Translations

How To Transform The Five Defilements To Five Purities With Nianfo? 如何以念佛转五浊成五清?

浴佛偈

我今灌沐诸如来,
净智庄严功德海。
五浊众生离尘垢,
同证如来净法身。

Verse For Bathing Buddhas

As I now bathe all Thus Come Ones (Buddha Tathagatas),
may pure wisdom adorn the ocean of meritorious virtues.
May sentient beings with the five defilements depart
from the dusts (of afflictions),

and together realise the Tathagatas’ pure Dharma body.

问:何为五浊?如何转五浊?

Question: What are the Five Defilements (Corruptions; Turbidities)? How can we transform them?

答:答案可在净土宗九祖蕅益大师之《佛说阿弥陀经要解》见:

Answer: The answers can be seen in the Ninth Patriarch of the Pure Land tradition’s Great Master Ouyi’s teaching in his ‘Essential Explanation Of The Sutra As Spoken By The Buddha On Amitabha Buddha’:

(一)Part 1:

‘劫浊者,浊法聚会之时。

‘On the Defilement Of Kalpa, it is when defiled dharmas [phenemona of mind and matter, such as the below] gather.

劫浊中,非带业横出之行,必不能度。

Within the Defilement Of Kalpa, [if] not by the practice of bringing [negative] karma to horizontally [i.e. directly] exit [the three spheres of existence, of desire, form and formlessness with Pure Land practice], [one] most certainly will not be able to be delivered [from the cycle of birth and death].

见浊者,五利使,邪见增盛。谓身见、边见、见取、戒取及诸邪见,昏昧汩没,故名为浊。

On the Defilement Of Views, there are five sharp agents [of afflictions for sharper practitioners], when evil views increase and flourish. Namely, Self View [of thinking there is self within the body], Extreme View [of clinging to extremely wrong concepts], Attachment To Views [which are strong personal delusions], Attachment To Precepts [as the complete path to liberation] and all Evil Views [which are other wrong views, such as disregard of the karmic law of cause and effect], [which make us] confused and sunken [in the bitter sea of the Saha World, with “Endurance” of suffering]. Thus is it named as a defilement.

见浊中,非不假方便之行,必不能度。

Within the Defilement Of Views, not using [the Pure Land] practice, that is without [use of other] expedient [or skilful] means, [one] most certainly will not be able to be delivered [from the cycle of birth and death].

烦恼浊者,五钝使,烦惑增盛。谓贪、嗔、痴、慢、疑,烦动恼乱,故名为浊。

On the Defilement Of Afflictions, there are five dull agents [of afflictions for duller practitioners], when afflictions and confusions increase and flourish. Namely, greed [or attachment], hatred [or aversion], delusion [or ignorance], pride [or arrogance] and doubt as afflictions that cause anxiety and confusion. Thus is it named as a defilement.

烦恼浊中,非即凡心是佛心之行,必不能度。

Within the Defilement Of Afflictions, [if] not using [the Pure Land] practice of [seeing that] even though with the ordinary mind, [it can be one with] the Buddha’s mind, [one] most certainly will not be able to be delivered [from the cycle of birth and death].

众生浊者,见烦恼所感粗弊五阴和合,假名众生,色心并皆陋劣,故名为浊。

On the Defilement Of Sentient Beings, by [the Defilement Of] Views and [the Defilement Of] Afflictions confused, coarsely and detrimentally are the five aggregates [of form, feeling, perception, volition and consciousness] combined, falsely named as sentient beings, with forms and minds together all lowly and inferior. Thus is it named as a defilement.

众生浊中,非欣厌之行,必不能度。

Sentient beings within this defilement, [if] not using [the Pure Land] practice of rejoicing [for birth in Pure Land] and having aversion [for birth and death in the Saha World, one] most certainly will not be able to be delivered [from the cycle of birth and death].

命浊者,因果并劣,寿命短促,乃至不满百岁,故名为浊。

On the Defilement Of Lifespans, with cause and effect [i.e. karma] together lowly, lifespans are fleetingly short, and even not fulfilling a hundred years. Thus is it named as a defilement.

命浊中,非不费时劫,不劳勤苦之行,必不能度。

Within the Defilement Of Lifespan, [if] not by not wasting indefinite kalpas [i.e. time], not working diligently [with the Pure Land practice, one] most certainly will not be able to be delivered [from the cycle of birth and death].

复次只此信愿庄严一声阿弥陀佛,Once again, only with such Faith and Aspiration adorning each recitation of “Amituofo”,

转劫浊为清净海会,

transform the Defilement Of Kalpa into a pure ocean[-wide] assembly,

转见浊为无量光,

transform the Defilement Of Views into immeasurable light [of wisdom],

转烦恼浊为常寂光,

transform the Defilement Of Afflictions into the eternal still light [of peace],

转众生浊为莲华化生,

transform the Defilement Of Sentient Beings into lotus flower transformed beings,

转命浊为无量寿。’

[and] transform the Defilement Of Lifespans into immeasurable life.’

(二)Part 2:

‘信愿持名一行,不涉施为,圆转五浊。唯信乃入,非思议所行境界。设非本师来入恶世,示得菩提,以大智大悲,见此、行此、说此,众生何由禀此也哉?

‘With Faith and Aspiration upholding the name [of Amitabha Buddha – “Amituofo”] as a [complete] practice, it does not involve contrived action, to completely transform the Five Defilements. Only by Faith thus entered, is this inconceivable practice’s realm. If not for our fundamental teacher’s [Sakyamuni Buddha] coming and entering of this evil age [of Five Defilements], to manifest attainment of Bodhi [i.e. Buddhahood], with great wisdom and great compassion, seeing this, practising this, and speaking this, how can [we] sentient beings receive this [teaching]?

然吾人处劫浊中,决定为时所囿,为苦所逼。

However, we, [if] staying within the Defilement Of Kalpa, definitely will be, by this period be imprisoned, and by suffering be compelled.

处见浊中,决定为邪智所缠,邪师所惑。

[If] staying within the Defilement Of Views, [we] definitely will be, by evil knowledge be tangled, and by evil teachers be confused.

处烦恼浊中,决定为贪欲所陷,恶业所螫。

[If] staying within the Defilement Of Afflictions, [we] definitely will be, by greedy desires be trapped, by evil karma be stung [and poisoned].

处众生浊中,决定安于臭秽而不能洞觉,甘于劣弱而不能奋飞。

[If] staying within the Defilement Of Sentient Beings, [we] definitely will be “resting” in stinking defilements, yet not able to be thoroughly aware [of them, instead] willing to [remain] inferior and weak, and not be able to exert [efforts], to take flight [to liberation]. 

处命浊中,决定为无常所吞,石火电光,措手不及。

[If] staying within the Defilement Of Lifespans, [we] definitely will, by impermanence be swallowed, [as swiftly as] flint sparks and lightning [flashes come and go], catching [us unaware and] by surprise, [making it too late to practise in time].

若不深知其甚难,将谓更有别法可出五浊,烽烰宅里,戏论纷然。唯深知其甚难,方肯死尽偷心,宝此一行。此本师所以极口说其难甚,而深嘱我等当知也。初普劝竟。’

If not deeply knowing these extreme difficulties, there will [be the wrong] assumption that there is another Dharma [method that] for exiting from the Five Defilements, [which is to, in this] hot and burning house [of the three spheres about to collapse], playing with arguments while confused in flames. Only by deeply knowing these extreme difficulties, then are we willing to completely end our stealing minds [that deludedly crave for some other “better” means to liberation], to treasure this one [precious Pure Land] practice. This is why our fundamental teacher exhaustively spoke of these extreme difficulties, and deeply exhorted us, on what we should know this. [This] first universal exhortation is [thus] complete.’

Extra notes: 
Not only are we in an evil age with the Five Defilements, we are in the Dharma-Ending Age too. This makes Pure Land practice doubly relevant, important and urgent.

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Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!