Question: [As Master] Tiānqí, Dúfēng [and] many Patriarchs, all proposed [to] investigate mindfully, ‘Who is [the] one mindful [of the] Buddha?’, why say [there is] no need [to] investigate [this]?
Answer: This following meaning [is] from [Master] Tiānqí [and] many Patriarchs.
Former Patriarchs, due [to] persons mindful [of] Buddha not agreeing [with] Śākyamuni [Buddha’s] completely compassionate heart [by being wholehearted], thus by their side unwillingly, directly asked [the] question, [to] once fiercely call [them] to attention. Why [should they] stop [in the] long [dark] night [to wait for] return [to] dawn?
[Note 1: The Patriarchs were stimulating them to be wholehearted (一心) in their practice, to align their Buddha-Nature (佛性) to the Buddha, to realise that, ‘(it) is (the) mind (that) becomes (the) Buddha, (it) is (the) mind (that) is (the) Buddha’「是心作佛，是心是佛」，to return their light of mindfulness to inwardly illuminate (回光返照), to awaken to their Self-Nature Āmítuófó (自性弥陀), to know that with Āmítuófó, their entire essence is the same (全体是佛).]
We, till today, [if] still not willing [to] wholeheartedly [be] mindful [of] Buddha, persistently attached [to a] door-knocking tile, [going] towards the] houses within, [to] beat [our] birth Fathers [and] Mothers [with it], thus with many Patriarchs’ [teachings, this is to] become evil [and] disobedient, [by] not following [them] well.
[Note 2: The tile represents a tool, like the question, that is attached to but abused. The house represents ourselves. The parents represent our Original Nature. Mindfulness of the Buddha’s name is like a gold tile, that is discarded for a mere door-knocking tile by the questioner.]
[Further Question]: This [practice] is [for] those [with] willing hearts thus possible, [for] those yet [to be] willing, how [can they] attain correspondence?
Answer: Alas! [It is] exactly only [with you] yet [to be] willing, therefore needing your willing heart [to] correspond.
You [and] others, [if with] right Faith yet [to] blossom, [are] like [tough] cowhide, [that] cannot bend [and] fold.
[It] should [be] known [that] those [who] have eyes, surely [are] without reason, under [the] sun, [to] light lamps. Yet, [for those] without eyes, likewise, why [is there] need, within sunlight, [to] persistently seek [a] lit torch?
[Note 3: Since we already know wholehearted mindfulness of the Buddha’s name (一心念佛) is what needed to awaken our Buddha-Nature directly, what more with the Buddha’s great Other-Power (他力) offering the ultimate supportive blessings, there is no need to practise other methods with only limited Self-Power (自力).]
Great Power Arrived, [the] Dharma Prince said, ‘Not needing expedient [means], self-attains [the] mind’s awakening.’
This [is from] One Practice Samādhi [arising from only focusing wholeheartedly upon mindfulness of Buddha] within, [its] great fire’s gathered words.
[If there] are those [who] dare [to] touch [and challenge it], how [can they] not by [it be] burnt?
– 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’