Translations

[21] Pure Land’s Ponds, Water, Sand, Stairs, Paths, Towers, Pavilions & Lotus Flowers 净土之池水、金沙、阶道、楼阁与莲花

丁二、广释

D2: Broad Explanation:

分二:初、别释所受,二、合释能受所受。  

Divided [In] Two [Parts]: First, Further Explanation [On] That Received, Second, Combined Explanation [On Those] Able [To] Receive [And] That Received.

戊初、别释所受 

E1: Further Explanation [On] That Received  

又二:初、释生处,二、结示佛力。

Also [In] Two [Parts]: First, Explanation [On] Birthplaces, Second, Conclusive Guidance [On] Buddha’s Power

己初、释生处    

F1: Explanation [On] Birthplaces

【经】: 又舍利弗,极乐国土有七宝池,八功德水充满其中,池底纯以金沙布地。四边阶道,金、银、琉璃、玻璃合成。上有楼阁,亦以金、银、琉璃、玻璃、砗磲、赤珠、玛瑙而严饰之。池中莲花,大如车轮,青色青光、黄色黄光、赤色赤光、白色白光,微妙香洁。

[Sūtra]: Moreover, Śāriputra, [the] Land [Of] Ultimate Bliss has seven treasures’ ponds, [with] eight meritorious virtues’ waters fully filling them within, [and] pond beds purely with golden sand spread [on their] grounds. [On their] four sides [are] stairways, [of] gold, silver, lapis lazuli [and] crystal composed. Above are towering pavilions, also with gold, silver, lapis lazuli, crystal, tridacna, red pearls [and] carnelian thus adorning them. [The] ponds within [have] lotus flowers, [as] large as chariot wheels, blue coloured [of] blue light, yellow coloured [of] yellow light, red coloured [of] red light, white coloured [of] white light, refined, wonderful, fragrant [and] pure.

[解]: 上明住处,今明生处。

[Explanation]: [With the] above [having] explained dwelling places, now [being] explained [are] birthplaces.  

宝池金银等所成,不同此方土石也。

[The] treasure ponds [are with] gold, silver [and] others as formed, not [the] same [and] this place, [with] earth [and] stones.

「八功德」者:

Those eight meritorious virtues [are]:

一、澄清,异此方浑浊;

One, tranquil [and] clear, different [from] this place, [with] muddy impurities.

二、清冷,异寒热;  

Second, pure [and] cool, different [from being] cold [and] hot.

三、甘美,异咸淡劣味;  

Third, sweet [and] pleasant, different [from being] salty [and] tasteless, [with] inferior taste.

四、轻软,异沉重;

Fourth, light [and] soft, different [from being] heavy [and hard].  

五、润泽,异缩腐褪色;

Fifth, moisturising, different [from that] reducing, spoiling [and] fading [in] colour.

六、安和,异急暴;

Sixth, peaceful [and] harmonious, different [from being] hurried [and] violent.

七、除饥渴,异生冷;

Seventh, [able to] eradicate hunger [and] thirst, different [from being] raw [and] cold.

八、长养诸根,异损坏诸根,及沴戾增病没溺等也。

Eighth, [able to] grow [and] nurture all [sense] roots, different [from] injuring [and] damaging [of] all roots, and [with] epidemics, increasing sickness, [causing] sinking, drowning [and] others.

充满其中,异枯竭泛滥。

‘Fully filling them within’, different [from being] dried up [and] flooded. 

底纯金沙,异污泥。

[With] bottoms purely [with] golden sand, different [from] filthy mud.

阶道四宝,异砖石。

[With] stairs [and] paths [of] four treasures, different [from] bricks [and] stones.

陛级名「阶」,坦途名「道」,重屋名「楼」,岑楼名「阁」。

Levels [of] steps [are] named [as] ‘stairs’, level roads [are] named [as] ‘paths’, buildings [of] several stories [are] named [as] ‘towers’, [and] high buildings [are] named [as] ‘pavilions’. 

七宝楼阁,异此方土木丹青也。

[The] towering pavilions [of] seven treasures, [are] different [from] this place, [with] earth [and] wood built [and] painted.

「楼阁」是住处,及法会处。

[These] ‘towering pavilions’ are dwelling places, and Dharma assembly places. 

但得宝池莲胞开敷,便可登四岸,入法会,见佛闻法也。

Only [upon] attaining [the] treasure ponds’ lotus wombs’ opening [in] bloom, then can [there be] ascent [onto the] four shores, [to] enter Dharma assemblies, [to] meet [the] Buddha [for] hearing [the] Dharma. 

华轮者,轮王金轮大四十里,且举最小者言。

Those wheel[-like] flowers, [like] Wheel[-Turning] Kings’ gold wheels, [are as] large [as] forty lǐs. Yet, [this is just] citing [the] most small said.

若据《观经》及《无量寿会》,大小实不可量,由同居净土身相不等故也。

If according [to the] ‘Contemplation Sūtra’ and [the] ‘Immeasurable Life [Tathāgata] Assembly’, [the] large [and] small truly cannot [be] measured [in quantity], due [to those] together dwelling [in] Pure Land [having] bodily forms not equal [in size] thus.       

「青色」名「优钵罗」,黄色」名「拘勿头」,「赤色」名「钵头摩」,「白色」名「芬陀利」。

[The] ‘blue coloured’ [are] named ‘Utpala’ [i.e. Blue Lotus], [the] ‘yellow coloured’ [are] named ‘Kumudā’ [i.e. Yellow Lotus, [the] ‘red coloured’ [are] named ‘Padma’ [i.e. Red Lotus], [and the] ‘white coloured’ [are] named ‘Puṇḍarīka’ [i.e. White Lotus].    

由生身有光,故莲胞亦有光。

Due [to their] born bodies having light, thus [do the] lotus wombs likewise have lights.

然极乐莲华,光色无量,此亦略言耳。

However, [as the Land Of] Ultimate Bliss’ lotus flowers, [have] lights [and] colours immeasurable, this likewise [is] briefly said.

「微妙香洁」,略叹莲华四德。

‘Refined, wonderful, fragrant [and] pure’, briefly praises [the] lotus flowers’ four virtues.

质而非形曰「微」。

[With] material [quality] yet without [coarse] forms, [thus] called ‘refined’.

无碍曰「妙」。

Without obstruction, [thus] called ‘wonderful’.

非形则非尘,故「洁」也。

Without [coarse] forms thus without [physical] dust, thus [called] ‘pure’.

莲胞如此,生身可知。  

[As the] lotus wombs [are] like these, [their] born bodies can [be] known [to be likewise too].

– 净土宗九祖澫益大师
《佛说阿弥陀经要解》

– Pure Land Tradition’s 9th Patriarch Great Master Ǒuyì
(Essential Explanation [Of The] Sūtra [In Which The] Buddha Speaks [Of] Amitā[bha] Buddha)

Note: As lotus flowers in Pure Land are ‘refined, wonderful, fragrant [and] pure’ (微妙香洁), while radiating light with corresponding colours, this exemplifies ‘Adornment [With] Fragrance [And] Light’ (香光庄严), as taught in ‘[The] Great Buddha Crown’s Śūraṅgama Sūtra’s Section [On] Great Power Arrived Bodhisattva’s Perfect Penetration [With] Mindfulness [Of] Buddha’《大佛顶首楞严经大势至菩萨念佛圆通章》:  

「若众生心,忆佛念佛,现前当来,必定见佛。去佛不远,不假方便,自得心开。如染香人,身有香气,此则名曰香光庄严。」

‘If sentient beings’ minds recollect [Amitā(bha)] Buddha, [and are] mindful [of the] Buddha, now [or in the] future, [they] will definitely see [the] Buddha. [With the] Buddha not far [away], without use [of] expedient means, [they will], by themselves, attain awakening [of their] minds. Like [a] person perfumed [by] incense, [whose] body has fragrance, this [is] thus named “Adornment [With] Fragrance [And] Light”.’

When we practise sincerely, we will see the Buddha come to receive us, and later in Pure Land, when born from lotus flowers. ‘Adornment with fragrance and light’ does not just occur in Pure Land, when within lotuses, but also now, when our practice connects with the Buddha’s light (through his vow #12 and #33), and the fragrance of his meritorious virtues (through his vow #32). To inspire and to bless us, his immeasurable light and fragrance mingles with and amplifies ours, giving rise to auspicious signs of seeing his light (见佛光) and smelling his ‘extraordinary fragrance filling the room’ (异香满堂), even before reaching Pure Land.

Namo Amituofo : Translation and note by Shen Shi’an

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Next Section: The Nature Of Pure Land’s Meritorious Virtues’ Adornments
https://purelanders.com/2019/10/04/the-nature-of-pure-lands-meritorious-virtues-adornments

《佛说阿弥陀经要解》全英译
Complete English Translation Of ‘The Essential Explanation On The Amitābha Sūtra As Spoken By The Buddha’
https://purelanders.com/yaojie

弥陀净土青色莲花是蓝的吗?
Are The ‘Green’ Lotus Flowers In Āmítuófó’s Pure Land Blue?
https://purelanders.com/2019/06/30/are-the-green-lotus-flowers-in-amituofos-pure-land-blue

《大佛顶首楞严经大势至菩萨念佛圆通章》
The Great Buddha Crown’s Śūraṅgama Sūtra’s Section On Mahāsthāmaprāpta Bodhisattva’s Perfect Penetration With Mindfulness Of Buddha 
https://thedailyenlightenment.com/2013/10/mindfulness-of-buddha-card

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