C1: Revelation [Of] Unsurpassable Cause [And] Condition
[Sūtra]: Moreover, Śāriputra, [in the] Land [Of] Ultimate Bliss, those sentient beings [just] born, are all [three kinds (of)] Avaivartikas. Among them, [(their) Three Non-Retrogressions (are with)] many are [in the] Position [Of] One Life [To] Replacement, [with] their number extremely great, [that] cannot [by] counting [their] number [be] known of, [and] only can with immeasurable [and] boundless asaṃkhyeya [kalpas be] said.
[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’.
First, [with] Position’s Non-Retrogression, [having] entered [the] noble stream, not falling [to] ordinary [beings’] ground.
Second, [with] Practice’s Non-Retrogression, constantly delivering [sentient] beings, not falling [to the] Two Vehicles’ ground [to be Śrāvakas and Pratyekabuddhas].
Third, [with] Mindfulness’ Non-Retrogression, [with] thought [to] thought flowing [to] enter [the] sarvajña ocean [of omniscience].
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’.
[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’.
[In the] Separate [Teaching with the] First Ground, [in the] Complete [Teaching with the] First Abode, [these are] named [as the] ‘Non-Retrogressible’.
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] lowest [of the] low [grade], all [have] attained [the] three Non-Retrogressions [above].
However, according [to the] teachings’ paths,
if [they] are ordinary beings, [they] thus [are] not [with the] First Fruit [and] others;
if [they] are [of the] Two Vehicles, [they] thus [are] not Bodhisattvas [and] others;
if [they] are [of] different [ordinary sentient] beings[‘s nature, they] thus [are] not [the] same [as noble] beings’ nature [and] others.
Also, [with] Mindfulness’ Non-Retrogression, not again [as] ordinary [sentient] beings;
[with] Practice’s Non-Retrogression, not just seeing [the] path;
[with] Position’s Non-Retrogression, not as common people.
[To say they] skip [over normal] grades thus becomes great false [speech. With] progress thus, [they have] abandoned [their] former names.
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.
[The] ten directions’ Buddha Lands [are] without these names [and] forms, without this position, without this Dharma Door.
[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?
Those [in the] Position [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.
[As the Land Of] Ultimate Bliss’ people all universally [in] one lifetime accomplish Buddhahood, every person will [definitely] truly realise [the] Position [Of One Life To] Replace [Buddhas].
Thus, those within have many [of] these [and] other [ones of] superior goodness, [who] cannot [be by] counting known.
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.
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.
Sigh! [Of] ordinary beings’ case [of] ascending [to the] Position [Of One Life To] Replace [Buddhas, even with their] wonders introduced [and] detailedly discussed, [they] cannot [be] measured [in number].
That [which the] ‘Flower Adornment [Sūtra’] endows, yet [is] in this sūtra.
Yet in [the] whole world, [from] ancient [times until] now, [those who have] Faith [are] few, [and those who have] doubts [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.
– 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
Next Section: Why Meet Together In The Land Of Ultimate Bliss?
Complete English Translation Of ‘The Essential Explanation On The Amitābha Sūtra As Spoken By The Buddha’