What Is Profound Mind Of The Three Minds? 何为三心之深心?

【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.’

Previous Article:

What Is Utmost Sincere Mind Of The Three Minds?

【疏】「二者,深心。」言「深心」者,即是深信之心也。亦有二种 :

[Commentary]: ‘Second, [is the] profound mind.’ Speaking [of] the ‘profound mind’, [it] is then [the] mind of profound [i.e. deep] Faith. Also, [this] has two kinds.

一者,决定深信自身现是罪恶生死凡夫,旷劫已来,常没常流转,无有出离之缘 ;

First, [is] definite [and] profound Faith, [that] oneself now is [an] ordinary being [with] transgressions [and] evil [in the cycle of] births [and] deaths, [for] distant kalpas since, constantly sinking, constantly wandering [and] circulating, without having conditions of departure.


Second, [is] definite [and] profound Faith, that Āmítuófó’s 48 vows gather [and] receive sentient beings, without doubt [and] without worry, [for] riding [upon] his power [of] vows, [to] definitely attain rebirth.


Also, [is] definite [and] profound Faith, [that] Śākyamuni Buddha spoke [of] this Contemplation Sūtra’s Three Blessings, nine grades [of birth, with the] two concentrated [and] scattered goodnesses, [which] confirm [and] praise that Buddha’s two conditional [and] direct rewards, [that] enable people [to] joyfully admire [them].

又决定深信《弥陀经》 中十方恒沙诸佛证劝一切凡夫决定得生。

Also, [is] definite [and] profound Faith, [that in the] Amitā[bha] Sūtra within, [the] ten directions’ Ganges’ sands [of] all Buddhas, confirmed [and] exhorted all ordinary beings, [to] definitely [be able to] attain birth.


Also, those [with] profound Faith, respectfully wish all practitioners [and] others, [to] wholeheartedly only believe [in the] Buddha’s words, not regarding body [and] life, decisively relying [upon them for] practice.


That [the] Buddha sent [us to] renounce, then renounce [accordingly], that [the] Buddha sent [us to] practise, then practise [accordingly, that] place [the] Buddha sent [us to] go, then go [accordingly].


[This] is named [as to] accordingly follow [the] Buddha’s teachings, is named [as to] accordingly follow [the] Buddha’s intention, is named [as to] accordingly follow [the] Buddha’s wish, is named [as being] true Buddha’s disciples.


Also, all practitioners, only [are] able [to] rely [upon] this sūtra [for] profound Faith [and] Practice, [which] certainly [will] not misguide sentient beings.


Why is [this] so? [The] Buddha is [a] person fully complete [with] great compassion thus, [with] true words thus.


Other than [the] Buddha since, [others are with] wisdom [and] practice yet [to be] complete, [and are] on their learning grounds, still having [the] main [正使] [and] habitual [习气] two obstacles [of afflictions (烦恼障), and of that known (所知障)], yet [to be] eradicated, [with[ fruit [and] aspiration yet [to be] perfect.


These other ordinary [and] noble [beings’ teachings], even if [used to] gauge all Buddhas’ teachings’ intention, [are] yet able [to be] definitive, although having commentaries [and] judgements, [they still] must need invitation [of the] Buddha, [to] prove [them] as definitive. 


If fitting [the] Buddha’s intention, then confirmed, [they can be] said [to be] ‘Thus thus’ [i.e. ‘As it is’]. If [they] cannot confirm [with the] Buddha’s intention, then saying, ‘That you [and] others said, their meanings [are] not thus.’


Those not confirmed, then [are the] same [as] words not [to be] noted, without benefit [and] without good. Those [the] Buddha confirmed, then [can be] accordingly followed [as] right teachings of [the] Buddha.

若佛所有言说,即是正教、正义、正行、正解、正业、正智。若多若少,总不问菩萨、人、 天等,定其是非也。

If those [by the] Buddha [were] spoken, then [they] are right teachings, right meanings, right practices, right understanding, right action, [and] right wisdom. If much or little, [this is] together without regard, [of them being by] Bodhisattvas, humans, heavenly [beings and] others, [for] deciding them [to be] right [or] wrong.


If those [by the] Buddha [were] spoken, then [they] are definitive teachings. [By] Bodhisattvas [and] others spoken, [they are] all named [as] ‘non-definitive teachings’. [This] should [be] known.


Therefore, [I] now respectfully urge all people [who] have conditions [to be] reborn [and] others, [who] must only [have] profound Faith [in the] Buddha’s words, concentrating [upon them for] practice, [and] must not believe [or] use Bodhisattvas’ [and] others’ non-corresponding teachings, with [them] as obstacles [of] doubt, embracing confusions [to] personally [be] lost, abandoning [and] losing [the] great benefit of rebirth.


Also, those [with the] profound mind [of] profound Faith, decisively establish [their] own minds, [to] accord [with the] teachings [for] cultivating practice, forever eradicating doubts [and] errors, not by all other understanding, other practices, different knowledge, different views, different ideas, [as] reasons [for] why [there is] retreating [and] losing, overturning [by being] swayed.

问曰 :凡夫智浅,惑障处深,若逢解行不同人,多引经论来相妨难,证云一切罪障凡夫不得往生者,云何对治彼难,成就信心,决定直进,不生怯退也?

Question: Ordinary beings [with] wisdom shallow, [in] deep confusions [and] obstacles situated deep, if encountering people [with] understanding [that is] not [the] same, many citing sūtras [and] commentaries, coming together [to] hinder [with] difficulties, ‘confirm’ [by] saying all ordinary beings [with] transgressions [and] obstacles cannot attain rebirth, what [should be] said [to] deal with those difficulties, [to] accomplish [the] mind [of] Faith, [to] decisively [and] straightforwardly advance, not giving rise [to] timidity [and] retreat?

答曰 :若有人多引经论证云不生者,行者即报云 :「仁者虽将经论来证道不生,如我意者,决定不受汝破。

Answer: If [there] are people citing many sūtras [and] commentaries, ‘confirming’ [by] saying those not [being] born, practitioners [can] immediately inform [them], ‘Benevolent ones, although with sūtras [and] commentaries coming [to] “confirm” [the] path [of] not [being] born, as [of] my intention, [my Faith] definitely [will] not subject [to] you [be] destroyed.


Why is [this] so? However, [it is] also not [that] I [do] not believe, [in] all those sūtras [and] commentaries, [which I] all utmost respectfully believe. However, when [the] Buddha spoke those sūtras, [they were at] places different, times different, for capacities different, [with] benefits different.


Also, when speaking those sūtras, [they are] then not when speaking [the] Contemplation Sūtra, Amitā[bha] Sūtra, [and] others.


However, [as the] Buddha’s spoken teachings [are] by capacities, [there] is much not [the] same, that then [was] commonly spoken [for] understanding [and] practice of humans, heavenly [beings and] Bodhisattvas.

今说《观经》定散二善, 唯为韦提及佛灭后五浊五苦等一切凡夫,证言得生。

Now speaking [of the] Contemplation Sūtra’s two concentrated [and] scattered goodnesses, [this is] only for Vaidehī and [those with the] Five Defilements’ suffering [and] others, all ordinary beings, after [the] Buddha’s parinirvāṇa, speaking confirmation [of] attaining birth.


For this cause [and] condition, I now wholeheartedly rely [upon] this Buddha’s teaching, decisively [for] practice. Even if you [and] others, [of a] hundred trillion, say [I] cannot [be] born, [this] only increases [and] grows, accomplishing my mind [of] Faith [for] rebirth.’

又行者更向说言 :「仁者善听!我今为汝更说决定信相。纵使罗汉、辟支、地前菩萨等,若一若多,乃至遍满十方,皆引经论证言不生者,我亦不起一念疑心,唯增长成就我清净信心。

Also, practitioners [should] further towards [them] say, ‘Benevolent Ones, listen well! I now for you, further speak [of my] form [of] definite Faith. Even if Arhats, Pratyekabuddhas [and] Bodhisattvas before [attainment of the] grounds [and] others, if one or many, even if pervading fully [the] ten directions, all citing sūtras [and] commentaries, “confirming’ [by] saying those not [being] born, I also [will] not give rise [to] a thought [with the] mind [of] doubt, [as this] only increases [and] grows, accomplishing my mind [of] pure Faith.


Why is [this] so? As [the] Buddha’s words [are] definitely accomplished [with] definitive meanings, not by all that [is able to be] destroyed.

又行者善听!纵使初地已上,十地已来,若一若多,乃至遍满十方,异口同音皆云 :「释迦佛指赞弥陀,毁呰(zǐ)三界六道,劝励众生专心念佛及修余善,毕此一身后,必定生彼国者,此必虚妄,不可依信也。」

Again, practitioners, listen well! Even if [Bodhisattvas from the] First Ground [and] above, [and those on the] Tenth Ground have come, if one or many, even if completely filling [the] ten directions, [of] different mouths [with] one voice all saying, ‘Śākya[muni Buddha’s] pointing at [and] praising [of Ā]mítuó[fó], denigrating [the] three realms’ six paths, urging [and] exhorting sentient beings [to] focus [their] minds [upon] mindfulness [of] Buddha and cultivating [of] other good, [who will at the] end [of] this life, definitely [be] born [in] that land, this certainly [is] false, [and] must not [be] relied [upon for] Faith.’


I although listening [to] this [and] others that [were] said, also [will] not give rise [to] one thought [with the] mind [of] doubt, [as this] only increases [and] grows, accomplishing my definite mind [with the] very highest Faith.

何以故?乃由佛语真实决了义故。佛是实知、实解、实见、实证,非是疑惑心中语故。又不为一切菩萨异见、 异解之所破坏。若实是菩萨者,总不违佛教也。

Why is [this] so? Thus due [to the] Buddha’s words [being] truly definitive thus. [The] Buddha is [the one who] truly knows, truly understands, truly sees [and] truly confirms, not [speaking] words [with the] mind [of] doubts [and] confusions within thus. Also, [they are] not by all Bodhisattvas’ different views, different understanding [as] reasons [for] why [they are] destroyed. If those truly are Bodhisattvas, [they] together [will] not go against [the] Buddha’s teachings.

又置此事,行者当知,纵使化佛报佛,若一 若多,乃至遍满十方,各各辉光吐舌遍覆十方, 一一说言 :「释迦所说西方净土,指赞劝发一切凡夫,专心念佛及修余善,回愿得生彼净土者,此是虚妄,定无此事也。」

Also, [to] set aside this matter, practitioners should know, [that] even if manifestation Buddhas [and] reward Buddhas, if one or many, even if completely filling [the] ten directions, each personally [with] glorious lights, extending tongues [that] cover [the] ten directions, [with] each [and] every one saying, ‘That Western Pure Land [which] Śākya[muni Buddha] spoke [of], pointed to, praising, [and] exhorting all ordinary beings, [to] focus [their] minds [upon] mindfulness [of] Buddha and cultivating [of] other good, [to] dedicate [meritorious virtues with the] Aspiration [to] attain birth [in] that Pure Land, this is false, definitely without this matter.’


I although listening [to] this [and] that, [which] all other all Buddhas spoke, to the end [will] not give rise [to] a thought [with the] mind of doubt [and] retreat, [with] fear [of] not attaining birth [in] that Buddha land.


Why is [this] so? One Buddha [is] all Buddhas, that as known [and] seen, understood [and] practised, fruit [of attainment], great compassion [and] others [are the] same, without [a] little difference. Therefore, that one Buddha formulated, is [that] all Buddhas together formulate.


Such as, similar [to] past Buddhas formulating [the] severing [of] killing lives, [the] Ten Evil [Karmas and] other transgressions, to the end not [to be] breached [and] not practised, then named [as the] ‘Ten Good Prohibitive Practices’, accordingly following [the] Six Perfections’ meaning.


If [there] are future Buddhas arising [in the] world, how can [they] change [the] past [taught] Ten Good [Karmas, to] enable practice [of the] Ten Evil [Karmas]?


With this reasoning inferring [and] confirming, clearly know [that] all Buddhas’ words [and] practices [do] not go against [to] fault one another.


Thus enabling, Śākya[muni Buddha] pointed [to and] urged all ordinary beings, [to the] end [of] this one body, [to] focus [upon] mindfulness, focus [upon] cultivation, after renouncing [this] life, [to] definitely [be] born [in] that land, [which is] then when [the] ten directions’ all Buddhas all together praised, together urged, [and] together confirmed [so].


Why is [this] so? [As they are with the] same body [of] great compassion thus. Those one Buddha transforms, are [those] all Buddha transform. All [those] Buddhas transform, are [those] one Buddha transforms.


At that time, [the] Amitā[bha] Sūtra within spoke [of] Śākya[muni Buddha] praising [the Pure Land Of] Ultimate Bliss’ various kinds [of] adornments. Also urging all ordinary beings, [for] one day [to] seven days, wholeheartedly focus [upon] mindfulness [of Ā]mítuó[fó’s] name, [to] definitely attain rebirth.

次下文云,十方各有恒河沙等诸佛,同赞释迦,能于五浊恶时、恶世界、恶众生、 恶见、恶烦恼、恶邪无信盛时,指赞弥陀名号,劝励众生称念,必得往生,即其证也。

Next, [its] below text says, [the] ten directions’ each had Ganges sands’ [of] all other Buddhas, together praising Śākya[muni Buddha, to be] able [to], in [this] evil age [with] five defilements, [in this] evil world, [of] evil sentient beings, when [their] evil views, evil afflictions, [and] evil wrongdoings without Faith flourish, point to [and] praise [Ā]mítuó[fó’s] name, urge [and] exhort sentient beings [to] recite mindfully, [to] definitely attain rebirth. [This] then [is] proof [of] that.

又十方佛等,恐畏众生不信释迦一佛所说,即共同心同时,各出舌相遍覆三千世界,说诚实言 :「汝等众生,皆应信是释迦所说、所赞、所证。」

Also, [the] ten directions’ Buddhas [and] others, afraid [that] sentient beings [do] not believe that [which] Śākyamuni [as] one Buddha spoke, then together [with the] same mind [at the] same time, each extended [his] form [of broad and long] tongue [to] cover [his] three-thousandfold great-thousandfold world everywhere, speaking [these] truthful words, ‘You [and] other sentient beings, all should believe this, that Śākyamuni [Buddha] spoke, that [was] praised, that [was] confirmed.’


All ordinary beings, without regard [of] transgressions [and] blessings much [or] little, duration [of] time [being] long [or] short, but able [to], up [to the] end [of a] hundred years, down until one day [to] seven days, wholeheartedly [be] mindful [of Ā]mítuó[fó’s] name, [they] definitely [will] attain rebirth, certainly [and] without doubt.


Therefore, that [which] one Buddha spoke, is [that which] all Buddhas together confirm [to] accomplish that matter. This is named [as ‘the] person right away establishing Faith’.

次就行立信者。然行有二种 :一者,正行, 二者,杂行。

Next then, [is] Practice [for] establishing Faith. However, Practice has two kinds. First, [is] Main Practice. Second, [are] Mixed Practices.


Speaking [of] Main Practice, that [with] focus [upon] relying [upon the] rebirth sūtras [for] practice, is named [as] ‘Main Practice’.

何者是也?一心专读诵此《观经》、《弥陀经》、《无量寿经》等 ;一心专注思想、观察、忆念彼国二报庄严 ;

What is that? [It is to] wholeheartedly focus [upon] studying [and] reciting this Contemplation Sūtra, Amitā[bha] Sūtra, Immeasurable Life Sūtra [and] others, [to] wholeheartedly focus [upon] thinking, examining [and] recollecting that land’s two rewards’ adornments.

若礼,即一心专礼彼佛 ;

If prostrating, then wholeheartedly focus [upon] prostrating [to] that Buddha.

若口称,即一心专称彼佛 ;

If [with the] mouth reciting, then wholeheartedly focus [upon] reciting that Buddha[‘s name].


If praising [and] making offerings, then wholeheartedly focus [upon] praising [and] making offerings [to] that Buddha. [This] is named as ‘Main’.

又就此正中,复有二种 :一者,一心专念弥陀名号,行住坐卧,不问时节久近,念念不舍者,是名「正定之业」,顺彼佛愿故 ;

Also, regarding this Main [Practice] within, again has two kinds: First, [is] wholehearted focus [upon] mindfulness [of Ā]mítuó[fó’s] name, [when] moving, standing, sitting [and] lying down, without regard [of] duration [of] time [being] long [or] short, from thought to thought not renouncing it, [this] is named [as] ‘Karma Of Right Concentration’, according [with] that Buddha’s vow thus.


If relying [upon] prostrating, reciting [and] others, [they are] then named as ‘Supportive Karma’.


Other than these two Main [and] Supportive Practices, all other remaining good practices [are] all named [as] ‘Mixed Practices’.


If cultivating [the] earlier two Main [and] Supportive Practices, [with the] mind often close to recollecting without stopping, [this is] named as ‘Uninterrupted’.


If practising [the] later Mixed Practices, then [will the] mind often [be] interrupted, although able [to] dedicate [for] attaining birth, [they are] altogether named [as] ‘Scattered [And] Mixed Practices’.


Thus named [is the] ‘profound mind’.


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

Summary: The profound mind (深心) is the mind with definitive (决定) or decisive and profound Faith (深信), that we as ordinary beings with transgressions and evil trapped in the cycle of births and deaths (罪恶生死凡夫) for distant kalpas have no way to escape, while Āmítuófó’s 48 vows are definitely able to receive us, to attain birth in his Pure Land.

Also, having Faith in, and aspiring towards Āmítuófó’s conditional (依报) and direct rewards (正报), having Faith that all Buddhas together praise seeking birth in his Pure Land, exhorting us, and confirming our ability to do so, by wholehearted focus upon mindfulness of Āmítuófó’s name, without regard of transgressions and blessings (罪福) being much or little, and duration being long or short.

Also, having definitive Faith only in the Buddha’s timely words in the Pure Land sūtras for practice, renouncing and aspiring accordingly, as the Buddha has perfect compassion, wisdom and truthfulness, while others have yet to have them, be they many Bodhisattvas, Arhats, Pratyekabuddhas, human or heavenly beings, whose teachings might not correspond (不相应) or be definitive (不了义) like the Buddha’s. 

There are Main (正行) and Mixed Practices (杂行) for establishing Faith, the first by focusing upon the Pure Land  sūtras for practice, wholeheartedly studying and recollecting (忆念) them on Pure Land’s rewards. Also, focusing upon [i] wholeheartedly (一心) prostrating (礼敬) to Āmítuófó, [ii] wholeheartedly reciting his name (称名), and [iii] wholeheartedly praising (赞叹) and making offerings (供养) to him.

Practising [ii] when moving, standing, sitting and lying down, without regard of duration, and from thought to thought, is the first kind of Main Practice, while practising [i], reciting of sūtras, [iii] and others are the second kind, called Supportive Karma (助业), able to lead to uninterruption (无间). All other practices are considered Mixed Practices, which might often have interruption (间断).

Namo Amituofo : Translation and summary by Shen Shi’an

Next Article:

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

Related Article:

Pure Karma’s Three Blessings
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