No.5 On Attaining Birth

Shinran Shonin stated, “One attains birth in the Pure Land before losing one’s body” to which his master, Honen Shonin, replied, “Yes.”

But Shoku Shonin, another disciple of Honen Shonin, insisted, “It is after losing one’s body that one attains birth in the Pure Land,” to which Honen Shonin again said, “Yes.”

Kakunyo Shonin, the third Head Priest of the Honganji Temple, however, declared, “There is as great a difference as that between heaven and earth between those in accord with the purport of the Original Prayer who speak of ‘attaining birth in the Pure Land before losing one’s body’ and those in discord who speak of ‘attaining birth after losing one’s body’.”

Kakunyo Shonin spoke in this way perhaps because the joy of faith, when one responds to the Buddha’s benevolence with deepest gratitude, cannot be found in the thought of “attaining birth after losing one’s body.”

Based on The Kudensho (The Record of Oral Transmission) by Kakunyo Shonin


Chimyo Takehara
December 2002


親鸞聖人は「体失せずして往生を遂げる」と申された。すると、師・法然上人は「いかにも」と応えられた。兄弟弟子の証空上人が、「体失してこそ、往生は遂 げうる」と主張されると、法然上人は、また「いかにも」と仰せになった。  しかし、本願の機の「不体失往生」と、非本願の機である「体失往生」とでは天 地の隔たりがあると覚如上人は記述している。 「体失往生」には「知恩報徳」の喜びがないからであろう。