What Is Utmost Sincere Mind Of The Three Minds? 何为三心之至诚心?

【经】:佛告阿难,及韦提希:… 若有众生愿生彼国者,发三种心,即便往生。何等为三?

[1] 一者,至诚心,
[2] 二者,深心,
[3] 三者,回向发愿心。


[Sūtra]: [Śākyamuni] Buddha told Ānanda, and Vaidehī, ‘… [I]f [there] are sentient beings, aspiring [for] birth [in] that [Pure] Land [of Āmítuófó], giving rise [to] three kinds [of] minds, [they will] immediately [attain] rebirth. What are [the] three?

[1] First, [is the] utmost sincere mind.
[2] Second, [is the] profound [faithful] mind.
[3] Third, [is the] mind [of] dedication [with] giving rise [of] aspiration [to be born].

Those complete [with these] three minds, [will] definitely [be] born [in] that land.’


[Commentary]: [The] sūtra says, ‘First, is [the] utmost sincere mind.’


That ‘utmost’ [is] true. That ‘sincere’ [is] real.


Wishing [to] understand all sentient beings’ karma [of] body, speech [and] mind, that [is for] cultivating understanding [and] practice, [they] must [be with the] true mind within done.


[There] must not [be] externally appearing [to have the] form of [being] wise, capable, good-hearted [and] diligent, [yet] internally harbouring falseness. [Note: 贤善: 贤明善良: wise, capable, good-hearted]


[As] greed, hatred [and] evil [views’] falseness [are] devious, [with] hundreds [of] extreme [ends, their] evil nature [is] difficult [to] approach [and capture, with this] matter similar [to capturing of] snakes [and] scorpions.


Although giving rise [to the] three karmas [of body, speech and mind this way, they are] named as good of mixed poisons [of greed, hatred and evil views], likewise named [as] practices of falseness, not named [as spiritually] true karma.


If those doing so, settling [their] minds [to] give rise [to] practices, even if painstakingly striving [with] body [and] mind, [in] days’ [and] nights’ twelve periods hurriedly walking [about and] hurriedly doing [them], like those saving [their] heads [from being] burnt, [these are] altogether named [as] good of mixed poisons.


[For] those wishing [to] dedicate these practices of mixed poisons [to] seek birth [in] that Buddha’s Pure Land, this definitely [is] not possible [to be successful].


Why [is this] so? Precisely because, that Āmítuófó’s cause, when within practice [of the] Bodhisattva path, even with one thought [and] one kṣaṇa [i.e. instant], [his] three karmas that [were] cultivated, were [with the] true mind within done. All that [was] given for [the] purpose [of accomplishing Buddhahhood and Pure Land] sought, likewise [were] all true.


Also, [what is] true has two kinds. First, [is] self-benefitting [that is] true. Second, [is] benefitting others [that is] true.


Speaking [of] those [with] self-benefitting [that is] true, again [there] are two kinds.


Those [of the] first [kind, with the] true mind within create renunciation [of] self [and] others’ all [kinds of] evil, defiled lands [and] others.


[When] moving, standing, sitting [and] lying down, thinking [of being like] all those Bodhisattvas, creating renunciation [of] all evils, I likewise [do] thus.


Those [of the] second [kind, with the] true mind within, diligently cultivate, [of] self [and] others’, ordinary, noble [beings’ and] other [kinds of] good.


[With the] true mind within’s speech karma, praising that Āmítuófó and [his] two conditional [and] direct rewards [in his Pure Land].


Also, [with the] true mind within’s speech karma, [speak on] ruinous revulsion [of the] three realms’ six paths, [and] self [and] others’ two conditional [and] direct retributions’ matters of suffering [and] evil, likewise praising all sentient beings’ three karmas that [were] done as good.


If [there are] those [with] non-good karma, [have] respect, yet [at a] distance, likewise not accordingly rejoicing.


Also, [with the] true mind within, [the] body karma, [with] joined palms reverencing, [with the] four [necessary] items [and] others making offerings [to] that Āmítuófó and [his] two conditional [and] direct rewards.


Also, [with the] true mind within, [the] body karma, slighting, [and with] revulsion renouncing these three realms’ [cycle of] births [and] deaths, [with] self [and] others’ two conditional [and] direct retributions.


Also, [with the] true mind within, [the] mind karma, thinking, examining [and] recollecting that Āmítuófó and [his] two conditional [and] direct rewards, [to be] as if appearing before [the] eyes.


Also, [with the] true mind within, [the] mind karma, looking down [upon, and with] revulsion renouncing these three realms’ [cycle of] births [and] deaths, [with] self [and] others’ two conditional [and] direct retributions.


[The] three non-good karmas [of body, speech and mind] must [with the] true mind within [be] renounced.


Again, those if giving rise [to] good’s three karmas [of body, speech and mind], must [with the] true mind within do [so], not simply [with the] internal [and] external bright [and] dark [respectively], all needing [to be] true, thus named [is the] utmost sincere mind.


Pure Land Tradition’s 2nd Patriarch Great Master Shàndǎo
(Commentary [On The] Contemplation Sūtra [In] Four Fascicles: Scattered Goodness’ Meaning)

Summary: The utmost sincere mind (至诚心) is the wholehearted true mind (真实心), with genuine wisdom (智慧), capability (能力), good-heartedness (善良) and diligence (精进), not with the three poisons (三毒) mixed (杂毒) with greed (贪), hatred (瞋) and delusion (痴; 邪见).

The true mind can benefit self (自利) [and others (利他)] with renunciation (舍) of all evil, and with cultivation (修) of all good. Of Āmítuófó and his two conditional and direct rewards (依正二报), with speech karma praise (口业赞叹), with body karma reverence (身业礼敬) and make offerings (供养), having revulsed renunciation (厌舍) of the three realms’ (三界) two retributions (依正二报). With mind karma reflect and recollect (意业忆念) upon Āmítuófó and his two rewards, having revulsed renunciation of the three realms’ two retributions.

With the true mind renounce non-good karmas (不善业) of body, speech and mind (身口意), and give rise to good karmas (善业) of body, speech and mind. To do so is to have the utmost sincere mind.

[This is the mind to practise mindfulness of Āmítuófó’s name (念佛) with too, by reciting it with utmost sincerity and listening to it with utmost sincerity.]    

Namo Amituofo : Translation and summary by Shen Shi’an

Next Article:

What Is Profound Mind Of The Three Minds?

Related Article:

What Is ‘Mind Of Dedication & Giving Rise Of Aspiration’ Of The Three Minds?

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