[16] [97] Táng Dynasty’s Fáng Zhù 唐房翥 How Encouraging Others’ Reach Of Pure Land Supports Our Reach Too 为何劝他人往生净土能助自己往生?

[16] Táng [Dynasty’s] Fáng Zhù


Zhù [had a] sudden death, [and] reached [the] nether world [to] see King Yama.

[Note 1: Other than those truly bound for hellish rebirths, those with special or complex karmic conditions might see King Yama before taking actual rebirth elsewhere, for the purpose of sorting out karmic matters, with such discussions representing the expression of karma.]


[The] King said, ‘According [to the] case book [with karmic records], you once encouraged one old person [to be] mindful [of] Buddha, [who is] already born [in] Pure Land. You, bearing this [as a] blessing, [are] also fit [to be] born [in] Pure Land, thus summoned [to] come [and] see me.’

[Note 2: Although Zhù had the negative karma to have sudden death, he also had the karmic conditions to revive and to reach Pure Land. Of course, he must give rise to the Three Provisions (三资粮) of Faith (信), Aspiration (愿) and Practice (行) to reach Pure Land. As we will see below, he lacked Aspiration – to reach it immediately. To truly encourage others to be seek birth in Pure Land, one must truly have the Three Provisions too, or one would not be able to truly encourage others to likewise give rise to them.]

翥曰:「先许《金刚经》 万卷,巡礼五台,未欲往生。」

Zhù said, ‘First allow [me to recite] ten thousand scrolls [of the] Vajra [i.e. Diamond] Sūtra, [and to make a] pilgrimage [to the Mountain Of] Five Terraces [五台山], [as I have] yet [to] desire [for] rebirth [in Pure Land].’

[Note 3: As above, although Zhù had all the Three Provisions, which includes the Aspiration to reach Pure Land, his Aspiration was not to do so there and then, but later. Thus did he ‘bargain’ for more time in the human world, which he could, as he had enough meritorious virtues.]


[The] King said, ‘Reciting sūtras [and making] pilgrimage, certainly are good deeds, [but are] not as good as [to be] earlier born [in] Pure Land.’

[Note 4: What the King said is true as upon reaching Pure Land, all that Zhù wanted to do can still be done, what more, with more ease and efficiency, also able to do much more good and pure deeds.]

王知志不可夺, 乃放还。

[As the] King knew [that his] Aspiration[s] cannot [be] taken [away] by force, [he] thus released [him to] return [to the human world].

[Note 5: Zhù had two kinds of Aspirations then – to first fulfil his sūtra-chanting and make pilgrimage in this world, AND thereafter to reach Pure Land. As these Aspirations were steadfast, and since he had the karmic conditions to choose, he could fulfil all, in the sequence he preferred.]


With this [is it] known, [that] those [who] encourage people [to] cultivate [to reach Pure Land], not only [can be] reborn [in Pure Land, they can] also move [those in the] nether world.

[Note 6: This case illustrates how encouraging even just one person to reach Pure Land can support one’s ability to reach Pure Land – even if there are karmic obstacles that might surface, such as sudden death by sickness or accident. However, with more sincere and diligent practice of mindfulness of Buddha in everyday life, sudden death can be avoided too.]


Sòng [Dynasty’s] Wáng Rìxiū
Lóngshū’s Pure Land Text:
Fifth Scroll: Thirty Essays [On] Deeds [Of] Connection [And] Response

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

Related Teachings:

Previous Essay:

[15] Táng Dynasty’s Cháng’ān Bhikṣuṇī Jìngzhēn

Next Essay:

[17] Táng Dynasty’s Cháng’ān Lǐ Zhīyáo

Thirty Essays:

Lóngshū’s Pure Land Text:
[5] Fifth Scroll: Thirty Essays On Deeds Of Connection And Response

Related Article:

[7] Seventh Universal Encouragement Of Practice: I, For This Pure Land Dharma Door Speaking…

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.