Gongyo Translated – The Expedient Means Chapter

The Lotus SutraDuring Gongyo, apart from chanting Nam Myoho Renge Kyo, we also recite two chapters from the Lotus Sutra, Chapter 2 Expedient Means (Hoben) and Chapter 16 The Life Span of the Thus Come One (Juryo). Both chapters are recited in Chinese, so unless you are fluent, the meaning may be lost. I believe that it is important to understand what I am reciting. So the following is an English translation in order that the true meaning can be understood.

The Chinese phonetic recital is in italics, with the English translation below.

Niji seson. Ju sanmai. Anjo ni ki. Go shari-hotsu. Sho-but chi-e. Jinjin muryo. Go chi-e mon. Nange nannyu. Issai shomon. Hyaku-shi-butsu. Sho fu no chi.

At that time the World-Honoured One calmly arose from his samadhi and addressed Shariputra, saying: “The wisdom of the Buddhas is infinitely profound and immeasurable. The door to this wisdom is difficult to understand and difficult to enter. Not one of the voice-hearers or pratyekabuddhas is able to comprehend it.

Sho-i sha ga. Butsu zo shingon. Hyaku sen man noku. Mushu sho butsu. Jin gyo sho-butsu. Muryo doho. Yumyo shojin. Myosho fu mon. Joju jinjin. Mi-zo-u ho. Zui gi sho setsu. Ishu nange

What is the reason for this? A Buddha has personally attended a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, a million, a countless number of Buddhas and has fully carried out an immeasurable number of religious practices. He has exerted himself bravely and vigorously, and his name is universally known. He has realized the Law that is profound and never known before, and preaches it in accordance with what is appropriate, yet his intention is difficult to understand.

Shari-hotsu. Go ju jo-butsu irai. Shuju innen. Shuju hiyu. Ko en gonkyo. Mu shu hoben. Indo shujo. Ryo ri sho jaku

Shariputra, ever since I attained Buddhahood I have through various causes and various similes widely expounded my teachings and have used countless expedient means to guide living beings and cause them to renounce attachments.

Sho-i sha ga. Nyorai hoben. Chiken hara-mitsu. Kai i gu-soku

Why is this? Because the Thus Come One is fully possessed by both expedient means and the paramita of wisdom.

Shari-hotsu. Nyorai chiken. Kodai jinnon. Muryo muge. Riki. Mu-sho-i. Zenjo. Gedas. Sanmai. Jin nyu musai. Joju issai. Mi-zo-u ho

Shariputra, the wisdom of the Thus Come One is expansive and profound. He has immeasurable [mercy], unlimited [eloquence], power, fearlessness, concentration, emancipation, and samadhis, and has deeply entered the boundless and awakened to the Law never before attained.

Shari-hotsu. Nyorai no. Shuju fun-betsu. Gyo ses sho ho. Gonji nyunan. Ekka shushin. Shari-hotsu. Shu yo gon shi. Muryo muhen. Mi-zo-u ho. Bus shitsu joju

Shariputra, the Thus Come One knows how to make various kinds of distinctions and to expound the teachings skilfully. His words are soft and gentle and delight the hearts of the assembly. “Shariputra, to sum it up: the Buddha has fully realized the Law that is limitless, boundless, never attained before.

Shi shari-hotsu. Fu shu bu setsu. Sho-i sha ga. Bus sho joju. Dai ichi ke-u. Nange shi ho

But stop, Shariputra, I will say no more. Why? Because what the Buddha has achieved is the rarest and most difficult-to-understand Law.

Yui butsu yo butsu. Nai no kujin. Shoho jisso. Sho-i shoho. Nyo ze so. Nyo ze sho. Nyo ze tai. Nyo ze riki. Nyo ze sa. Nyo ze in. Nyo ze en. Nyo ze ka. Nyo ze ho. Nyo ze honmak kukyo to

The true entity of all phenomena can only be understood and shared between Buddhas. This reality consists of the appearance, nature, entity, power, influence, inherent cause, relation, latent effect, manifest effect, and their consistency from beginning to end.

I hope the translation serves to demystify Gongyo and help explain why the chapter is recited.

%d bloggers like this: