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The Origins and Development of Pure Land BuddhismA Study and Translation of Gyonen's Jodo Homon Genrusho$

Mark L. Blum

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780195125245

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019512524X.001.0001

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Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu

Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu

(p.211) 5 Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu
The Origins and Development of Pure Land Buddhism
Mark L. Blum
Oxford University Press

Abstract and Keywords

This is a translation of part of the section of Gyōnen's Jōdo Hōmon Genrushō on the ecclesiastical history of the Pure Land school of Buddhism in Japan, which has been divided into five chapters (Chs. 4–8 of the translation). This chapter, and the following three, all focus on the thought and achievements of the major Pure Land thinkers of the Kakamura period through Gyōnen's eyes, nearly all of whom traced their lineage back to Hōnen. The thinker addressed in this chapter is Kōsai. Extensive footnotes are included.

Keywords:   Buddhism, Buddhist history, Genrushō, Gyōnen, Hōnen, Japan, Kōsai, Pure Land school of Buddhism, translations

The Venerable Kōsai                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu (1163–1247)1 is known for establishing the doctrine of the single nenbutsu (ichinengi                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu).2 When he spoke of “one nenbutsu” (p.212) (                      Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu), he meant one thought‐moment of Buddha wisdom, pointing precisely to the buddha‐mind. It is this mind that is being referred to in [his use of] nenbutsu.3 The mind of faith (shinjin                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu)4 of an ordinary being is in complete accord with the wisdom of the Buddha [in that moment]. It is this singular nenbutsu of Buddha wisdom that is [stipulated in] the Original Vow of Amida Buddha.

When the believing thoughts (                      Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu) of someone engaged in practice correspond to the mind of the Buddha, the mind [of that person] becomes congruent with an [associated] single thought‐moment (                      Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu) expressed in the force of the Vows issuing from the Buddha's wisdom. Subject (the buddha‐mind) and object (the sentient being) are not two. Faith and wisdom are one and the same. As these continue, thought after thought (                      Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu), one's Birth is assured.5

There is a verse in the Larger [Sukhāvatīvyūha] Sūtra which reads: “The ocean of the Tathāgata's wisdom is so deep and wide, it has neither shore nor bottom.”6 [In this passage the name] Tathāgata is a generic title applicable [to all buddhas]. The word wisdom expresses what is embodied in the fruition [of the path].

(p.213) Shan‐tao glosses this line as: “The ocean of Amida's vows of wisdom is so deep and wide, it has neither shore nor bottom.”7 The specific appearance of [the Buddha] Amida reflects the point of view of [this particular Buddha] as the lord who leads others to [his Land of] Bliss. His term “vows of wisdom” expresses the parallel concepts of cause and effect [in the workings] of that [particular] Buddha.8 That is, “wisdom” is the resultant essence [of the completed path]; it is what is experienced when the causes [for liberation] are brought to fruition.9 The “vows” are the mental causes [of that wisdom], that is, the forty‐eight vows [produced by the mind of Amitābha Buddha].

It was through the fruition of his practice wherein the vows were made [as a bodhisattva] that he obtained his resultant spiritual wisdom [as a buddha]. The embodiment of each [experience] of this resultant wisdom is contained in the vowing mind [dedicated to the liberation of others],10 just as the (p.214) accomplishment of this vowing mind (                      Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu)11 is precisely what is meant by buddha‐wisdom. In regard to this wisdom, strictly speaking it [also] contains the karmic impact carried over from vows made in previous lifetimes. Insofar as the essence of [a buddha's] wisdom lies in that which is accomplished by the force of that buddha's vows, the omniscience12 held by Amida can thus be termed “vows of wisdom” (                      Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu).

This [also] refers to the mind of a single thought‐moment (nen) of Buddha‐wisdom. And because the mind of faith in the practitioner is aligned with this wisdom, thought after thought will thus correspond to the Buddha's wisdom. Shan‐tao said:

I rely on the sudden teaching of the bodhisattva canon, the ocean of the one vehicle. Expounding these verses, I take refuge in the three treasures, corresponding to the Buddha mind.13

When [Shan‐tao] says “buddha‐mind,” this is none other than “Buddha‐wisdom.” The reverent mind14 of the commentary's author (Shan‐tao) corresponds with the Buddha‐wisdom. Such mysterious alignment of subject and object is the doctrine of the singular nenbutsu.15

(p.215) In his Ryakuryōken16 Kōsai writes,

The phrase “ocean of the one vehicle” is a descriptive metaphor of the Buddhist teaching. The “one vehicle” (ekayāna) refers to the [buddha's] “comprehensive vows” (gugan                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu). The “comprehensive vows” are the Buddha's wisdom. The “Buddha's wisdom” is none other than a single thought‐moment (                      Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu). The “ocean” refers to [the fact that] all ordinary people, whether good or bad, who take refuge in the ocean of these Vows of the Buddha's wisdom and [thus] attain Birth are like a multitude of streams flowing into an ocean.17

And it is stated in Master [Kōsai's] Ittai'ki,18

It is the mind with which the Tathāgata actively leads [sentient beings to liberation], and this mind is [none other than] spiritual wisdom, actively leading people [to the other shore]. True reality is nothing more than the mind of a single thought‐moment (                      Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu).19 That which is led to understanding within sentient beings is [likewise this] mind.20 This mind [of sentient beings] is [also] wisdom; it is by this wisdom that one is saved. The “right gate”21 is not [to be found] outside this mind. The one (p.216) vehicle is none other than precisely this mind. It is a mind purged of wrong, a mind that has turned toward the right.22

It is a mind that rejects the trivial and accepts the significant. It is a mind that rejects the gradual and accepts the sudden. It is a mind that rejects the sage and accepts the ordinary.23 The two rivers are also [this] mind, and the white path [between them] is [this] mind.24 These are also only the mind of a single thought.25 This is called the “mind of reality;”26 it is called the “profound mind” as well as the “vowing mind.” Therefore it is said, “If one is endowed with these three minds, one will definitely attain Birth.”27

(p.217) In the doctrine we have [the concept of] the triple mind, but looking at the essence of this, there is only one thought that is relevant. This is because the mind that believes in the Vows [of Amida] entrusts itself28 to those Vows, and a mind aligned with wisdom [can be] mysteriously unified with the Buddha's wisdom without any duality.29

All other teachings are teachings for sages. The nenbutsu is the doctrinal focus (                      Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu) for the ordinary.30 All the teachings for the path to self‐perfection are taken up by holy people who realize the fruits of the holy path in this defiled world.31 The gate of the Pure Land Teaching is taken up by ordinary people. This [path] enables all ordinary persons to attain Birth in the Pure (p.218) Land, suddenly elevating them to the first bodhisattva stage and giving rise to the realization of the nonarising of dharmas (anutpattikadharmakṣānti).

The Ryakuryōken says,

In studying [religious] teachings, there are ninety‐six different paths, and these can be divided into two bundles: ninety‐five that are nonbuddhist and the one Buddhist path.32 And there are 84,000 teachings within Buddhism, which can also be divided into two: the canon for the [pre‐Mahāyāna] listeners (śrāvaka‐piṭaka) and the canon for bodhisattvas (bodhisattva‐piṭaka).

Within the canon for bodhisattvas there are also two: the gradual teaching and the sudden teaching. Within the sudden teaching there are two: the sudden teaching for sages and the sudden teaching for ordinary people.33 “Sages” refers to the adepts of the ten stages.34 “Ordinary people” refers to the five vehicles.35 When I say I am now taking refuge in the sudden teaching of the bodhisattva canon, properly speaking [this means] the sudden teaching for ordinary people. This has been termed “the sideways leap across the four outflows.”36 It has also been called “quickly realizing the body of nonarising.”37 Someone also referred to this as “immediately realizing the eternal bliss of the true nature of things (p.219) (dharmatā).”38 It can even be called “realizing the bliss of the Uncreated (asaṃskṛta‐dharma).”39

These statements all refer to the eminently marvelous land of the Buddha in his Reward Body (saṃbhogakāya), into which [all beings of] the five vehicles enter equally.”40

When ordinary people, bound with restraints,41 are carried [from their pain] by the Buddha's Original Vow and are born in the land where the buddha in his Reward Body, they suddenly enter the first bodhisattva stage. This is called “the sudden [awakening] of the ordinary person” (                      Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu) because one suddenly ascends to sagehood [in this manner].

The Shōbutsu‐ki42 states,

When one aims at directly achieving the fruit of buddhahood here and now, this [path] should be known as the one vehicle of the sudden teaching [as expounded] in the canon for tathāgatas. It is precisely [the type of] doctrine meant for sages [of the ten bhūmi].43


When one first seeks the Pure Land and accordingly ascends to the first bodhisattva bhūmi in the next life, this [path] is known as the ocean of the one vehicle of the sudden teaching [as expounded] in the canon for bodhisattvas.

When ordinary persons [attain] Birth and ascend to the first bodhisattva stage, this is said to describe the first benefit, accruing to those of the highest grade of the highest rank. The benefits attained by the lower eight ranks of beings gradually decrease with each increment.44

A verse in the Ryakuryōken reads,

  • When faced with the two sudden [teachings]
  • for sages and ordinary beings,
  • Take the one for ordinary people
  • as the orthodox path.
  • (p.221)
  • Śākyamuni came into the world
  • for the sake of ordinary people,
  • Only to expound
  •  the one vehicle sudden [doctrine].”45

The great master Śākyamuni left behind the Unsurpassed Land46 and astonishingly entered the burning house of this Sahā defiled land, preaching the Pure Land Teaching. He enabled all ordinary beings to realize Birth suddenly in a [pure‐]land of a Reward [Body buddha], realizing the first bodhisattva stage. It is for this reason that the Tathāgata appeared in our Sahā world.

QUESTION: What did Dharmākara [A]mida [promise] that wholeheartedly serves as the Original Vow which is the cause for Birth in the Pure Land where the buddha resides in [his Reward Body] of Glory?

ANSWER: Among the forty‐eight [vows], it is the eighteenth vow [extolling] nenbutsu recitation that is [known as the] Vow which is the cause for Birth.

The Ryakuryōken states:

The [designation of a] Reward‐realm of a Reward Body buddha (sāṃbhogika‐buddha sāṃbhogika‐kṣetra) indicates the location [of the Pure Land]. The fundamental covenant, the Original Vow, is none other than the holy Name. Ten moments of thought (nen                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu) refers to the number of nen; it does not indicate [a statement about] the duration of time (p.222) involved.47 The comprehensive vow (gugan                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu) with this special meaning is completely different from all others.48

When [Kōsai] says, “only the holy Name,” he refers to what has already been affirmed as the Vow, which is the cause for Birth; [namely, the Vow which declares] that one should just recite the Buddha's Name, for the karma generated by our thoughts and actions is not [at issue]. If ordinary beings recite the Buddha's Name with the utmost sincerity, they will suddenly pass beyond this Sahā world and enter the first bodhisattva stage (bhūmi). Truly this is due to the powerful causal force embodied in the Tathāgata's inconceivable Vows that were made in the [distant] past. As it says in the verse from the Ryakuryōken:
  • Among the dharmas, myriad as sand
  • What is inconceivable
  • Is precisely this meaning.
(p.223) In the Shōbutsu‐ki [Kōsai] writes,

There are two kinds of [A]mida [Buddha].

First is the figure of the buddha incarnate in a Transformation Body,49 that is, Amida as the object of contemplation. It says in the Hsüan‐i [fên section of Shan‐tao's commentary]:

Since the hindrances of sentient beings are massive and the fact of their defilements significant,50 the Buddha worries whether [those beings] will be able to perceive his true form or not. Because there are no means for [this form] to appear [naturally], [the Buddha] provisionally creates the image of his true form in such a way that the minds [of those seeking the Buddha] can focus on it. Because one perceives this object [of contemplation] as identical to the Buddha [in his Reward Body], this is called a provisional [form] of the true [form of the Buddha in his Reward Body].51

The “recitation of the holy Name” as explained here in the Kuan‐ching [therefore] involves a Name of Amida that is [only] provisionally established. If a practitioner relies on this practice, they may attain a provisionally established Birth. “Provisionally established” here specifically means a womb birth.52 This is consistent for all buddhas. (p.224) Thus [Shan‐tao also] said,

What is termed “nenbutsu” (nien‐fo) is none other than devotedly holding Amida Buddha in mind. . . . All buddhas are also [to be regarded] like this.53

The nenbutsu for those in the lowest grade is the same. Here Amida and all other buddhas are compared and the proximity and benefit of each debated. This refers to one's spiritual capacity.54 Even if one were to gladly receive the benefits of another buddha's vows, they would be no match for the far superior great benefits of this [Buddha].55


Second is the figure of the Buddha in his Reward Body of Glory. This is the Amida of the comprehensive vows of special significance.56 The Hsüan‐i [fên section of Shan‐tao's Kuan‐ching shu] states:

The Larger Sukhāvatīvyūha Sūtra states that when bhikṣu Dharmākara Bodhisattva [practiced the bodhisattva path] under Lokeśvararāja Buddha,57 [he pledged to postpone his becoming a buddha if his vows were not kept]. But now that he has already become a buddha, his body expresses the reward brought forth [by his many kalpas of practice].58

Entrusting oneself to these vows becomes our ultimate karmic connection [with the buddha]. It is just like the statement in the Larger Sūtra that declares that holding in mind (                      Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu) this Amida is none other than holding in mind all buddhas of the ten directions. There is no discrimination made between this buddha and those buddhas. For this reason what is termed “the samādhi of nenbutsu” specifically [refers to] the passage [in the Kuan‐ching] denoting to the contemplation of the true body (shinjin                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu) of the buddha.59

(p.226) There are thus two distinct kinds of Amida Buddha [according to Kōsai] that one may hold in the mind during nenbutsu practice. The image [of the Buddha] which forms the eighth, or “object contemplation” [practice], in the Kuan‐ching, is modeled on the true bodies [of the buddha and his attendant bodhisattvas]. But this [visualization meditation] is to be understood as [merely employing] the images of the [true] bodies [of Amitābha, Avalokiteśvara, and Mahāsthāmaprāpta]. Provisional contemplations such as this function as true skillful means [to arrive ultimately at a perception of the true form]. Therefore, [it should be understood that] when holding in mind this image [of the Buddha], one is imagining [only] a provisional mentation (ke'nen                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu), because it is the Buddha in a Transformation Body that one is holding in the mind (nen                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu).

Contemplation of the true body of the Buddha (i.e., the ninth contemplation) is, properly speaking, [an experience of] a true body; this is the Buddha in his Reward Body. When holding this name in mind, one is practicing the true and proper nenbutsu.60 If one recites a nenbutsu to a buddha in his Transformation body, he/she receives the reward of womb birth as someone born in a pure land of a buddha incarnate in a Transformation body. If one recites the nenbutsu to a buddha in his Reward Body of Glory, however, one receives the reward of a Birth by transformation in a pure land of a buddha [manifest] in a Reward Body. The holding in one's mind of [provisional] images [as in the eighth contemplation] is merely complying with the Original Vow of that [provisional] buddha; it is not aligned with the Original Vow of the actual Tathāgata. If one recites [the Name of] the (p.227) Buddha in this Reward Body of Glory, one will be properly aligned with the Original Vow [of the actual Tathāgata]. As the direct cause by which one transcends [one's spiritual status as] an ordinary [person], this wondrous practice [boosts one to] the first bodhisattva stage.61

The Shōbutsu‐ki goes on to state:

Thus, the protection of the buddhas62 of the ten directions lies with [sentient beings] who yearn for [the Land of] Bliss and recite [the Name of] Amida.63 Those who truly desire to attain [a stage of] nonbacksliding, should direct their aspiration for enlightenment [bodhicitta] toward the aspiration [for reaching] the [Land of] Bliss. They should put aside all other buddhas and recite [the Name of] Amida.

(p.228) However, if a buddha in his Transformation Body [is the object] of one's [practice of] recitation, obeisance, and concentration, then one will [achieve a state where] Amida and sentient beings are linked in a mutual nonabandonment of the three [linked] practices of I and Thou. But the three [linked] practices of all [other] buddhas will not be added to this [relationship]. If, however, one were only to hold in mind the Name of the true body, one would be [in a state] where all buddhas and sentient beings would be [linked] in a mutual nonabandonment of the three activities of I and Thou.64

Why is this? Because if one holds in mind the [Name of the] true Amida, then one holds in mind all the buddhas of the ten directions. It states in the Smaller Sukhāvatīvyūba Sūtra:

[If good men or good women] hear the Name[s] expounded by all buddhas as well as the Names of their sūtras . . . [they] will be protected by all these buddhas inclusively and will not backslide [in their progress toward enlightenment].65

This proper [reading of this statement] is that it indicates the Name of the true body. (p.229) To explain this idea, it can be said there are two levels to the inseparability of the three activities. Reciting [the Name of] the Buddha in his Transformation Body, the three activities are inseparable only with [A]mida. Reciting [the Name of] the Buddha in his Reward Body, the three activities of the practitioner and the three activities of all the Buddhas will be in mutual nonabandonment.

Kōsai also wrote these verses in the Shōbutsu‐ki:

  • From throughout the ten‐thousand practices presented,
  • both of concentrated and scattered mind,
  • I have specifically selected,
  • the single practice of nenbutsu.
  • If I am born in the Pure Land through the nenbutsu,
  • I enter the first bhūmi,
  • The ten‐thousand practices will be perfectly realized,
  • and I will sit on the ground of enlightenment (bodhimaṇḍa).66
The first two lines are intended to illustrate the dissemination and entrusting of the Name [to a chosen listener]. This third line is on Birth in the Pure Land and [the accompanying] realization of the nonarising of dharmas. In the last line, the goal of buddhahood is attained.

The doctrines of the Pure Land teaching are entirely contained within the three [Pure Land] sūtras. It is through the Larger Sūtra that one chooses the Original Vow [as his religious focus]. It is in the Kuan‐ching that one turns ultimately to reciting the Name. It is by means of the Smaller Sūtra that one accepts the confirmation of [other] buddhas.67 For this reason, these three sūtras on the Pure Land [are said to] embody the perfection and accomplishment of Birth through the practice of nenbutsu.

Therefore the Ryakuryōken states:

Anyone equipped with [a knowledge of] the three sūtras will be able to maintain his/her [focused] state of mind without fail. If they should drop even one of the sūtras from their grasp, they will lose this ability.68

(p.230) The universal establishment of Birth by nenbutsu is unequivocally based on both the mind of faith (shinjin                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu) and [what Kōsai calls] the mind of the one nenbutsu [aligned with] the Buddha's wisdom.69 If these correspond with each other, the matter is settled and one is naturally born in the Pure Land. [This event, however,] is not based on time in the sense of being either in the distant or near future, or occurring early or occurring late; nor is it based on the quantity or depth of one's nenbutsu practice.

The Ryakuryōken says,

When one is in accordance with the Buddha mind, the act [of Birth] is accomplished. One does not question whether this happens at an earlier or later time.

The doctrine [Kōsai] established is known as “the doctrine of one nenbutsu.” It is wholly based on the definitive conclusions set down in the manner [stated above].

Once more, from the Ryakuryōken:

When your life is about to end, the Buddha appears before you. If you follow [your own] mind, there will be no Birth, so rely on his Vow!

The religious practitioner is born in that [realm] only through the force of the [the Buddha's] Vow. It will not happen based on the individual self‐efforts (jiriki                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu) of the ordinary person. The defilements (kleśa) of ordinary people burdened with sin are heavy; the realm of the Tathāgata in his Reward Body is far beyond their limitations. Thus if one only looks to the [power (p.231) inherent in the] Buddha's Vow, [one's desire for Birth] will be accomplished straightaway.

Such are the doctrines established by Kōsai.

The disciples of Kōsai include the Venerable Shōjō                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu (n.d.), the Venerable Shōen                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu (n.d.) {who later joined Chōsai's followers}, the Venerable Myōshin                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu (d. 1231),70 the Venerable Nyūshin                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu (n.d.), the Venerable Zenshō                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu (1199–1268?),71 and the Venerable Gonshin                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu (n.d.) {who resides in Kobata                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu}. Each received instruction [directly] from Kōsai and endeavored to spread [his teachings]. Among the disciples of Zenjō are the Venerable Yōshin                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu (n.d.) and the Venerable Senzai                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu (n.d.). Both propagated [the instruction] they received [from Zenjō], and [thus] was [this line] disseminated far and near. There are groups now [in Kōsai's lineage] in Rakuyō                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu and Hashū                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu {Awa                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu}.72 (p.232)


(1.) Washio, 376b, Sumita: 205 (biography), 212 (writings), 215–226 & 258–267 (thought). There is precious little information on Kōsai's life, save that he entered the priesthood under Hōnen's tutelage at age 36 after the death of his child and was scheduled for persecution in both 1207 and 1227 but apparently escaped each time. Kōsai's appears to have had a sizable following, but the antinomian implictions in his ichinengi interpretations made him unpopular with the authorities as well as the more orthodox lines stemming from Hōnen, such as Chinzei and Seizan. Aside from some letters of Hōnen written to Kōsai's followers in Echigo there is little historical evidence about the ichinengi movement. In addition to the three works partially quoted by Gyōnen below, only one other composition of Kōsai is extant: the Gengibunshō                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, one section of a treatise on Shan‐tao's Kuan‐ching shu. In 1918 Ōtani University published a recently discovered manuscript copy made by the Shin scholar Ekū                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu (1644–1721). This text has been edited by Yasui Kōdō                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, Hōnen monka no kyōgaku                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu (Kyoto: Hōzōkan, 1938; reprinted 1968), Appendix, 41–88, and again by Kakehashi Jitsugo                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, Gengibunshō kōjutsu                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu (Kyoto: Nagata Bunshōdō, 1994). Kōsai's name is also affixed to a collection of biographies from Chinese sources on Shan‐tao, Tōchō kyōshi oshō ruiju‐den                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu in 1 fascicle, Ono 2.259c, a manuscript copy held at the Kanazawa Bunko, and a woodblock print from 1654 held at Ōtani University, Kyoto, otherwise unpublished.

(2.) The term ichinengi is a Kamakura period invention, representing one school of interpretation of Hōnen's doctrine that saw the value of practice only insofar as it led to religious experience. Here that experience is defined as a moment of oneness with the “buddha‐mind.” The translation “doctrine of the one nenbutsu,” should be read to imply both an individual, instantaneous performance of nenbutsu and a unique event of existential significance. By the description here this is a samādhi state that confirms Birth as the defining religious experience and may even represent the experience of Birth itself. Kōsai refrains from using the term samādhi in the interests of preserving Hōnen's promise of universal access to the “easy” path. Whether or not ichinengi esteems faith over practice, as some characterize it, is not clear, because Gyōnen's discussion is on the attainment, not the means. But it certainly obviates the value of continual nenbutsu practice as advocated below by Ryūkan.

(3.) nen no shin to su.                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu. Although there is no single term that can adequately express multivalent qualities of nen                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu and shin                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, in the case of Kōsai at least, nen is quite close to the notion of individual thoughts, as in the Sanskrit citta as used in the Abhidharma. At the same time, nen always indicates nenbutsu in some broad sense as well. Shin, though also standing for citta in some Chinese translations, here expresses instead something akin to the Japanese concept of kokoro, indicating the entire mind or identity as such. While nen implies nenbutsu here, the aspect of momentariness is also present, if not central. In other words, this is the psychological state wherein one experiences this mystical state in a single moment of thought.

(4.) Shinjin is a term that expresses the awakening of faith. It is frequently found in Jōdoshin writings, but should not be mistakenly taken as a religious concept exclusive to that school. It is found in the Wu‐liang‐shou ching twice, and used by T'an‐luan, Tao‐ch'o, Shan‐tao, Genshin, and Hōnen, who explains in his Ōjō daiyō‐shō that shinjin must include faith in the sūtras as well as in the buddhas (Jōdoshū zensho 9.493a). It appears no less than eight times in Hōnen's Senchakushū. The term is also used outside of Pure Land writings, appearing frequently in Kumārajīva's translations of such texts as the Diamond Sūtra, the Lotus Sūtra, and the Ta chih‐tu lun.

(5.) For Monnō, 29L, having achieved understanding through faith, or shinge                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu (sometimes adhimukti) each thought is matched with the buddha‐mind.

(6.) T 12.273b7.

(7.) From the Wang‐shêng li‐tsan chieh                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu Ōjōraisan‐ge, T No. 1980, 47.441a17. Shan‐tao's contribution here is the shift from all Tathāgatas to the Tathāgata Amitābha specifically, and the inclusion of his bodhisattva vows here to create a new phrase, chih‐yüan                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, “vows of wisdom,” meaning the vows that embody the omniscient wisdom of the Buddha.

(8.) The notion of cause here specifically refers to the Vow(s) of Amida that enable sentient beings to enter the Pure Land easily. The effect is the resultant wisdom accrued when the bodhisattva path is completed after reaching the Pure Land. It is important to note here that Kōsai's use of cause and effect does not state that this particular effect is decisively determined by this particular cause; instead he only infers sequence. See also the next sentence.

(9.) In other words, wisdom (prajñā) is the result of a long period of practice along the bodhisattva path. Gyōnen's phrasing here, shū‐in kanka                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, also occurs in Hōnen's Tōzanjō                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, at Hōnen Shōnin zenshū 427.14, but is written as                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu. As both are pronounced the same, there appears to have been some confusion regarding this term within the Buddhist tradition in Japan. The former specifically denotes a “reward for a cause,” hence refers to the saṃbhogakāya, as seen in the phrase used by Shan‐tao: ch'ou yin chih shên                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu shū‐in no shin (Kuan‐ching shu, 250b18). Hōnen's usage in the Tōzanjō is quoted in the Jōdoshū daijiten 2.162a, but with the former, i.e., with the character ch'ou, which, as a verb, reads as mukui in Japanese, meaning “reward” or “retribution.” If the Tōzanjō text printed in the Hōnen Shōnin zenshū is accurate, the phrase                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu in which the word mukui                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu is replaced by osameru                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu becomes instead a statement about praxis, yielding something akin to “what ye soweth, so shall ye reap.” By contrast, Gyōnen's paraphrase of Kōsai's terminology is a statement about soteriology as implied by the word, “the effect itself”                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu. Another reading of                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu here would take                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu to be the vows made as a bodhisattva; in this case the vows themselves are the central cause of his reaching buddhahood and therefore they embody his resultant wisdom.

(10.) By extension, each individual sentient being must make their own vows to complete the path and attain “buddha‐wisdom.”

(11.) The word shin                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, though translated here as “mind” in order to maintain consistency, also carries an important dimension of citta in the sense of bodhicitta: the aspiration for enlightenment working as a self‐directed vow or promise (praṇidhāna) to attain such.

(12.) shūchi                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu. Monnō, 29R, glosses this as dō‐shūchi                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, which Soothill, 68a, describes as “bodhisattva knowledge of all things in their proper discrimination.” Nakamura, Bukkyōgo daijiten (Tokyo: Tokyo Shoseki, 1981), 635a, points out, however, that shūchi can be an abbreviation for issai shūchi                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, one of the three kinds of sarvajñā [omniscience] of a Buddha. The latter seems more appropriate in this context since the topic is Amitābha and his vows.

(13.) From the opening set of verses to the Kuan‐ching shu, 246a5.

(14.) kishin                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu. Here an abbreviation for kimyō no kokoro                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, the mind which has taken refuge in the Dharma, specifically the Dharma of Amitābha.

(15.) The person who has taken refuge in the compassionate omniscience of the Buddha experiences a correlation between his/her mind and a thought of the Buddha. In other words, this is something like mystical contact between the mundane self and the noumenal other during samādhi. Notice that Kōsai does not call this experience a “union.” When he says the “subject and object are not two” he is probably implying a kind of intersubjective consensus. Contrast Kōsai's stance with the explicit statement of mystical union set forth in the controversial text, Anjin ketsujōshō                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, at Shinshū shōgyō zensho 3.615, Ono 1.71a, where the “the unity of individual and buddha” (kihō ittai                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu) in a formless state, or dharmakāya.

(16.) Ryakuryōken                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu. No longer extant. This work is only known by its quotation here in the Genrushō. Yasui, 147, takes it to be a commentary on the Hsüan‐i fên section of Shan‐tao's Kuan‐ching shu.

(17.) The metaphor of streams flowing into an ocean is often found in Buddhist literature expressing the comprehensiveness of the Mahāyāna. Although the phrase “ocean of the one vehicle” does not occur in the Lotus Sūtra itself, such rhetoric is based in that sūtra's promise to embrace believers on all Buddhist paths.

(18.) Ittai'ki                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu. No longer extant. As with the Ryakuryōken, Gyōnen's citations here are the only known references to this work.

(19.) In other words, the Dharma ultimately can be reduced to its most significant fact: the Buddha's omniscent mind expressive of his intention to save all sentient beings.

(20.) “Mind” is glossed by Monnō, 30R, in this sentence as referring to the individual's mind of faith (shinjin                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu). But one might also take it as kokoro in the sense of one's spiritual identity.

(21.) The term “gate” is a metaphor for teaching or a particular spiritual path. This particular compound shōmon                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu (C. cheng‐mên) appears to be a creation of Kamakura Buddhism, reflecting the strong need to distinguish the particular Buddhist path one has committed to from all others, as it also appears in Dōgen's Shōbōgenzō (see Bendōwa                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu). The term is not part of traditional Tendai jargon and cannot be found in the Kumārajīva translation of the Saddharma‐puṇḍarīka‐sūtra, but as an expression of orthodoxy it can be understood as a synonym for saddharma. We do find the same term in the writings of Shan‐tao, not in the Kuang‐ching shu but in the Fa‐shih tsan, where the orthodox approach or “right gate” is the “realm of Amitābha” (T 47.437a7). The Wu‐liang‐shou ching only uses                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu in the sense of proper behavior or good deeds, and cheng‐mên does not occur. Here the exclusivist overtones of the Saddharma‐puṇḍarīka have been assimilated into Pure Land Buddhist doctrine.

(22.) For this difficult passage, which is not punctuated in the earliest editions, I have followed Sumita's reading, which differs from Eryū's text.

(23.) The terms “sage” and “ordinary” refer to the paradigm of two opposing paths first broached by Tao‐ch'o and which by this time had become orthodox in the Japanese Pure Land tradition. This statement is thus an allusion to Tao‐ch'o and his epistemic of the path in which a traditional approach, together with its sudden versus gradual debate, are left behind for a commitment to the alternative of what he coins as the Pure Land path. Yet Kōsai also borrows from the sudden/gradual discourse the felt superiority of the subitist approach—normally only applied to the traditional path to self‐perfection for sages—and here applies it to the Pure Land path in a new and unique way, affirming the notion of a sudden enlightenment of ordinary beings. See M. Blum, “Pure Land Buddhism as an Alternative Mārga,” The Eastern Buddhist, 27.1, Spring 1994.

(24.)                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu. An allusion to a famous allegory told by Shan‐tao in the San‐shan yi section of his Kuan‐ching shu, 272c17ff. Shan‐tao attempted to illustrate the difficulty and simultaneous necessity of treading the Pure Land mārga which he compared to a narrow white path that suddenly appears to someone being pursued in the wilderness by bandits and dangerous animals. On either side lie two raging rivers, one of fire, symbolizing anger, the other water, representing greed. This section has a Zen‐like quality to it in that the mind itself is the source of spiritual defilement, sudden transformation, as well as the path from one to the other. Compare with Ippen's view in Hirota (1997), li–liv.

(25.) What Monnō, 30R, describes as “the mind where subject and object are one.”

(26.) This phrase shinjitsu shin                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu can be found repeatedly in the same chapter of the Kuan‐ching shu, 270c27–271a26.

(27.) Based on a similar passage in the Kuan‐ching, 344c12, Kōsai is quoting Shan‐tao's restatement of this principle in his Wang‐shêng li‐tsan, at T 47.438c12. Hōnen also quotes this same line in his Senchakushū, at T 83.12a26.

(28.) The text needs emendation here. The phrase, “entrusts itself to the Vows,” is a translation of takugan                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, but instead the text reads, tagan                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, “to deceive or belittle the Vows.” All versions of the text contain this error without comment, including Eryū, 16R, Monnō, 30R, and Sumita, 270. Compare Morohashi character numbers 35243, 35374, and 35431.

(29.) Here we see a much stronger statement on mystical unity than Gyōnen's quotations from Kōsai's own texts, and this may be an instance of Gyōnen's interpretation of Kōsai going somewhat beyond Kōsai's own viewpoint. But without any corroborating material on Pure Land doctrine from either Kōsai or Gyōnen, it cannot be determined with any certainty whether this is the voice of Kōsai or Gyōnen. The parameters of an individual's “mind aligned with wisdom” (chi ni kanau no kokoro/shin                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu), unfortunately unexplained, also remain unclear.

(30.)                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu. This is an example where the interpretation of the word shū                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu can radically change the thrust of the sentence. In this instance, shū may be denoting a sectarian movement, specifically Hōnen's nenbutsu‐shū, as it was called in his day. This would yield a translation akin to, “The nenbutsu is the sect for ordinary beings.” Or, in keeping with my feeling that such a reading is too politically charged (that is, influenced by the assumptions of eighteenth‐century Edo period sectarian scholarship), I suggest that shū should be seen here rather as limited to a particular lineage of thought or doctrine. The latter interpretation is further justified by the parallel structure between this and the previous sentence,                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, which clearly matches                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu with                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu. Note also how the expression, “all other teachings”                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, contrasts with nenbutsu when the more common opposite form is “all other practices”                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu. Thus the nenbutsu for Kōsai is conceived as a doctrine rather than a specific form of praxis, and the notion of a shū is thus to be understood as indicating a line of teaching or set of doctrinal assumptions.

(31.)                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu. The construction of this sentence and the one that follows reflects an example of the odd grammar sometimes employed by Gyōnen that would fall into the category of hentai kanbun                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu. In both cases the main verb is the Chinese character pei                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, read here as kōmurashimu, creating a passive causative of the copula. Instead of pei noting the agent in the instrumental or functioning as an auxiliary verb denoting passive syntax, in Gyōnen's writings this character frequently functions as a passive causative marker.

(32.) This number, ninety‐five                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, can be traced both to the Hua‐yen ching and the Pai‐lun                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, the latter notable in that it includes the so‐called Hīnayāna teachings among the ninety‐five. The early catalogs also list apocryphal texts bearing such titles as the Chiu‐shih‐wu chung tao ching                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu Kujūgo‐shu dō‐kyō, found in the Chung‐ching mu‐lu at T 55.138c27 and Ta chou k'an‐t'ing mu‐lu at T 55.473b26), and the Chiu‐shih‐liu chung tao ching                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu Kujūroku‐shu dō‐kyō, which appears in the Chu‐san tsang chi at T 55.39a18, Nei‐t'ien lu at T 55.334b14, etc. None of these works appears to have survived. See Ono 2.319b,c.

(33.) To the best of my knowledge this hermeneutic category has no precedent prior to Kōsai, and appears to be his creation. Long after his line died out, this scheme continued to underlie much of Pure Land theory in Japan.

(34.) jisshō                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu. Defined as bodhisattvas who have attained to one of the ten bhūmi.

(35.) gojō                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu. There are various schema under this appellation, but in this context Kōsai is probably referring to the following set of beings: (1) pre‐bhūmi bodhisattvas, (2) śrāvakas, (3) pratyekabuddhas, (4) ordinary people, (5) devas; in other words, all Buddhists who have not yet reached the first bhūmi.

(36.)                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu. See Kuan‐ching shu, 245c14. This is a statement about leaving behind the four intense defilements, S. catur‐ogha (                      Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu): kāma, bhāva, dṛṣṭi, avidyā.

(37.)                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu. See Kuan‐ching shu, 246a4. Haneda, 217, note 48, interprets this as a reference to nonbacksliding, but Sumita, 275, glosses this as an abbreviation of mushōbōnin                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, S. anutpattikadharmakṣānti, the realization of the nonarising nature of dharmas.

(38.)                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu. See Kuan‐ching shu, 246b16. The term dharmatā is one of the many Mahāyāna terms denoting the noumenal nature of phenomena.

(39.)                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu. Preceded by the phrase, “riding on the Vows, one [attains] Birth and . . . ” in the Kuan‐ching shu, 247a10. Although there are a number of uncreated, eternal dharmas, in the context of Pure Land thought this is a reference to the ultimate religious goal of nirvāṇa and parallels the hermeneutic move of Shinran in conflating the gap between the two goals of reaching the Pure Land and attaining nirvāṇa.

(40.) A paraphrase of the Kuan‐ching shu, 251a6–9 which actually reads: “That Buddha as well as his land has been said to be saṃbhoga; the saṃbhoga dharma is eminently wondrous . . . ”

(41.) gubaku bonbu                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu. This phrase became well‐known in the tradition and is frequently cited in Kamakura and later texts. It refers to the last three of the nine levels of spiritual capacity outlined in the Kuan‐ching. The Edo period Genrushō commentaries (Monnō, 31R; KG, 17R; SK2, 46R) trace it to a commentary on Chih‐i's Shih‐i lun                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu Jūgiron (T No. 1961) by Ch'êng‐yü                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu (Chōiku, N. Sung) entitled Chu shih‐i lun                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu Chū‐jugi ron, in 1 fascicle, at Zokuzōkyō, No. 1149, 61.153, Ono 8.48b. This text is known to have come to Japan by 1094.

(42.) Shōbutsu‐ki                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu. This is the third Kōsai text to be quoted by Gyōnen; also not extant. Sumita, 276, concluded it was a commentary on the Kuan‐ching.

(43.) Kōsai is affirming that the universal teaching of the Mahāyāna can be divided into two distinct canons. Both reflect the hermeneutically correct positions of being “sudden” and “one‐vehicle” (ekayāna), but one is directed to beings so advanced within the ten bhūmi that they expect to become buddhas in this very life; the other is for everyone else, who despite their sincerity recognise they will not achieve buddhahood and instead seek nonbacksliding status at the first bhūmi within the Pure Land. The first canon he labels as designated for buddhas (                      Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu), the second for bodhisattvas (                      Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu). Kōsai's language is potentially misleading not only because the term nyoraizō                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, which refers here to a tathāgata‐piṭaka, more commonly represents the concept of tathāgata‐garbha, but also because the recipients of this first group of teachings are bodhisattvas ranked within the 10 bhūmi, while the teachings he designates for others are confusingly called a bodhisattvapiṭaka. But Kōsai is using the terms tathāgata and bodhisattva here in a somewhat unusual way that tacitly implies the buddhayāna or buddhajñāna is not readily available to everyone, and those not so blessed have been provided instead with the path and wisdom of a bodhisattva available to them, defined here as achieved by way of Amitābha's Pure Land.

(44.) This paragraph appears somewhat contradictory. If, according to Gyōnen's explanation, Kōsai affirms that ordinary people can attain the first bhūmi when they reach the Pure Land, then the statement here that this result is a benefit “accruing to those of the highest grade of the highest rank” would appear to erase this reward for the vast majority of the world. What we are seeing is Kōsai's attempt to reconcile the graded attainments described in the Kuang‐ching with the more universal approach broached by Hōnen, which works against such notions of hierarchical reward. We should not read his statements too literally, lest we lose sight of his intention. The statement here that attaining Birth signifies reaching the first bhūmi which in turn is equivalent to the attainment of the highest of the nine grades, does not in fact agree with the Kuang‐ching text, where the benefit for such beings is instead the realization of anutpattikadharmakṣānti. Reaching the first bhūmi appears as a reward only for the highes grade of the lowest rank. Kōsai is, instead, offering the interpretation that reaching the Pure Land always signifies attaining both the first bhūmi and anutpattikadharmakṣānti. This hermeneutic leap is based on his understanding that the Amitābha Buddha described in the ninth contemplation signifies a saṃbhogakāya buddha that, if taken as the object of nenbutsu, produces Birth in a saṃbhogakāya buddhakṣetra for ordinary people. A key assumption here is that the practitioner's intentionality and understanding affect the outcome of their praxis.

(45.) Kōsai's affirmation that Śākyamuni came into this world for the purpose of helping ordinary people deviates radically from the traditional Buddhist paradigm, which esteems monasticism under the presumption that it is strongely recommended if not required because it provides the opportunity to cultivate difficult forms of practice. Here “ordinary people” (pṛthagjana) implies people on the lower stages of the path (prayoga‐mārga). Kōsai is thus expanding Shan‐tao's thesis that the true, ultimate purpose of the Kuan‐ching is not the difficult visualization practices but the simple nenbutsu practice that Śākyamuni's ultimate purpose was not to help those most capable but those least capable.

(46.) mushō‐do                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu. An abbreviation for the “unsurpassed adornments of the Pure Land,” or mushō shōgon no jōdo                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu. This term can also be found in Shan‐tao's Fa‐shih tsan, at T 47.430c22, but it probably originates in a passage in the Northern edition of the Mahāparinirvāṇa sūtra; see the Ta‐pan nieh‐p'an ching                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu Daihatsu nehangyō at T No. 374, 12.508c27ff. See also Sumita, 277, and Ōchō Enichi, Nehangyō to Jōdokyō (Kyoto: Hōzōkan, 1981), 138, n. 2.

(47.) Monnō reads this via the glosses in Ŭijŏk's Wu‐liang‐shou ching‐shu i‐chi, which reads invocation for nen, where the same phrase occurs stating that ten nen “does not indicate the duration of time involved” (                      Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu). The concept probably derives from Shan‐tao's statement in the Kuang‐ching shu, 274a1, that whether you decrease the length of practice from an entire lifetime to one day to one time to one nen, or increase it from one nen to ten nen, the aim is still the same—birth in a state of nonbacksliding. Shan‐tao refers to the text of the eighteenth vow itself, which states that as few as “ten nen” are required to attain Birth in the Pure Land. Today, both the Jōdo and Jōdoshin schools read this as “ten invocations of the holy Name” but there is no mention of the Buddha's name in the eighteenth vow itself (the S. has merely cittotpāda parivartaiḥ, “productions of thought”), though praise of the Name is mentioned in vow seventeen and hearing the Name combined with practice is promised to result in Birth in vow twenty. However one reads nen here, ten psychological “events” does constitute a linear string in time; this is therefore not a statement about praxis, it is a statement about faith. For Kōsai, the phrase indicates the promise of a brief mental experience of buddha wisdom granted to an ordinary being, and offering this experience to the world is the raison d'être for the Wu‐liang‐shou ching.

(48.) The phrase, “comprehensive vows with their special meaning,” is taken from the Kuan‐ching shu, 246.b7. Kōsai either wants to emphasize that the eighteenth vow is unique in its religious implications or that, although all Buddhas and bodhisattvas make similar vows of compassion, those laid down by Amida Buddha have a special significance. In Kamakura period usage, words like gugan and hongan at times meant all forty‐eight vows in the Wu‐liang‐shou ching and at times specifically the eighteenth vow. Without other defining information, however, it is often unclear which meaning is intended. Kōsai's valorization of the name of the buddha implies that he is referring to the eighteenth vow, where the name itself is given a special prominence.

(49.) The distinction here between two different forms of the buddha‐body in the Pure Land, and thus essentually two different Pure Lands is frequently found in Kamakura period discourse and has its roots in debates on how to read the Kuan‐ching from the Sui and T'ang dynasties. Kōsai refers to this repeatedly, linking it to the doctrinal contradictions raised by Shan‐tao's assertion that through nenbutsu practice, the form of praxis for people considered to have the lowest spiritual potential, anyone can still attain birth in a Pure Land of a Reward Body buddha. Traditionally this form of buddha was considered accessible only to so‐called advanced bodhisattvas, usually understood as ranked at one of the stages of the ten bhūmi.

(50.) fukaki tokoro                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu. These characters are given in the reverse order to the Taishō canon edition of Shan‐tao's text. Both the Kan'ei and Meireki editions have it this way, while Eryū's text as well as the edition found in Monnō has “corrected” this. As this discrepancy is not noted in any of the Kuan‐ching shu editions, including the Taishō text itself, this leads one to believe it was a transcription error either by Kōsai himself, Gyōnen, the editors of the 17th century editions, or scribes working sometime between the Kamakura and Edo periods.

(51.) Kuan‐ching shu, 246c26–29.

(52.) taishō                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, S. garbha‐avāsa. This phrase is generally used in contrast to “birth inside a lotus flower” keshō                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, which is the ideal method of entering the Pure Land. How one arrives in the Pure Land is also a reflection of which of the nine grades the individual achieves upon reaching that realm, but Kōsai is implying that a womb birth somehow indicates a nirmāṇakāya Birth. This is a creative interpretation of a particular section in the Wu‐liang‐shou ching, 278a11–b11, where it is explained that merely performing the right practices without actually believing in the teaching will result in rebirth in a palace reminiscent of Tuṣita heaven as a person without any wisdom. In other words, it may result in 500 years of pleasure, but this is devoid of meaning as there are no bodhisattvas or buddhas to be seen and no sūtras to be heard. Whether a womb birth such as this was equivalent to what was known as henji                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, or being born on the Borderland of the Pure Land, was another area of debate in the thirteenth century. See below, chapter 6, note 3; Etani, 513b.

(53.) Kuan‐ching shu, 273c.10–12. The ellipsis here represents the omission of one line wherein the merits of the Buddha in mind, speech, and action are listed. The translation of nen as “hold in mind” is meant to include both both recitation and nonrecitation meditation praxis. This section of Shan‐tao's text discusses the role of smṛti in Pure Land meditation, and these lines are pointing to an emphasis on meditating on the Buddha's merits and physical form. However, because of the ambiguity with the character nen in the phrase chuan‐nien a‐mi‐t'o of                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu sennen amida‐butsu, this has also been interpreted to specifically refer to recitation of the holy Name. In this context, since Kōsai states in the next sentence that nenbutsu for those in the lower third of the nine grades is the same, he is apparently referring to the higher grades of beings that are not normally designated as following meditative nenbutsu. Moreover, in the discussion below, Gyōnen explains Kōsai's notion of the relationship between contemplation practice directed at the two forms of the Buddha with phrasing that uses this same nen‐mida butsu construction:                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, “there are two ways in which one holds Amida Buddha in mind.”

(54.) ki                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, which Monnō, 32R, glosses as kishitsu                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu. On the surface it is not immediately apparent why Gyōnen calls this distinction a matter of individual spiritual nature, but Monnō is interpreting Gyōnen/Kōsai's statement to indicate that while one individual may have the nature or disposition (                      Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu) of being able to accept this teaching and proceed in this direction (i.e., to liberation through reaching the realm of Amida Buddha), another may not accept it, resulting in loss (                      Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu). Understood this way, Kōsai is endeavoring to rationalize why some choose to follow other spiritual paths despite his faith in this one offers superior rewards.

(55.) Only Amida Buddha brings ordinary beings to a saṃbhogakāya‐buddhakṣetra.

(56.) betchi gugan                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu. A poignant phrase in Japanese Pure Land writings, it expresses the idea that the “extensive” forty‐eight salvific vows made by Dharmākara Bodhisattva have “special significance” in that they are more meaningful to us here and now than similar vows made by other bodhisattvas and buddhas.

(57.)                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu. This sentence does not appear in any of the Chinese translations of the Larger Sukhāvatīvyūha Sūtra, including that of Lokakṣema. See Kagawa Takao, Muryōjukyō no shohon taishō kenkyū                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu (Kyoto: Nagata Bunshōdō, 1984), 97. While Lokeśvararāja Buddha is mentioned four times in the Saṃghavarman translation, in both the Taishō and Korean canons only translated forms                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu or                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu are used; however, n. 15 at T 12.267b23 explains that tzu‐tsai                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu is replaced by jao                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu in the “popular recension” (rufubon                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu) in Japan. Cf. Korean Canon, 26.1041b21. Interestingly that the edition of the Wuliang‐shou ching that appears in Shinshū shōgyō zensho, vol. 1, indeed uses jao, accompanied by a note giving the tsu‐tsai replacement in other editions. This is testimony that there was a manuscript version of the Wu‐liang‐shou ching not adopted in the imperial canons that maintained an independent existence, circulating in both China and Japan since the 7th century, and which continues to impact the Buddhist world to the present day. See also Fujita Kōtatsu, Zendō (Tokyo: Kōdansha, 1985), 245, n. 5.

(58.) Kuan‐ching shu, 250b18. The phrase ch'ou yin chih shên                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu shū‐in no shin, is one of Shan‐tao's famous expressions for rationalizing how Amida's presence in the Pure Land can be confirmed as a saṃbhogakāya buddha. The “cause” here refers to the vows and practices that lead to buddhahood. See above, p. 213, n. 9.

(59.) The phrase “ultimate karmic connection,” zōjō‐en                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, is from a discussion of three ways we are linked to Amida Buddha and the workings of his pledges of spiritual aid. The notion that practicing a nenbutsu directed at Amida is equal to practicing it toward all buddhas cannot be found in the Wu‐liang‐shou ching. There is, however, a similar phrase regarding achieving a vision of the Buddha in the Kuan‐ching; see 343b28–c1 and again at 343c7–8. The term “true body” usually denotes the “true” bodies of a buddha as represented by dharmakāya and saṃbhogakāya forms in distinction to the incarnate or nirmāṇakāya form. By specifically designating the object of the ninth contemplation in the Kuang ching as a “true body” Kōsai is affirming that this particular visualization is an orthopraxis of special soteriological significance. To attain this samādhi assures Birth and signified the completion of the path; we can infer this to be the basis of Kōsai's understanding of nenbutsu and nenbutsu samādhi also as orthopraxis. Although he does not reference Shan‐tao here, presumably his stance is based on that latter's Kuan‐ching shu, at 267c20 and 246c29–247a1, where a distinction between the provisional versus true form of the Buddha as saṃbhogakāya is implied: “What is said to be the true saṃbhogakāya is none other than [what is observed in] the ninth contemplation on the ‘true body’.”

(60.) shinshō nenbutsu                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu. “True and proper” may not represent the highest form of nenbutsu, as no forms of untrue or improper nenbutsu are mentioned. Probably the word true here refers to the true form of the Buddha embodied in the ninth contemplation, and proper designates nenbutsu which is focused on the Name.

(61.) Kōsai was not the first person to suggest that a misdirected nenbutsu would lead to a less than ideal Birth—the Wu‐liang‐shou ching itself warns of Birth in the Borderlands, far from the Buddha—but he appears to be responsible for contributing the notion that intentionality can impact which body of the same buddha becomes the object of practice; see Sumita's chart, 282. It is interesting that he has dropped the error of “disbelieving” mentioned in the Wu‐liang‐shou ching from his analysis of the meaning of womb Birth. Instead this Birth of secondary stature is a result of improper practices, such as the inability to distinguish the true Buddha from his manifestation in tangible physical images. This should not be reified into a jiriki—tariki distinction. Kōsai is a mystic in the true sense: only genuine religious experience will qualify one for the “reward” of a Birth in a saṃbhogakāya realm from which there is no regression. That this is possible for an ordinary person is due to the force of the buddha's will (tariki), but this fact does not render the distinctions of the nine grades any less relevant, as these are accepted here as doctrinal, if not existential, fact.

(62.) Shan‐tao included this concept of “protection” (hu‐nien                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu go'nen, S. parigraha) in his five kinds of “ultimate causal conditions” zōjō‐en; see above, n. 59. In Shan‐tao's exegesis of hu‐nien the buddhas welcome with greater enthusiasm those sentient beings who foster good karmic roots, an opposite interpretation from Shinran's famous assertion that Amida Buddha is looking to help the wicked. Cf. Shan‐tao's Kuan‐nien fa‐mên.

(63.) I have followed Monnō's punctuation, which differs from both Eryū's and Sumita's. The difference lies in whether the phrase, “recite [the Name of] Amida,” should be included with the previous line or begin the next. Since recitation is mentioned again at the end of the next sentence, Monnō's judgement to include it with the previous line is the more plausible. It is also worth mentioning that this notion of “protection” is based largely on its appearance the A‐mi‐t'o ching, 347b28–348a6. But in that context it refers only to protection afforded to sūtras rather than to practitioners of the Pure Land path. The one exception is for those sons and daughters of good families who maintain their memories of the scriptures and the names they have heard from the buddhas.

(64.) “Three activities” refers to the three ways in which karma is produced: by thoughts, words, and deeds. This passage is based on Shan‐tao's notion that the individual's entire conscious experience can confirm the connection between buddha and individual, discussed throughout the Kuang‐ching shu, but particularly beginning at 268a6. Kōsai is using Shan‐tao's term san‐yeh                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu sangō, but this concept is more commonly referred to in Japan as the three connections or karmic links                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, pronounced either san'en or sannen. Kōsai's addition is that only when this is done with the proper form of the buddha as an object, as sambhogakāyā, will it be inclusive of confirming a relationship with all buddhas throughout the universe, implying a higher spiritual goal and greater rewards.

(65.) A‐mi‐t'o ching 348a8–10. This is another discrepancy between the the Taishō and Korean canonical text and the so‐called popular recension (rufubon), found at Shinshū shōgyō zensho at 1.71.8. Kōsai's quote matches the popular recension, and the difference from the Taishō text is significant. In the Korean/Taishō edition, sentient beings “who have heard the sūtras and kept them in mind, as well as those who have heard all the Names of the buddhas” are protected by the buddhas. In the popular recension quoted by Kōsai, Shan‐tao, Hōnen, and other Kamakura‐period thinkers, it is those sentient beings “who have heard the Names as well as sūtras which have been expounded by all the buddhas” who are kept in mind and protected by the buddhas. Since the Names of the buddhas are presented here in a parallel position with the Names of the sūtras as objects of perception, one can see how the Pure Land tradition based on the popular recension inferred that the sūtras themselves are strongly affirming the power inherent in the Names of both sūtras and buddhas equally.

(66.) Compare with Kuan‐ching shu, 278a24–26.

(67.) “The confirmation of [other] buddhas” refers to this sūtra's recognition by a list of buddhas from each of the six directions, an important aspect of the soteriological story of Amida. According to Monnō, 33L, Gyōnen's term busshō                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu here is an abbreviation for shobutsu shōjō                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, a phrase frequently encountered in the Senchakushū, especially chapter 14; see HSZ, 608ff.

(68.) Despite Kōsai's reliance on a traditional interpretation of the Kuan‐ching that marks as significant the distinction between the eighth and ninth visualization practices, this paragraph on the importance of all three sūtras probably reflects a felt need to placate his detractors' claims that he may not be standing squarely inside the Pure Land tradition as defined by Hōnen. Sumita, 287, gives the following list of issues where Kōsai uses the Kuan‐ching as the basis for resolving potential doctrinal conflicts:

  1. (1.) Plurality of teachings versus the Pure Land teachings

  2. (2.) Plurality of Buddhas versus Amida Buddha

  3. (3.) Plurality of practices versus the single practice of nenbutsu

  4. (4.) Nirmāṇakāya nenbutsu versus saṃbhogakāya nenbutsu

  5. (5.) The mārga problem of ordinary people attaining sudden realization through the ekayāna.

(69.) bucchi ichinen no kokoro                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu. These two terms reflect the bidimensional nature of Kōsai's hermeneutic. The first, shinjin (p. 212, n. 4), is somewhat ambiguous, varying from a general mind‐set of religious belief to a single mental event in the sense of ichinen                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, the latter commonly found in Shinshū. The second expresses a moment of realization of the wisdom of a buddha in a presumed samādhi state. The remaining question is whether Kōsai's usage presumed both concepts to be momentary phenomena, or whether he contrasted the mystical experience in bucchi ichinen with a more uneventful concept of faith expressed in the term shinjin. Many infer a similarly sudden realization in Shinran's use of the same word shinjin, but it remains to be seen if Kōsai and Shinran are expressing the same meaning.

(70.) Myōshin                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu is discussed by Tōdō Yūhan                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, fōdokyō‐han no kenkyū (Tokyo: Sankibō Busshorin, 1976), 30 ff, in association with travelling to China in the early thirteenth century to find reliable editions of Shan‐tao's writings, as well as his efforts after his return in printing both the three Pure Land sūtras and all of Shan‐tao's works. There are two other monks with the name Myōshin                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu in the Kamakura period, one affiliated with the Shingon school and one with the Jōdoshin school. See Washio, 1081ab.

(71.) Washio, 709b. There are three monks called Zenshō                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu active in the thirteenth century, and all are listed in charts affiliated with the lineage of the Jōdoshin school. Their dates of death are 1220, 1268, and 1289. Most likely one of them is the person mentioned here, but it is not clear which one. The Zenshō with the greatest historical profile was the son of the Emperor Go‐Toba; he was based at Jōkōji                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu. He is also known by the names Enkan                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu and Zenshōbō Ran'ei                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, and the dates 1199–1268 used in the translation are his; see Bukkyō daiji‐i 4.3009a,b.

(72.) Rakuyō is another name for the capital, or Kyoto, and Hashū or Awa refers to the area around Tokushima. The lack of information about Kōsai's followers undoubtedly reflects to some degree the political climate of the Kamakura period which generally sought to suppress this line of thought. The problem was that, in stressing the importance of mystical religious experience, Kōsai and other ichinengi thinkers were interpreted by many as devaluing the moral aspects of religion. That there is no mention of moral concern in this essay reflects Gyōnen's own esteem of the religious power of Kōsai's message, and some sense Gyōnen plays the role of apologist here. It is generally accepted that the Genrushō is the earliest extant source of information about Kōsai's transmission lineage. Sumita, 291–2, has created a lineage chart for Kōsai's disciples, adding information available from two somewhat later medieval sources, both of which remain unpublished: chart 1 in the anonymous Renmon shūba                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu, Ono 11.308c, and the Shūba ruden                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu by Kūyo Gyokusen                       Kōsai and the One Nenbutsu (1501–1588), not listed in Ono.