Translations

The Four Mindfulness Foundations, Four Right Efforts & Four As Wished Bases Of Power In Pure Land 净土之四念处、四正勤与四如意足

「五根等」者,三十七道品也。

Those ‘Five Roots [and] others’, [are the] Thirty-Seven Path Grades.

所谓四念处:

[The] so-called Four Mindfulness Foundations [are]:

一、身念处,

[1] first, Body’s Mindfulness Foundation,

二、受念处,

[2] second, Feelings’ Mindfulness Foundation,

三、心念处,

[3] third, Mind’s Mindfulness Foundation,

四、法念处。

[4] [and] fourth, Dharmas’ Mindfulness Foundation.

[Note 1:

Four Mindfulness Foundations (四念处):

(1)
Contemplation [Of] Body [As] Impure (观身不净)
(2) Contemplation [Of] Feelings [To] Be Suffering (观受是苦)
(3) Contemplation [Of] Mind [To Be] Impermanent (观心无常)
(4) Contemplation [Of] Dharmas [To Be] Non-Self (观法无我)

Due to contemplations of these dissatisfactory states here, there should be wholehearted mindfulness of Buddha (一心念佛) to reach Pure Land, where their opposites, as the Four Virtues (四德) of Buddhahood will be realised as (1) Purity (净), (2) Bliss (乐), (3) Permanence (长) and (4) (true) Self (我).]  

四正勤:

[The] Four Right Efforts [are]:

一、已生恶法令断,

[1] first, [of] already arisen Evil Dharmas, enable [them to be] severed,

二、未生恶法不令生,

[2] second, [of] yet arisen Evil Dharmas, [do] not enable [them to] arise,

三、未生善法令生,

[3] third, [of] yet arisen Good Dharmas, enable [them to to] arise,

四、已生善法令增长。

[4] [and] fourth, [of] already arisen Good Dharmas, enable [them to] increase [and] grow.

[Note 2:

Four Right Efforts (四正勤):

With only wholehearted mindfulness of Buddha (一心念佛) in the moment here and now (当下), as there can only be one thought in each thought moment,

(1)
all already arisen Evil Dharmas will be severed,
(2) all yet arisen Evil Dharmas will not arise,
(3) all yet arisen Good Dharmas will arise, and
(4) all already arisen Good Dharmas will increase and grow.

These Four Right Efforts when departing from life will naturally lead to Pure Land, where they will naturally continue without interruption, as motivated by its constant and pure Circumstantial Rewards (依报) and Direct Rewards (正报).]

四如意足:

[The] Four As Wished Bases [Of Power are]:

一、欲如意足,

[1] first, Desire As Wished Base,

二、精进如意足,

[2] second, Diligence As Wished Base,

三、心如意足,

[3] third, Mind As Wished Base,

四、思惟如意足。

[4] [and] fourth, Reflection As Wished Base.

[Note 3:

Four As Wished Bases (四如意足):

(1)
With thought to thought joyfully seeking the Land Of Ultimate Bliss (念念欣求极乐), where all pure desires can be fulfilled, is Desire As Wished Base (欲如意足).

(2) With diligence directly seeking Pure Land without retrogression (直往而不退转), where there will be non-retrogression of diligence, is Diligence As Wished Base (精进如意足).

(3) With firm (and faithful) upholding of the name of Buddha (执持名号) without mixed (夹杂), scattered and confused (散乱) thoughts to reach Pure Land, where the mind can be directed fully, is Mind As Wished Base (心如意足).

(4) With mindfulness of Buddha’s name line by line, distinctly and clearly reciting and hearing it (佛号句句念得分明), to reach Pure Land, where all Dharma teachings can be reflected fully, is Reflection As Wished Base (思惟如意足).

The essential quality (本质) of these Four As Wished Bases is concentration’s power (定力), which enables that wished to be fulfilled, with the ability to manifest supernormal powers (神通力). This is most easily fully accomplished by reaching Pure Land, where Āmítuófó directly empowers all to have powers similar to his.]

– 净土宗九祖藕益大师
《佛说阿弥陀经要解》

– 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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