[59] Why Is Buddha Mindfulness Difficult To Believe In? 为何念佛难信?


C3: Encouragement [Of] Practice’s Transmission


Divided [In] Two: First, All Buddhas’ Praises [In] Turn, Second, Master Teacher’s Conclusive Praise


D1: All Buddhas’ Praises [In] Turn

【经】: 舍利弗,如我今者,称赞诸佛不可思议功德,彼诸佛等,亦称赞我不可思议功德,而作是言:『释迦牟尼佛,能为甚难希有之事,能于娑婆国土五浊恶世,劫浊、见浊、烦恼浊、众生浊、命浊中,得阿耨多罗三藐三菩提,为诸众生,说是一切世间难信之法。』

[Sūtra]: Śāriputra, like I now praise all Buddhas’ inconceivable meritorious virtues, all those Buddhas [and] others, also praise my inconceivable meritorious virtues, and make this statement, “Śākyamuni Buddha, [was] able [to] do [these] extremely difficult [and] rare of matters, able [to], in [this] Sahā Land’s Five Defilements’ Evil Period, [with] Kalpa’s Defilement, Views’ Defilement, Afflictions’ Defilement, Sentient Beings’ Defilement, [and] Lifespan’s Defilement within, attain Anuttarā Samyak Saṃbodhi, [and] for all sentient beings, speak this Dharma, [that] all in [the] world [have] difficulty believing [in].”

[Note 1: In Great Master Xuánzàng’s (玄奘大师) translation, ‘all Buddhas’ (诸佛) in the first line was translated as ‘Immeasurable Life Buddha’ (无量寿佛), who is Āmítuófó (阿弥陀佛) – being both ‘one of all Buddhas’, and ‘one with all Buddhas’, thus able to represent them.

Note 2: The extremely difficult and rare matter accomplished by Śākyamuni Buddha was doubly difficult. First, he had to personally accomplish Buddhahood, despite being in this Evil Period of the Five Defilements, that is easy to retrogress in. (Although his was a manifested birth, it was still difficult to manifest convincingly.)

Second, he had to personally teach the Pure Land teachings for most skilfully delivering others still trapped in this Evil Period of the Five Defilements, for them to personally accomplish Buddhahood, despite the teachings being the most difficult to teach and most difficult to believe in.]

[解]: 释诸佛功德智慧,虽皆平等,而施化则有难易。

[Explanation]: All Buddhas’ meritorious virtues [and] wisdom, although [are] all equal, yet [their teachings] given [to] transform, [are] thus with [the] difficult [and] easy.

[Note 3: Below lists five levels of increasing difficulties.]


[1] [In] Pure Land accomplishing Bodhi [is] easy, [while in this] defiled world (秽土) [is] difficult.


[2] For Pure Land’s sentient beings speaking [the] Dharma [is] easy, [while for this] defiled land’s sentient beings [is] difficult.


[3] For [this] defiled land’s sentient beings speaking [the] gradual Dharma [is] still ‘easy’, [while] speaking [the] sudden Dharma [is] difficult.


[4] For [this] defiled land’s sentient beings speaking other sudden Dharma [is] still ‘easy’, [while] speaking [the] Pure Land’s horizontal transcendence’s sudden Dharma [is] especially difficult.


[5] For [this] defiled land’s sentient beings speaking [the] Pure Land’s horizontal transcendence’s sudden cultivation [for] sudden realisation [and] wonderful contemplation, [that] already [is] naturally not easy, [yet] speaking [of] this, [that does] not rely on exhausting toil [to] cultivate realisation, [that] only upholds [the] name [of Āmítuófó, to] directly ascend non-retrogression, [as this is] unusually special [and] supremely wonderful, going beyond conceptualisation [as the] foremost skilful means, [this is] even more [so], as [the most] difficult within [the] difficult [to teach beings to have Faith in].


Thus [of] all [the] ten directions’ Buddhas, none [do] not praise our Śākyamuni [Buddha, who was] inclined [to] be bold and powerful.

– 净土宗九祖澫益大师

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

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

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Complete English Translation Of ‘The Essential Explanation On The Amitābha Sūtra As Spoken By The Buddha’

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