In the final chapter of Hōnen’s 法然 (1133–1212) principal work, Senchakushū 選択集,he sets the foundation for the Three Pure Land Sūtras and the first volume of the Pratyutpanna Sāmadhi Sūtra 般舟三昧経,from which he derives “eight kinds of selections” as being the eight “selections” that Amida Buddha, Gautama Buddha, and all Buddhas shared (senchaku hongan, senchaku santan, senchaku ryūkyō, senchaku sesshu, senchaku kasan, senchaku fuzoku, senchaku shōjō, and senchaku gamyō). This is one of the most important concepts of the Senchakushū, and there are levels that have been confirmed within its establishment.
In this paper, I study the process through which the “senchaku shōjō” was established as a basis for the Amida Sūtra 阿弥陀経.In doing so, I consider changing their interpretation of the two Amida Sūtra lines “one day up to seven days” and “various Buddhas in the worlds of six directions,” and verify that these interpretations are consistent with Shandao’s 善導 lines in the Fashizan 法事讃,including the “Buddha selection laws” and others.
However, there is an interpretation that does not fit with this trend. This is the interpretation of “Amida’s Original Vow” as a combination of the Fashizan line “for those who wish to become a Buddha swiftly” and the Amida Sūtra line “one day up to seven days” in the third day of Gyakushuseppō 逆修説法.In the narrowest sense, this combination is only found within writings left by Hōnen. Later lines such as “those who wish to become a Buddha swiftly” in the Fashizan continue to be cited as a change in the method of interpretation as proof of the “long-cherished desire of the birth of Gautama Buddha.” This shows an aspect of trial and error in the formation of Hōnen’s ideology.