In founding the Jōdo-shū, Hōnen (1133–1212) selected the Wuliangshou jing, Guan Wuliangshou jing, and Amito jing as foundational scriptures, calling them the Three Pure Land Sūtras. His choice was modeled on the adoption of three fundamental sūtras by the Buddhist sects preceding the Jōdo-shū. However, Hōnen did not simply select any three sūtras; his selection rather indicates the depth of his contemplation of the Three Pure Land Sūtras.
Specifically, this paper extracts the portions which present Hōnen’s interpretation of the Three Pure Land Sūtras and examines his interpretational methodology. Through an examination of the process by which Hōnen explains the problems and contradictions that emerged in his reading of each of the Three Pure Land Sūtras by supplementing and interpreting them with the other Pure Land sūtras, it is possible to see in what ways he considered the three sūtras as one, as a “Triple Sūtra.” Further, Hōnen’s explanation is linked to the establishment of the Senchaku fuzoku 選択付属, the sixth of the eight kinds of selection (八種選択義) in the 16th chapter of the Senchakushū 選択集, and meaning Śākyamuni’s selection of the nenbutsu which he entrusted to Ānanda in order that it be passed to future beings.