This line from Shōshinge, a work written by Master Shinran, means, “Shan-tao alone clarified the true intent of Buddha.”
“Master Shan-tao was the only person of his time who clarified the true intent of the Buddha. It is thanks to him that I, Shinran, was able to be saved and embraced by Amida.” This line is extolling the virtue of Master Shan-tao, and so we raise our voices a step when we chant it. The Seven Patriarchs had guided Master Shinran towards the truth, and Master Shinran was deeply grateful for this. The fifth of these Seven Patriarchs was Master Shan-tao, who was active in China.
Master Shan-tao was incredibly diligent, and it is said he strove so hard in his studies of Buddhism that he did not once sleep in a bed for thirty years. It is also said that he would hide his face with his hat if he passed a woman on the street, because he wanted to avoid obstructing his ascetic practices. Since Master Shan-tao was such a virtuous person, Master Shinran respected him as a manifestation of Amida Buddha that must have come forth directly from the Pure Land of Bliss. If you would like to learn more about Buddhism, feel free to take a look at these sites.
Source: The Buddhist Village Times #52 | 2015, Let Us Learn the Meaning Line by Line
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