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[3B] The First Great Essential 第一大要

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原文:第一:善巧开导安慰,令生正信者。

白话:第一,善巧开导与安慰,令生起真正的信心。

First, skilfully inspire, guide and console the dying person, to enable giving rise to right Faith.

原文:切劝病人,放下一切,一心念佛。如有应交代事,速令交代。交代后,便置之度外,即作:「我今将随佛往生佛国。世间所有富乐、眷属、种种尘境,皆为障碍,致受祸害,以故不应生一念系恋之心。

白话:必须劝导病人,放下一切执着,诚心念佛。如果有该交代的事,尽快交代。交代后,就置之度外,即刻想:「我现在要随佛往生佛国。世间所有的富贵、快乐、眷属、种种感官的境界,都是障碍,能导致我遭受祸患与伤害,所以不该为它们生任何贪恋的念头。」 

You must urge the dying person, to let go of attachment to everything [worldly], and wholeheartedly [single-mindedly] recite the name of Buddha [Āmítuófó]. If there are matters that should be accounted for, swiftly account for them. After accounting for them, thus set them aside from consideration, and immediately contemplate, ‘I am now going to follow the Buddha [Āmítuófó] to be reborn in his Buddha Land. All the pleasures from wealth, relatives, and various conditions of dust [sense objects] in this world, are all obstacles, which cause the receiving of misfortune and harm. Therefore, I should not give rise to a thought of binding attachment to them.’

原文:须知自己一念真性,本无有死。所言死者,乃舍此身而又受别种之身耳。若不念佛,则随善恶业力,复受生于善恶道中。

白话:必须知道自己的真正本性,原本没有死。所说的死,只是舍掉这个身躯后又得别种身躯。如果不念佛,就会随着善与恶的业力,再得生于善与恶道中。

You should know that your one thought’s true nature, is originally without death. What said to be death, is then the renouncing of this body, to yet again receive another kind of body only. If not reciting the name of Buddha [Āmítuófó], thus following the power of good or evil karma, you will again receive birth within a good or evil realm.

原文:若当临命终时,一心念「南无阿弥陀佛」,以此志诚念佛之心,必定感佛大发慈悲,亲垂接引,令得往生。

白话:如果临终时,诚心念「南无阿弥陀佛」,以这个至诚念佛的心,必定感得佛大发慈悲,亲自前来接引你,而得往生西方。

If, when approaching the end of life, you are to wholeheartedly [single-mindedly] recite ‘Námó Āmítuófó’ [Homage to (and refuge for life) in Amitā(bha) Buddha], with this mind of sincere Aspiration that recites the name of Buddha [Āmítuófó], you will definitely receive response from the Buddha, who will express great loving-kindness and compassion, personally approaching to receive and guide you, to enable attainment of rebirth in his Pure Land.

原文:且莫疑:「我系业力凡夫,何能以少时念佛,便可出离生死,往生西方?」

白话:而且,别怀疑:「我是被恶业力系缚的凡夫,怎么能用少时间的念佛,就可以出离生死,往生西方?」

Further, do not ever doubt that, ‘As I am an ordinary being bound by the power of negative karma, how am I able to, with a short duration of time reciting the name of Buddha [Āmítuófó], thus be able to renounce birth and death, and be reborn in his Western Pure Land?’

原文:当知佛大慈悲,即十恶五逆之极重罪人,临终地狱之相已现,若有善知识教以念佛,或念十声,或止一声,亦得蒙佛接引,往生西方。此种人念此几句,尚得往生,又何得以业力重,念佛数少,而生疑乎?

白话:应当知道佛有大慈悲,即使是造了十恶业与五逆罪的极重罪人,临终地狱的相已经现前时,如果有善知识教导念佛,只念十声,或止一声,都能得到佛的接引,往生西方。这种人念这几句,都能得往生,又何必以恶业力重,念佛数少,而生怀疑?

You should know that the Buddha has great loving-kindness and compassion. Even for those with extremely heavy transgressions, who have done the Ten Evil Deeds [killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, slander, harsh speech, useless speech, covetousness, ill will, false views] and Five Heinous Transgressions [killing father, killing mother, killing Arhat, causing Buddha to bleed, causing schism in Saṅgha], when approaching death with forms of the hells already appearing, if there are good-knowing friends who teach them to recite the name of Buddha [Āmítuófó], be it with recitation for ten times, or only one time, they will also attain the Buddha’s receiving and guiding, to be reborn in his Western Pure Land. If these kinds of persons who recite these few lines, are still able to attain rebirth there, again why give rise to doubt of birth there, with the power of negative karma being heavy, and recitation of the name of Buddha [Āmítuófó] for a small number of times?

原文:须知吾人本具真性,与佛无二,但以惑业深重,不得受用。今既归命于佛,如子就父,乃是还我本有家乡,岂是分外之事?

白话:必须知道我们原本具足的真正本性,与佛无别,只是因为迷惑与恶业深重,不得受用。现在既然归命于佛,如孩子跟随父亲,这是回归我们本有的家乡,怎么会是我们分外的事?

You should know that we are originally complete with true nature, that is without difference from the Buddhas’. It is only with deep and heavy delusions and negative karma, that we do not attain use of it. Now, since we have taken refuge for life in [Amitā(bha)] Buddha [Āmítuófó], like children going to our father, this is returning to the homeland that we originally have. How can we not have a part in this matter?

原文:又佛昔发愿:「若有众生,闻我名号,志心信乐,乃至十念,若不生者,不取正觉。」

白话:而且,阿弥陀佛曾发愿:「若【‘如果’】有众生,【听】闻我【的】名号,【以】志【诚的】信【心与好】乐【的心念我名号】,乃至【‘甚至’】十念,若【‘如果’】不生【我的净土】者,【我就】不取正觉【‘成佛’】。」

Moreover, in the past, [Amitā(bha)] Buddha made the vow that, ‘If there are sentient beings, who [mindfully] hear my name [Āmítuófó], sincerely with joyful Faith, even if for ten [thoughts of] mindfulness, if [they are] not born [in my Pure Land, I shall] not attain right awakening [Buddhahood].’

原文:以故一切众生,临终发至诚心,念佛求生西方者,无一不垂慈接引也。千万不可怀疑,怀疑即是自误,其祸非小。

白话:所以,一切众生,临终发至诚恳的心,念佛求生西方时,没有一个佛不会前来慈悲接引的人。千万不要怀疑,因为怀疑就是误导自己,而这个祸患不小。

Therefore, for all sentient beings, when approaching death, who give rise to the mind of utmost sincerity, to recite the name of Buddha [Āmítuófó], for seeking birth in his Western Pure Land, there is no one will he not approach with loving-kindness to receive and guide. Do not ever doubt this, as doubt will harm oneself, and this misfortune is not small.

原文:况离此苦世界,生彼乐世界,是至极快意之事,当生欢喜心。

白话:况且,出离这个痛苦的世界,往生极乐世界,是最快乐的事,应当生欢喜心。

Moreover, to depart from this suffering world, and to be born in that Land Of Bliss, is ultimately the happiest of matters, which we should give rise to rejoice for.

原文:千万不可怕死,怕死则仍不能不死,反致了无生西之分矣。以自心与佛相违反故,佛虽具大悲慈,亦无奈不依佛教之众生何。

白话:千万不要怕死,因为怕死仍然不能不死,反而导致没有往生西方的份。因为自己的心与佛互相违反,佛虽然具足大悲慈,也不能帮助不依止佛所教众生的。

Do not ever be fearful of death, as fearing death thus, you are still not able to not die, instead causing you to not have a part in being born in the Western Pure Land. With one’s mind and the Buddha going against each other thus, the Buddha, although complete with great compassion, also cannot help sentient beings who do not rely on the Buddha’s teachings.

原文:阿弥陀佛万德洪名,如大冶洪炉。吾人多生罪业,如空中片雪。业力凡夫,由念佛故,业便消灭,如片雪近于洪炉,即便了不可得。又况业力既消,所有善根,自然增长殊胜,又何可疑其不得生,与佛不来接引乎?

白话:阿弥陀佛具足万种功德的洪大名号,像炼钢的巨炉。我们多生罪障的恶业,像空中的雪片。业力凡夫,因为念佛,恶业就消灭,像雪片靠近巨炉时,即刻融化消失。况且,业力既然消除,所有的善根,会自然增长,成为最殊胜的善根,又何必怀疑你不能生西方,或佛不会来接引?

Amitā[bha] Buddha’s great name [Āmítuófó] of ten thousand virtues, is like a great smelting furnace. Our karmic transgressions of many lives, are like snowflakes in the sky. Ordinary beings bound by the power of negative karma, with recitation of the name of Buddha [Āmítuófó] thus, their negative karma is then eradicated, like snowflakes nearing a great furnace melting, immediately ending, becoming unattainable. Moreover, since the power of negative karma is eradicated, all good roots naturally increase to be the most excellent, again why doubt that you cannot attain birth, and that the Buddha will not come to receive and guide you?

原文:如此委曲宛转开导安慰,病人自可生正信心。此系为病人所开导者。至于自己所应尽孝致诚者,亦惟在此。

白话:有这样善巧宛转的开导与安慰,病人自然可以生起真正的信心。这都是为病人所开导的。至于自己所应该至诚尽孝的方法,也唯有如此。

Thus, from the beginning to the end, skilfully inspire, guide and console, and the dying person can naturally give rise to the mind of right Faith. These are all for inspiring and guiding the dying person. As for what you should do to express filial piety with utmost sincerity, it is also only in this way.

原文:切不可随顺俗情,求神问医。大命将尽,鬼神医药,岂能令其不死乎?既役情于此种无益之事,则于念佛一事,便纷其诚恳,而莫由感通矣。

白话:千万别随顺世俗的情感,求神问医。大命将尽,鬼神医药,怎么能让你不死?既然贪恋这种无益的事,就对念佛这件事,分散了你的诚恳心,而不能感通佛。

You must not follow common emotions, to seek gods and ask doctors [for cures]. When your lifespan is about to exhaust, how can ghosts, gods and medicines of doctors enable you not to die? Since emotions are laboured upon these kinds of matters without benefits, thus for the one matter of reciting the name of Buddha [Āmítuófó], you will then be scattered in your sincerity, and not receive response with connection.

原文:许多人于父母临终,不惜资财,请许多医生来看。此名卖孝,欲世人称我于父母为能尽孝,不知其天地鬼神,实鉴其心。故凡于父母丧葬等事,过于张罗者,不有天灾,必有人祸。为人子者,宜注重于亲之神识得所。彼世俗所称颂,固不值明眼人一哂。况极意邀求,以实罹不孝之大咎乎。

白话:许多人在父母临终时,不惜金钱,请许多医生来看病。这叫做卖孝,希望世人称赞自己能为父母尽孝,不知道天地间的鬼神,真的能检查并验证他们的心。所以,凡是关于父母丧葬等事,过于张罗的话,如果没有天灾,必定有人祸。为人子女,应当注重于父母亲的神识得到安居之所。那些世俗人所赞美的,固然不值得明眼人的一笑。况且,极于追求赞美,将真的会遭受不孝的大灾祸。

For many people, when their fathers and mothers are approaching death, they will not spare their wealth for inviting many doctors to visit them. This is named ‘selling of filial piety’, desiring worldly people to call them to be, for their fathers and mothers, able to express filial piety, not knowing that the heavens’ and earth’s ghosts and gods, can truly examine their minds. Thus, for all fathers’ and mothers’ funeral, burial and other matters, with excessive planning and preparation, if there are no natural disasters, there will be man-made misfortune. As children, we should emphasise on the attainment of settlement for our parents’ consciousnesses. Those whom the worldly praise, are certainly not worth a smile from those who see things clearly. Moreover, with extreme intention to seek recognition, they will truly suffer from this great mistake of being not filial.

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

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