The Kannon Sutra

Hakuin Ekaku

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Toward the end of his life, Zen Master Hakuin [1689 -1769] took an interest in aspects of life outside the monastery walls, including social and governmental concerns. In the passage that follows, excerpted from a letter addressed in 1754 to Lord Nabeshima on the subject of the virtuous leader, he discusses the merit of reciting Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo [The Ten-Phrase Life-Prolonging Kannon Sutra].


When we met the other day I had meant to encourage you to take up the Enmei Jukku Kannon Gyo [Ten Phrase Life Prolonging Kannon Sutra], but our meeting was so brief that I did not have the opportunity. I therefore send it for your inspection along with this letter.

This work has been associated with wondrous miracles that have taken place in both China and Japan. Because it is so brief, I sincerely hope that you, not to speak of your close retainers and the common people as well, will recite it two or three hundred times each day. The reason lies in the testing. Give this work to those who are seriously ill or who have met with some unexpected disaster, and have them examine it for their consolation. If it is recited with sincerity, awe-inspiring miracles will without fail be accomplished. Its first advantage is that the person who recites it will be completely free from disease and will attain to long life. This applies to anyone at all. . . .

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