Translations

Why Is Amituofo’s Name Thus? 何故号阿弥陀佛?

净土宗九祖蕅益大师之《佛说阿弥陀经要解》  摘录:
Excerpt from ‘Essential Explanation Of The Amita(bha) Sutra As Spoken By The Buddha’ by the Pure Land Tradition’s 9th Patriarch Great Master Ouyi:

【经】:‘舍利弗,于汝意云何,彼佛何故号阿弥陀?’

Sutra: ‘Sariputra, what do you think? For what reason is that Buddha named “Amita”?’

【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 sutra reveals the wonderful practice of upholding the name [of “Amituofo” (Amitabha or Amitayus Buddha) with profound (i.e. deep) Faith and sincere Aspiration], thus explaining the special characteristics of his 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 or diversions.

阿弥陀,正翻无量,本不可说。本师以光、寿二义,收尽一切无量。

Amita [or “Amituo”], is correctly translated as “Immeasurable”, [which is what] originally cannot be spoken of. Our fundamental teacher [Sakyamuni Buddha], with “light” and “life” as two of its meanings, exhaustibly gathered [and summarised] all [that is spiritually] “Immeasurable.”

光则横遍十方,寿则竖穷三际。横竖交彻,即法界体。

The “light” [of Amituofo] thus horizontally pervades the ten directions [i.e. everywhere], and the “life” [of Amituofo] thus vertically exhausts the three times [i.e. past, present and future]. Horizontally and vertically interpenetrating [all space and time], this is 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 Amituofo’s body and [his Pure] Land, likewise is the whole of this [Dharma realm’s] body Amituofo’s name.

是故弥陀名号,即众生本觉理性。

Thus, Amituo[fo]’s name, is sentient beings’ true nature of original [i.e. fundamental; intrinsic; inherent potential for complete] enlightenment.

持名,即始觉合本。始本不二,生佛不二。

Upholding his name, is [when] initial enlightenment [which begins actualisation of the potential for enlightenment] joins original [enlightenment, which is the potential for enlightenment]. The initial 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 Amituofo’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。’

Sutra: ‘Sariputra, that Buddha’s bright light is immeasurable, and illuminates the ten directions’ lands without any obstruction. This is why he is named as “Amita[bha: Immeasurable Light]”.’

【解】:‘此心性寂而常照,故为光明。今彻证心性无量之体,故光明无量也。诸佛皆彻性体,皆照十方,皆可名无量光。而因中愿力不同,随因缘立别名。

Explanation: ‘This mind-nature [i.e. Buddha-nature] is still [i.e. at peace], yet always illuminating [with awareness], thus [is it named] as “bright light”. Now having penetrated to realise his mind-nature’s [essential] body’s immeasurability, thus is his bright light immeasurable. [As] all Buddhas have penetrated their mind-nature’s bodies, they all illuminate the ten directions, and can all be named as “Immeasurable Light”. Yet, as within their causal stages, their power of vows are not the same, according to their causes and conditions, they establish different 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。

Amituofo as Dharmakara Bhiksu, 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。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。

The Dharma Body’s [i.e. all Buddhas’ one collective Dharmakaya] bright light is without division, [distinction or limitation. As] their Reward Bodies’ [i.e. Sambhogakaya(s)] bright lights accord with their true nature [i.e. Buddha-nature], this thus is Buddhas’ paths being the same. [They might have] Manifestation Bodies’ [i.e. Nirmanakayas] bright lights that illuminate one yojana [i.e. about seven miles], ten, a hundred, a thousand yojanas, one world-system, ten, a hundred, or a thousand world-systems.

唯阿弥普照,故别名无量光。然三身不一不异,为令众生得四益故,作此分别耳。

[As] only Amituo[fo] universally illuminates [everywhere all the time], thus is his other [special] name “Immeasurable Light”. However, the Three Bodies [i.e. Trikaya] are neither one nor different, for enabling sentient beings to attain the four benefits [of the Four Siddhantas (四悉檀), which accord to the listener’s capacity: [1] worldly method (世间悉檀), [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。由众生与佛缘深,故佛光到处,一切世间无不圆见也。’

It should be known that [the Three Bodies are] without obstructions, [only as] restricted by people[‘s conditions], saying [so]. Due to sentient beings and Buddhas having deep conditions [of karmic affinities] thus, where Buddha[s’] light[s] reach[es] in all worlds, there is none who cannot see them completely.

【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。’

Sutra: ‘Moreover, Sariputra, that Buddha’s lifespan, and that of his people, are of immeasurable and boundless asamkhyeya kalpas. This is why he is named “Amita[yus: Immeasurable Life]”.’

【解】:‘心性照而常寂,故为寿命。今彻证心性无量之体,故寿命无量也。

Explanation: ‘[As his] mind-nature illuminates, yet always at peace, thus [is he named] as “Immeasurable Life”. 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。此亦佛佛道同,皆可名无量寿。应身随愿随机,延促不等。

The Dharma Body’s lifespan is without beginning and without end, [while] Reward Bodies’ lifespans are with beginning and without end. This is likewise Buddhas’ paths being the same, and all [Buddhas] can be named as “Immeasurable Life”. 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 Dharmakara [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 [special] name is “Immeasurable Life”.

阿僧祇,无边、无量,皆算数名,实有量之无量。然三身不一不异,应身亦可即是无量之无量矣。及者,并也。人民,指等觉以还。谓佛寿命并其人民寿命,皆无量等也。

“Asamkhyeya”, “boundless”, and “immeasurable” – all these are counting terms, actually having measurable kinds of the immeasurable. However, the Three Bodies are neither one nor different, [as] Manifestation Bodies can also be of the immeasurable kind of immeasurable. “And” (及) means “furthermore”. The people [in Pure Land], refer to [the greatest Bodhisattvas] with Equal Enlightenment [and] returners [i.e. those yet to have any enlightenment]. 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。以生佛平等,能令持名者,光明寿命同佛无异也。

It should be known that the name of [Immeasurable] Light [and Immeasurable] Life, are all originally [upon] sentient beings’ [Buddha-nature] established. With sentient beings and Buddhas [being] 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 the meaning of Immeasurable Light, thus are sentient beings born in [the Pure Land Of] Ultimate Bliss already [or promptly] born in the ten directions’ [other Pure Lands too, with] seeing of Amituofo already [or promptly] as seeing all Buddhas of the ten directions, able to deliver themselves, and [to promptly] and 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 the meaning of Immeasurable Life, thus are [the Land Of] Ultimate Bliss’ people [those who will attain the Stage Of] One Life To Replacement [of Buddhas], all definitely in this life to accomplish Buddhahood, not reaching [elsewhere to be born as] ordinary beings.

当知离却现前一念无量光寿之心,何处有阿弥陀佛名号。而离却阿弥陀佛名号,何由彻证现前一念无量光寿之心。愿深思之,愿深思之。’

It should be known that apart from this presently manifested one [mindful] thought of Immeasurable Life, [there is no]where [else with] Amituofo’s name. Yet, apart from Amituofo’s name, from where [do we] penetrate and realise this presently manifested one thought of Immeasurable Light and [Immeasurable] Life? May [all] deeply ponder on this, may [all] deeply ponder on this!’

Related Articles:

The Sacred Name Of Amituofo 阿弥陀佛之圣号
https://purelanders.com/2012/01/17/the-sacred-name-of-amita-buddha-amituofo
The Name Of Amituofo Is The Supreme Mantra
https://purelanders.com/2011/12/16/the-name-of-amituofo-is-the-supreme-mantra
Amituofo As One & All Buddhas
https://purelanders.com/2013/04/22/amituofo-as-one-all-buddhas

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