Hakkotsu (Ofumi) (白骨 (御文))

The sixteenth letter 'Hakkotsu' of go jo me (the fifth quire of sutra) of Ofumi which was selected by Rennyo, the eighth chief priest of Jodo Shinshu (the True Pure Land Sect of Buddhism) Hongan-ji Temple is especially famous in ofumi. It was based on "Zonkaku Hogo" by Zonkaku.

The name of this ofumi depends on the schools (refer to Ofumi for details.)

Jodo Shinshu Hongan-ji school
Hakkotsu no Gobunsyo'
Shinshu sect Otani school
Hakkotsu no Ofumi'
Shinshu sect Kosho school
Hakkotsu no Gokansyo'
This Ofumi is read in funeral (Haiso Kankotsu) of Jodo Shinshu (it is not read in the schools which do not use Ofumi).

General drift

Judging from people who think about today and tomorrow only, human life is transitory. It is like a phantom. Even if you are fine now, you may die in another moment. Age is no object for death. Therefore, think about how you live in the future, not the life day by day. You are recommended to deeply devote yourself to Amida Nyorai (Amitabha Tathagata) and invoke the name of Amida Buddha.

Original sentences

Note: Partly added voicing marks which do not exist in the original sentences. Changed katakana to hiragana. Added Chinese characters marking with "" for difficult kana to read.

Free translation

In thinking of human life without guts, the period from birth to death of a person is transitory and is like visionary life.

So, we have never heard of a person who lived for 10000 years. Human life passes by fast.
Who lived for 100 years so far?
(Death of human) may be brought to me earlier than others or later than others, may be brought today or tomorrow. Either way, it happens more often than dew dripping on the roots of vegetation and dissipating of dew on leaves.

Therefore, you may become Hakkotsu in the evening even if you have a florid complexion in the morning. Once transient wind blows, you close your eyes immediately. Once you stop breathing forever, your florid complexion changes vainly. Once you lose the beautiful figure like a peach or prune, all of your family and relatives can not help you even if they weep all together.

As your body cannot be left as it is, only bones are left after taking it to the field to be cremated and becoming smoke late at night. The word, pitifulness cannot express this meaning enough. You cannot determine the age of the end of your life. So, everybody should keep in mind 'a big thing in the late life' and ask Amida Buddha praying from the heart.


The question to answer this author appeared in the recruitment examination of Bungeishunju Ltd. which Kan KIKUCHI himself prepared the questions for recruiting. This shows that the famous literary works and phrases of Buddhism were common sense for a member of society and the educated person beyond the religious schools in the early Showa era.

[Original Japanese]