Further, it is called entering the gate of approach.

^How is praise accomplished? He performed praise with verbal acts,

For [Amida Buddha] brings beings to say the Name in accord with the Name’s significance,

^And to practice in accord with reality,

In correspondence with the Tathagata’s light, the embodiment of wisdom;

^This comes about through the Primal Vow in which the Tathagata of unhindered light

Selected and adopted the nembutsu.

^This is called the second gate of entrance;

It is attaining entry into the great assembly.

^How is aspiration accomplished? He aspired constantly in his mind,

For [Amida Buddha] brings beings to practice single-heartedly the saying of the Name and aspire to be born in the Pure Land.

^Attaining entry into the lotus-held world,

They are led to practice samatha in accord with reality.

^This is called the third gate of entrance;

Further, it is called entering the grounds.

^How is discernment accomplished? He discerned with wisdom;

For [Amida Buddha] brings beings to contemplate that land with right-mindedness

^And practice vipasyana in accord with reality.

^On reaching that land,

^They are led to enjoy the delights of the various tastes of dharma.

This is called the fourth gate of entrance;

^Further, it is called entering the residence.

^Concerning the bodhisattva’s fulfillment of practice,

^Know that he has fulfilled the virtues of the four kinds of entrance

And thereby fulfilled the practice for self-benefit.

^Fifth, he has fulfilled the virtues of emergence.

Concerning the bodhisattva’s fifth gate of emergence,

^How is directing virtue accomplished? He aspired in his heart;

Never abandoning any sentient being in suffering,

^He took the directing of virtue as foremost, and has fulfilled

The mind of great compassion; thus he bestows virtues.

^On being born in that land, one is able swiftly and rapidly

To fulfill samatha and vipasyana

^And gain the power of compassionate means; thereupon,

One enters the gardens of birth-and-death and the forests of blind passions,

^And assuming various transformed bodies to guide beings, freely sports there with transcendent powers;

Attaining the state of teaching and guiding, one benefits beings.

^This is called the fifth gate of emergence,

Which is entering the state of sporting in the gardens and forests.

^Know that because of the directing of virtue through the power of the Primal Vow,

He has fulfilled the practice of benefiting others.

^The Buddha of unhindered light, when in the causal stage,

Awakened his aspiration and established the universal Vow.

^The bodhisattva has already attained the mind of wisdom,

Attained the mind of skillful means and the unobstructed mind,

^Fulfilled the wondrous, joyous, excellent, and true mind,

^And quickly realized supreme enlightenment.

^The virtues of self-benefit and benefiting others have thus been fulfilled;

Vasubandhu taught this as the gates of entrance and emergence.

Master T'an-luan of Ta-yen Temple

^Our teacher, Master T’an-luan, wrote a commentary

On the Treatise of Vasubandhu Bodhisattva [in which he states:]

^It is the fulfillment of the power of the Vow that is taught as the five kinds of mindfulness.

From the standpoint of the Buddha, the term “benefiting others” should be used;

^From the standpoint of sentient beings, we use “Other’s benefiting;”

Know that it is the Buddha’s power that is being discussed.

^To practice fully in accord with reality

Is to be in correspondence with the significance of the Name and with the Buddha’s light;

^This is shinjin, which is called “the mind that is single.”

^Foolish beings possessed of blind passions

^Attain nirvana without severing blind passions;

This is the virtue of the land of happiness, which is the spontaneous working [of the Vow].

^Concerning “blossoms from the muddy ponds,” the [Vimalakīrti] Sutra states:

“The lotus does not grow in the solid ground of lofty plateaus,

^But in the muddy ponds of lowland marshes.”

This is an analogy meaning that foolish beings, while in the mud of blind passions,

^Put forth the blossoms of the Buddha’s perfect enlightenment;

^This indicates the inconceivable power

^Of the Tathagata’s universal Primal Vow.

Thus, the two gates of entrance and emergence are taught as Other Power.

Master Tao-ch’o of Hsuan-chung Temple

^Master Tao-ch’o explains:

^The Great Collection Sutra states that in the last dharma-age,

^Out of all sentient beings who seek to perform practices and accomplish the way,

Not one will gain realization.

^To awaken aspiration and perform practices in this world

Is the Path of Sages and is termed self-power.

^The present is the last dharma-age; it is the world of the five defilements;

The Pure Land way alone affords passage.

^Wrongdoing and evil acts in the present age

Are incessant and are like violent winds and torrential rains.

^Through the universal Primal Vow we are brought to say the Name;

This Name is for the sake of the sentient beings of defilement and evil;

^Hence, the Buddhas all encourage us to follow the Pure Land path.

^Though we may commit evil all our lives,

^Shinjin of three aspects in correspondence [with the Name] is the mind that is single;

The mind that is single is the genuine mind and is in accord with reality.

^Any assertion that we will not be born is clearly baseless.

^We necessarily attain birth in the land of happiness,

^And thereupon realize that birth-and-death is itself great nirvana.

^This is the path of easy practice; it is termed Other Power.

Master Shan-tao of Kuang-ming Temple

^Master Shan-tao explains:

^Attaining Buddhahood through the nembutsu: this is the true essence of the Pure Land way.

^It is called the ocean of the One Vehicle;

It is also called the bodhi[sattva]-pitaka.

^It is the consummate teaching among consummate teachings,

The sudden teaching among sudden teachings.

^It is hard to encounter the true essence of the Pure Land way, hard to realize shinjin.

This is the most difficult of difficulties; nothing surpasses it.

^Śākyamuni and all the other Buddhas

Are truly our compassionate father and mother.

^With various compassionate means they lead us to awaken

Supreme shinjin that is true and real.

^The foolish person possessed of blind passions,

Through the power of the Buddha’s Vow, comes to be grasped.

^Such a person does not belong to the group of ordinary beings;

Such a person is a white lotus among people;

^This person of shinjin is the finest and most rare among human beings;

This person is wondrous, excellent, the best among the best.

^On reaching the land of happiness, necessarily, by the spontaneous working [of the Vow],

Such a person immediately attains the eternal bliss of dharma-nature.