Translations

[35] Why Is Āmítuófó’s Name Thus? 何故号阿弥陀佛?

丙二、正报妙

C2: Direct Rewards’ Wonders

分二:初、征释名号,二、别释主伴。

Divided [In] Two [Parts]: First, Proof [And] Explanation [Of] Name, Second, Separate Explanation [Of] Master [And] Companions.

丁初、征释名号

D1: Proof [And] Explanation [Of] Name

中二:初、征,二、释。

Within [In] Two [Parts]: First, Proof, Second, Explanation.

戊初、征

E1: Proof

【经】: 舍利弗,于汝意云何?彼佛何故号阿弥陀?

[Sūtra]: Śāriputra, what [do] you think of [this]? That Buddha, [for] what reason, [is] named “Amitā”?

[解]:此经的示持名妙行,故特征释名号,欲人深信万德洪名不可思议,一心执持,无复疑贰也。

[Explanation]: This sūtra reveals [the] wonderful practice [of] upholding [the] name [of ‘Āmítuófó’], thus specially proving [and]  explaining [the] name, desiring people [to have] profound Faith [in the] inconceivability [of the] great name [of ]ten thousand virtues, [so as to] wholeheartedly [and] firmly uphold [it], without again [having] doubts [and] second [thoughts].

「阿弥陀」,正翻无量,本不可说。本师以光、寿二义,收尽一切无量。

‘Amitā’ [or ‘Āmítuó’], [is] correctly translated [as] ‘Immeasurable’, [which] originally cannot [be] spoken [of. Our] fundamental teacher [i.e. Śākyamuni Buddha], with ‘light’ [and] ‘life’ [as] two [of its] meanings, exhaustibly gathered all [that is] immeasurable.

光则横遍十方,寿则竖穷三际。横竖交彻,即法界体。

[The] light [of Āmítuófó] thus horizontally pervades [the] ten directions [i.e. East, West, South, North, Northeast, Southeast, Northwest, Southwest, above, and below], [and the] life [of Āmítuófó] thus vertically exhausts [the] three times [i.e. past, present and future]. Horizontally [and] vertically interpenetrating [all space and time, this] is the same as [the] Dharma realm’s [essential] body.

举此体作弥陀身土,亦即举此体作弥陀名号。

[The] whole [of] this [Dharma realm’s] body is Āmítuófó’s body [and] land. Likewise is [the] whole [of] this [Dharma realm’s] body Āmítuófó’s name.

是故弥陀名号,即众生本觉理性。

Thus, Āmítuó[fó]’s name, is the same as sentient beings’ original awakening’s principle nature.

持名,即始觉合本。

Upholding [the] name, is the same as actualised awakening joining original [awakening].

始本不二,生佛不二。

[The] actualised [and] original [are] not two, [just as] sentient beings and Buddha[s] are not two [in essence, as both have the same Buddha-nature (i.e. potential to be Buddhas), with the first yet to fully realise it, and the latter having fully realised it].

故一念相应一念佛,念念相应念念佛也。

Thus, [with] one thought corresponding [by sincere mindfulness of Āmítuófó’s name, is with] one thought [aligned to the] Buddha. [With] thought to thought corresponding, [is with] thought to thought [aligned to the] Buddha.

【经】:舍利弗,彼佛光明无量,照十方国,无所障碍,是故号为阿弥陀。

[Sūtra]: Śāriputra, [as] that Buddha’s bright light [is] immeasurable, [and] illuminates [the] ten directions’ lands without any obstruction, therefore [is he] named as “Amitā”[bha: Immeasurable Light].

[]此心性寂而常照,故为光明。

[Explanation]: This mind-nature is still yet constantly illuminating [with awareness], thus [is it] as bright light.

今彻证心性无量之体,故光明无量也。

Now [having] penetrated [to] realise [his] mind-nature’s [essential] body’s immeasurability, thus [is his] bright light immeasurable.

诸佛皆彻性体,皆照十方,皆可名无量光。

[As] all Buddhas [have] penetrated [their mind-]nature’s bodies, [they] all illuminate [the] ten directions, [and can] all [be] named [as] ‘Immeasurable Light’.

而因中愿力不同,随因缘立别名。

Yet, [as] within [their] causal [grounds, their] power [of] vows [is] not [the] same, according [to their] causes [and] conditions, [they] establish other names.

弥陀为法藏比丘,发四十八愿,有光明恒照十方之愿,今果成如愿也。

Āmítuófó as Dharma Treasury [i.e. Dharmākara] Bhikṣu, [who] gave rose [to] forty-eight vows, [with the] vow [to] have [his] bright light constantly illuminating [the] ten directions, now [has this] fruit accomplished as vowed. 

法身光明无分际,报身光明称真性,此则佛佛道同。

[The] Dharma Body’s [i.e. all Buddhas’ one collective Dharmakāya] bright light [is] without boundary, [and their] Reward Bodies’ [i.e. Saṃbhogakāyas] bright lights match [their] true nature [i.e. Buddha-nature]. This thus [is due to] every Buddha’s path [being the] same.

应身光明有照一由旬者,十百千由旬者,一世界十百千世界者。

[They might have] Manifestation Bodies’ [i.e. Nirmāṇakāyas] bright lights [that] have illumination [of] one yojana [i.e. about 12 kilometres], ten, hundred, thousand yojanas, one world-system, ten, hundred, thousand world-systems.

唯阿弥普照,故别名无量光。

[As] only Āmítuó[fó] universally illuminates [everywhere all the time], thus [is his] other name ‘Immeasurable Light’.

然三身不一不异,为令众生得四益故,作此分别耳。

However, [the] Three Bodies [i.e. Trikāya] [are] neither one nor different, for enabling sentient beings [to] attain [the] four benefits [of the Four Siddhāntas (四悉檀), which accord to the listener’s capacity: [1] worldly method (世界悉檀), [2] individual method (各各为人悉檀), [3] curative method (对治悉檀) and [4] method of the first principle (第一义悉檀)] thus, having these differences.

当知无障碍,约人民言。

[It] should [be] known [that the Three Bodies are] without obstructions, [only as] restricted [by] people[‘s conditions], speaking.

由众生与佛缘深,故佛光到处,一切世间无不圆见也。

Due to sentient beings [and the] Buddha [having] deep conditions [of karmic affinities] thus, where [the] Buddha[s’] light reaches, all in [the] world [are] without [those who do] not completely see it.

【经】:又舍利弗,彼佛寿命,及其人民,无量无边阿僧祇劫,故名阿弥陀。

[Sūtra]: Moreover, Śāriputra, [as] that Buddha’s lifespan, and that [of his] people, [are of] immeasurable [and] boundless asaṃkhyeya kalpas, thus [is he] named “Amitā”[yus: Immeasurable Life].

[]心性照而常寂,故为寿命。

[Explanation]: [As his] Mind-Nature illuminates, yet [is] constantly still, thus [is it named] as ‘lifespan’.

今彻证心性无量之体,故寿命无量也。

Now [having] penetrated [to] realise [his] Mind-Nature’s [essential] body’s immeasurability, thus [is his] lifespan immeasurable.

法身寿命无始无终,报身寿命有始无终。

The Dharma Body’s lifespan [is] without beginning [and] without end, [while] Reward Body’s lifespan [is] with beginning and without end.

此亦佛佛道同,皆可名无量寿。

This [is] likewise [due to] every Buddha’s path [being the] same, [and] all [Buddhas] can [be] named [as] ‘Immeasurable Life’.

应身随愿随机,延促不等。

Manifestation Bodies accord [with] vows [and] accord [with] situations, [thus] with extending [and] hastening not [being] equal.

法藏愿王,有佛及人寿命皆无量之愿,今果成如愿,别名无量寿也。

[As the] King [Of] Vows Dharma Treasury [Bodhisattva], has [the] vow [that himself as a] Buddha and [his] people’s lifespans [are] all [to be] immeasurable, now [that this] fruit [has been] accomplished [as] vowed, [his] other name [is] ‘Immeasurable Life’.

「阿僧祇」、「无边」、「无量」,皆算数名,实有量之无量。

‘Asaṃkhyeya’, ‘boundless’, [and] ‘immeasurable’ – all [these are] counting terms, really having measurable [kinds] of [the] immeasurable.

然三身不一不异,应身亦可即是无量之无量矣。

However, [the] Three Bodies [are] not one [and] not different, [as] Manifestation Bodies can also [be of] immeasurable [kinds] of [the] immeasurable.

「及」者,并也。

‘And’ means ‘furthermore’.

「人民」,指等觉以还。

[The] ‘people’ [in Pure Land], refer [to the greatest Bodhisattvas with] Equal Enlightenment [and those] below.

谓佛寿命并其人民寿命,皆无量等也。

Speaking [of the] Buddha’s lifespan, and his people’s lifespans, all [are] equally immeasurable.

当知光寿名号,皆本众生建立。

[It] should [be] known [that the] name [of Immeasurable] Light [and] Life, [are] all originally [based upon] sentient beings’ [Buddha-nature] established.

以生佛平等,能令持名者,光明寿命同佛无异也。

With sentient beings [and] Buddhas equal [in essence, thus is this] able [to] enable those [who] uphold [the] name, [to attain] bright light [and long] lifespan [that is the] same [as the] Buddha, without differences.

复次由无量光义,故众生生极乐即生十方,见阿弥陀佛即见十方诸佛,能自度即普利一切。

Once again, due to Immeasurable Light’s meaning, thus [are] sentient beings born [in the Land Of] Ultimate Bliss the same as [those] born [in the] ten directions’ [other Pure Lands too, with] seeing [of] Āmítuófó the same as seeing the ten directions’ all Buddhas, able [to] self-deliver, then universally benefit all [sentient beings].

由无量寿义,故极乐人民,即是一生补处,皆定此生成佛,不至异生。

Due to Immeasurable Life’s meaning, thus are [the Land Of] Ultimate Bliss’ people the same as [those who are in the Position Of] One Life [To] Replace [Buddhas], all definitely [in] this life [to] accomplish Buddhahood, not reaching [it in a] different life.

当知离却现前一念无量光寿之心,何处有阿弥陀佛名号。

[It] should [be] known [that] apart [from this] presently manifested one thought’s Mind[-Nature] of Immeasurable Life, [there is no]where [else] with Āmítuófó’s name.

而离却阿弥陀佛名号,何由彻证现前一念无量光寿之心。

Yet, apart from Āmítuófó’s name, what cause [is there for us to penetrate [and] realise [this] presently manifested one thought’s Mind[-Nature of] Immeasurable Light and Life?

愿深思之,愿深思之。

May [all] deeply ponder [on] this, may [all] deeply ponder [on] this.

– 净土宗九祖澫益大师
《佛说阿弥陀经要解》

– Pure Land Tradition’s 9th Patriarch Great Master Ǒuyì
(Essential Explanation [Of The] Sūtra [In Which The] Buddha Speaks [Of] Amitā[bha] Buddha)

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Complete English Translation Of ‘The Essential Explanation On The Amitābha Sūtra As Spoken By The Buddha’
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Namo Amituofo : Translation by Shen Shi’an

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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