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Ten Syllable Nembutsu ~ Amida Shu Podcast 107: 5th November 2020 (Transcription)

Site-Wide Activity Forums Shrine Room Dharmavidya’s Teachings Ten Syllable Nembutsu ~ Amida Shu Podcast 107: 5th November 2020 (Transcription)

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      Vajrapala Moerman
      Participant

      In a previous podcast I talked about the meaning of the word Nyorai, meaning Tathāgata. Now I’d like to talk about how the word Nyorai appears in the ten syllable nembutsu. In other podcasts I’ve talked about the nembutsu and in particular about the six syllable nembutsu “Na-Mo A-Mi-Da Bu”; and it’s the six syllable that we use nearly all the time.

      But there are other forms of nembutsu. Nembutsu is taking refuge and there are many formulars of taking refuge in Pali, in Sanskrit, in Tibetan, in Chinese and so on, but a form of the nembutsu that became very popular at a certain stage of history in Japan is the ten syllable nembutsu.

      And the ten syllable nembutsu goes like this:
      KIMYO JIN-JI-PO MU-GE-KO NYORAI
      And you can see, there, NYORAI as the last word of this formula.

      What sort of Nyorai? Mugeko Nyorai.
      MU-GE-KO:
      KO means “light”.
      MU means “not” or “without” or “absent”. You know the Mu-Koan: “Does a dog have Buddha-Nature?” – “Mu!”
      So, MU-GE-KO means “Light that has no impediment”, “Unimpeded light”;
      MU-GE-KO = unimpeded light
      Mugeko Nyorai

      Where is this light? Jinjipo.
      JIN-JI-PO means “throughout the ten directions”, in other words: everywhere, in all the worlds, in millions of worlds, wherever: the light appears.
      So, JIN-JI-PO MU-GE-KO NYORAI: this is Amitabha, this is the Infinite Light, the light of the Dharma that appears everywhere, that cannot be impeded, nothing can stand in its way, it can penetrate all obstacles.

      What do the first words mean? Kimyo
      KIMYO means: I take refuge.
      So, I take refuge in the unimpeded light that is everywhere, that is the Tathāgata.

      This is the meaning of the ten syllable nembutsu.

      Listen to the chanting:
      ♫  KIMYO JIN-JI-PO MU-GE-KO NYORAI ♫
      ♫  KIMYO JIN-JI-PO MU-GE-KO NYORAI ♫
      Like that! And we can add in an English rendering of the meaning. So:

      Listen to the second version of the chanting:
      ♫  In the Tathāgata of unimpeded light ♫
      ♫  Through ten thousand million worlds ♫
      ♫  I take refuge ♫
      ♫  KIMYO JIN-JI-PO MU-GE-KO NYORAI ♫
      ♫  KIMYO JIN-JI-PO MU-GE-KO NYORAI ♫</p>
      ♫  In the Tathāgata of unimpeded light ♫
      ♫  Through ten thousand million worlds ♫
      ♫  I take refuge ♫
      So, this is the ten syllable nembutsu, which you can readily chant. You probably already know the tune; and it can be done singly or it can be done as a round in a group of people.
      In the Tathāgata of unimpeded light
      Throughout the myriad universes
      I take refuge
      This is refuge without limit.

      Namo Amida Bu
      Thank you very much

      Dharmavidya
      David

      Posted by Tineke Osterloh on November 5, 2020

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