Kṣitigarbha Sūtra’s Chapter Seventh: Benefits [For The] Living [And] Deceased (Excerpt)
[Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva’s reply to Elder Great Eloquence]: All future, present sentient beings [and] others, [when] approaching life’s ending day, [who] attain hearing [of] one Buddha’s name, one Bodhisattva’s name, [or] one Pratyekabuddha’s name, regardless [of] having transgressions [or] without transgressions, all [will] attain liberation.
Note 1: Such hearing of sacred names should ideally be done reverently, with utmost sincerity, which will create much more meritorious virtues. This is the practice of mindfulness of Buddha (or Bodhisattva, which includes Kṣitigarbha Bodhisattva), that should be done repeatedly, especially when dying, so as to connect accordingly. This is the easiest yet most effective practice to have then, for ensuring the dying has the most peaceful passing and the most blissful rebirth. For ease of focus, using one Buddha’s name will do, and none is as brief and thus easy to focus upon, as that of Amitābha Buddha in Chinese – ‘阿弥陀佛’ (Āmítuófó).
Note 2: With sincerity in Practice of mindfulness, there would already be Faith with a sense of repentance. To reach Āmítuófó’s Pure Land, there must also be Aspiration to do so. Even those with heavy transgressions will be able to eradicate them when connected to Āmítuófó’s blessings, which will dilute them. Once his Pure Land is reached, it is as good as having attained liberation, as there will only be non-retrogressive progress towards Buddhahood there.
If [there] are men [and] women, when living, [who did] not cultivate good causes, [and] created many transgressions, after [when their] lives end, [with] family members [of] children [and] adults, for [them] creating blessings’ benefits [with] all holy deeds, of seven parts within, [they will] thereupon obtain one, [with] six parts [of] meritorious virtues, [for] living ones’ self-benefits.
Note 3: If there are the dying or the recently deceased (especially within 49 days of passing), who are unable or unwilling to practise the Dharma to benefit themselves then, family members and others concerned should all the more do so on their behalf. The easiest way to do so is with the same practice of mindfulness of Buddha above in Note 1 and Note 2, before dedicating the meritorious virtues (merits) to them, as in Note 5 below. With adequate practice of RAM in Note 4 done in time, the dying or deceased might change their mind, to be willing to practise as suggested.
Note 4: Repentance can easily be practised on their behalf too, by chanting a short Repentance Verse, before commencing practice of mindfulness of Buddha. Together is the practice sequence of Repentance, Āmítuófó-chanting and Merits-dedication (RAM). However, the dying or deceased should be guided to personally give rise to the Three Provisions of Faith, Aspiration and Practice in Note 2, to be able to reach Pure Land. If not, dedication of adequate merits can at least ensure not falling into a lower realm, and in better cases, enable rise to a heavenly realm. With six-sevenths of the merits created directly for those helping, such support practice should be all the more done – to more greatly benefit the ones concerned (and oneself).
With this thus, future, present good men, women [and] others, [who] hear [this when] healthy, [should] self-cultivate, [with] every part personally obtained.
Note 5: If without dedication of merits for other(s), all seven parts of meritorious virtues from personal practice will by default benefit only oneself – be one a human or any other sentient being. As such, those younger and fitter should all the more practise more diligently and regularly on behalf of one and all. As dedication of merits for all beings is an expression of Bodhicitta, that nurtures compassion and generosity, it is ideal to always dedicate to all, who will include recently and past deceased ones concerned about.
Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an
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