Translations

Importance Of Dedicating All Practices For Reaching Pure Land 回向一切修行于往生净土的重要

善導和尚係弥陀化身,有大神通,有大智慧。

‘[The Pure Land Tradition’s Second Patriarch Great] Master Shandao was connected to Amituofo [i.e. Amitabha Buddha, as his] manifestation body, [thus] with great supernormal powers, [and] with great wisdom.

Notes:
Great Master Shandao’s teachings as below should thus be heeded mindfully.

其宏阐净土,不尚玄妙,唯在真切平实处,教人修持。

His great explanation [of the] Pure Land [teachings], was never mysterious [or abstruse; difficult to understand], only [focusing] on that [which is] clear and plain, [simple and true], teaching people to cultivate practice [accordingly].   

Notes:
His teachings are clear and straightforward for direct practice.

至于所示专杂二修,其利无穷。

As for that taught on “Focused [Cultivation]” and “Mixed [Cultivation]” as two cultivation [methods], their benefits are boundless.

Notes:
Both “Focused Cultivation” and “Mixed Cultivation” when practised together have tremendous benefits.

专修谓身业专礼(凡围绕及一切处身不放逸皆是),口业专称(凡诵经咒,能志心回向,亦可名专称),意业专念,如是则往生西方,万不漏一。

“Focused Cultivation” means to, with body [or physical] karma focused on prostrating [to Amituofo] ([while] all circumambulation, and at all places with the body not being heedless; [negligent; careless; undisciplined; indulgent; indolent] are all [also] so), with speech [or verbal] karma focused on reciting [Amituofo’s name] ([while] all recitation of sutras and mantras, [that are] able [to be, with a] sincere mind dedicated [for rebirth in Pure Land] also can be named as being “focused on reciting”), [and the] mind [or mental] karma focused on mindfulness [of Amituofo], with such thus [dedicated for] rebirth in the Western [Pure Land of Amituofo], of ten thousand people [who practise thus], not one will be left out [from reaching of Pure Land].  

Notes: “Focused Cultivation” is to use body, speech and mind (to cultivate these three karmas) by prostrating to Amituofo, by reciting his name, and being mindful of his name. However, the three karmas can also be used to practise circumambulation, heedfulness, sutra-chanting, mantra-chanting etc., as long as they are all sincerely dedicated for reaching Pure Land. Thus practising, all will definitely reach Pure Land.

杂修谓兼修种种法门,回向往生。

“Mixed Cultivation” means to concurrently cultivate all kinds of Dharma doors, dedicating to be reborn [in Pure Land].  

Notes:
“Mixed Cultivation” is to also have various other practices, that are also sincerely dedicated for reaching Pure Land.

以心不纯一,故难得益,则百中希得一二,千中希得三四往生者。

With a mind that is not purely singular [or wholehearted in Aspiration for reaching Pure Land], therefore will it be difficult to attain benefits, thus within a hundred, the few who attain [birth there are] one or two, within a thousand, the few who attain [birth there are] three or four. 

Notes:
Both “Focused” and “Mixed Cultivation” should thus be dedicated sincerely for reaching Pure Land. If this is no done, it will be very difficult to reach Pure Land, as there is no clear direction of Aspiration. The following should also be noted:

[1] Having Only “Focused Cultivation”: “Focused Cultivation” by itself, with sincere dedication, is already adequate for reaching Pure Land.

[2] Having Both “Focused Cultivation” & “Mixed Cultivation”: As above, ‘“Mixed Cultivation” is to also have various other practices, that are also sincerely dedicated for reaching Pure Land.’ Thus, “Mixed Cultivation” can reach Pure Land too, if this is done. Also from above, ‘Both “Focused Cultivation” and “Mixed Cultivation” when practised together have tremendous benefits.’

[3] Having Only “Mixed Cultivation”: The above does NOT say “Mixed Cultivation” should not be done for reaching Pure Land. In fact, it encourages it. However, it warns that ‘With a mind that is not purely singular [or wholehearted in Aspiration for reaching Pure Land], therefore will it be difficult to attain benefits.’ Thus, to be safe, if there is “Mixed Cultivation”, it should be to support existing “Focused Cultivation”, with the same sincere dedication for reaching Pure Land.

此金口诚言,千古不易之铁案也。当以此自利,又当以此普利一切。’

These are [Great Master Shandao’s] golden mouth’s true [and sincere] words, that for all eternity are unchanging, from conclusive ironclad [evidence. You] should, with these [teachings] benefit yourselves, and also should with these [teachings] universally benefit all [other beings].’

Notes:
The above should thus be understood clearly, to avoid misunderstanding, so as to guide proper practice, and for teaching accordingly to benefit all others.

– 净土宗十三祖印光大师
(复永嘉某居士昆季书)

– Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yinguang 
(Reply letter to a certain Yongjia layperson and brother)

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Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!