Five: Explanation [Of] Sūtra’s Profound Meanings
Text Divided [In] Five [Parts]: First, Explanation [Of] Name, Second, Distinguishment [Of] Essence, Third, Explanation [Of] Principles, Fourth, Explanation [Of] Function [And] Use, Fifth, Explanation [Of] Teaching’s Forms.
[Explanation]: About [to be] explained [is the] sūtra’s text, [with] five layers [of] profound meanings.
A1: Explanation [Of] Name
First, [is] explanation [of] name.
This sūtra [is] with [the one] able [to] speak [and the] spoken persons as [its] name.
That ‘Buddha’, this land’s master teacher, [is] then Śākyamuni [Buddha, who] rode [upon his] great compassionate vows’ power, [to be] born [in this] Five Defilements’ Evil Period, with [him] first awakening, after awakening, awakening [others, with] no Dharma that [is] not known, [and] no Dharma not seen.
[The] one [who] ‘speaks’, [is with] ‘joy’ as [his] embrace.
[As the] Buddha, with delivering [of] sentient beings as [his] embrace, [was with] sentient beings’ capacity [for] accomplishing Buddhahood maturing [then], for [them] speaking [this] difficult [to] believe Dharma, [to] enable [their] ultimate liberation, thus [was he with] ‘joy’.
‘Amitā’, [is the one] spoken, that land’s guiding teacher, [whom] with forty-eight vows, receive those sentient beings [with] Faith [and] Aspiration mindful [of] Buddha, [to be] born [in his] Land [Of] Ultimate Bliss, [to] forever ascend [to] non-retrogression.
[In] Sanskrit, [on] ‘Amitā’, he [is] called ‘Immeasurable Life’ [i.e. Amitāyus], also called ‘Immeasurable Light’ [i.e. Amitābha].
In essence, [of his] meritorious virtues, wisdom, supernormal [powers], path’s [spiritual] strength, Circumstantial [and] Direct [Rewards’] adornments, speaking [of the] Dharma [to] transform [and] deliver, each [and] every one [is] immeasurable.
All [from the] Buddha’s golden mouth, [are] commonly named as ‘sūtras’.
Matching [the] above five words, are [with] Common [and] Separate [Teachings] combined as [the] title.
Teachings, Practice [and] Principles [as] three, [can] each [be] discussed [as] Common [and] Separate [Teachings], extensively like [in the Tiān]tái Tripiṭaka [teachings] as explained.
[Note: In the title of the sūtra are the three above. ‘(The) Buddha Speaks’「佛说」and ‘Sūtra’「经」express the teachings (教). ‘Amitā’「阿弥陀」expresses both Principles (理) and Practice (行), as upholding the name (持名) is the Main Practice (正行), with the name itself containing the Principles.]
– 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
Next Section: Distinguishment Of Amitābha Sūtra’s Essence
The Second Layer Of Profound Meaning
Complete English Translation Of ‘The Essential Explanation On The Amitābha Sūtra As Spoken By The Buddha’