Great Master Ǒuyì’s Afterword
[The Great Assembly (Mahāsaṃnipāta)] Sūtra《大集经》says, ‘[In the Period Of] Ending [Of The] Dharma, [when a] koṭi [of a] koṭi [of] people cultivate practices, rarely [will] one attain [the] path; only relying [upon] mindfulness [of] Buddha attains deliverance.’
1 koṭi = 10 million
1 koṭi of 1 koṭi = 10 million × 10 million = 100 million
Probability of 1 out of 100 million = 1 ÷ 100 million × 100% = 0.000001%]
Alas! Right now is that period!
[If] renouncing this inconceivable [Pure Land] Dharma Door, how [will there be] those able [to become] pure?
When [Zhì]xù left [the] household [life, with the] principal [i.e. Chán] vehicle, [being] conceited, [I] looked down [upon] teachings [in the] sūtras, [and] falsely spoke [on] upholding [the] name [of Āmítuófó], wrongly [assuming it as] for [those of] medium [and] low [roots only].
[Note 2: The Pure Land Dharma Door (净土法门) is for beings of all roots, including those of high roots (上根), such as the many great Bodhisattvas present in this sūtra’s assembly.]
Later, due [to] great sickness [at the age of 28, I] gave rose [to the] intention [to] return [to the] West[ern Pure Land].
[Note 3: This was when he realised that his Self-powered (自力) meditation skills were inadequate in the face of great pain and suffering, what more potentially so when dying later, if without Pure Land practice.
Even those not from Pure Land can speak of return to it, as to seek rebirth there represents the Aspiration, to return to the purity of their Buddha-nature.]
Repeatedly studying [the] ‘Wonderful Principal’, [the] ‘Complete Middle’, [these] two transcripts, and [Most Venerable] Yúnqī’s [i.e. 云栖和尚] ‘Sub-Commentary’ [and] other books, only then knowing [that the] Samādhi [From] Mindfulness [Of] Buddha, truly [is the] unsurpassable Treasure King [Samādhi] [i.e. 宝王三昧], then [was I] willing [to] wholeheartedly, firmly [and faithfully] uphold [the] name, [with] ten thousand bulls not [able to] pull [me] back.
[Note 4: ‘Wonderful Principal’《妙宗》is short for the ‘Contemplation Sūtra’s Commentary’s Wonderful Principal Transcript’《观经疏妙宗钞》by Sòng Dynasty’s (宋代) Tiāntái Tradition’s (天台宗) Great Master Fǎzhì (法智大师).
‘Complete Middle’《圆中》is short for the ‘Amitābha Sūtra’s Brief Explanation [On The] Perfect Middle [Path’s] Transcript’《阿弥陀经略解圆中钞》by Míng Dynasty’s (明代) Tiāntái Tradition’s Great Master Chuándēng (传灯大师).
‘Sub-Commentary’《疏钞》is short for the ‘Amitābha Sūtra’s Sub-Commentary’《阿弥陀经疏钞》by Míng Dynasty’s Pure Land Tradition’s 8th Patriarch (净土宗八祖) Great Master Liánchí (莲池大师).]
My friend, [named] ‘Eliminating Sickness’ [i.e. 去病; 韩朝集居士: Layperson Hán Cháojí], [who had for a] long [time] practised pure karma, desired [to] enable this sūtra’s main points, [to be with] words not complex, yet clearly manifested. [He] invited [me, on the behalf of] others, for elaborating [with its] essential explanation.
Additionally, [as I] desire [to] universally, with [the] Dharma Realm’s sentient beings, [be] together born [in the Land Of] Ultimate Bliss, [this in] principle could not [be] declined.
Raising [the] brush on Dīnghài’s [i.e. 1647 C.E.] ninth month’s [day] twenty with seven, completing [this] manuscript on [the] tenth [lunar] month’s fifth [day], altogether [in] nine days [was this] accomplished.
That wish [for, is that] each line [and] each word, all become provisions [for reaching Pure Land];
[with all] once seeing [and] once hearing [this], together [attaining the] position [of] non-retrogression.
[May those who have] Faith [and] doubt all plant [the] path’s seed, [those who] praise [and] slander equally return [to the path for] liberation.
Only looking up to all Buddhas’ [and] Bodhisattvas’ gathering [and] receiving, [to] confirm the truth [of this written, may] fellow students [and spiritual] friends rejoice, bless [and] protect [this].
‘West Is’ practitioner Ǒuyì Zhìxù, putting down [the] brush thus [with this] Afterword, when aged forty with nine.
[Note 5: ‘West Is‘ (西有) is the Master’s self-given name, that reminds us of the ‘two “is“‘ (二有) 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，有世界名曰极乐。其土有佛，号阿弥陀，今现在说法。」]
– 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’