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[1] How To Use This Book 如何运用此书

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The approach of death is eventual for everyone, unless we attain enlightenment in this single lifetime, which is not easy at all. What makes it more troubling is that death can strike suddenly, at any moment.

每个人终究会面临死亡,除非能在这一世中开悟,而了生脱死。但这并非容易。更令人苦恼的是,死亡随时可能降临。

Thus, it is of utmost importance and urgency to prepare how to handle the dying moments – for ourselves, family members, friends, acquaintances and even strangers. ‘Death skills’ are just as, if not more indispensable, than many other life skills.

因此,为了自己、亲友、甚至陌生人,把如何处理临终时刻的准备做好,既重要又紧迫。「临终技能」就如许多其它生活技能一样,但更加不可或缺。

It is especially crucial, right before and after death, to exert right efforts for facilitating smooth and blissful transitions to good rebirths – the best of which are in Āmítuófó’s [Amitā(bha) Buddha] Pure Land.

因为临终前后时刻极为重要,应当尽心尽力,确保能引导临终者顺利得生安乐的往生处 – 而最佳的往生处,莫过于阿弥陀佛的净土

To prevent possible conflicts of interests in ‘death management’, agreeable readers are encouraged to write and sign their names on the first page, before appointing trustworthy family members and friends to use this book as an instructional guide. This wish should be announced to others who might be involved as well.

为了防止「临终管理」时可能出现的利益冲突,劝请见解相同的读者在第一页写下自己的姓名,加上签名,然后委托可信任的亲友,使用这本书,作为最后的指南。这个意愿也应该告知可能牵涉到的亲友们。

Who is Āmítuófó? He is an ancient Buddha, whose name is recommended by every Buddha as the best subject for mindfulness, so as to reach his Pure Land.

谁是阿弥陀佛?他是一尊古佛。每一尊佛都推荐他的名号,作为正念的最佳「题目」,以便往生到他的净土。

Who is a Buddha? A Buddha is a supremely enlightened being, who has awakened to perfect compassion and wisdom for alleviating the suffering of all beings and guiding them to blissful liberation identical to his.

谁是佛陀?佛陀因为修行而得到圆满的慈悲与智慧,他是至高无上的大觉悟者,能化解众生痛苦,并且指引他们修得同样的安乐与解脱。

What is mindfulness? In its simplest form, it is to wholeheartedly (single-mindedly) focus on reciting a Buddha’s name, verbally or silently, to develop calm, clear and blissful connection.

什么是正念?它最简便的修法,就是全心全意(一心一意)地专注于念听一尊佛的圣号。可以出声念或默念,以达到安稳,清晰和安乐的感应。

What is a Pure Land? It is a magnificent and blissful school created by a Buddha for guiding beings to the goal of True Happiness that all Buddhas attained.

什么是净土?净土是由佛所设立,既庄严又安乐的修行道场,是引导众生修得一切佛所证之极乐的地方。

As a skilful means to spur interest, this handy book is titled ‘The Pure Land Passport’ – not because it is really required for entry into Pure Land, but since there is a misconception that one’s usually passport-sized certification booklet received upon taking the Threefold Refuge in the Triple Gem (of the Buddhas, Dharma and Saṅgha) has to be clasped in the hands upon death to reach Pure Land. Of course, this is not the case, as true refuge is in the heart and mind, ultimately needing no documental validation.

这本书又名为《净土护照》— 不是因为真的需要它才能进入净土,而是为了激发读者的兴趣和好奇心。常有人误解,往生者必须把皈依三宝(佛法僧)的皈依证握在手中,才能去净土。当然,事实并非如此,因为真正的皈依是在心中,不需要文件的验证。

That said, merely having taken refuge is not enough for reaching Pure Land. What really required is to give rise to the Three Provisions of unshakeable Faith in Āmítuófó, unwavering Aspiration (Vow) to reach his Pure Land, and the utmost sincere Practice of mindfulness of his name. With utmost sincerity that holds the provisions together and other instructions here, we can surely guide one another to Pure Land!

尽管如此,单单受了皈依不足以往生净土。真正需要生起的是三资粮 — 对阿弥陀佛无可动摇的信心,欣求往生到他的净土的誓愿,和至诚恳切的念佛修行。具备巩固资粮的至诚心,加上这本书的指示,大家必定能互相引导,同生净土!

As further defined in the fifth section of this book, The Three Provisions For Rebirth In Pure Land’ form the true ‘passport’ for Pure Land, with the Three Essentials as supports.

如本书的第个五部分所进一步解释,《往生净土的三资粮》是真正往生净土的必备,并与《三大要》为辅助

Yet, for the Three Provisions to be powerful, a strong sense of refuge is needed. Even if refuge was not ceremonially taken before the end of life, there should be a genuine sense of faithful refuge in Āmítuófó, who also stands for the Triple Gem in a 3-in-1 way, representing all Buddhas, the Dharma and the Saṅgha.

然而,三资粮要有力量,就需要有坚固的皈依心。即使命终前未曾正式受皈依,应当有真诚皈依阿弥陀佛的心,因为他能以三合一的方式象征三宝,代表所有的佛法僧。

Before focusing on details, in the second section on Guidance Before Support-Chanting’, is counterintuitive yet critical advice on prioritisation of saving one’s spiritual life over the physical in times of great uncertainty, for a win-win situation. As a cautionary note, the reverse could be lose-lose instead.

在关注往生细节前,应该先看此书的第二个部分「助念前开示」。它解释为何生死不确定时,应该把拯救法身慧命放在前位,其中道理虽有悖常理,却极为重要,依此能制造双赢局面,反之将获得双输的下场。

In the third section is a translation of the Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng’s essay titled ‘The Three Great Essentials When Approaching Death [For Birth In Pure Land]. While many teachers have taught at length on various, and sometimes very elaborate ways to assist the dying to reach Pure Land, what most remarkable about Great Master Yìnguāng’s advice is its concise yet clear nature.

第三个部分是净宗十三祖印光大师的文章,名为往生净土的《临终三大要》。 虽然已经有很多佛学老师,以详细长篇幅教导如何协助临终者往生净土,但印光大师的文章胜于它的简明性。

So essential are the streamlined essentials mentioned (with bold text for quick emergency reference) that any less would be in lack, and any more but a bonus. This is thus followed by the fourth section with additional Important Guidelines: Before Dying, During Dying And After Dying, which include the Three Provisions and Three Essentials in spirit.

精简的大要都至关重要。(又有加粗字体,为紧急时迅速参考。)文字少则不足,而文字多,就成额外细节的解释。所以,接着的第四个部分,附有临终前、临终时与临终后的《重要指示》。其中都涵盖三资粮和三大要的精神。

The words of the Buddhist Patriarch (Great Master Yìnguāng) closest to us in history (1861–1940) offer us a sense of timely relevance. The gravitas of his sincere advice on the grave matter of life, death and rebirth is unmistakable too. As such, we must pay close attention, to better master the instructions for helping one and all.

印光大师既然是最接近现代的净土祖师(1861–1940),大师的法语对我们而言,又及时又相应。他所真诚给与我们,关于生死大事的劝言之重要性,是不容质疑。因此,我们应当用心谛听,以更好掌握这些能利益所有众生的指示。

Essential as the Three Essentials may be for supporting others, for ourselves, may our Three Provisions already be adequate through diligent learning and Practice, as we cannot guarantee we will receive support from others. Our Provisions alone should ideally be all that are essential!

虽然三大要是支助大家的要点,我们应该通过精进的闻思修,修得足够的三资粮,因为我们不能保证自己一定能得到他人的支助。如此一来,自己具足三资粮,就已经足够!

Among other auspicious signs, the most powerful proof of being well-accomplished in the Three Provisions is, as in many wonderful real-life cases, to be able to know and tell in advance, the time of one’s departure for Pure Land.

三资粮具足,便能得生净土,在各种瑞相中,最强而有力的证据,就是能够预先知道阿弥陀佛几时来至的现象

Such confidence is possible only when practitioners have already received ‘appointment bookings’ from Āmítuófó on when he will be arriving to guide them to his Pure Land.

能有预知时至的信心,是因为念佛人已经与阿弥陀佛感应道交,并且约定他将来临接引到净土的时间。

Historically, the number of such calm, clear and accurate announcements, which show total absence of attachment to this transient life, aversion to death, and delusion of where they are going to is amazingly and assuringly high.

这种安稳、清晰又准确的告示表现了完全不再执着于这短暂的生命、不畏惧死亡,也不愚痴而不知死后生处的心态。这类奇特的案例在史上非常多。

Lest it be mistaken, the Pure Land Practice of being mindful of Āmítuófó is not only for our last moments, but for benefiting everyone in everyday life too. It is the fine-tuning of ourselves towards our Buddha-nature and the Buddha’s blessings, through which we naturally become attuned to the fuller avoidance of all evils, the greater doing of all good, and the more thorough purification of our minds.

念佛法门的实践,不仅仅在临终之时。大家在日常生活中修行念佛,也可受益。念佛就是心的细调,亲近自己的佛性和阿弥陀佛的加持力。通过念佛来调心,也会自然倾向更圆满的「诸恶莫作」与「众善奉行」,乃至更彻底净化意识,达到「自净其意」的效果。

It is with ongoing regular Practice too, that we fortify our Three Provisions now, to be more skilled and prepared for the moment of departure.

平时定时念佛,必定能熟能生巧。因为现在培养三资粮,则在临终时,已经做好准备,对往生净土充满信心。

We sincerely hope you will appreciate this book, and benefit from our efforts to create a definitive translation of Great Master Yìnguāng’s important essay.

我们真诚希望您能通过此书,获得最大的利益。

We would be most grateful for any suggestions for further improvement. Queries on the Pure Land teachings are also welcomed, along with subscription requests for our free weekly Pure Land newsletter.

我们热烈欢迎任何能够改进此书的建议。如果对净土教理有任何疑问,也欢迎提问,更欢迎订阅我们的免费净土教理电子周报。

There is also a companion course using this book called ‘Destination Pureland: How To Have The Best Rebirth’, that further illuminates upon these contents. Do join us for the next run. As our final wish, may we swiftly reach Pure Land, and return to swiftly guide all to Buddhahood!

另外,这本书的同伴课程 –《净土归宿:如何拥有最佳的往生》将进一步阐明书中的内容。希望您能参加下一届的课程。作为我们的最后心愿,愿我们迅速往生净土后,迅速归来,广度所有众生,皆共成佛道!

Námó Āmítuófó,
Shen Shi’an, MA (Buddhist Studies)
Chief Translator & Author (TDE Team)

南无阿弥陀佛
沈时安(佛学硕士学位)
白话与翻译总编辑兼作者(TDE 组)

Contact 电邮:tde<at>thedailyenlightenment.com
Courses 课程:thedailyenlightenment.com/courses

English text © Shen Shi’an (Recirculation with permission via purelanders.com/contact)

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