Translations

Text On Mindfulness Of Buddha In The ‘Treatise On Awakening Of Faith In The Mahāyāna’ And The ‘Net-Tearing Commentary’《大乘起信论》与 《裂网疏》念佛文 Treatise On Awakening Of Faith’s Teachings On Supremely Outstanding Skilful Means’ Explanations《起信论》示胜异方便释

论:《大乘起信论》禅宗十二祖马鸣菩萨著

Treatise: ‘Treatise On Awakening Of Faith In The Mahāyāna [i.e. Great Vehicle]’ by the Chán Tradition‘s 12th Indian Patriarch Aśvaghoṣa Bodhisattva

疏:《大乘起信论裂网疏》净宗九祖蕅益大师著

Commentary: ‘Net-Tearing Commentary On The “Treatise on Awakening of Faith in the Mahāyāna”’ by the Pure Land Tradition’s 9th Chinese Patriarch Great Master Ǒuyì


《起信论》示胜异方便释
‘Treatise [On] Awakening [Of] Faith’s Teachings [On] Supremely Outstanding Skilful Means’ Explanations

更示胜异方便分二:
Further Teachings [On] Supremely Outstanding Skilful Means’ Divided [In] Two:

初、泛明念佛除障:
First, General Explanation [On] Mindfulness [Of] Buddha’s Elimination [Of] Obstacles:

论:复次初学菩萨住此娑婆世界。或值寒热风雨不时饥馑等苦。或见不善可畏众生。

Treatise: Furthermore, beginner learning Bodhisattvas abiding [in] this Sahā World [Of Endurance, might] perhaps encounter cold, heat, wind [and] rain frequently, [or at any time, with] famine [and] other [forms of physical and mental] suffering, perhaps seeing sentient beings [who are] not good [i.e. evil, and are] fearsome.

三毒所缠邪见颠倒。弃背善道习行恶法。

By [the] three poisons [of greed, hatred and delusion] bound, [with] evil views inverted, [thus] abandoning, turning [their] backs [to the] good path, [to] habitually practise evil dharmas.

菩萨在中心生怯弱。恐不可值遇诸佛菩萨。恐不能成就清净信心。生疑欲退者应作是念。

[For] Bodhisattvas within [these, whose] minds give rise [to] timidity [and] weakness, [who] fear not [being] able [to] meet all Buddhas [and] Bodhisattvas, [who] fear not [being] able [to] accomplish [the] mind [of] pure Faith, who give rise [to] doubts, [and] desire [to] retreat, [they] should have this thought,

「十方所有诸佛菩萨。皆得大神通无有障碍。能以种种善巧方便。救拔一切险厄众生。」

‘All Buddhas [and] Bodhisattvas [of the] ten directions, [have] all attained great supernormal powers without obstacles. [They are] able [to], with all kinds [of] skilful [and] expedient means, save all sentient beings [in] dangerous places [and situations].’

作是念已发大誓愿。一心专念佛及菩萨。

Having this thought already, [they should] give rise [to the] great vow [i.e. Aspiration], to wholeheartedly focus [on] mindfulness [of a] Buddha and[/or] Bodhisattva.

以生如是决定心故。于此命终必得往生余佛刹中。见佛菩萨信心成就永离恶趣。

With [the] giving rise [of] such [a] decisive [i.e. decided(ly determined)] mind thus, when this life ends, [they will] definitely attain rebirth within [that] other Buddha land, [to] see [the] Buddha [and] Bodhisattva, [with the] mind [of] Faith accomplished, forever departing [from] evil realms, [until ready to save the beings there].


疏:初学菩萨。已解一心真如生灭二门而修信行。但止观力微。境缘粗恶。未入正定聚中。不能保其无退。

Commentary: Beginner learning Bodhisattvas, [who] already understand [the] one mind [of] True Suchness’ rising [and] ceasing’s two doors, then cultivating faith [and] practice, but [whose] power [of] cessation [i.e. Śamatha] [and] contemplation [i.e. Vipaśyanā] is weak, [in] situational conditions [of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch] coarse [and] inferior, yet [to] enter within [the] Right Definite Assembly, [they are] not able [to] guarantee themselves, [to be] without retrogression.

故更示此胜异方便。令仗自心中之他佛。度脱佛心中之自身也。

Thus, further instructed [is] this supremely outstanding skilful means, [to] enable reliance [on the] other Buddha within one’s mind, [to] deliver [and] liberate oneself within [the] Buddha’s mind.

须知前止观门。名念自佛三昧。

[It] must [be] known, [that the] earlier door [of] cessation [and] contemplation, [is] named ‘Mindfulness [Of] Self-Buddha Samādhi’.

今示念佛菩萨。即念他佛三昧。

Now instructed [is] mindfulness [of] Buddha [and/or] Bodhisattva, [that] is ‘Mindfulness [Of] Other-Buddha Samādhi’.

以念佛及菩萨。不生妄想分别。即是止行。

With mindfulness [of] Buddha and[/or] Bodhisattva, not giving rise [to] false [i.e. stray] thoughts [and] discrimination [i.e. differentiation, this] is cessation practice.

了知诸佛菩萨。有大神通巧便。能救拔我及诸众生。即是观行。

Understanding clearly, [that] all Buddhas [and] Bodhisattvas have great supernormal powers, skilful [and] expedient means, [who are] able [to] save myself and all [other] sentient beings, [this] is contemplation practice.

所以修止观时。设见佛菩萨形。知是魔事。不生取著。

Therefore, when cultivating cessation [and] contemplation, if seeing [a] Buddha’s [and] Bodhisattva’s forms, know these [as] demonic matters, [and do] not give rise [to] grasping [at them].

今念佛菩萨时。设更别商止观。大似骑牛觅牛矣。

Now, when mindful [of] Buddha [and/or] Bodhisattva, if still separately discussing [about] cessation [and] contemplation, [this] greatly resembles riding [a] cow [to] search [for the] cow.

然正念佛菩萨时。或得见佛菩萨。即应了知唯心所现。万勿取著。勿生喜动。勿向人说。

However, when [with] Right Mindfulness [of] Buddha [and/or] Bodhisattva, perhaps attaining sight [of the] Buddha [and/or] Bodhisattva, [this] then should [be] understood clearly [to be] only [from the] mind as appeared. [One] absolutely [should] not grasp [at them], not give rise [to, and by] joy [be] moved, [and] not towards people speak [of this].

如远公生平三见圣相。不语一人。此为要诀。

[Just] as [the] Honourable [Pure Land Tradition’s First Patriarch Great Master Huì]yuan in [his] entire life thrice saw holy forms, [he did] not speak [of this to] one person [until the end]. This [is] as [the] secret of success[ful practice].

唯至临终见佛菩萨。方是感应道交。定非魔事。不必致疑。

Only [when] reaching, approaching [the] end [of life] seeing [the] Buddha [and/or] Bodhisattva, then is [this] connection [and] response [for] mutual interaction [between those cultivating the] path [and the Buddha and/or Bodhisattva], definitely not [a] demonic matter, [with] no need [to have] cause [for] doubt.

以佛菩萨得大神通。决定护念有缘念佛众生。不失时故。

With [the] Buddha [and/or] Bodhisattva [with] attained great supernormal powers, [they will] definitely [be] mindfully protective [of] sentient beings with conditions [to be] mindful [of the] Buddha, not missing [the] opportune moment thus.

言发大誓愿者。为度众生求生净土。非为自身独出生死。有此菩提弘愿。方是往生正因。

Speaking [of] those [who] give rise [to the] great vow, for delivering sentient beings, seeking birth [in] Pure Land, not for oneself alone exiting [from the cycle of] birth [and] death, having this great vow [of] Bodhi[citta, this] then is rebirth’s right [i.e. main; best] cause.

不然。纵令念佛菩萨。与佛菩萨气分不相契合。不能生净土也。

If not, even if mindful [of a] Buddha [and/or] Bodhisattva, with [the] Buddha [and/or] Bodhisattva [in] spirit not agreeing [with] one another, [one is] not able [to be] born [in] Pure Land.


二、的指求生极乐:
Second, Truly Pointing [To] Seek Birth [In The Pure Land Of] Ultimate Bliss:

论:如经中说。若善男子善女人。专念西方极乐世界阿弥陀佛。以诸善根回向愿生决定得生。

Treatise: As [the] sūtras say, if good men [and] good women, focus [on] mindfulness [of the] West[ern Pure Land Of] Ultimate Bliss’ Amitā[bha] Buddha, [and] with all good roots dedicate [with] Aspiration [to be] born [there, they will] definitely attain birth [there].

常见彼佛信心增长永不退转。于彼闻法观佛法身。渐次修行得入正位。

Constantly seeing that Buddha, [their] mind [of] Faith [will] grow, [and] forever not retrogress. In that [land], hearing [to learn the] Dharma, [and] contemplating [the] Buddha’s Dharma body [i.e. Dharmakāya], [they will] gradually, [yet most swiftly] cultivate practices [to] attain entry [into the] right place [for awakening of Buddhahood].


疏:十方诸佛。净土无量。经论多指归极乐者。略有四意。

Commentary: [Although the] ten directions’ all Buddhas, [have] Pure Lands immeasurable, sūtras [and] treatises mostly point [towards] ‘return’ [to] that [Western Pure Land Of] Ultimate Bliss. Briefly, [there] are four reasons [for this].

一者阿弥陀佛。与此土人最有缘故。乃至穷村僻坞。若男若女。若长若幼。若智若愚。无不知称阿弥陀佛名者。

First, [as] Amitā[bha] Buddha with this land’s humans have [the] most [karmic] connections thus, and even [with those in] remote villages [and] desolate coves. Whether male or female, whether old or young, whether wise or foolish, none [do] not know [how to] recite Amitā[bha] Buddha’s name [i.e. Āmítuófó].

二者法藏比丘愿力胜故。诸佛果德虽实平等。因中愿力任运摄生。无差别中有差别故。

Second, [as] Dharma Treasury [i.e. Dharmākara] Bhikṣu’s power [of] vows [is] supreme thus. All Buddhas’ fruits [of meritorious] virtues although [are] truly equal, within [the] causal [ground, of their] power [of] vows relied [on and] used [to] gather sentient beings, [there] are differences within no differences thus.

三者令人系念得专心故。若不专叹。则众生既欲生西。又欲生东。心无一定。净业难成。

Third, [as mindfulness of the Buddha’s name] enables people [to be] continually mindful, [to] attain [the] focused mind thus. If not [with] focused praise [i.e. recitation], thus [will] sentient beings both desire [to be] born [in the] West, [and] also desire [to be] born [in the] East. [With the] mind without one definite [Aspiration], pure karma [is] difficult [to] accomplish.

所以十方诸佛。同出广长舌相。赞此一门。令人专忆。

Therefore, [the] ten directions’ all Buddhas, together extend [the] form [of their] broad [and] long tongues, [to] praise this one [Dharma] door, [to] enable people [to have] focused recollection.

四者阿弥陀佛。即法界藏身。极乐世界。即莲华藏海。

Fourth, [as] Amitā[bha] Buddha, is [the] Dharma realm’s treasury body, [and the] Land [Of] Ultimate Bliss, is [the] Lotus Flower Treasury Ocean.

故见一佛。即为见无量佛。生一土。即为生无量土。念一佛。即是念一切佛。即为一切佛所护念。

Thus, seeing one Buddha, is as seeing immeasurable Buddhas. Birth [in] one [Pure] Land, is as birth [in] immeasurable [Pure] Lands. Mindfulness [of] one Buddha, is mindfulness [of] all Buddhas, is by all Buddhas as mindfully protected.

以法身不二故。生佛不二故。能念所念不二故。

With [the] Dharma Body [i.e. Dharmakāya] not two thus, sentient beings [and the] Buddha [are] not two thus, [the ones] able [to be] mindful [and the one] as mindful [of] not two thus.

一念相应一念佛。念念相应念念佛。

[With] one thought corresponding [by sincere mindfulness of Āmítuófó’s name, is with] one thought [aligned to the] Buddha. [With] thought to thought corresponding, [is with] thought to thought [aligned to the] Buddha.

因该果彻。更无二故。

[As the] cause possesses [the] effect completely, furthermore, [they are] without two thus.

余如净土经论广明。不能备述也。

As [the] other Pure Land sūtras [and] treatises [are] extensively clear [on this, they are] not able [to be] exhaustively narrated [here].

Namo Amituofo : Translation by Shen Shi’an

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