Hōnen Shōnin’s parting words to his students on the occasion of his being sent into exile

“Do not resent my being sent into exile, for I am approaching eighty years of age.  Even if we were living together as teacher and students in the capital, my departure from this saha world is drawing near.  Even if we are separated by mountains and oceans, do not doubt that we will meet again in the Pure Land.  Though we may reject this world, our human existence carries on.  Though we may cling to life, our death will come.  Why insist upon being in a certain place?

“What’s more, while I have spent all these years sharing the Nembutsu teaching here in the capital, it has been my heartfelt wish to go into the outlying regions and share the teachings with the farmers who work the fields.  However, a time had not come when I was able to fulfill that wish.  That I am now able to pursue this long-held wish is thanks to the great benevolence of the emperor.

“Though people may try to prevent the spread of this Dharma, the Dharma cannot be impeded.  The vow of all Buddhas to liberate sentient beings is deep, and the commitment on the part of the various deities who protect the Dharma is sincere.  Why would we allow ourselves to be influenced by worldly disdain and conceal the true meaning of the sutras and commentaries?

“However, it pains me to think that my propagating the Pure Land Dharma Gate, which is the essential path to certain liberation for all beings in this defiled age of decline, will have created a circumstance in which the deities who constantly protect the Dharma will blame those who have brutally suppressed the teachings.  We should bear in mind that as long as we are alive the working of cause and effect will continue unabated.  If the causes and conditions of our karmic connection with one another are not yet exhausted, who is to say that we will not meet again in this lifetime?”

(From The Pictorial Biography of Hōnen Shōnin (Hōnen Shōnin Eden 法然上人絵伝), Chapter 33, Section 3, translated by H. Adams)