[42] Main Guidance For Main Pure Land Practice 正示净土正行


B3: Main Guidance [For] Practitioners [To] Uphold [The] Name For Establishing Practice


Divided [In] Two [Parts]: First, Main Guidance [On] Unsurpassable Cause [And] Effect, Second, Repeated Exhortation.


C1: Main Guidance [On] Unsurpassable Cause [And] Effect

【经】: 舍利弗,不可以少善根、福德、因缘得生彼国。舍利弗,若有善男子、善女人,闻说阿弥陀佛,执持名号,若一日、若二日、若三日、若四日、若五日、 若六日、若七日,一心不乱,其人临命终时,阿弥陀佛与诸圣众,现在其前。是人终时,心不颠倒,即得往生阿弥陀佛极乐国土。

[Sūtra]: Śāriputra, [one] cannot, with few good roots [and] blessed virtues [as] cause and condition, attain birth [in] that land. Śāriputra, if [there] are good men [and] good women, [who] hear [this] said [about] Amitā Buddha, [faithfully and] firmly uphold [mindfulness of his] name [i.e. Āmítuófó], if [for] one day, if [for] two days, if [for] three days, if [for] four days, if [for] five days, if [for] six days, if [for] seven days, wholeheartedly without [being] scattered, when these persons approach life’s end, Amitā Buddha, with many [in his] noble assembly [will] appear before them. When these persons’ [lives are] end[ing, their] minds [will] not [be] inverted, [and they will] immediately attain rebirth [in] Amitā Buddha’s Land [Of] Ultimate Bliss.

【解】: 菩提正道名「善根」,即亲因。  

[Explanation]: [Practising] Bodhi’s right path [is] named [as having] ‘good roots’, the same as [the] close cause.  

种种助道施、 戒、禅等名「福德」,即助缘。

[Having] all kinds [of practices that] support [the] path, [such as] generosity, [upholding] precepts, meditative [concentration and] others [are] named [as] ‘blessed virtues’, [that are] the same as supportive conditions. 


Voice-Hearers [i.e. Śrāvakas] [and] Lone Awakeners [i.e. Pratyekabuddhas] [with] Bodhi’s good roots few, human [and] heavenly [beings with] blessed karmas [and] blessed virtues with outflows few, all cannot [be] born [in] Pure Land.


Only with Faith [and] Aspiration firmly upholding [the] name [of Āmítuófó, is] then [with] each [and] every one recitation all complete [with] many good roots [and] blessed virtues.


[With a] scattered mind reciting [the] name, bless[ed virtues and] good [roots] likewise cannot [be] measured, moreover [if with] wholeheartedness without [being] scattered!    


Thus enabling connection [and] response [for] mutual interaction, [when the] text forms, [the] seal spoils.


Āmítuófó [and his] noble assembly, [will] not come yet [also] come, personally approaching [to] receive [and] guide.


Practitioners’ minds’ consciousnesses, [will be] not reborn yet reborn, [as] entrusted [to their] treasure lotuses.


Those good men [and] women, regardless [of those who have] left [the] household [life or] in [the] household [life], noble [or] lowly, old [or] young, [of the] Six Realms [and] Four Births, only [by] listening [to the] Buddha’s name, [are] immediately [with] many kalpas’ good roots matured. [Even those with the] Five Heinous [Transgressions [and] Ten Evils, [are] all named [as] ‘good’.

[Note 1:

Six Realms (六趣) /
Six Paths (六道):

Hell-beings’ path (地狱)
(2) Hungry ghosts’ path (饿鬼)
(3) Animals’ path (畜生)
(4) Human beings’ path (人)
(5) Asuras’ path (阿修罗)
(6) Heavenly beings’ path (天人)

Four Births (四生):

(1) Egg birth (卵)
(2) Womb birth (胎)
(3) Moisture birth (湿)
(4) Manifestation birth (化)]


[As] Āmítuófó is ten thousand virtues’ great name, with [the] name summoning virtues, without exhausting [the] inexhaustible, thus then [is] with firmly upholding [of the] name as [the] Main Practice. Not needing [to] also involve [in] visualisation, contemplative investigation [and] other practices, [it is] utmost easy, [and] utmost straightforward.


[With] listening then [having] Faith, [having] Faith then [having] Aspiration, thus [is there] willingness [to] firmly uphold [the name].

不信不愿, 与不闻等,虽为远因,不名闻慧。

Not [having] Faith, not [having] Aspiration, with not listening [and] others, although as distant causes, [these are] not named [as] Wisdom [From] Listening.


[To] firmly uphold, then [from] thought [to] thought recollecting [the] Buddha’s name, thus is Wisdom [From] Reflection.

[Note 2:

Three Wisdoms (三慧):

(1) Wisdom From Listening (闻慧)
(2) Wisdom From Reflection (思慧)
(3) Wisdom From Cultivation (修慧)]


However, [there] are [those with] Practice Upheld [and with] Principles Upheld.


Those [with] Practice Upheld, [have] Faith [that there] is [the] Western Āmítuófó, but [have] yet [to] reach [the state of ‘it] is [the] mind [that] becomes [Buddha, and it] is [the] mind [that] is Buddha’, however with determined Aspiration [to] seek birth thus, ‘like [a] child recollecting [the] mother’, with no time temporarily forgetting [this].


Those [with] Principles Upheld, [have] Faith [that the] Western Āmítuófó is [in] my mind complete, [and] is [by] my mind created, then with one’s mind, that complete [and] that created great name, as [the] realm [for] fastening [the] mind, enabling [it to] not [be] temporarily forgotten.


Those [upholding for] one day to seven days, [are] within [this] time frame carrying out [their] practice.


[Those of] sharp roots [with] one day [are] then not scattered.


[Those of] dull roots [with] seven days [are] then not scattered.


[Those of] medium roots [are with] two, three, four, five [or] six days, not fixed.


Also, [those of] sharp roots [are] able [to be with] seven days not scattered.


[Those of] dull roots, [are] only [with] one day not scattered.


[Those of] medium roots [are with] six, five, four, three [or] two days, not fixed.


Wholeheartedness likewise has two kinds.


Regardless [of with] Practice Upheld, [or] Principles Upheld, upholding until subduing [and] eliminating afflictions, even until [mistaken] views [and] thoughts [are] first exhausted, all [are with] Practice’s Wholeheartedness.

不论事持、理持, 持至心开见本性佛,皆理一心。

Regardless [of with] Practice Upheld, [or] Principles Upheld, upholding until [the] mind opens [to] see Original Nature’s Buddha, all [are with] Principles’ Wholeheartedness.


[With] Practice’s Wholeheartedness, not by [mistaken] views [and] thoughts those scattered, [and with] Principles’ Wholeheartedness, not by [the] two [extreme] sides those scattered, is the same as Wisdom [From] Cultivation.


[Those] not by [mistaken] views [and] thinking scattered, thus connect [to a] Manifestation Body’s Buddha and many [in his] noble assembly, [who] appear before [them. With their] minds not again giving rise [to the] Three Existences’ inversions within [the] Sahā World, [they will be] reborn in the] Together Dwelling [Land, and the] Expedience [Land, these] two kinds [in the] Land [Of] Ultimate Bliss.

[Note 3:

Three Existences (三有) /
Three Realms (三界):

(1) Desire Realm (欲界)
(2) Form Realm (色界)
(3) Formless Realm (无色界)]

不为二边乱,故感受用身佛及诸圣众现前, 心不复起生死涅槃二见颠倒,往生实报、寂光二种极乐世界。

[Those] not by [the] two [extreme] sides scattered, thus connect [to the] Enjoyment Body’s Buddha and many [in his] noble assembly, [who] appear before [them. With their] minds not again giving rise [to the] two views inverted [on forms of the cycle of] births [and] deaths, [and emptiness of] Nirvāṇa, [they will be] reborn [in the] True Reward [Land, and the] Still Light [Land, these] two kinds [in the] Land [Of] Ultimate Bliss.


[It] should [be] known [that] upholding [the] name, [is] both easy [and] straightforward, yet [able to lead to] utmost sudden [and] utmost complete [awakening].


With thought [to] thought the same as [the] Buddha thus, not exhausting [with] visualisation, not needing contemplative investigation, at once completely understanding, without remainder [and] without lack.


[Those] highest [of] high [spiritual] roots [are] not able [to] exceed its threshold, [and those] lowest [of] low [spiritual] roots [are] likewise able [to] reach its land[s].


[As] their that connected Buddha, [and] that born land, [are] often [with] Superior Entry, [they are] also not all [the same].

[Note 4: This refers to those with Superior Entry Received (胜进接), who are the opposite of those According (To) Position (Received) (按位接).]      


[This] can [be] said [to be] horizontally complete [with the] Eight Teachings, [and to] vertically pervade [the] Five Periods.

[Note 5:

Five Periods (五时):

(1) Flower Adornment (Avataṃsaka) Period (华严时)
(2) Āgama Period (阿含时)
(3) Vaipulya (Right [And] Equal) Period (方等时)
(4) Prajñā Period (般若时)
(5) Dharma Flower [And] Nirvāṇa Period (法华涅槃时)

Eight Teachings (八教):

Transformative Methods’ Four Teachings (化仪四教):

(1) Sudden Teaching (顿教)
(2) Gradual Teaching (渐教)
(3) Secret Teaching (秘密教)
(4) Indefinite Teaching (不定教)

Transformative Dharma’s Four Teachings (化法四教):
Tripiṭaka Teaching (藏教)
(6) CommonTeaching (通教)
(7) Separate Teaching (别教)
(8) Complete Teaching (圆教)]  


Therefore with [the] complete heart [of] compassion, without [being] asked self spoken, further profoundly exclaiming it [to be] difficult [to have] Faith [in].

– 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’

以上讲解: 《佛说阿弥陀经要解讲记》第 310-335 页

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