Translations

What Is The Nature Of All Born In Pure Land? 一切极乐生者有何性质?

丙初、揭示无上因缘

C1: Revelation [Of] Unsurpassable Cause [And] Condition

【经】: 又舍利弗,极乐国土,众生(才)生(彼土)者,皆是(三种)阿鞞跋致。其(三不退)中多有一生补处,其数甚多,非是算数所能知之,但可以无量无边阿僧祇说。

[Sūtra]: Moreover, Śāriputra, [in the] Land [Of] Ultimate Bliss, sentient beings [just] born there, [are] all [three kinds of] Avaivartikas. Among them, many are [in the] Stage [Of] One Life [To] Replacement. Their number [is] extremely great, which cannot be known by counting, [and] can only with immeasurable [and] boundless asaṃkhyeya [kalpas be] spoken [of].  

[Note 1: It is difficult for those born in the Sahā World to practise the path to Buddhahood, with most who will retrogress (i.e. backslide), with few who attain non-retrogression. Countless beings within countless kalpas remain trapped in rebirth here, yet to truly begin three great asaṃkhyeya (innumerable) kalpas of practice towards Buddhahood. (生娑婆者,难行佛道,多会退转,少得不退。无数众生,无数劫中,不断轮回,三大阿僧祇劫,成佛之行,未真起行。)

Note 2: All born in the Pure Land will not retrogress spiritually, and will only progress swiftly on the path to Buddhahood. Within as short as ten kalpas since the Pure Land was established, there are already countless ready to manifest Buddhahood. (生净土者都不退转,唯能迅速迈向佛道。净土十劫成立之间,已有无量备成佛者。)]

【解】 : 阿鞞跋致,此云不退:

[Explanation]: [Of] Avaivartikas, these [are] called [the] non-retrogressible:

一、位不退,入圣流,不堕凡地。

First, [is with] position not retrogressing, [having] entered [the] noble stream, not falling [to] ordinary [beings’] ground.

二、行不退,恒度生,不堕二乘地。

Second, [is with] practice not retrogressing, constantly delivering [sentient] beings, not falling [to the] Two Vehicles’ ground [to be Śrāvakas and Pratyekabuddhas].

三、念不退,心心流入萨婆若海。

Third, [is with] mindfulness not retrogressing, [with] thought [to] thought flowing [to] enter [the] sarvajña ocean [of omniscience].

若约此土,藏初果、通见地、别初住、圆初信,名位不退;

If restricting [to] this land, [in the] Tripiṭaka [Teaching, with the] First Fruit, [in the] Common [Teaching, with] Sight [Of] Ground, [in the] Separate [Teaching, with the] First Abode, [in the] Complete [Teaching, with the] First Faith, [these are] named [as the] non-retrogressible;

通菩萨、别十行、圆十信、名行不退;

[in the] Common [Teaching, as] Bodhisattvas, [in the] Separate [Teaching, with the] Ten Practices, [in the] Complete [Teaching, with the] Ten Faiths, [these are] named [as the] non-retrogressible;

别初地、圆初住,名念不退。

[in the] Separate [Teaching, with the] First Ground, [in the] Complete [Teaching, with the] First Abode, [these are] named [as the] non-retrogressible.

今净土五逆十恶十念成就,带业往生居下下品者,皆得三不退。

Now, [in the] Pure Land, [of those with the] Five Heinous [Transgressions and] Ten Evil [Karmas, with] ten [mindful] thoughts accomplished, who carry [their evil] karma [to be] reborn, [to] reside [as the] lower [of the] low [grade], all [have] attained [the] three non-retrogressions [above].

然据教道,

However, according [to the] teachings’ paths,

若是凡夫,则非初果等;

if [they] are ordinary beings, [they] thus [are] not [with the] First Fruit [and] others;

若是二乘,则非菩萨等;

if [they] are [of the] Two Vehicles, [they] thus [are] not Bodhisattvas [and] others;

若是异生,则非同生性等。

if [they] are [of] different [ordinary sentient] beings[‘s nature, they] thus [are] not [with the] same [noble] beings’ nature [and] others.

又念不退,非复异生;

Also, [with] mindfulness not retrogressing, not again [as] ordinary [sentient] beings;

行不退,非仅见道;

[with] practice not retrogressing, not just seeing [the] path;

位不退,非是人民。

[with] position not retrogressing, not as common people.

躐等则成大妄,进步则舍故称。

[To say they] skip [over normal] grades thus becomes great false [speech. With] progress thus, [they have] abandoned [their] former names.

唯极乐同居,一切俱非,一切俱是。

Only [the Land Of] Ultimate Bliss [is with ordinary and noble beings] together abiding, [whom are] all together not [the above, yet] all together are.

十方佛土无此名相,无此阶位,无此法门。

[The] ten directions’ Buddha Lands [are] without these names [and] forms, without this position, without this Dharma Door.

非心性之极致,持名之奇勋,弥陀之大愿,何以有此?

[If] not [with the] ultimate [peak] of mind-nature, [the] wonderful merits of upholding [the] name, [and the] great vows of [Ā]mítuó[fó], how [can there] be this?

一生补处者,只一生补佛位,如弥勒、观音等。

Those [in the] Stage [Of] One Life [To] Replace [Buddhas], only [are] one life [from] replacing Buddhas’ position, like Maitreya, Contemplator [Of The World’s] Sounds [Bodhisattva and] others.

极乐人民普皆一生成佛,人人必实证补处。

[As the Land Of] Ultimate Bliss’ people all universally [in] one lifetime accomplish Buddhahood, every person will [definitely] truly realise [the] Stage [Of One Life To] Replace [Buddhas].

故其中多有此等上善,不可数知也。

Therefore, that within has many [of] these [and] other [ones of] superior goodness, [who] cannot [be by] counting known [in number].

复次,释迦一代时教,惟《华严》明一生圆满。

Furthermore, [in] Śākyamuni [Buddha’s] one [whole] lifetime [of] teaching, [it was] only [with the] ‘Flower Adornment [Sūtra’, that is] clear [on how to, in] one lifetime [attain] perfection.

而一生圆满之因,则末后《普贤行愿品》中,十大愿王导归安养,且以此劝进华藏海众。

And [the] cause of, [in] one lifetime [attaining] perfection, thus after [the] end [of the] ‘Chapter [Of] Universal Virtues [Bodhisattva’s] Practices [And] Vows’ within, [is with the] Ten Great Vows’ King’s guidance [to] return [to the Land Of] Peaceful Nurturing, further with this encouraging advancement [of the] Flower Treasury’s Ocean[-wide] Assembly.

嗟乎!凡夫例登补处,奇倡极谈,不可测度。

Sigh! [Of] ordinary beings’s case [of] ascending [to the] Stage [Of One Life To] Replace [Buddhas, even with their] wonders introduced [and] detailedly discussed, [they] cannot [be] measured [in number].

《华严》所禀,却在此经。

That [which the] ‘Flower Adornment [Sūtra’] endows, yet [is] in this sūtra.

而天下古今,信鲜疑多,辞繁义蚀,余唯有剖心沥血而已。

Yet in [the] whole world, [from] ancient [times until] now, [those who have] faith [are] few, [and those who have] doubt [are] many, [with] words many [and the true] meaning eroded, [what] only remains [to do, is to sincerely] have [this] heart cut [open], adrip [with] blood, [and] nothing more.

– 净土宗九祖藕益大师
《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)

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

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