[Those] Seeking Birth [In The] West[ern Pure Land] Must Not Fear Death
Those seeking birth [in the] West[ern Pure Land Of Ultimate Bliss (西方极乐世界)] must not fear death. If today immediately dying, today immediately [is there] birth [in the] West[ern Pure Land].
[Note 1: If Aspiration (愿) to reach Pure Land (净土) is strong and form, not only will there not be fretting over death, there will be joy instead, as this is the key turning point one has been waiting for in this life.]
As said [by Confucius, ‘Even if in the] morning [having] heard [the] path, [and in the] evening dying, [this is] certainly [worth it].’ How can [it be, that if] today, [one] must die, [one is] yet not willing [to] die?
[Note 2: It is immeasurably better to have learnt and practised the path to reach Pure Land in this life, even if this life is short, than to not learn and practise the path, even if this life is long. This is so as with the first, there will be liberation forever, while with the latter, there will not be liberation, for indefinite lives.]
Since [with] greedy attachment [to the] realm [of] dust, [one will] not [be] able [to] let [it] go. Then, because [of] greed becoming [an] obstacle, [the] realm of Pure Land [will] not appear, and following karma, receiving birth within [a] good [or] evil path, [with the] realm then appearing. [When the] realm appears, then following karma, receiving birth within [a] good [or] evil path. [For] rebirth [in the] West[ern Pure Land, this] then becomes [a] drawn cake [from wishful thinking, that cannot be eaten].
[Note 3: There should be revulsed renunciation of the Sahā World (厌离娑婆) instead, to counter the greedy attachment, as a push factor away from it, along with joyful seeking of the Land Of Ultimate Bliss (欣求极乐), as a pull factor towards it.]
Thus, [for] persons cultivating [the path to reach the] West[ern Pure Land], dying today [is] also good, in addition living [for] one hundred [and] twenty years [more before] dying [is] also good. Allow all that past karma [to be, and do] not go [to] falsely give rise [to thoughts of] calculation [and] comparison.
[Note 4: With earlier departure is sooner reaching of Pure Land, for perfecting the Buddha path. With later departure is encouragement of more to reach Pure Land possible, although one can also return from Pure Land, to more skilfully continue doing so.]
[Note 5: When we practise the Dharma diligently, including mindfulness of Buddha (念佛), as this can eliminate evil karma that causes short lives, and increases lifespan with its meritorious virtues (功德), lifespan can lengthen naturally. As the workings of karma over many lifetimes are complex, there is no point trying to calculate and compare one’s lifespan with that of others. What matters is where we are going to in this life, despite having a short or long life, with little or much good and evil karma.]
If [with] Faith [and] Aspiration true [and] sincere, [when this] retribution [body] ends [and] life exhausts, then immediately [will the] consciousness transcend [to the] Pure Land, [with evil] karma withering [with] dusty labours. [With] flowers of [the] lotus [that] blossom [with] nine grades, [the] Buddha [will then] confer of [Buddhahood in] one lifetime.
[Note 6: With the Three Provisions (三资粮) of true Faith (真信), sincere Aspiration (切愿) and true Practice (实行) of mindfulness of the Buddha (念佛): https://purelanders.com/2018/02/08/the-three-provisions, there will be birth in his Pure Land via the nine grades of lotus flowers (九品莲华): https://purelanders.com/guanjing, with the disabling of past evil karmas’ effects, in that life bound for Buddhahood.]
Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
Dharma Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings (First Compilation): First Reply Letter [To] Gāo Shàolín;
Record [Of] Great Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings’ Essence (182nd Short Section): 4th [Chapter]: Discussion [On] Births’ [And] Deaths’ Great Matter: First, Warnings [On] Human Life’s Impermanence (4th Short Section)
[Ref: #182 / 4.1.4]
Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an
Record Of Great Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings’ Essence