How Are Pure Land’s Birds Special? 净土之鸟如何奇特?


I2: Proof [And] Explanation [With] Summary [Of] Manifestation

【经】: 舍利弗,汝勿谓此鸟实是罪报所生。所以者何?彼佛国土无三恶道。舍利弗,其佛国土尚无恶道之名,何况有实?是诸众鸟,皆是阿弥陀佛欲令法音宣流,变化所作。

[Sūtra]: Śāriputra, you [should] not say [these] birds really are that [from] transgressive retribution born. Why [is] that so? That Buddha Land [is] without [the] three evil paths. Śāriputra, that Buddha Land [is] even without [the] names [of the] evil paths, much less with [their] reality. [Of] all these many birds, all are Amitā[bha] Buddha, [who] desires [to] enable [the] Dharma’s sounds [to be] propagated, [with] manifestations [of] them made.

【解】: 征释可知。

[Explanation]: [The] proof [and] explanation can [be] known [here].


Question: [Are] ‘white cranes’ [and the] other [birds] not evil paths’ names?


Answer: Since not [from] transgressions’ retribution, thus [do] each [and every] one [of their] names, all expound [the] Thus Come [One’s] ultimate meritorious virtues.


[As these] so-called ultimate ‘white cranes’ [and] others, [are] nothing but [Buddha-]Nature’s virtues’ beautiful appellations, how [can they be] evil names?


Question: [The] manifesting [to] be many birds [has] what meaning?


Answer: [They] are [with these] Four Siddhāntas [i.e. teaching methods] [as] causes [and] conditions.


[1] [As] ordinary [beings] emotionally like all these birds, according [to their] emotions then transforming, [to] enable rejoice thus.

[Note 1: This is the Worldly Siddhānta (世界悉檀).]


[2] [With the] birds even speaking [the] Dharma, [to] enable listening, [to] grow good [roots] thus.

[Note 2: This is the Individual Siddhānta (为人悉檀).]


[3] Not of [these] birds giving rise [to] thoughts [of them being] inferior, [to] cure [the] mind [of] differentiation thus.

[Note 3: This is the Curative Siddhānta (对治悉檀).]


[4] [The] birds are the same as Āmítuófó, [to] enable awakening [to the] Dharma Body equally, without [that] not [already] possessed, without [that] not [already] created thus.  

[Note 4: This is the First Principle Siddhānta (第一义悉檀).]


These within, [of] manifested gentle breezes, trees, nets [and] other sounds, and all Circumstantial [and] Direct [Rewards] provisional [and] true, [are] at once all the same as Āmítuófó’s Three Bodies [and] Four Virtues, not [in the] least different.

– 净土宗九祖藕益大师

– 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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