Translations

Why Not Annihilate All Forms? 为何不断灭一切相?

念佛人临终蒙佛接引,乃生佛感应道交。

[Of] people mindful [of] Buddha, [when] approaching [the] end [of life, who] receive [Amitābha] Buddha’s receiving [and] guiding, [this] indeed [is of] sentient beings [and the] Buddha attaining connection [and] response [for] mutual interaction.

[Note 1: This is as promised by the Buddha in the sūtras. This is also sometimes witnessed by those offering support-chanting for the dying.]

虽不离想心,亦不得谓独是想心所现,绝无佛圣迎接之事。

Although not departing [from the] mind [of] perception, [you] also must not say [this] is only [as] perception’s mind that appears, [that it is] absolutely without [the] Buddha [and his] noble [assembly’s] matter of receiving [and] guiding.

[Note 2: Even if perception is yet to be fully purified, with the Three Provisions of Faith, Aspiration and Practice adequate, the Buddha will definitely come to receive and guide to his Pure Land.]

心造地狱,临终则地狱相现。

[The] mind creates hell, [when] approaching [the] end [of life], thus [does] hell’s forms appear.

[Note 3: When the mind gives rise to hell-aligned or hellish thoughts karmically, signs of hell will appear, thus leading to a hellish rebirth…]

心造佛国,临终则佛国相现。

[The] mind creates [the] Buddha Land, [when] approaching [the] end [of life], thus [does the] Buddha Land’s forms appear.

[Note 4: … unless such thoughts (in Note 2) are transformed in time, best by mindfulness of Buddha with the Three Provisions.]

谓相随心现则可,谓唯心无境则不可。

Saying [that] forms accord [with the] mind appearing [is] thus alright, [while] saying [they are] mind-only without [their] realms [is] thus not alright.

[Note 5: There are both states of mind and their karmically corresponding realms – at individual and collective levels. For example, an individual can create negative karma to experience a Solitary/ Lonely/ Isolated Hell (孤独地狱) all by oneself, or create adequate collective pure karma (净业) with others, including the Buddha, to experience his Pure Land (净土).]

唯心无境,须是圆证唯心之大觉世尊说之,则无过。

[Of that] mind-only without [any] realms, [this] needs speak of [the] great awakened World-Honoured [One’s] complete realisation [of] mind-only, [which is] thus without fault.

[Note 6: Only the Buddhas have fully purified minds free from all habitual and karmic misperceptions, thus able to be free from all realms that arise  accordingly. Ordinary beings’ perception of the Buddhas, his noble assembly and his Pure Land, as enabled by them cannot be due to misperception, even if not with fully purified perception yet.]

阁下若说,则堕断灭知见,是破坏如来修证法门之邪说也。可不慎诸。

Your distinguished self, if saying [as you had said], thus falls [into] annihilation’s view, [which] is [an] evil teaching [that] destroys [the] Thus Come [One’s] Dharma Door [for] cultivation [and] realisation. [How] can all not [be] cautious [of this]?

[Note 7: There should not be assumption that all forms perceived by those yet to be fully purified are totally false or useless, especially since some of these forms are necessary, as skilfully manifested by the pure to guide and receive towards full purification, especially through Pure Land, which only has pure forms, as created and sustained by the Buddha’s pure mind.]

净土宗十三祖印光大师
Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
复顾显微居士书
Reply Letter To Layperson Xiǎnwéi

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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