Translations

Verses For Universal Exhortation To Be Mindful Of Buddha For Rebirth In Pure Land 普劝念佛往生净土文

Written by Purelanders

《弥陀经》言,
若人念佛,
临命终时,
必生彼国。

[The] Amitā[bha] Sūtra says,
[that] if one [is sincerely] mindful [of Amitā(bha)] Buddha[‘s name – ‘Āmítuófó’],
when approaching [the] end [of] life,
[one] definitely [will be] born [in] that [Pure] Land [of his]. 

又《观经》言,
念佛之人,
生彼国者,
莲分九品。

Also, [the] Contemplation Sūtra says,
[that] those [who are] mindful [of this] Buddha,
[are] those [who will be] born [in] that land,
[from] lotus divisions [of] nine grades. 

盖此念佛法门,
不论男女僧俗,
不论贵贱贤愚,
但一心不乱,
随其功行大小,
九品往生。

Generally [speaking of] this Dharma Door [of] mindfulness [of] Buddha,
regardless [of being] male [or] female, monastic [or] lay,
regardless [of being] honoured [or] lowly, virtuous [or] foolish,
[if] only [with] wholehearted [sincerity] without [being] scattered,
according [to] their meritorious virtues [and] practices [being] great [or] little,
[of the] nine grades [will they be] reborn.

故知世间
无有一人
不堪念佛。

Thus [should it be] known [that] within [this] world,
[it] is without one person
[who] cannot practise mindfulness [of] Buddha. 
 

若人富贵,
受用现成,
正好念佛;

If one [is] rich [and] honoured,
enjoying [that] readily available,

[this is] just [the] right [time to be] mindful [of] Buddha;

Note [1A]: This is so as one’s adequate material and social blessings already allow focus on this practice.

若人贫穷,
家小累少,
正好念佛。

If one [is] poor [and] needy,
[with a] small family [and] less burdens,

[this is] just [the] right [time to be] mindful [of] Buddha.

Note [1B]: This is so as having less family-related commitments and duties allow focus on this practice, which also helps to accumulate blessings to improve life.

若人有子,
宗祀得托,
正好念佛;

If one has children,
[with making of] ancestral offerings entrusted,

[this is] just [the] right [time to be] mindful [of] Buddha;

Note [2A]: This is so as there is no need to worry about not having children to do so. Although it is a traditional Chinese custom to have offsprings to make various offerings to the deceased, what more crucial is the Buddhist practice of offering guidance and support-chanting to the dying and deceased for reaching Pure Land.

若人无子,
孤身自由,
正好念佛。

If one [has] no children,
[and is] single [and] free,

[this is] just [the] right [time to be] mindful [of] Buddha.

Note [2B]: This is so as one has less family responsibilities.

若人子孝,
安受供养,
正好念佛;

If one [has] children [who are] filial,
[and] comfortably receives support,

[this is] just [the] right [time to be] mindful [of] Buddha;

Note [3A]: This is so as one does not need to worry about day-to-day living

若人子逆,
免生恩爱,
正好念佛。

If one [has] children [who are] unfilial,
[to] avoid giving rise [to] deep attachment [or aversion],

[this is] just [the] right [time to be] mindful [of] Buddha.

Note [3B]: This is so as the forming of much attachment (or aversion) can lead to more suffering in this life and the next.

若人无病,
趁身康健,
正好念佛;

If one [is] without sickness,
taking advantage [of the] body’s health,

[this is] just [the] right [time to be] mindful [of] Buddha;

Note [4A]: This is so as one’s health is at its best, not creating obstacles for this practice.

若人有病,
切近无常,
正好念佛。

If one [is] with sickness,
[being] very close [to] impermanence,

[this is] just [the] right [time to be] mindful [of] Buddha.

Note [4B]: This is so as it is time to practise most sincerely to reach Pure Land.

[若人孤寡,
(jié)然无碍,
正好念佛;

If one [is an] orphan [or] widow(er),
alone [and] unobstructed,

[this is] just [the] right [time to be] mindful [of] Buddha;

Note [5A]: This is so as these conditions offer less distractions, while mindfulness of Buddha is the best company.

若人遇难,
遭逢如此

正好念佛。] 
*

If one meets difficulties,
[with] encounters such [as] these,

[this is] just [the] right [time to be] mindful [of] Buddha.

Note [5B]: This is so as it helps to alleviate suffering, attain protective blessings and lessen the ripening of negative karma.

若人年老,
光景无多,
正好念佛;

If one [is] old [in] years,
without much time available [left],

[this is] just [the] right [time to be] mindful [of] Buddha;

Note [6A]: This is so as time is clearly running out, and there is nothing more important than to ensure reaching of Pure Land

若人年少,
精神清利,
正好念佛。

If one [is] young [in] years,
[with the] mind clear [and] sharp,

[this is] just [the] right [time to be] mindful [of] Buddha.

Note [6B]: This is so as it is even easier to practise now, than when the mind loses some clarity to become dull later.

若人处闲,
心无事扰,
正好念佛;

If one [is] living carefreely,
[with the] mind without matters disturbing,

[this is] just [the] right [time to be] mindful [of] Buddha;

Note [7A]: This is so as wholehearted mindfulness without being scattered can be easier practised then.

若人处忙,
忙里偷闲,
正好念佛。

If one [is] living busily,
amidst busyness ‘stealing’ [a] break,

[this is] just [the] right [time to be] mindful [of] Buddha.

Note [7B]: This is so as there is no other time to practise if not doing so.

若人出家,
逍遥物外,
正好念佛;

If one [has] left [the] householder’s [life],
free [and] unfettered [by] things external,

[this is] just [the] right [time to be] mindful [of] Buddha;

Note [8A]: This is so as one is already free from many worldly concerns.

若人在家,
知是火宅,
正好念佛。

If one [is a] householder,
knowing [that this] is [a] burning house,

[this is] just [the] right [time to be] mindful [of] Buddha.

Note [8B]: This is so as time is always running out, and life is always unpredictable.

若人聪明,
通晓净土,
正好念佛;

If one [is] intelligent,
[and] knows through and through [the] Pure Land [teachings],

[this is] just [the] right [time to be] mindful [of] Buddha;

Note [9A]: This is so as it is high time to put them into actual practice to experience their benefits

若人愚鲁,(lǔ)
别无所能,
正好念佛。

If one [is] simple [and] uninformed,
without any other abilities,

[this is] just [the] right [time to be] mindful [of] Buddha.

Note [9B]: This is so as this practice can most easily be done, to help awaken wisdom too.

若人持律,
律是佛制,
正好念佛;

If one upholds discipline,
[as the] discipline was [by the] Buddha regulated,

[this is] just [the] right [time to be] mindful [of] Buddha;

Note [10A]: This is so as this practice tunes one to the perfect conduct that the Buddha approves.

若人看经,
经是佛说,
正好念佛。

If one studies sūtras,
[as the] sūtras were [by the] Buddha spoken,

[this is] just [the] right [time to be] mindful [of] Buddha.

Note [10B]: This is so as hundreds of sūtras encourage this practice, while all the teachings in the sūtras can be realised through it.

[若人学禅,
悟得唯心,
正好念佛;

If one learns Chán,
[to] realise [that all is] mind-only,

[this is] just [the] right [time to be] mindful [of] Buddha;

Note [11A]: This is so as complete mindfulness of Buddha will lead to complete realisation of this.

若人修仙,
求无量寿,
正好念佛。] 
*

If one cultivates [for] immortality,
seeking immeasurable life, 

[this is] just [the] right [time to be] mindful [of] Buddha.

Note [11B]: This is so as once reaching Pure Land with this practice, there is life as long as needed, for attaining liberation.

若人参禅,
禅是佛心,
正好念佛;

If one practises Chán,
[as] Chán is [the] Buddha’s mind,

[this is] just [the] right [time to be] mindful [of] Buddha;

Note [12A]: This is so as this practice tunes to the mind of wisdom (and the heart of compassion) of all Buddhas

若人悟道,
悟须佛证,
正好念佛。

If one [has] awakened [to the] path,
[as] awakening needs [a] Buddha’s confirmation,

[this is] just [the] right [time to be] mindful [of] Buddha.

Note [12B]: This is so as this practice enables meeting of the Buddha (in Pure Land).

普劝诸人,
火急念佛。

九品往生,
华开见佛。

[I] universally exhort all people [to,
with] great urgency, [as if fire is burning, be] mindful [of] Buddha.
[With the] nine grades reborn [in Pure Land,
when the lotus] flowers blossom, meeting [the] Buddha.

见佛闻法,
究竟成佛。

始知自心,
本来是佛。

Meeting [the] Buddha [to] hear [the] Dharma,
ultimately accomplished [is] Buddhahood.
Only then knowing [that] one’s mind,
is originally [the same as the] Buddhas’.      

Note [13]: Due to all the reasons above, NOW is always the right time to be mindful of Āmítuófó, and is never the wrong time. There are thus no valid excuses for not practising accordingly. 

净土宗八祖莲池大师
Pure Land Tradition’s 8th Patriarch Great Master Liánchí
《云栖净土汇语》
(Collection [Of] Yúnqī’s Pure Land Sayings)

* These verses are included in ‘Direct Pointers [For] Return [To The] West’《西归直指》, as compiled by Zhōu Ānshì (周安士), also known as Layperson Huáixī (怀西居士).

Namo Amituofo : Translation & notes by Shen Shi’an

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