Translations

Why Be Mindful Of Buddha If We Already Have Buddha-Nature? 为何有了佛性还须要念佛?

心之本体,与佛无二,故佛令人念佛。

[As the] fundamental nature of [our] minds, with [the] Buddhas’ [are] not two, thus [do] Buddhas enable people [to be] mindful [of] Buddha.

以佛威德神力之智慧火,烹炼凡夫夹杂烦恼惑业之佛心。

With [Amitābha] Buddha’s wisdom fire of majestically virtuous spiritual power, smelt [the] Buddha minds of ordinary beings mixed [with] afflictions, confusions [and negative] karma, [using mindfulness of his name: ‘Āmítuófó’].

俾彼烦恼惑业,悉皆四散消落。

Causing their afflictions, confusions [and negative] karma, [to] all [in the] four directions scatter [and] wither [away].

唯留清净纯真之心,方可谓心即佛,佛即心。

Only retaining [the] mind of purity, unmixed [and] true, then can [this be] called ‘[the] mind is the same as [the] Buddha, [the] Buddha is the same as [the] mind.’

未到此地位说,不过示其体性而已。

Yet [to] reach this status saying [so, is] no more than [to] reveal that essential nature only.

若论相 (事相) 与用 (力用) ,则完全不是矣。

If [with] regard [to] form [i.e. phenomenon] and use [i.e. capability and function], thus are [they] completely not [yet that of the essential nature].

佛之心,如出矿之金。

[The] minds of Buddhas, [are] like gold outside of [gold] ore, [already fully smelted].

吾人之心,如在矿之金。

[The] minds of us, [are] like gold inside of [gold] ore, [not yet fully smelted].

虽有金之体性,了无金之功能。

Although having essential nature of gold, [yet] completely without [the] function[ality] of gold.

是以自心是佛,更须要认真念佛,求生西方。

Therefore, [as] one’s mind is Buddha, [yet to be be smelted, we] must further earnestly [be] mindful [of Amitābha] Buddha[‘s name, to] seek birth [in his] Western [Pure Land Of Ultimate Bliss, where it is most swiftly completely smelted].

净土宗十三祖印光大师
(复周陈慧净居士书)

Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
(Reply letter to layperson Zhōu-Chén Huìjìng)

Note: Just as gold ore occurs with pure gold mixed with impurities in nature, our minds are likewise naturally mingled with Buddha-nature and defilements. This makes sense as if our minds are by default totally defiled, there would be no need to better ourselves, as it would not even be possible. And if our minds are by default totally pure, there should be no suffering or evil at all.

As long as yet to be refined, our Buddha-nature’s pure potential remains dormant, and to the extent that it is refined, its spiritual potential is unleashed. Spiritual cultivation is to refine our minds, to work towards fully unleashing this potential, to become Buddhas. The easiest and most direct way is to be mindful of Buddha, to connect to a Buddha’s fully refined mind, here and in his Pure Land, for constant connection, with its complete benefits.

Related Article:
How Nianfo Aligns To Buddha-Nature To Awaken Wisdom
https://purelanders.com/2014/09/26/how-does-nianfo-align-us-to-our-buddha-nature-to-awaken-wisdom

Namo Amituofo : Translation and note by Shen Shi’an

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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