Biographies

Biography Of The Third Patriarch Of The Chinese Pure Land Tradition Great Master Chengyuan 中国净土宗三祖承远大师传


出家法名:释承远(大师)
地位:净土宗三祖
俗名:谢(姓)
出生地:汉州(今四川绵竹县)
出生年:712
往生年:802
代表作品:

Monastic Dharma Name: Shi Chengyuan (Great Master)
Status: Third Patriarch Of The Pure Land Tradition (School)
Family Name: Xie (Surname)
Place Of Birth: Hanzhou (Present day Mianzhu County in Sichuan Province)
Year Of Birth: 712 C.E.
Year Of Rebirth: 802 C.E.
Best Known Works: None

承远大师生于712年, 俗姓谢,汉州(今四川锦竹县)人。大师宿根善利且天资聪颖超乎常人。自幼接受儒家礼乐、诗书的教育,但视为枷锁。闻听佛法后,却生大欢喜,思想境界因之改观。

Great Master Chengyuan was born in 712 C.E, to a Xie family in Hanzhou (now Mianzhu County in Sichuan Province). As he had good and sharp spiritual roots from his past lives, he possessed innate talents and was highly intelligent. When young, although he received Confucian education on rites, music and the Book Of Songs (Classic On Poetry), he saw them to be restrictive. Instead, after hearing the Buddha’s teachings, he gave rose to great rejoice, resulting in change of his ideology.

大师意识到佛教的义理诚可释解迷困。因是神动而意往,决意寻师访道求学佛法。遂告别父母,入寺做杂务兼学佛。于是踏上了修道弘法的征程。

The Great Master realised that with sincere learning of the Buddhist doctrine, it can explain and resolve all problems and troubles. As such, he became motivated to go forth, with his determined decision to seek teachers to learn the Buddhist teachings. Following farewell to his parents, he entered a monastery to do miscellaneous work while learning the Buddha’s teachings. He thus embarked on the path of cultivating and propagating the Dharma.

蒙处寂禅师(648—734 年)赏识,大师从其参禅。在处寂禅师门下一年多 , 大师即能‘旁窥奥旨,密悟真乘’,但此时他仍未出家。

Receiving Chan Master Chuji’s (648—734 C.E) appreciation, from him, the Great Master learnt Chan practice. After more than a year of his guidance, Great Master was able to ‘catch a glimpse of the profound purpose, by intimate awakening to the true vehicle’. Nevertheless, at that time, he had yet renounced the household life.

后四处参学,大师在荆州玉泉寺依惠真禅师剃度出家。南岳通相大师座下受具足戒,更于其学经律。后闻慈愍三藏至广州弘化,遂冲破重重障碍,前往广州求法。

After that, Great Master travelled around to learn. At Jingzhou’s Yuquan Monastery, the Great Master renounced the household life through Chan Master Huizhen. He received the full monastic precepts through Nanyue’s Great Master Tongxiang, with whom he learned the sutras and precepts. Later, after knowing Tripitaka Master Cimin had reached Guangzhou to propagate the Dharma, he thereupon overcame one obstacle after another, to seek the Dharma through him.

慈愍三藏见大师至诚恳切学道,颖悟超常。但慈愍三藏认为教示不可独然独善,应依《无量寿经》修念佛三昧,以救济群生。大师受教,从此专修净土。

Tripitaka Master Cimin saw that the Great Master was utmost sincere and earnest in learning the Dharma, and was also extraordinarily intelligent. However, Tripitaka Master Cimin believed that teaching should not solely be for own one’s good. There should be reliance on the Sutra On Immeasurable Life to cultivate Samadhi From Mindfulness Of Buddha, for saving and helping all sentient beings. Ever since the teaching was received, the Great Master focused on cultivation of the Pure Land path.

30岁时(742年)大师于衡山西南建立茅屋,号弥陀台,置阿弥陀佛像及《无量寿经》。精苦修道,有人供养食物则吃,无人供养则食野果花草。衣不求好,唯御寒遮体而已。大师万缘放下,精进念佛,得念佛三昧,常感圣境现前。

At the age of 30 (742 C.E.), Great Master built a hut at Southwest Hengshan, naming it Amitabha Terrace, in which he then placed an Amitabha Buddha statue and the Sutra Of Immeasurable Life. Striving diligently to cultivate the path, he ate offered food, and if no one offered any, he would eat wild fruits, flowers and plants. He did not seek fine clothing, and only wore clothes to cover his body from the cold. He was able to let go of the ten thousand worldly conditions, to diligently practise mindfulness of Buddha, and attain Samadhi From Mindfulness Of Buddha, often connecting to see the holy environment of Amitabha Buddha’s Pure Land before his eyes.

大师教化众生,善立中道,随机设教。为了使众生早证道果,大师殷殷开示念佛法门,并将经教法语,弥陀名号,书写在大街小巷,镌刻在山岩溪谷。苦口婆心地劝勉众生念佛求生净土。

Great Master taught and transformed people to be well established on the Middle Path. For enabling them to swiftly realise the fruit of the path to Buddhahood, he ardently preached the Dharma Door of Mindfulness of Buddha. He also wrote sutra quotes, Dharma sayings and Amitabha Buddha’s name on the walls of big streets and small lanes, carving them on mountains, cliffs and valleys. He gave earnest and well-meaning advice, to encourage many to seek rebirth in Pure Land.

随着学佛、念佛者日渐增多。许多善信见大师居处破旧,粗衣敝食。皆负布帛,斩木垒石,搭棚居住,并发心营造殿宇。大师既不拒绝,也不营求。殿宇盖成,遂名为‘弥陀寺’。

Those who accordingly learnt the Dharma to practise mindfulness of Buddha gradually increased to be many. Many devotees saw that the dwelling place of Great Master was old and shabby, his clothes to be coarse, and that he ate poor food. Aspiring to construct a hall, they took upon themselves to offer cloth and cotton, cut wood, pile rocks, and set up tents to stay. The Great Master neither rejected nor sought these to be done. When the hall was completed, it was thereupon named Amitabha Monastery.

当时,法照大师在庐山,一日入定,往极乐世界,见一褴褛僧人侍立在佛侧,询知是南岳的承远大师。出定后,法照大师即往衡山面谒,悲喜流涕而继承了大师的净土教导。

At that time, Great Master Fazhao (later known as the Fourth Patriarch Of The Pure Land Tradition) was at Mount Lu. One day, while in samadhi, he arrived at the Land of Ultimate Bliss, and saw a monk in tattered robes, standing by the Buddha. Upon enquiry, he knew him to be Nanyue’s Great Master Chengyuan. After exiting from samadhi, Great Master Fazhao immediately went to Mount Heng to meet Great Master Chengyuan. With joyful tears, he inherited the Pure Land teachings from him.

当代宗皇帝奉法照大师为国师,闻法照大师言其师有至德,便也推尊承远大师,顶礼有加,赐大师所住持的寺庙为般舟道场。

When Emperor Daizong decreed Great Master Fazhao as the State Preceptor (Nation’s Spiritual Advisor), and having heard him speak of Great Master Chengyuan’s utmost virtues, he also felt great reverence for him, thus conferring the name Pratyutpanna Bodhimanda (Practice Centre) to the monastery that the Great Master was staying in.

大师驻锡南岳六十年间,不出山门,宏传净土。大师一生投注念佛实践,不图著作。未见大师有何著作传世,故大师净土思想亦无从考究。然从大师修道经历来看,似服膺慈愍三藏的教旨,坚持戒行,专修般舟三昧。以此自利利他,成就一代祖师的特有风范。

The Great Master resided at Nanyue for 60 years, and never exited the monastery’s mountain gate. Yet, he was able to propagate the Pure Land teachings far and wide. The Great Master devoted his entire life to practising mindfulness of Buddha, and did not attempt to create any written works. Since no works have been handed down, there is no way to study his Pure Land ideology. However, from what known of his experience of cultivating the path, it seems that he bore in mind Tripitaka Master Cimin’s teachings, of strictly upholding practice of the precepts, with focus on cultivation of Pratyutpanna Samadhi. With these benefiting one and all, being a distinctive role model, he was accomplished as a great Patriarch of his generation.

91岁时(802年),七月十九日,大师自知世缘将尽。乃于寺内顾命弟子,申明教诫已,打扫居室,结跏趺坐,恬然面西寂化。大师用毕生精力,通过自身修持,证实念佛往生净土之真实不虚。并以常人难以企及的苦修实证来摄受广大众生,同修净土,共赴莲池。此在净宗史上之影响是极为深远,大师也被后人尊为净土宗第三代祖师

At the age of 91 (802 C.E.), on the 19th day of the 7th lunar month, the Great Master knew that his affinity with the world was coming to an end. He thus gathered all his disciples in the monastery to formally instruct them. With his room cleaned, sitting in the lotus posture and facing West, he peacefully departed for Pure Land. The Great Master, with his lifelong efforts of self-cultivation, proved that mindfulness of Buddha can lead to rebirth in Pure Land. Furthermore, with exemplary ascetic practice, which most ordinary people would find difficult to strive towards, he was able to receive and inspire the masses, to practise and reach Pure Land together. As these contributions, in the history of the Pure Land Tradition, have extremely far-reaching influence, the Great Master is honoured by later generations as the Third Patriarch Of The Pure Land Tradition.

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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