A collection of phrases from Buddhist texts, the Zengensanji is an ode to the transformation of our present world into an earthly paradise. As such, it is of particular significance to Shumei and its endeavor to help create an ideal world in which sickness, poverty, and war are banished, and compassion and wisdom reign. When chanting the Zengensanji, it is important to concentrate one’s mind on the image of an idyllic world.
Seldom chanted by itself, the Zengensanji usually follows the recitation of the Amatsunorito at Shumei Centers’ Monthly Sampais.
When two or more people perform these chants, a leader recites those phrases marked in bold. The asterisk found within this text indicate a sharply cut sound.
Background and Translation
“Zengensanji” means a “Collection of Good Words of Praise.” It is a compilation of phrases from Buddhist texts. As with the Amatsunorito and Kamigoto, the sounds of the words emit spiritual energy. However, when intoning the Zengensanji, there is difference. While reciting this chant, it is important to understand the prayer’s literal meaning and to keep in mind an image or feeling based on that meaning.
In creating the Zengensanji, Meishusama was inspired by a revelation of the Buddhist deity Kannon. Despite its Buddhist origins, the result is not a Buddhist chant but a unique norito prayer. Shumei’s founder envisioned Kannon as the manifestation of God’s compassionate love, who appears in the physical world for the sake of universal deliverance. To Meishusama, this deliverance will be the transformation of the present world into an earthly paradise and it is the compassion, wisdom, and power of Kannon that will help humanity bring about this ideal world.
Meishusama taught that the power of the will had great significance. Without a strong will, the realization of heaven on earth is impossible. The vivid images that the Zengensanji evokes help to strengthen our will. Chanting it is a way to align ourselves with Kannon’s wisdom, love, and power so that God’s Will can be realized here on earth. Although visualizing heaven on earth can be difficult, it is enough simply to long for an ideal world while reciting the Zengensanji. Sincerity of feeling is what matters. Most important is our intent to abide by God’s Will. When the chant is approached with this attitude, great benefits for humanity are possible.
A simplified version of this poem follows:
Good Words of Praise
With deepest reverence, we ponder
Kannon descending as boundless Light.
And from infinite Light, becoming ever–changing
Self–abandoning, all–embracing Oshin Miroku.
And from Oshin Miroku, becoming the world’s Savior
Dispelling the three poisons and purifying
The five plagues of the three dimensions of earth
Creating the final world of joy and Light
Fulfilling consciousness’ ageless dream.
Blessed with a cycle of ideal weather
Wind every five days, rain every tenth
The wind is mild, creaking branches never heard.
Kannon’s love spawns heaven on earth.
Demons and evil spirits surrender to Kannon
Misguided thoughts are set aright
And frightful spirits and dragons are freed
From the chains of their terrible fate.
And the hope of saints and good spirits
Is rewarded with a peaceful and splendid age.
Mountains, rivers, trees, and grass
All yield to the grandeur of Kannon.
Birds, mammals, insects, and fish
Are given their rightful kingdoms
Where they flourish in harmony.
Such is Paradise!
The brightly voiced birds of legend
Take flight in a sky of promising clouds.
Millions of flowers are in full bloom
And their fragrance is everywhere.
Towers and spires soar to heaven
As seven grand buildings of a temple
Are seen through a mist
Their golden roofs dazzling in the sun.
Such is Paradise!
Five good grains ripen, are gathered, and stored.
Fish are abundant wherever a net is cast.
All people prosper, their vibrant voices fill the earth.
The borders that set nations apart dissolve.
As nightmares fade into morning’s soft light
Hatred and war evaporate.
For all is in Kannon’s warm embrace.
Wisdom is in our daily work, God’s Will is known.
All homes thrive, lives are healthy and long.
Thus, we do good, and gather up virtue
With deepest reverence, from our innermost hearts
We thank You, dear God for showering us with
Your abundant blessings.