Translations

Should We Practise Visualisation Of Pure Land (& Amituofo)? 是否该修观想净土(与弥陀)?

‘切不可谓,持名一法浅近,舍之而修观像、观想、实相等法。

‘[You] must not say, that the one Dharma door of [1] [mindfulness of Buddha by] upholding the name [of Amituofo: 持名念佛] is simple, [and] abandon it to cultivate [2] [mindfulness of Buddha by] contemplation of [Amituofo’s] image [观像念佛], [3] [mindfulness of Buddha by] visualisation [or contemplation of Pure Land’s details: 观想念佛], [4] [mindfulness of the] true forms [of Buddha: 实相念佛] and other Dharma doors.

夫四种念佛,唯持名最为契机。持至一心不乱,实相妙理,全体显露,西方妙境,彻底圆彰。

Now, of the four kinds [of practices of] mindfulness of Buddha [as numbered above], only upholding the name [of Amituofo] is the most appropriate. Upholding it till wholehearted without being scattered, the wonderful truths of [Amituofo and his Pure Land’s] true forms, will appear entirely, with the Western [Pure Land’s] wonderful conditions, thoroughly and completely becoming clear.

即持名而亲证实相,不作观而彻见西方。持名一法,乃入道之玄门,成佛之捷径。今人教理观法,皆不了明。

Immediately upholding the name [of Amituofo], and then personally realising the true forms [of Amituofo and his Pure Land], not practising visualisation [or contemplation], yet clearly seen is the Western [Pure Land]. This one Dharma door of upholding the name [of Amituofo], therefore is the profound door for entering the path, the shortcut for accomplishing Buddhahood [via Pure Land]. Now, people who teach the method of visualisation [or contemplation], all do not understand this clearly.

若修观想实相,或至着魔。弄巧成拙,求升反堕。宜修易行之行,自感至妙之果矣。’

If cultivating [mindfulness of Buddha by] visualisation [or contemplation of Pure Land’s details or mindfulness of the] true forms [of Amituofo and his Pure Land, they will] possibly come in contact with demonic [obstacles, leading to disturbances and hallucinations. This is] trying to be skilful but ending in blunder, seeking a higher [birth in Pure Land but] instead falling. [It is thus] suitable to cultivate the easiest practice of [the four] practices [by upholding the name of Amituofo], to personally experience its utmost wonderful fruit.’

– 净土宗十三祖印光大师
(与徐福贤书)

– Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yinguang
(Reply letter to Xu Fuxian)

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Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!