Translations

Main Practice As Host & Supportive Practices As Guests 正行为主、助行为宾

‘念佛之人,各随己分。专念佛号亦好,兼诵经咒,并广修万行亦好。但不可了无统绪,必须以念佛为主,为正行。

‘Those [who practise] mindfulness of [Amitabha] Buddha[‘s name “Amituofo”], each according to their personal part, [with practice of] focused mindfulness of Buddha’s name is also good, [and with] concurrent recitation of sutras and mantras, together widely cultivating ten thousand [many and various] practices is also good. However, this must not be without gathering by threading [or unifying all into one]; it must be with mindfulness of Buddha as the host, as the “Main Practice.”

Notes:
For the purpose of reaching Amituofo’s Pure Land, having many mixed “Supportive Practices” such as the above, although good, must be held together and led by the focused “Main Practice” of mindfulness of Buddha [i.e. Nianfo].

余皆为宾,为助行。则善矣。否则如一屋散钱,皆不上串,不得受用。又如入海无指南针,无所适从矣。’

Other [practices] are all [to be regarded] as guests, as “Supportive Practices.” Thus is this good. If not [so], it is like a house with scattered [Chinese] coins [with holes in their centres, with] all not [being] strung up, not being able to be used [together as a single bundle. This is] also like entering the ocean [to sail] without a South-pointing needle [i.e. compass], [thus] not knowing what course to follow [to reach the destination of the Western Pure Land].’

Notes:
The host of “Main Practice” of Nianfo should be the mainstay practice, with the most time and efforts dedicated to, especially if the various guests of “Supportive Practices” only occasionally come and go. It is the host who leads, that lines up all these otherwise directionless guests to board and ride the ship of Amituofo’s great vows to reach his Pure Land. Such synergising of all together is through sincere and singular dedication.

– 净土宗十三祖印光大师
(复沈授人居士书)

– Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yinguang 
(Reply letter to Layman Shen Shouren)

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Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!