Translations

[1] The Essential Explanation’s Preface’s Opening Text《要解》开序文

前言

Foreword

一、两种题目

One: Two Kinds [Of] Titles

分二:初、经题,二、疏题。

Divided [In] Two [Parts]: First, Sūtra’s Title, Second, Commentary’s Title.

甲初、经题

A1: Sūtra’s Title

佛说阿弥陀经

Sūtra [In Which The] Buddha Speaks [Of] Amitā[bha Buddha]

甲二、疏题

A2: Commentary’s Title

要解

Essential Explanation

二、译经法师

Two: Dharma Master [Who] Translated Sūtra

姚秦三藏法师鸠摩罗什译

[By] Yáo Qín [Dynasty’s] Tripiṭaka Dharma Master Kumārajīva translated

三、解经大师

Three: Great Master [Who] Explained Sūtra

清西有沙门蕅益智旭解

[By] Qīng [Dynasty’s] West Is Śramaṇa Ǒuyì Zhìxù explained

[Note 1: West Is‘ (西有) is the Master’s self-given name, that reminds us of the ‘two “is“‘ (二) in the opening of the sūtra’s Preface Section (序分) – ‘From here, [in the] western direction, passing ten [of] ten thousand [of] koṭis [of] Buddha Lands, is [a] world named “Ultimate Bliss”. [In] that land, is [a] Buddha named “Amitā[bha]”, now speaking [the] Dharma.’「从是西方,过十万亿佛土,世界名曰极乐。其土佛,号阿弥陀,今现在说法。」]

四、著解序文

Four: Written Explanation’s Preface Text

文分二:初、序法门,二、序注疏。

Text Divided [In] Two [Parts]: First, Preface [On] Dharma Door, Second, Preface [On] Commentaries [And] Sub-commentaries.

甲初、序法门

A1: Preface [On] Dharma Door

【解】: 原夫诸佛悯念群迷,随机施化,虽归元无二,而方便多门。

[Explanation]:  Originally, they, all Buddhas, [being] sympathetically mindful [of the] multitudes [of the] confused, according [to their] capacities gave [teachings to teach and] transform [them]. Although return [to the] original [is] without two, yet expedient [means have] many doors.

然于一切方便之中,求其至直捷、 至圆顿者,则莫若念佛求生净土。

However, of all expedient [means] within, seeking that utmost straightforward, utmost complete [and] sudden, thus [is] nothing better than [to be] mindful [of] Buddha [to] seek birth [in his] Pure Land.

又于一切念佛法门之中,求其至简易、至稳当者,则莫若信愿专持名号。

Also, of all mindfulness [of] Buddha’s Dharma Doors within, seeking that utmost easy, [and] utmost reliable, thus [is] nothing better than [to be with] Faith [and] Aspiration focused [on] upholding [the] name [of the Buddha].

是故净土三经并行于世,而古人独以《阿弥陀经》列为日课,

Therefore, [with the] Pure Land [tradition’s] Three Sūtras together practised in [this] world, yet ancient [ones] only with [the] Amitā[bha] Sūtra, classified [it] as [part of] daily [chanting] practice.

[Note 2: Together with the ‘Immeasurable Life Sūtra’《无量寿经》and the ‘Contemplation Sūtra’《观经》  , these are the Three Sūtras (三经).]

岂非有见于持名一法,普被三根,摄事理以无遗,统宗教而无外,尤为不可思议也哉!

How can it be that [this is] not [due to] seeing of upholding [the] name, [as the] one Dharma, [that] universally covers [the] Three Roots? Gathering Practices [and] Principles without [anything] omitted, unifying [the] Chán [door and sūtras’] teachings, yet without [that] excluded, [it is] especially inconceivable!  

[Note 3:

Three Roots (三根):

(1) Higher Roots (上根)
(2) Average Roots (中根)
(3) Lower Roots (下根)

‘宗教’ means ‘Principal [And] Teachings’, with ‘宗’ (Principal) short for ‘宗门’ Principal Door), and ‘教’ (Teachings) short for ‘教下’ (Teachings Below). ‘宗门’ is ‘禅宗’, the ‘Chán Tradition’. ‘教下’ is all other scripturally based traditions, such as the Tiāntái Tradition (天台宗), Consciousness-Only Tradition (唯识宗), Flower Adornment Tradition (华严宗) and others.]

甲二、序注疏

A2: Preface [On] Commentaries [And] Sub-commentaries

古来注疏,代不乏人,世远就湮,所存无几。

Since ancient times, [of] people [who wrote] commentaries [and] sub-commentaries, [over the] ages, [there is] no lack [of them, but with] generations distant then obscured, [those] that remain [are] very few.

云栖和尚著为《疏钞》,广大精微。

[By the] Most Venerable Yúnqī written as [the] ‘Sub-Commentary’, [it is] vast [and] subtle.

幽溪师伯述 《圆中钞》,高深洪博。

[By my] Father’s Elder Brother Master Yōuxī elaborated, [the] ‘Complete Middle Transcript’, [it is] profound [and] extensive.

盖如日月中天,有目皆睹。

Covering [all with light] like [the] sun [and the] moon [in the] middle [of the] sky, [those who] have eyes all [can] see [them].

特以文富义繁,边涯莫测,或致初机浅识,信愿难阶。

Especially with text rich [and] meanings complex, [with] boundaries [that] cannot [be] measured, perhaps [for] delivering beginners [with] shallow knowledge, [they are with] Faith [and] Aspiration difficult [to] arise.

故复弗揣庸愚,再述《要解》。

Thus again, not considering [my] mediocrity [and] ignorance, [am] again elaborating [with this] ‘Essential Explanation’.

不敢与二翁竞异,亦不必与二翁强同。

Not daring [to be] with [these] two elders contending [to have] different [explanations], also not needing [to be] with [these] two elders forcibly [having the] same.

譬如侧看成峰,横看成岭,纵皆不尽庐山真境,要不失为各各亲见庐山而已。

For example, [with] sideway seeing as peaks, [and] horizontally seeing as ridges, even if [with] all [seen] not exhausting Mount Lú’s true realm, [this] ‘Essential [Explanation]’ can still be considered to be [with how] each [and] every [one might] personally see Mount Lú only.      

[Note 4: This analogy is derived from the poem titled ‘Inscription (On) Xīlín (Monastery’s) (西林寺) Wall’《题西林壁》by Sūshì (苏轼):

横看成岭侧成峰,
远近高低各不同。
不识庐山真面目,
只缘身在此山中。

Horizontally seeing as ridges, sideway as peaks,
[from] far [and] near, high [and] low [seen], each [is] not [the] same.
Not recognising Mount Lú’s true face,
[is] only conditioned [by one’s] body in this mountain within.]

– 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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下文: 释《阿弥陀经》名
Next Section: Explanation Of Amitābha Sūtra’s Name
第一重玄义
The First Layer Of Profound Meaning
https://purelanders.com/2019/10/11/explanation-of-amitabha-sutras-name-the-first-layer-of-profound-meaning

《佛说阿弥陀经要解》全英译
Complete English Translation Of ‘The Essential Explanation On The Amitābha Sūtra As Spoken By The Buddha’
https://purelanders.com/yaojie

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