The Meaning and Importance of ‘Nyo-Ze-Ga-Mon’

Updated: Oct 18

Our Buddhist sutras start with four Chinese characters that are pronounced, “NyoZe-Ga-Mon,” which have been translated as, “Thus have I heard.”

They are the words of one of the Buddha’s disciples, usually Ananda, who was relating to the Buddha’s followers what he remembered Shakyamuni Buddha to have stated on that particular occasion. The fourth character, “Mon,” means “to listen,” or “to hear.” This is a most important part of Buddhism, but especially in our Shin Buddhist tradition, it becomes even more central. Our tradition is one of listening, of hearing.

Ananda is relating the teachings, the truth of the Dharma that he not only heard, but what hit his heart. Contained in the words that he relates is something beyond words, something very deep and profound.

Shinran Shonin, in the same manner, shared in his writings the teachings that hit his heart and mind. He shared countless passages from sutras and commentaries, not because he was trying t