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SOTOZEN.COM > Archivio > Glossario (Inglese) > Verse of Purity While Abiding in the World

Glossario (Inglese)


Verse of Purity While Abiding in the World (Sho sekai bon no ge 處世界梵之偈)

A verse chanted at meals times, in conjunction with ordination as a monk, and various other observances. There are two pronunciations:

Abiding in this world which resembles empty space,
like a lotus flower that touches not the water,
the mind is pure and transcends it.
Maintaining this principle, we bow our heads to the Most Honored One.
shishi kai jiki kun  處世界如虚空 shosei kai nyoko ku
jiren ka fu jashī
 如蓮花不著水 nyoren gefu jaku sui
shin shin jo cho ihi
 心清淨超於彼 shin sho jo cho ohi
kishu rinbu jo son
 稽首禮無上尊 keishu rai bujō son

Lotus plants are rooted in the muck at the bottom of shallow, murky ponds, but their beautiful blossoms rise above the water and are not sullied by it. The lotus flower (renge 蓮花) is thus an apt symbol of the Mahayana bodhisattva, who for the sake of helping living beings remains in the muck of the world (sekai 世界) of birth and death rather than entering nirvana, but whose mind remains pure because he or she realizes the emptiness ( 空) of all dharmas (phenomena) and thus remains unattached (fujaku 不著) to them. The verse as it now stands derives from the Rules of Purity for Zen Monasteries (Zen'en shingi 禪苑清規), compiled in 1103, but there are sources for it in older Buddhist literature.