[19] Why Is Amitābha Buddha’s Pure Land Named ‘Ultimate Bliss’? 弥陀净土何故名为极乐?


B1: Extensive Stating [Of] That Land’s Circumstantial [And] Direct [Rewards’] Wonderful Fruits For Awakening Faith


Text As Two [Parts]: First, Circumstantial Rewards’ Wonders, Second, Direct Rewards’ Wonders.


C1: Circumstantial Rewards’ Wonders


Also [In] Two [Parts]: First, Proof [And] Explanation, Second, Extensive Explanation.


D1: Proof [And] Explanation


Also [In] Two [Parts]: First, Proof, Second, Explanation.


E1: Proof

【经】: 舍利弗,彼土何故名为极乐?

[Sūtra]: Śāriputra, that land, [for] what reason, [is] named as “Ultimate Bliss”?


E2: Explanation


Also [In] Two [Parts]: First, Restricted [To Those] Able [To] Receive [And] Use Benefits’ Explanation, Second, Restricted [To] Those Received [And] Used Benefits’ Explanation.


F1: Restricted [To Those] Able [To] Receive [And] Use Benefits’ Explanation


[Sūtra]: [As] that land’s sentient beings, [are] without all [kinds of] suffering, [and] only receive all [kinds of] bliss, [it is] thus named “Ultimate Bliss”. 


[Explanation]: ‘Sentient beings’ are [those] persons [who are] able [to] receive [and] use benefits, [those] Equally Awakened, with [those] below, [of] all [who] can [be] named.  


Now, [this is] about [its] people speaking, with [those of the] lowest [of the] low [grades for] example, [to those] highest [of the] high [grades].


[The] Sahā [World’s] suffering [and] bliss mixed, actually is suffering, [with] Suffering [From] Suffering, [that] compels body [and] mind thus.


[Its] bliss is Suffering [From] Impermanence, not long abiding thus.


[That] not suffering [and] not blissful is Suffering [From] Actions, [with the] nature [of] transience thus.


Three Sufferings (三苦)

(1) Suffering From Suffering (苦苦):

(i) Suffering From Birth (生苦)
(ii) Suffering From Ageing (老苦)
(iii) Suffering From Sickness (病苦)
(iv) Suffering From Death (死苦)
(v) Suffering From Meeting The Hated (怨憎会苦)  

(2) Suffering From Impermanence (坏苦):

(vi) Suffering From Not Attaining The Sought (求不得苦)   
(vii) Suffering Of Departure From The Beloved (爱别离苦) 

(3) Suffering From Actions (行苦):

(viii) Suffering From The Five Aggregates* Burning Vigorously** (五蕴炽盛苦)

The Eight Sufferings (八苦) are (i) to (viii), with (i) to (iv) being Physical Sufferings (身苦) and (v) to (viii) being Mental Sufferings (心苦).

Five Aggregates (五蕴)*

(a) Form*** (色)
(b) Feelings (受)
Perceptions (想)
Mental Formations (行)
(e) Consciousness (识)

** The (viii) eighth suffering is all-pervasive subtle suffering through the Five Aggregates, that arises all the time in the background and/or foreground of experience, due to unskilful reaction to all conditioned phenomena, with such ‘burning’ or being harmed fueled by the Three Poisons (三毒: attachment [贪], aversion [瞋] and delusion [痴]). Attachment and aversion are caused by delusional thinking of impermanent (无常) and unsubstantial (无我) mind and matter as permanent and substantial, not realising them to be empty (空) in nature.

*** The first aggregate is of matter (身), of the Four Great Elements (四大) of earth, water, fire and wind (地水火风), with the other four aggregates of the mind (心).]


That land [is] forever departed [from these] Three Sufferings, not [the] same [as] this land’s bliss, [that is] relative [to] suffering, thus named ‘Ultimate Bliss’.


Once reborn [is with] differences, [as in the] Together Dwelling [Land, it is with the] Five Defilements light[er], without fragmented [births’ and deaths’] Eight Sufferings, only experiencing never [being] sick [and] non-ageing, [with] ease travelling, [having] heavenly food [and] heavenly clothing, [with] all [the] good meeting together, [and] other [kinds of] bliss.


[The] Expedience [Land’s] essence [for] contemplation [is] skilful, without suffering of sinking [into] emptiness [to] stagnate [in] stillness, only receiving travel [with] ‘play’ [of] supernormal [powers and] other [kinds of] bliss.


[The] True Reward [Land is with the] mind’s contemplation complete, without suffering of [being] separate [and] not interpenetrating, only receiving unobstructed [and] inconceivable bliss.


[The] Still Light [Land is with the] ultimately equal, without suffering of [the] Dharma Body’s seepage [of Dharma-Nature’s water, and with the] true constant’s inflow, only receiving [the] Matching Nature’s perfect [and] ultimate bliss.


However, [the] Together Dwelling [Land’s] sentient beings, with upholding [the] name [of Āmítuófó’s] many good roots [and] blessed virtues [the] same [as the] Buddha’s thus, [are able to] completely purify [the] Four Lands, [to] completely receive all [kinds of] bliss.


Furthermore, [the Land Of] Ultimate Bliss’ most supreme [wonder, is] not in [the] above three lands, but in [the] Together Dwelling [Land].


[It is] really because [of] that superior. Thus, [of the] ten directions’ [other] Together Dwelling [Lands, they are] inferior [to] its special [nature. The] below can also [be] with this land compared [in] strength.


Therefore, ordinary beings [and those] superior enter, yet [calmly and] unhurriedly, horizontally transcending, yet [with] deliverance [that] surpasses.


[The] Buddha’s speaking [of] suffering [and] bliss, [has their] meanings depending on these.

– 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 note 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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