Translations

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

善导和尚系弥陀化身,有大神通,有大智慧。

[The Pure Land Tradition’s Second Patriarch Great] Master Shàndǎo [was] connected [to] Āmítuófó [i.e. Amitā(bha)  Buddha, as his] manifestation body, [thus] with great supernormal [powers, and] with great wisdom.

Note 1: Great Master Shàndǎo’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] yet never mysterious [or abstruse; difficult to understand], only [focusing] on that [which is] clear [and] sincere, plain, simple [and] plain, teaching people [to] cultivate practice [accordingly].

Note 2: His teachings are distinct 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.

Note 3: Both ‘Focused Cultivation’ and ‘Mixed Cultivation’ when practised separately and 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’ is to, [with] body [or physical] karma focused [on] prostrating [to Āmítuófó] ([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 [Āmítuófó’s name] ([while] all recitation [of] sutras [and] mantras, [that are] able [to be, with a] sincere mind dedicated [for rebirth in Pure Land], likewise can [be] named [as] ‘Focused Recitation’), [and the] mind [or mental] karma focused [on] mindfulness [of Āmítuófó, with such] thus then [dedicated for] rebirth [in the] Western [Pure Land of Āmítuófó, of] ten thousand [people who practise thus], not one [will be] left out [from reaching Pure Land].  

Note 4: ‘Focused Cultivation’ is to use body, speech and mind (to cultivate these three karmas) by prostrating to Āmítuófó, 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’ is to concurrently cultivate all kinds [of] Dharma doors, dedicating [to be] reborn [in Pure Land].  

Note 5: ‘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 [the] mind not purely singular [or wholehearted in Aspiration for reaching Pure Land], therefore [will it be] difficult [to] attain benefits, then within [a] hundred, [the] rare [who] attain [birth there are] one [or] two, within [a] thousand, [the] rare [who] attain [birth there are] three [or] four. 

Note 6: Both ‘Focused Cultivation’ and ‘Mixed Cultivation’ should thus be dedicated sincerely for reaching Pure Land. If this is not 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 separately and 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 [the] mind 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。

These [are Great Master Shàndǎo’s] golden mouth’s true [and] sincere words, [that for] all eternity [are] unchanging, [with] irrefutable ironclad proof.

二位当以此自利,又当以此普利一切

[You] both should, with these [teachings] self-benefit, [and] also should with these [teachings] universally benefit all [others].

Note 7: The above should thus be understood clearly, to avoid misunderstanding, so as to guide proper practice, for teaching accordingly to benefit all.

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 Yìnguāng
(Reply letter [to a] certain Yǒngjiā layperson [and his] brother)

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

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Related Articles:

为何有专圆二修?
Why Are There Focused & Complete Cultivation Methods?
https://purelanders.com/2017/12/16/why-are-there-focused-complete-cultivation-methods

专圆偈
Verses On Focused And Complete Cultivation
https://purelanders.com/2020/12/07/verses-on-focused-complete-cultivation

只有善导大师是净土祖师吗?
Is Great Master Shàndǎo The Only Pure Land Patriarch?
https://purelanders.com/2017/04/11/is-great-master-shandao-the-only-pure-land-patriarch

何为正杂二行?
What Are Main & Mixed Practices?
https://purelanders.com/2017/09/20/what-are-main-mixed-practices

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