Translations

Why Be Mindful Of Buddha When Very Sick Without Praying For Longevity? 为何病重念佛不祈寿?

至于为人助念,何可为念观音,又为祈寿乎。

As for others [practising] support-chanting, [for the severely sick and possibly dying], how can [it be] with mindfulness [of] Guānyīn [Bodhisattva’s name], also for [them] praying [for] longevity?

念佛,寿未尽亦能延生。

[Being] mindful [of Amitābha] Buddha[‘s name: Āmítuófó, if] lifespan [is] yet [to] exhaust, likewise [is] able [to] extend life.

念观音,则无求往生之心念。

[Being] mindful [of] Guānyīn [Bodhisattva’s name], thus [is often] without mindfulness of seeking rebirth [in Āmítuófó’s Pure Land, as she is more often associated with saving from suffering, including from death].

若寿已尽,则误事。

If lifespan [is] already exhausting, [this] thus bungles [the] matter [of reaching Pure Land].

非念佛定死,念观音定不能往生。

[It is] not that [those being] mindful [of] Buddha definitely [will] die, [or that those being] mindful [of] Guānyīn [Bodhisattva] definitely [will] not [be] able [to be] reborn [in Pure Land, as it depends on whether there is the corresponding Aspiration]. [Note: Guānyīn [Bodhisattva is also one of the key Bodhisattvas who receives and guides beings to Āmítuófó’s Pure Land.]

然痴人以无求往生之心念之,故亦只成误事之一种业感也。

However, ignorant persons [are] without mindfulness of seeking rebirth [in Pure Land], thus also only accomplishing a kind of [negative] karmic result, [by] bungling [the] matter [of reaching Pure Land].

无量光,即消灾。

[The blessings from Āmítuófó’s] immeasurable light, are [able to] eradicate disasters, [be it in this life by healing, or by attaining immeasurable well-being (from lasting healing) when reaching his Pure Land].

无量寿,即延寿。

[The blessings from Āmítuófó’s] immeasurable life, are [able to] extend life, [be it in this life by healing, or by attaining immeasurable life when reaching his Pure Land] .

念阿弥陀佛,极功尚能成佛,岂不能延寿而令速死乎。

[If being] mindful [of] Āmítuófó, [with the] ultimate skills, [is] even able [to] accomplish Buddhahood, how can it be not able [to] extend life, but enable swift death? [Note: Only if lifespan is already exhausting, will there be swift rebirth in Pure Land, so as to be free from needless pain and suffering.]

(师于答辞中,痴人二字旁,抹三笔以警。后死者,切勿自误也。)

(Within [the] master’s reply, [by the] side [of the] two words ‘ignorant persons’, [he] draw three strokes as [a] warning. Those dying later, must not personally [make this] mistake.)

净土宗十三祖印光大师
(答卓智立居士问)
Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
(Answer to layperson Zhuō Zhìlì’s question)

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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