For Liberation [From The Cycle Of] Birth [And] Death, In Advance Cultivate Mindfulness [Of] Buddha
[Many] men [of] great character, [when] living in [this] world, [are] for all [kinds of] matters, not [without] in advance, for them planning. Only for [this] one matter [of liberation from the cycle of] birth [and] death, [it is] instead mostly set aside without question. Waiting until [this] retribution [body] ends, [when] life exhausts, then following karma [to] receive retribution, not knowing [where] this one thought’s mental consciousness, again to which path within, [is] going [to] receive [re]birth.
[Note 1: Those of truly great character (大丈夫), be they male or female, should be wise, to quickly plan for their eventual departure, which can occur sooner than later, for the swiftest progress towards Buddhahood. The path to take for doing so is the Pure Land (净土) path.]
[Note 2: Ours are evil karmic retribution bodies (业报身) as they are subject to cyclical birth, ageing, sickness and death.]
[In the] human [and] heavenly [paths, we are like] guests residing, [while the] three paths are [like our] hometowns. [In the] three paths, once [with] retribution [for] hundreds [of] thousands [of] kalpas, [to] again [be] born [as] human [and] heavenly [beings is] without [a] definite date. Due [to] this speaking, then of [the] method [to be] liberated [from the cycle of] birth [and] death, [it] certainly must not [be] not urgently emphasised [upon].
[Note 3: The human and heavenly paths (人天道) are relatively not easy to reach and stay in life after life, as there is criteria of observing the Five Precepts (五戒) and doing of the Ten Good Karmas (十善业) respectively. It is thus easy to fall from them.]
[Note 4: Guests reside at where they are only for a short while, while hometowns are where we often return, to stay longer.]
[Note 5: The three paths (三途) are the three lower realms of hell-beings (地狱众生), hungry ghosts (饿鬼) and animals (畜生), where there is more intense suffering, from the three poisons (三毒) of hatred (嗔), greed (贪) and delusion (痴) respectively.]
Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
Dharma Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings (Second Compilation): Preface [Of] Pure Land Enquiries [For] Discernment;
Record [Of] Great Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings’ Essence (183rd Short Section): 4th [Chapter]: Discussion [On] Births’ [And] Deaths’ Great Matter: First, Warnings [On] Human Life’s Impermanence (5th Short Section)
[Ref: #183 / 4.1.5]
Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an
Record Of Great Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings’ Essence