Construction at Ozaka

From The Letters of Rennyo Shonin (Gobunsho) Fascicle 4, Letter 15

The place called Ozaka in the Ikutama area, Higashinari district, Settsu province, must have had some connection with me from the distant past. After it took my fancy by chance in the latter part of autumn in the fifth year of Meio, I had a temple of sorts built here. Now three years have passed. I feel that I have some close karmic relationship with this place from the past.

In regard to this, the fundamental reason for living in this place is not to spend a relaxed life here or enjoy a life of luxury and glory or a life of seclusion appreciating flowers, birds, breezes and the moon. My sincere hope is only to see an increase in number of the practicers who have attained the entrusting heart and of those who recite the nembutsu - all for the sake of attaining the supreme enlightenment. It could happen that some people in the secular world harbor prejudice and come to me with difficult problems. In such a case, I would give up my attachment to this place and immediately withdraw.

In this connection, I hope more people, regardless of whether they are noble or base, priests or lay, will attain the entrusting heart which is indestructible as diamond; this will indeed be in accord with the Primal Vow of Amida Tathagata and, in particular, conform to Shinran Shonin’s true intention.

Incidentally, as of this year, this foolish old man has lived to the age of eighty-four; this is extraordinary. Since I feel I have been living in accord with the teaching of our tradition, I have nothing more to desire.

But I have not been well since the summer of this year and even now there is no sign of recovery. It seems certain that my long-cherished desire to attain birth will be finally realized this coming winter.

Morning and evening, I fervently wish that all will come to the attainment of the entrusting heart while I am still alive. Although I am aware that all of this depends on the good accumulated from the past, my worries never cease.

Or I should perhaps consider that my living here for three years has been worthwhile. Please be doubly sure that you attain the entrusting heart during this seven-day period of Hoonko services, so that you and others together may realize the sincere wish to attain birth in the land of bliss.

Humbly and respectfully.

This letter was first read on the 21st day of the 11th month, 7th year of Meio [1498]. It should be read so that people may attain the entrusting heart.

Shaku Shounyo