The Juseige, Shiseige

In Japanese Pure Land Buddhism, namely Jodo Shinshu and Jodo Shu, one of the most popular chants in religious services is a certain excerpt of the Larger Immeasurable Life Sutra, or daimuryōjukyō (大無量壽經). This excerpt is called the jūseige (重誓偈) or shiseige (四誓偈). In Jodo Shinshu Buddhism, it is called the Juseige meaning “Hymn of the Grave/Serious Vow”, while in Jodo Shu it’s called the Shiseige meaning the “Hymn of the Four Vows”.

The text below is based off of a Jodo Shu prayer book I brought back from Japan recently. The pronunciation of some characters varies just slightly from other online versions I’ve seen, but don’t despair. Many characters have multiple readings, so just use whichever version you’re familiar with. Because this text is so short, people sometimes chant it more than once in a single session, but the number is up to you. Choose what suits you. Feel free to print this out and use it on your own time. Enjoy!

Can’t read the characters?

If you’re having trouble reading the Kanji characters, you might have one or two problems with your computer:

  • Your computer may not have Asian fonts installed. In Windows you have to enable UTF8 and East Asian fonts under the Control Panel. Modern Mac computers are fully compatible already.
  • Your browser may be assuming the wrong character set. If you use a relatively modern browser and use UTF8 as character set, you should be able to read fine. IE, Firefox and Safari all read this fine as far as I can tell.

Even if not, then you can still use the romanized characters. Also check out this excellent page for more information.

Disclaimer and Legal Info

I hereby release this into the public domain. Please use it as you see fit, but if you attribute it to this site, greatly appreciated. Also, please bear in mind this is an amateur work, and should not be taken too seriously.

Dedication

I dedicate this effort to all sentient beings everywhere. May all beings be well, and may they all attain perfect peace.

Namu Amida Butsu

Translation

A translation of this text can be found here.

The Juseige / Shiseige

Ga gon cho se gan
his — shi mu jo do
shi gan fu man zoku
sei fu jo sho gaku
ga o mu ryo ko
fu i dai se shu
fu sai sho bin gu
sei fu jo sho gaku
ga shi jo butsu do
myo sho cho jip — po
ku kyo mi sho mon
sei fu jo sho gaku
ri yoku jin sho nen
jo e shu bon gyo
shi gu mu jo do
i sho ten nin shi
jin riki en dai ko
fu sho mu sai do
sho jo san ku myo
ko sai shu yaku nan
kai hi chi e gen
mes — shi kon mo an
hei soku sho aku do
tsu datsu zen ju mon
ku so jo man zoku
i yo ro jip — po
nichi gas — shu ju ki
ten ko on pu gen
i shu kai ho zo
ko se ku doku ho
jo o dai shu ju
sep — po shi shi ku
ku yo is — sai butsu
gu soku shu toku hon
gan ne shitsu jo man
toku i san kai o
nyo butsu mu ge chi
tsu datsu mi fu sho
gan ga ku e riki
to shi sai sho son
shi gan nyak — kok — ka
dai sen o kan do
ko ku sho ten nin
to u chin myo ke

Chanting

There are a number of styles used for chanting the Juseige / Shiseige. One excellent audio recording can be found here. In Jodo Shinshu, after chanting the Juseige, followers then chant the nembutsu 6 times slow and then dedicate the merit to all beings. In Jodo Shu tradition, sometimes a small 4-line chant called the honzeige (Hymn of the Original Vow) is chanted, followed by reciting the nembutsu 10 times. See what your local temple does, or just try something yourself.

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