Translations

How To Be Mindful Of Buddha To Eradicate & Avoid The Demonic? 如何念佛除魔不着魔?

Written by Purelanders

念佛一法,约有四种。

[Of the] one Dharma [Door of] mindfulness [of] Buddha, [there] are about four kinds [of methods to practise it].

所谓持名,观像,观想,实相。

[They are] so-called [1] Upholding [the] name [of Āmítuófó], [2] Visualising [an] image [of Āmítuófó’s statue or picture], [3] Visualising [the image of Āmítuófó with the attributes in his Pure Land according to the Contemplation Sūtra exactly, and [4] Mindfulness of the] true form [of Āmítuófó].

就四法中,唯持名一法,摄机最普,下手最易,不致或起魔事。

Of [these] four methods within, only [the] one method [of] upholding [the] name, gathers [all spiritual] capacities most universally, [and is the] most easy to start [practising], not leading [to or] giving rise [to] demonic matters.

如欲作观,必须熟读观经。

If desiring [to] do visualisation, [one] must [be] familiar [with] study [of the] Contemplation Sūtra.

深知「是心作佛,是心是佛」,及心净佛现,境非外来。

[One must] deeply know [that, ‘It] is [the] mind [that] becomes Buddha, [it] is [the] mind [that] is Buddha’, and [that when the] mind [is] pure, Buddha appears, [with this] state not from [the] outside.

唯心所现,不生取著。

Only [with the] mind as appearing, not giving rise [to] attachment [to the appearance].

既不取著,则境益深妙,心益精一。

Since without attachment, thus [will the] state’s benefits [be] profound [and] wonderful, [with the] mind [becoming] all the more single-minded.

能如是,则观想之益,殊非小小。

[If] able [to do as] such, thus [are the] benefits of visualisation, especially not very minor.

如观境不熟,理路不清,以躁妄心,急欲境现,此则全体是妄,与佛与心,皆不相应,即伏魔胎。

If [the] visualised state [is] not familiar [with, and the] path’s principles [are] not clear [of], with [the] agitated [and] false mind, anxiously desiring [the] state [to] appear, this thus is entirely false, with [the] Buddha and [the] mind, all not corresponding, immediately falling [as a] newborn demon.

因兹妄欲见境,心益躁妄,必致惹起多生怨家,现作境界。

Due to now [with] false desires [to] see [the] state, [and the] mind [becoming] all the more agitated [and] false, [this] definitely leads [to] stirring up [of] many [past] lives’ [karmic creditor] enemies, [who] appear [to] create [demonic] states.

既最初因地不真,何能知其魔业所现。

Since [right from the] beginning, [one’s] causal ground [of motivation for practice is] not true, how [is one] able [to] know them [to be] demonic karma as appeared?

遂大生欢喜,情不自安。

Thereupon giving rise [to] great joy, [are] emotions [that are] not naturally [at] peace.

则魔即附体,丧心病狂。

Thus [will] demons immediately possess [the] body, [causing] loss [of the] mind, [with the] sickness [of] madness.

纵令活佛现身救度,亦末如之何矣。

Even if [a] living Buddha appears [with his] body [to] save [and] deliver, [he] likewise [in the] end [will not know] how [to help one who has fallen very badly].

须自量根性,勿唯图高胜,以致求益反损也。

[There] must [be right] self-estimation [of one’s spiritual] root [and] nature, not only pursuing [to be spiritually] higher [and] superior, such that seeking benefits harms instead.

善导和尚云,「末法众生,神识飞扬,心粗境细,观难成就。

[The] most Venerable [Pure Land Tradition’s 2nd Patriarch Great Master] Shàndǎo said [that, ‘As the] Dharma-Ending [Age’s] sentient beings, [are with] consciousnesses [that] “fly” [all over, with] minds [that are] coarse, [while the] states [to visualise are] refined, visualisation [is] difficult [to] accomplish.

是以大圣悲怜,特劝专持名号。以称名易故,相续即生。」

[It] is with [the] great sage’s [i.e. Śākyamuni Buddha] compassionate empathy, [that he] especially encouraged focus [upon] upholding [the] name. With reciting [of the] name easy thus, [with it in] continual succession [is] immediate birth [in Pure Land].’

诚恐或有不善用心,致入魔境也。宜自详审。

[This is due to] fear that [there] are perhaps [those] not good [at being] attentive, [who are] led [to] enter demonic states. One should detailedly examine [oneself to prevent this].

又志诚恳切,亦消除躁妄魔境之一妙法也。

Also [with] sincerity [and] wholeheartedness, [this is] likewise [the] one wonderful method [for] eradicating agitated [and] false demonic states.

宜竭尽心力以行之,则幸甚。

[If one] should use all [of one’s] efforts for practice [in this way], thus [will is this] extremely fortunate.

[:因此,以至诚恳心,持名念诵阿弥陀佛的圣号,而不贪见佛,最为安全,能直接得一切诸佛的护念。以此至心念佛所见的佛才是真佛。若贪见佛,心则不诚,而所见可能是幻觉,甚至是为了分散诚心念佛所伪装的魔。欲知所见的‘佛’是魔或幻,是真是假,应当继续至心持名念佛。感得阿弥陀佛的护念时,假‘佛’会因此消失。可知,关于魔事,持名念佛是最究竟的预防与应对的修行法。既然这是最简易的修法,若人不肯依教奉行,并且逆道而行,如果还未着魔,此人可能将来会着魔。]

[Note: Therefore, with the utmost sincere mind, upholding recitation of the sacred name of Āmítuófó, and without greed to see the Buddha, this is the safest, able to directly receive the mindful protection of all Buddhas. Only the Buddha seen with such sincere mindfulness of Buddha is the true Buddha. If with greed to see the Buddha, the mind will not be sincere, and that seen might be due to hallucination, or even a demon in disguise, out to distract from sincere mindfulness of Buddha. To know if the ‘Buddha’ seen is demonic or hallucinated, true or false, one should continue being mindful of Āmítuófó’s name sincerely. False ‘Buddhas’ will thus disappear with the connected protection of Āmítuófó. It should be clearly known, that for demonic matters, mindfulness of Buddha by upholding his name is the ultimate preventive and corrective spiritual practice. Since this method is the easiest, if refusing to practise accordingly as taught, moreover practising what is against the path, one might become demonically influenced in the future, if not already in the present.]

净土宗十三祖印光大师
(复吴希真居士书一)

Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
(First reply letter to layperson Wú Xīzhēn)

Namo Amituofo : Translation and note by Shen Shi’an

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