Kanji for Muryoko

'Infinite Light'

Journal of Shin Buddhism

Myōkōnin O-Karu

O-Karu (1801 - 1856) lived on a small island in the Seto Inland Sea called Muture-jima. She was a poor farmer but heard Shinran's teaching so deeply that she composed many poems that expressed her gratitude to the dharma. She could not write but often when the poem, which she composed in various forms came into her mind she would run to the local temple Saikyō where her friend, Rev. Gendō would write them in his diary. This diary was lost in a fire but there were enough copies and local memory of her poems and prose that were remembered and so they have survived.

Myōkōnin O-Karu and her poems of Shinjin by Hōyū Ishida (IABC, Kyoto 1991)


pine tree

Washi ga kokoro wa
    araki no matsu yo
tsuya no nai no o
   o-meate yo


My heart/mind
    is like a rough pine.
Lacking any polish,
    Amida makes me
the object (of his concern)
    all the more.

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