The Shishinrai Liturgy


Hey guys,

Since I’ve been busy these with learning Buddhist liturgy for ordination at the Jodo Shinshu temple here in Seattle, I’ve been learning a lot about different chants. Some are well-known, like the Shoshinge, while some are obscure, like this one: the Shishinrai (至心礼).

This is a small but very slow, melodic liturgy that is used to express taking refuge in the Three Treasures of Buddhism: the Buddha (teacher), the Dharma (the teachings) and the Sangha (the community):

Shi shin kei rei na mo shou chiu fu
With sincere heart-mind of reverence and obeisance I take refuge in the eternal abiding Buddha.

Shi shin kei rei na mo shou chiu ho
With sincere heart-mind of reverence and obeisance I take refuge in the eternal abiding Dharma.

Shi shin kei rei na mo shou chiu so
With sincere heart-mind of reverence and obeisance I take refuge in the eternal abiding Sangha.

You can hear a sample of this chant here (main page here). This is the only recording I could find online.

The only time I’ve heard it used is in more solemn Buddhist memorial services, but even then it doesn’t seem very common. I can’t even find it in the main Shinshu liturgy book I got from the Nishi Honganji temple years ago (the same book I use to practice for ordination). However, it does appear in our English-language service book, as shown above. I’ve seen a few Japanese sources refer to it, but it appears to be only occasionally used, hence it is not widely found.

Anyhow, this act of Taking Refuge in the Three Treasures is the most fundamental act a Buddhist does. Regardless of their own faults and shortcomings, a person is encouraged to come as they are and take refuge in the Three Treasures away from the turmoil of the world.1 This chant above is one particular expression of this act.

P.S. More on how to read Japanese Buddhist chants.

1 Taking refuge is also how one formally becomes a Buddhist of course. 😉


Author: Doug

A fellow who dwells upon the Pale Blue Dot who spends his days obsessing over things like Buddhism, KPop music, foreign languages, BSD UNIX and science fiction.

2 thoughts on “The Shishinrai Liturgy”

  1. Dear Doug, friend in the Dharma

    We are following your blog for several years already.
    Congratulations for the wide variety of subjects and the personal accents!
    Compliments also for your intentions in becoming ordained in the future.
    We wish you good luck with your preparations.
    Maybe we could offer you and your readers an extra tool in these matters?

    Indeed, we would like to inform you that our sangha recently finished phase 1 of our “Chanting Project”. The aim of this project is to offer sangha members (and non-members) the occasion to listen to Jōdo-Shinshū chantings (including the translation of the chantings) via the internet.
    Phase 1 consists of 5 YouTube movies of junirai at our YouTube feed , more specifically with 5 different translations: Dutch, French, English, German and Greek. In the next phases, we hope we can proceed with this project, in adding more languages and more chantings [Juseige, Sambutsuge, Shoshinge sofu, Shoshinge gyofu, Amidakyo,…].

    To not bother your readers with too many details, we would like to send them to you via a separate email, so that you can use the extra information according to your own intentions… If you would like so, of course.
    Keep up the good work!

    In gasshō

    Rev. Daijō Fons Martens, Jikōji, Antwerp (Belgium)


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