出生年：1599 | 往生年：1655
Monastic Dharma Name: Shì Ǒuyì (Great Master)
Status: Ninth Patriarch of Pure Land Tradition (School)
Family Name: Zhōng (Surname)
Place Of Birth: Jiāngsū Province, Wú County (Present day Sūzhōu City)
Year Of Birth: 1599 C.E. | Year Of Rebirth: 1655 C.E.
Best Known Works: Essential Points Of The Dharma Treasury (2 Sections), Sūtra Explanations: Essential Explanation Of The Amitābha Sūtra (1 Scroll: 21 Sections), Vinaya’s Explanations (11 Sections), Treatises’ Explanations (6 Sections), Collected Works: Spirit Peak Tradition’s Treatise (10 Scrolls: 4 Sections), Repentance Rites (3 Sections) and Mixed Works (2 Sections). Now extant are 21 volumes in ‘Great Master Ǒuyì’s Complete Works’.
Great Master Ǒuyì was born in 1599 C.E to a Zhōng family in Jiāngsū Province’s Wú County. To pray for a son, his father upheld recitation of the Great Compassion Mantra for 10 years, with which his mother Jīn Shì dreamt of Guānyīn Bodhisattva carrying and giving a son to her. After that, Great Master was born.
At the age of seven, Great Master became vegetarian. When he was 12, as he studed the Confucian texts and revered Confucian teachings, he vowed to destroy Buddhism and Taoism. After that, he started to eat meat and drink alcohol, writing more than ten articles in a treatise to refute Buddhism.
At 17, when he chanced upon and read Great Master Liánchí’s ‘Preface To Record Of Knowing Oneself’ and ‘Essays By The Bamboo Window’, he suddenly awakened to the Buddhist doctrine’s profundity, and self-realised his past views on Buddhism to be wrong. Thus, he collected and burned his writings that criticised Buddhism, to express his repentance.
When 20, Great Master’s father passed away during winter. During the deliverance chanting of the ‘Sūtra On Earth Treasury (Kṣitigarbha) Bodhisattva’s Fundamental Vows’, he was moved to give rise to the thought of leaving worldly life, as he resumed being vegetarian. Every day, he would uphold recitation of the Buddha’s name, as he completed burning more than 2000 articles of his treatise to refute Buddhism.
At 23, he gave rise to doubt when he heard a Dharma Master, when speaking on the Śūraṅgama Sūtra’ say, ‘The universe is in emptiness, with emptiness giving rise to great awakening.’ He asked himself, ‘How is emptiness able to give rise to this great awakening? And of the universe and space, how did they arise?’ Feeling faint and helpless, heavily befuddled and scatter-minded, he was unable to continue his practice. Thereupon, before a Buddha image, he gave rise to 48 vows, and became determined to renounce the household life, to experience and investigate the great matter of attaining enlightenment to deliver all beings.
When 24, Great Master dreamt that he prostrated to Great Master Hānshān, and sincerely requested for the Buddha’s teachings of the Great Vehicle. At that time, Great Master Hānshān was at Cáoxī, and Great Master Ǒuyì was not able to go there. Thus, through Great Master Hānshān’s disciple, Dharma Master Xuělǐng, he renounced the household life, and became a monk named Zhìxù, with the style name Ǒuyì.
In summer that year, he reached Yúnqī Monastery to study. When he heard Great Master Liánchí’s disciple Dharma Master Gǔdé teach the ‘Treatise On Perfection Of Consciousness-Only’ (Vijñaptimātratāsiddhi Śāstra), hearing that the Dharma-Nature Tradition (法性宗) and Dharma Characteristics Tradition (法相宗) cannot be understood thoroughly together, he expressed uncertainty. So, he went forth to Mount Jìng to practise meditation, contemplate and investigate their principles.
As Great Master highly admired Great Master Liánchí, he became his posthumous disciple. Before Great Master Liánchí’s image, he personally vowed and received the precepts, and at 26, formally received the Bodhisattva Precepts.
With his mother’s passing away when he was 28, after the funeral to fulfil filial piety, he vowed to sever from worldly conditions, and went forth to Sūzhōu for retreat and ascetic cultivation. However, he unexpectedly fell greatly sick, thus having the Faith and Aspiration to seek birth in the Western Pure Land.
Great Master’s thought on Buddhist philosophy was wide-ranging, thorough and vast, such as Mindfulness of Buddha being complete (or perfect) and sudden realisation of the essence of the mind (which is the Chán tradition’s practice itself). Great Master advocated the Chán, Scriptural and Vinaya’s three kinds of teachings to be of one source, with their concluding point and returning root thus being the one Dharma Door Of Mindfulness Of Buddha.
The Samādhi From Mindfulness Of Buddha is named the Treasure King Samādhi, and the King Of Samādhis. Of all kinds of Samādhis, that are partial or complete, expedient or ultimate, there are none that do not flow from this Samādhi, likewise with none not returning to this Samādhi door. The main point of the Pure Land Tradition’s Dharma Door Of Mindfulness Of Buddha’s perfect and sudden nature is that it reflects its skilful means for widely delivering sentient beings of both sharp and dull faculties.
When Great Master answered a disciple’s respectful enquiry on the essence of the Dharma, he replied that, ‘The essence of the Dharma is none other than mindfulness of Buddha. The mind that is mindful of Buddha is the Buddha. Therefore, mindfully reciting once, is with one Buddha’s name appearing. Reciting 10 billion times, is with 10 billion Buddha’s names appearing. And when not reciting, there is then silence. This nature of mindfulness is conditioned arising without self-nature, thus does self-nature not obstruct conditioned arising.
If not mindful of Buddha, rightly to be feared is the repeated giving rise of all kinds of stray (or false) thoughts. Even if not giving rise to stray thoughts, likewise to be feared is to fall into the stereotypical pattern (of attachment to) non-arising. Therefore, there must be with the Buddha’s name to give rise to the thought of self, to enable oneself to, from thought to thought, not depart from the Buddha’s name, as this thus is to have, outside the mind, without the Buddha, outside the Buddha, without the mind, with this mind that becomes the Buddha, this mind that is the Buddha.
If with such Faith attained, being directly (and continuously) mindful, thus is with all Buddhas’ extension of the broad and long tongue’s form as proof. If a person has focused mindfulness of Āmítuófó, this is named as the unsurpassable profound and wonderful Chán (meditation). When with the sincere mind [reciting or] visualising seeing the Buddha, this is the same as non-arsing and non-ceasing Dharma. Of these sincerely truthful words (from the Buddha’s) golden mouth, how can they not be believed?’
大师从一即一切的圆顿理念出发，判言念佛法门乃总持一切的妙法。《示念佛法门》云：「 岂知念得阿弥陀佛熟，三藏十二部极则教理，都在里许；千七百公案向上机关，亦在里许；三千威仪，八万细行，三聚净戒，亦在里许。真能念佛，放下身心世界，即大布施；真能念佛，不复起贪瞋痴，即大持戒；真能念佛，不计是非人我，即大忍辱；真能念佛，不稍间断夹杂，即大精进；真能念佛，不复妄想驰逐，即大禅定；真能念佛，不为他歧所惑，即大智慧。」这段文句与莲池大师的 「 一句阿弥陀佛，赅罗八教*，圆摄五宗**」之说，同一韵致。
With the perfect and sudden principle of ‘one is the same as everything’, Great Master concluded that the Dharma Door Of Mindfulness Of Buddha retains all the wonderful Dharma teachings in their totality. In ‘Guidance To The Dharma Door Of Mindfulness Of Buddha’, he said, ‘How could they know that with mindfulness of Āmítuófó mature, the Three Treasuries’ (i.e. Tripiṭaka) twelve divisions’ highest principles’ teachings, are all within that the one thousand and seven hundred public cases’ (i.e. kōans) stratagems for making progress, likewise are within; and that the three Thousandfold Majestic Conduct, Eighty Thousand Fine Practices, and Three Assemblies Of Pure Precepts, likewise are within?  With true ability to be mindful of the Buddha, letting go of body, mind and the world, is then great Generosity.  With true ability to be mindful of the Buddha, not again giving rise to greed, anger and delusion, is then great Upholding Of Precepts.  With true ability to be mindful of the Buddha, not being attached to rights and wrongs of others and oneself, is then great Patience.  With true ability to be mindful of the Buddha, not having slight interruption with mixed thoughts, is then great Diligence.  With true ability to be mindful of the Buddha, not again by deluded thoughts driven and not chasing after them, is then great Meditative Concentration.  With true ability to be mindful of the Buddha, not by those other divergences confused, is then great Wisdom.’ This paragraph resonates with the saying of Great Master Liánchí, that ‘one line of Āmítuófó, completely includes the Eight Teachings*, and completely gathers the Five Traditions’**, with the same grace.
Great Master used the Flower Adornment (Avataṃsaka) Sūtra, Dharma Flower (Lotus) Sūtra, Śūraṅgama Sūtra and the Consciousness-Only Tradition as a compass. And to understand thoroughly these scriptures, he also relied on Tiāntái Tradition’s Great Master Zhìzhě, Huáyán Tradition’s Great Master Xiánshǒu, Dharma Characteristics’ Tradition’s Great Master Kuījī’s commentaries’ explanations as criteria, to integrate and thread them together, also conclusively returning them to the Pure Land path. With this understanding and reconciliation, it is the same as with this accomplishing Practice, with teachings and contemplation equally clear, with Chán and Pure Land identical, being illustrious for all of eternity. This thought of Great Master remotely connected Tripiṭaka Dharma Master Címǐn, with Great Master Yǒngmíng’s bequeathed influence, and skilfully led other traditions’ practitioners to seek refuge in Pure Land, at the same time also strongly strengthening the Faith of practitioners who focus on cultivating the Pure Land path.
Of all the Patriarchs in the Pure Land Tradition, Great Master was the one with the most written works, altogether with more than 40 books. Great Master even selected past generations’ works important to the Pure Land Tradition, compiling them into the book, The Pure Land Teachings’ Ten Essentials, as a must-read classic for later generations learning the Pure Land path. Later generations also compiled Great Master’s treatises regarding the Pure Land path into the book, Collection Of Great Master Ǒuyì’s Pure Land Teachings. From it, those who intend to study his Pure Land thought can catch a glimpse of its complete picture.
其《弥陀要解》独步千古，成为净宗经典力作。在《弥陀要解》中，依据大乘通义，提出至极圆顿的「 六信」阐述净土之三资粮之 「 信」，以圆摄三根，破其疑惑。六信为：信自、信他、信因、信果、信事、信理。如此信已，则娑婆即自心所感之秽，而自心秽，理应厌离。极乐即自心所感之净，而自心净，理应欣求。是为愿。言行者，「 言执持名号，一心不乱者。名以召德，德不可思议故，名号亦不可思议。」
The Essential Explanation Of The Amitābha Sūtra will be unrivalled for all of eternity, having become the Pure Land Tradition’s classic masterpiece. In it, according to the Great Vehicle’s common meaning, he raised extremely perfect and sudden ‘Six Faiths’, to elaborate upon the Pure Land path’s Faith of the Three Provisions (of Faith, Aspiration and Practice). With complete gathering of the Three Roots (of high, medium and low practitioners), they break their doubts and confusions. The Six Faiths are Faith In Self, Faith In Other (Buddha), Faith In Cause, Faith In Effect, Faith In Practice and Faith In Principle. With these Faiths already, thus is the Sahā World the same as one’s mind’s connected defilements, and of one’s mind’s defilements, there ought to be revulsed renunciation. The Land Of Ultimate Bliss is the same as one’s mind’s connected purity, and of one’s mind’s purity, there ought to be joyful seeking. This is as Aspiration. Speaking of Practice, ‘Speaking of those who firmly uphold the name (of Āmítuófó) wholeheartedly without being scattered, with the name beckoning virtues, with these virtues being inconceivable, thus is the name likewise inconceivable.’
The Great Master said, ‘With Faith and Aspiration upholding the name, is this whole sūtra’s main point. With Faith and Aspiration as Wisdom Practice, and upholding the name of Āmítuófó as Practical Practice. Attaining birth (in Āmítuófó’s Pure Land) or not, is all due to Faith and Aspiration being present or absent; the grade of birth being high or low, is all due to (the Practice of) upholding the name being deep or shallow. Therefore, with Wisdom Practice as the guide, for Practical Practice as the Main Cultivation (or Practice), like eyes and feet combined in use.’
In the Spirit Peak Tradition’s Treatise, Great Master said, ‘If desiring definite attainment of birth in the Land Of Ultimate Bliss, nothing is better than to be with Faith as the leading guide, and Aspiration as the whip behind. With Faith attaining certainty, and Aspiration attaining sincerity, although scatter-mindedly mindful of Buddha, this also definitely attains rebirth. With Faith not true, and Aspiration not intense, although single-minded and not scattered, this also does not attain rebirth.’
Great Master, with all of the Buddha’s teachings cultivated and studied, in the end returned to Pure Land, with Samādhi From Mindfulness Of Buddha gathering all the Thus Come One’s one lifetime of teachings. Giving mindfulness of Buddha the broadest of meaning and explanation, he in fact also took all of the Buddha’s teaching methods to be summarised as three methods to be mindful of Buddha —Mindfulness Of Self-Buddha, Mindfulness Of Other-Buddha, and Mindfulness Self-And-Other Buddha Together. However, Great Master at the same time emphasised that as within Amitābha Sūtra, the one Dharma Door of firm upholding of the Buddha’s name is the utmost easy and utmost special method, the Dharma-Ending Age’s sentient beings should diligently uphold the name, so as to, in one lifetime, accomplish the great matter of rebirth in Pure Land.
With mindfulness of Buddha, vowing to reach Pure Land as the definite goal, if also with repentance reproaching oneself, thereby with this seed of repentance, to cleanse the mind’s defilements, one is then worthy of thinking of reaching the Land Of Bliss. As Great Master with his example spoke the Dharma, he deeply moved people.
When he was 56 years of age, Great Master manifested sickness and recognition of the limits of Self-power, to focus upon connecting to the Buddha’s Other-power to be rescued. For those overly self-confident and proud, this is just like, right above their heads, delivering a strike and shout to awaken them.
When he was 57, the Great Master again manifested illness, and willed his body to be cremated, to have his bones’ crumbs mixed with flour, distributed and given as food offerings to fish in the water and animals on land, for creating affinity to be reborn in the Western Pure Land. Seated in the lotus position, facing West while reciting the Buddha’s name, he raised his hand and departed.
After passing away for three years, his disciples, accorded with the Dharma to prepare for cremation. When they opened his urn, the Great Master was seen to still sit majestically in the lotus position, with hair grown to cover his ears, and his face as it alive. After cremation, his teeth were all not destroyed, just like Great Master Kumārajīva’s tongue was not destroyed after cremation, being the same as proof for reliability and believability of their teachings. As his disciples could not bear to follow his last will, they chose to revere his relics by building a pagoda for them at Língfēng (Spirit Peak).
Great Master was the last yet most influential of the four great masters towards the end of the Míng Dynasty, whom later generations also honourifically addressed as the Pure Land Tradition’s Ninth Patriarch.
* ‘Four Teachings Of Transformative Dharma’ and ‘Four Teachings Of Transformative Methods (or Formats), together are known as the ‘Eight Teachings’. The first four are the Tipiṭaka Teachings, Common Teachings, Separate Teachings and Complete Teachings. As these are the Dharma Doors to teach and transform sentient beings, thus named as ‘Transformative Dharma’. The second four are Sudden Teachings, Gradual Teachings, Secret Teachings, and Indefinite Teachings. As these are the formats to teach and transform sentient beings, thus named as ‘Transformative Methods’. The above classification of the Eight Teachings was established by the Tiāntái Tradition.
** Five Traditions:  Chán Tradition (which is more meditative),  Scriptural Tradition (which is more scholarly, including the Tiāntái, Huáyán (Avataṃsaka), Sānlùn (Three Treatises) Traditions),  Vinaya Tradition,  Esoteric Tradition and  Pure Land Tradition.
完整中文原文 Complete Chinese text: donglin.org
图片 Pictures: 任新宇《净土》
英译 English translation: purelanders.com
Guidance On The Dharma Door Of Mindfulness Of Buddha
 Biography Of The Chinese Pure Land Tradition’s Eighth Patriarch Great Master Liánchí
 Biography Of The Chinese Pure Land Tradition’s Tenth Patriarch Great Master Jiéliú
The Chinese Pure Land Tradition’s Patriarchs’ And Great Masters’ Biographies
Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!