Jikku Kannongyo (one of the Buddhist scriptures) (十句観音経)

Jikku Kannongyo is one of the Buddhist scriptures. It is also called "Enmei Jikku Kannongyo" (Kannon Sutra for Long Life in Ten Statements), and the person who added the two characters 'en mei' is Hakuin, who lived in the Edo Period and is considered to be chuko no so (father of restoration) of the Rinzaishu sect, as described below.

It is one of the Buddhist scriptures in the lines of the Kannon-gyo Sutra; it has only 42 words and is known as the shortest gikyo (apocryphal scripture), but because it has been said from ancient times that one can receive a blessing by merely repeating it, it is very popular.

The oldest literature relating to "Jikku Kannongyo" is "Bussotoki" which was compiled in 1269 by a shamon (priest) named Chi-p'an (Shiban) in Nantoko under the Southern Sung Dynasty and which is a record of the lives of the founders of the Chinese Tendaishu sect; the literature contains the following record of the period of the Northern and Southern Dynasties.

Under the Song (Southern Dynasty) in 450, Liu Yilong, the third-generation Emperor Wen, waged war on the Northern Wei Dynasty despite opposition from Liu Kangzu, Shen Qingzhi, and others. The main army consisting of Liu Yuanjing, Xne Andu, 龐法起, and others achieved a series of victories and took Tong Gate; however, Wang Xuanmo, who proceeded his army in Huaibei, took Qiao'ao and seized Huatai (geographical names) but was forced to take flight in the face of the imperial expeditionary force led by Taiwudi of the Northern Wei Dynasty crossing a ford in great number. As the result, Emperor Wen was forced to withdraw the main army.

Although the above story is said to have taken place in 450, since there are no other surviving ancient documents mentioning the events, it can only be supposed that "Jikku Kannongyo" was popular during the period in which "Bussotoki" was compiled.

In addition to the above, there is also a legend describing a miracle which relates that when Sonkeitoku of the Northern Wei Dynasty was about to be executed and the executioner brought the axe down, Sonkeitoku uttered the aforementioned scripture and the axe was broken; however, another legend has it that the scripture uttered by Sonkeitoku was some other "Kookannonkyo" (another of the Buddhist scriptures), thus the story is not certain.


In Japan, there is a legend which relates that when Emperor Reigen had a high priest named Reiku search for the scripture having the most remarkably miraculous effects, Reiku selected Jikku Kannongyo. However, there is no evidence to support this legend other than that it was mentioned by Hakuin in "Enmei Jikku Kannongyo Reigenki" (The Wondrous Power of the Kannon Sutra for Long Life in Ten Statements). Other than the above, Hakuin also examined several other legends and recommended people to utter this scripture saying that although the scripture is gikyo, it has significant miraculous effects, and as such, with Hakuin's "Enmei Jikku Kannongyo Reigenki" the scripture became popular. Even today, Jikku Kannongyo is still used in the daily recitation of sutras and copying of sutras and the like, mainly in the Rinzaishu sect which was reinvigorated by Hakuin.

Also, the original 'Kannon-gyo Sutra (Myohorengekyo Kanzeon Bosatsu Fumombon, Chapter 25)' is quite long, in which even the shortest part of the gebun, or the sesonge recitation of verses, exceeds 500 words; accordingly, sometimes Jikku Kannongyo is read as a replacement sutra, as was recommended by Zen monks such as Shigeo KAMATA.


In 1966, Hideo BO, the Minister of Health and Welfare in the third reshuffled cabinet of the first Sato government, was intently copying Jikku Kannongyo in his notebook for a calming effect during his impeachment speech at the Diet. This was seen by a Zen monk named Taido MATSUBARA, and he later mentioned it in his book. Taido's book was endorsed by Hideo.

[Original Japanese]