Biographies

Biography Of The Second Patriarch Of The Chinese Pure Land Tradition Great Master Shandao 中国净土宗二祖善导大师传

出家法名:释善导(大师)
地位:净土宗二祖
俗名:朱(姓)
出生地:泗州或临淄人(今山东淄博)
出生年:613
往生年:681
代表作品:《观经四帖疏》四卷、《往生礼赞偈》一卷、《净土法事赞》二卷、《依观经等明般舟三昧行道往生赞》一卷、《观念法门》一卷

Monastic Dharma Name: Shi Shandao (Great Master)
Status: Second Patriarch Of The Pure Land Tradition (School)
Family Name: Zhu (Surname)
Place Of Birth: Si Prefecture or Linzi District (Present day Zibo Prefecture in Shandong Province)
Year Of Birth: 613 C.E.
Year Of Rebirth: 681 C.E.
Best Known Works: Commentary On The Contemplation Sutra In Four Fascicles, Verses Of Praise For Rebirth, Praise Of Pure Land Dharma Matters, Praise Of Rebirth Relying On The Contemplation Sutra And The Pratyutpanna Samadhi Path, and Dharma Door Of Contemplative Mindfulness

善导大师生于隋大业九年(613),泗州或临淄 (今山东淄博) 。十岁时从三论宗高僧明胜法师出家。学三论宗经典,亦常读诵《法华》、《维摩》诸经。

Great Master Shandao was born during Sui Dynasty’s Daye’s nine years (613 C.E.), at Si Prefecture or Linzi District (i.e. now Zibo Prefecture in Shandong Province). At the age of 10, he renounced the household life through an eminent monk of the Three-Treatises Tradition, Dharma Master Mingsheng. He learnt the Three-Treatises Tradition’s scriptures, also often studying and reciting the Lotus Sutra, Vimalakirti Sutra and many other sutras.

一日,见西方净土变,心中大喜。后依妙开律师受具足戒,偶入藏经楼,于藏经前默祷祈愿佛力加被,指导修学所向,抽得《观无量寿经》,大为欣喜。

One day, upon sight of a painting depicting the Western Pure Land, his heart was filled with great joy. After receiving the complete monastic precepts from Precept Master Miaokai, he accidentally entered the Sutra Repository Hall. Before its voluminous sutras, he silently prayed for the power of the Buddha’s blessings, to guide him to a path for learning and cultivation. Thereupon, the Sutra On Contemplation Of (The Buddha Of) Immeasurable Life’ (i.e. Contemplation Sutra) was picked, as he greatly rejoiced.

大师便依《观经》潜修十六观门。几年之后,观想功夫已达念佛三昧的妙境,常于定中观极乐世界,如现目前。由是更加坚定修学净土法门信愿。

The Great Master then immersed into cultivation of the 16 contemplations according to the Contemplation Sutra. A few years later, his contemplation skill already reached the wonderful stage of Samadhi From Mindfulness Of Buddha, where he often saw the Land Of Ultimate Bliss within concentration, as if it was right before his eyes. This further fortified his Faith and Aspiration in learning and cultivating the Pure Land Dharma Door.

大师非常景仰慧远大师,曾往庐山东林寺瞻礼遗范,之后周游寻访高僧大德。唐贞观十五年(641)廿九岁,闻道绰大师在山西交城广弘净土,即不远千里赴玄中寺参学。当时,道绰大师年已八十,见其诚意可嘉,便亲授《观无量寿经》奥义,并令其亲观净土九品道场。大师因此益增信愿,法喜无量。此后更精勤苦修,昼夜不断礼拜读诵净土经典。

As the Great Master had great admiration for Great Master Huiyuan, he went to Mount Lu’s Donglin Monastery to express reverence to his legacy. Thereafter, he travelled around to seek and visit great masters with great virtues. In the Tang Dynasty’s Zhenguan’s 15 years (641 C.E.), at the age of 29, he heard about Great Master Daochuo, who was at Shanxi Jiaocheng propagating the Pure Land teachings. With no regard that it was a thousand miles away, he went forth to Xuanzhong Monastery as a visiting monk. At that time, Great Master Daochuo was already 80 years of age. Seeing how sincere and commendable the Great Master was, Great Master Daochuo imparted the Contemplation Sutra’s profound meaning to him, also enabling him to personally contemplate the nine grades of birth in Pure Land. The Great Master thus benefited with increased Faith and Aspiration, and was filled with immeasurable Dharma bliss. Henceforth, he was even more diligent in practice. Day and night without break, he prostrated, studied and recited the Pure Land scriptures.

道绰大师圆寂后, 大师便回到终南山潜修。后转赴长安,在慈恩寺大弘净土,激发四众同修念佛求生西方。大师在长安弘法期间,出家在家信众受其感化者不可计数。其间现生得念佛三昧者数量众多,临终现瑞相得生净土者不可称计。诸如此类的记载不胜枚举,可以见当时大师弘传净土念佛法门的成就,可谓盛况空前矣。

After Great Master Daochuo entered parinirvana, the Great Master returned to Mount Zhongnan to immerse in cultivation. He then proceeded to Chang’an. At Ci’en Monastery, he widely propagated the Pure Land teachings, inspiring the fourfold assembly of Buddhist practitioners to be mindful of Amitabha Buddha for seeking birth in his Western Pure Land. When the Great Master was at Chang’an propagating the Dharma, countless monastics and lay devotees were touched and transformed. Among them, those who attained Samadhi From Mindfulness Of Buddha were numerous, and those with manifestation of auspicious signs of attaining birth in Pure Land when approaching the end of life were countless. Records on such accounts were too numerous to mention one by one. The magnificent accomplishment of the Great Master’s propagation of the Pure Land Dharma Door Of Mindfulness Of Buddha was unprecedented.

隋唐之时,佛教大盛,思想也不断发展分化,信奉不同思想的佛教徒也自然地逐渐形成了各种不同的派别。继昙鸾大师和道绰大师之后,大师一样面临着其他宗派以各自的教理对净土三辈九品的判教极为过高。他们注射了圣道门自力修行之意,却忽略了弥陀四十八大愿摄受力和功德力。对于阿弥陀佛和极乐净土是报佛和报土一题仍然还没信服。大师直截了当指出,这些注疏与经典的不符。

During the Sui and Tang Dynasties, Buddhism greatly prospered, as Buddhist thought developed and diversified. Buddhists who embraced different thought naturally and gradually formed various schools (i.e. traditions). Succeeding Great Master Tanluan and Great Master Daochuo, Great Master Shandao faced the similar situation of other schools setting the criteria for birth in Pure Land’s nine grades to be too high. They injected notions of Noble Path Door’s Self-Power practice methods, and overlooked the Other-Power of Amitabha Buddha’s 48 great vows’ meritorious virtues for protecting and receiving sentient beings. In regard to Amitabha Buddha in his Pure Land being his Reward Body in his Reward Land, it was still not totally accepted. The Great Master straightforwardly pointed out, that these divergent commentaries and sub-commentaries did not agree with the sutras.

大师判言三辈九品往生都是凡夫,乘托阿弥陀佛的大悲愿力乃得往生。大师的立场是,经乃佛说,为绝对真理;论则是菩萨对经典的解释和发挥,可能有不太圆满或者曲解佛意的地方。经与论相比,经重于论,经与论有矛盾的地方,以经为准。尤其是净土法门其事理因果皆是佛果地境界,实非凡夫所能思惟,甚至也非菩萨所能解悟。横超之法,决不能做竖出之用。若站在自力通途法门来诠释净土,难免出现差错。此处,实则也提醒我们在末法时期,必须以圣言量为标准,即佛说经典和净土宗祖师言说为智慧择法依据。否则,很可能自误误人,错失得度因缘。

The Great Master taught that the nine grades of birth are all attainable by ordinary beings, by riding upon Amitabha Buddha’s great compassionate power of his vows. His stance is that since the sutras were taught by the Buddha, they should be seen as definitive truth. Commentaries however, are Bodhisattvas’ interpretations and elaborations, which might not be perfect, or have misunderstandings of the Buddha’s meaning. Comparing sutras with commentaries, sutras are of greater significance and importance, such that if they contradict each other, the sutras’ teachings should be taken as the accurate ones. This is especially so for the Pure Land Dharma Door, as its principles and practices, with its causes and effects are of the Buddha’s realm of fruition. They are truly beyond ordinary beings’ conceivability, even beyond Bodhisattvas’ scope of understanding. The method of horizontal liberation must not be equated to the method vertical liberation too. If standing from the perspective of Self-Powered Common Dharma Door ways to interpret the Pure Land teachings, mistakes will be difficult to avoid. This should also be seen as a reminder for us, that in this Dharma-Ending Age, we must use the Noble Speech Gauge as criteria, which is to take the sutras spoken by the Buddha and the words of the Pure Land Tradition’s Patriarchs as the basis for selecting the Dharma wisely, for according to. Otherwise, it is highly possible to mislead oneself and others, to lose the causes and conditions to be delivered.

大师还说《观经》也讲述具足三心即得往生净土。这三心为至诚心、深心和回向发愿心。简单说就是有一颗无虚假,真实恳切,一往情深地立志只求生净土的心为至诚心。不反反复复或三心两意,直心深信不疑,永不退转或动摇即深心。所作一切身口意善业,不管世间善还是出世间善,皆悉回向求生净土,绝不回向求人天福报,时时处处以净土为依归,是为回向发愿心。

The Great Master taught that the Contemplation Sutra also spoke of being complete with the Three Minds (or Hearts), to immediately be reborn in Pure Land. These Three Minds are the Utmost Sincere Mind, the Profound Mind and the Dedicated Aspiration Mind. Simply put, to have a non-false, truly earnest and passionately determined mind to be born in Pure Land, is the Utmost Sincere Mind. Not being inconclusive or indecisive, but having the straightforward mind, with deep Faith and without doubt, that never retrogresses, and remains unshaken under any circumstances, is the Profound Mind. Of good deeds done via body, speech and mind, regardless of worldly good or world-transcending good, with all dedicated for birth in Pure Land, not dedicating for human or heavenly blessings, thus always with Pure Land as a refuge, is the Dedicated Aspiration Mind.

在《观经四帖疏》四卷中,大师也善巧说了《二河白道喻》,为我们描述众生的困境和唯一了脱生死的妙方。

In the Commentary On The Contemplation Sutra In Four Fascicles, the Great Master also taught the famous Parable On Two Rivers And The White Path, to skilfully describe our current plight and its only solution.

大师提醒《观经》即以观佛三昧为宗,亦以念佛三昧为宗,一心回向发愿往生净土为趣。 净土经典以佛名号为经体。名号也是相,此相是实相,安住名号即暗合道妙,巧入无生。在此末法浊世,其余法门迂僻难成,唯念佛法门可出离生死。安住此门,信愿持名,必成正觉。

The Great Master reminded that although the Contemplation Sutra has Samadhi From Contemplation Of Buddha as the goal, it also has Samadhi From Mindfulness Of Buddha(‘s name – ‘Amituofo’) as the goal, and wholehearted dedicated Aspiration to be born in Pure Land as the direction. The essential body of the Pure Land scriptures is Amitabha Buddha’s name. His name is also a form, and this form is true form, with peaceful abiding upon his name implicitly agreeing with the wonderful path to skilfuly enter Non-Birth. In this Dharma-Ending Age and Age Of Defilements, other Dharma Doors are circuitous, out-of-the-way and difficult to accomplish, while only the Dharma Door Of Mindfulness Of Buddha can lead to departure from the cycle of birth and death. Peacefully abiding upon this Dharma door, with Faith and Aspiration upholding Practice of mindfulness of Amitabha Buddha’s name, all will definitely accomplish right awakening.

至于解决报佛报土一题,大师引用《大乘同性经》、 《无量寿经》及《观经》,再次论证阿弥陀佛与极乐净土是报佛报土,平息了疑问。

As for resolving the question on Reward Buddha in Reward Land, the Great Master quoted from the Mahayana Sutra On Same Nature, the Immeasurable Life Sutra and the Contemplation Sutra, to once again, and conclusively prove that Amitabha Buddha in his Pure Land Of Ultimate Bliss, is a Reward Buddha in his Reward Land. Thus was the doubt settled.

大师以净土为归宿,自行化他恒以净业居先。大师修持净业异常精进,入室则长跪念佛,非力竭不休。虽时寒冷,亦须流汗,以此相状,表於至诚。三十余年无别寝处,不暂睡眠,般舟行道礼佛。

The Great Master set Pure Land as his final destination, with his personal practice to transform others, to also constantly have cultivation of pure karma for birth in Pure Land as priority. The Great Master was exceptionally diligent in his upholding of pure karma. Entering his room, he would thus kneel upright and recite the name of Amitabha Buddha, not resting till exhausted of energy. Even when the weather was cold, he would still practise, till he perspired, with this condition to express his utmost sincerity. For more than 30 years, he had no bed for sleep, with Pratyutpanna practice circumambulating and prostrating to the Buddha.

大师以平日常乐出外乞食,三衣瓶钵,随身携带,从不使人持洗。除洗浴外,不脱三衣。严格以戒律威仪规范自身,不犯纤毫。不求世俗名闻利养,纵有信施馈赠财物等,也将上好的供奉大众,自己则惟遗粗劣以自支身。所行之处,净身供养,乳酪醍醐,皆不饮噉。大师三十年如一日,言传身教,远诸戏笑。戒行严谨,深得四众钦敬。

The Great Master delighted in alms-seeking every day. Carrying his bottle and alms bowl, he never asked others to wash them. Other than for washing them and bathing, he would never remove his robes. With strict precepts and dignified conduct as his personal standard, he never broke a single precept, even in the slightest. Never seeking worldly fame or fortune, even if devotees offered money, gifts and more, he would offer the best to the great assembly, only keeping the coarse for supporting himself. Wherever he went, he would clean himself before making offerings. As for dairy products, such as milk, cheese, butter and cream, he never drank or ate them. The Great Master lived 30 years in this way, teaching with his words and example, and staying far from all frivolous entertainment. With his strict practice of precepts, he received the four assemblies’ deep admiration and respect.

如此勇猛用功,日积月累自然道力非凡。曾于大众前演示,‘口念一声佛号,便有一道光明从口出,十声乃至百千声,光亦如是’奇特瑞相,来激励大众虔心念佛,精进办道,求生安养。

With such ardent diligence accumulated over days and months, his spiritual strength naturally became extraordinary. Once, before a great assembly, he demonstrated a marvellous auspicious sign – ‘With his mouth reciting the Buddha’s name once, one stream of bright light shone forth from his mouth; with 10 times, and even 100 to 1,000 recitations, the light was likewise thus.’ This was to encourage the great assembly to reverently recite the Buddha’s name, to diligently practise the path, and to seek birth in the Pure Land Of Peaceful Nurturing.

大师毕生悉心于弘法兴教事业,每见闻有坏寺废塔未曾兴复,即不遗余力倾囊相助,兴寺弘教,燃灯续明。大师亦擅长建寺造像艺术,在西京实际寺时,曾奉诏督造洛阳龙门石窟的卢遮那佛像。

In the Great Master’s entire lifetime, he put all of his heart into propagating the Dharma, to enable the Buddha’s teachings to flourish. Whenever he saw or heard of damaged monasteries or abandoned pagodas yet to be rebuilt, he would immediately spare no efforts to offer everything to help the monasteries to flourish for propagation of the Dharma, to light the lamp of wisdom for perpetuating its brightness. The Great Master was also skilled in the art of constructing monasteries and statues. When he was at Xijing’s Shiji Monastery, he was decreed to oversee construction of the Vairocana Buddha statue at Loyang’s Longmen Grottoes.

此外,大师也擅长书画,曾将信施供养的净资,书写《阿弥陀经》十余万卷,及画《净土变相》三百余壁,普为流通,藉以广弘净土法门。

In addition, he was also skilled in calligraphy and painting. He even used the money offered to him by devotees to fund the writing of over 100,000 scrolls of the Amitabha Sutra, and to paint over 300 murals of Pure Land’s scenes, for wide circulation and to aid propagation of the Pure Land Dharma Door.

据元代东林寺住持优昙普度大师所著《莲宗宝鉴》: 善导大师登所居寺前柳树西向愿曰:‘愿佛威神,骤以接我,观音势至亦来助我。令我此心不失正念,不起惊怖,不于弥陀法中少生退墮。愿毕,于其树上端身立化。’大师且往生之后,身体柔软,容光如常,异香音乐,久而方歇。

According to Yuan Dynasty’s Donglin Monastery’s Abbot Great Master Youtan Pudu’s work, the Lotus Sect’s Treasury Of Reflections, Great Master Shandao climbed up the willow tree at front of the monastery where he lived, faced West and uttered these words of his Aspiration – ‘May the Buddha, with his majestic and supernormal power, swiftly come to receive me. May Guanyin and Shizhi (Bodhisattvas) also come to support me. Enable my mind not to lose right mindfulness, to not give rise to fear, and not, within Amitabha Buddha’s Dharma (in his Pure Land), be born lower or regress. May my life completed, be with my body upright on this tree.’ After the Great Master’s rebirth, his body was soft and supple, and his face radiant as usual, while extraordinary fragrance and music was present for a long time.

唐高宗以大师念佛口出光明,神异无比,故赐大师当时所住的寺院一块匾额为‘光明寺’,后世学人也因而称大师为‘光明和尚’。 如此可见大师上受帝王尊崇,下为世人所敬仰。往生后,其弟子怀恽等,将灵骨埋葬在长安,建塔名崇灵塔,并于塔旁扩建寺院改名香积寺。

When the Tang Emperor Gaozong knew that the Great Master’s mindfulness of Buddha led to bright light shining from his mouth, as it was incomparably miraculous, he thus bestowed the monastery where the Great Master lived with an inscribed plaque named Monastery Of Bright Light (Guangming Monastery), which led later generations of Buddhists to call the Great Master the ‘Monk Of Bright Light’. As can be seen, the Great Master received royal veneration and the commoners’ reverence. After his rebirth, his disciple Venerable Huaiyun and others, buried his relics at Chang’an, and built a pagoda named Chongling Pagoda there. At its side, they expanded Guangming Monastery, which was later renamed as Xiangji Monastery.

大师专弘念佛法门,普度众生共入弥陀大愿海。宋代时天台宗高僧宗晓大师为诸宗列祖师,将大师列于庐山慧远大师之次,为净土宗二祖

The Great Master focused on propagating the Dharma Door Of Mindfulness Of Buddha, to widely deliver sentient beings, to enter Amitabha Buddha’s ocean of great vows together. In the Song Dynasty, the Tiantai Tradition’s eminent Great Master Zongxiao for all Buddhist schools, listed their Patriarchs. He placed Great Master Shandao right after Mount Lu’s Great Master Huiyuan (who was named the Pure Land Tradition’s First Patriarch), as the Pure Land Tradition’s Second Patriarch.

完整中文原文 Complete Chinese text: donglin.org
图片 Pictures: 互联网 Internet
英译 English translation: purelanders.com

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