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Observations placeholder

Master Naong - Song of the Pure Land



Type of Spiritual Experience


The symbolism in this poem is extensive , in order to help with the unravelling we have underlined the symbols and they are listed in the order in which they appear in the poem.

A description of the experience

From the Columbia Anthology of Traditional Korean Poetry – edited by Peter Lee

MASTER NAONG (1320-1376)

Song of the Pure Land

I, too, am not an exception but a person born into this world.
Upon pondering the impermanence of life, everything seems so illusory.
After death I can do nothing about the distressed face of my parents.

Giving this only momentary thought, I will cast away worldly affairs,
Bid my parents farewell, and enter a numinous mountain,
With a goosefoot staff, only a gourd cup, and a black robe.

Through an audience with a spiritual mentor, I will illuminate my mind.
I will study a thousand scriptures and myriad treatises to catch the six thieves.
As I enter the mountain of five aggregates astride the horse of Emptiness.

With mo-yeh sword in hand, mountains are fold upon fold,
And the mountain of the four signs is very high.
Cutting away the afflictions caused by the traceless thieves

Passing in and out of the six sensory gates,
I will cross over the ocean of the triple world
In a ship of wisdom.

As I load it with sentient beings who invoke the Buddha's name,
And hoist a sail of the one vehicle
On a mast of the three vehicles,
The spring wind blows gently,
And white clouds circle around.

Thinking of humans, I feel sad and dejected.
You who do not call the Buddha's name, how many more lives do you intend to live,
So attached to worldly affairs, and give yourself to love and lust?

Twelve hours a day, thirty days in a month,
By when will you attain the peaceful state?
Everyone has the pure Buddha nature.
When will you realize that?

Meritorious virtues numerous as the sands of the Ganges
Are inherently complete, when will you make use of them?
The Pure Land grows distant, and the hells grow closer.

Look, all of you! Plant wholesome roots.
The merits you accrue in this life
You will receive in the next life

Your greed for a hundred years will in one morning turn to a mote of dust.
Invoking the Buddha's name for three days is a treasure that could last aeons.
Oh, this treasure will not experience affliction for a thousand aeons
And preserve this eternal present for myriad aeons.

Heaven and earth are vast, but can they surpass this mind?
The sun and moon are bright, but can they surpass this mind?
All Buddhas of the three time periods know this mind.

The sentient beings in the six courses forget this mind.
Then when will they stop the transmigration of the triple world?
Giving this only momentary thought, I am awakened to this mind.

As I think of Fu Hsi, mountains fold upon fold,
Water flowing flowing, a breeze rustles, flowers are bright,
And pines and bamboos are tall and green.

I enter the Land of Highest Joy by crossing the ocean of Flower Garland.
The Pure Land is surrounded by the seven-jewel nets,
And the ground is covered with brocade and the seven jewels
How joyous to behold them!

At the nine-rank lotus tiers flows the invocation of the Buddha’s name.
Blue cranes, white cranes, parrots, peacocks, golden and blue phoenix-
They all invoke the Buddha's name.

As the cool breeze blows, so the invocation grows strong.
How sad!
We humans, what else can we do but call the Buddha's name?

Homage to the Buddha Amitabha.

The source of the experience

Master Naong

Concepts, symbols and science items

Science Items

Activities and commonsteps