A2: Distinguishment [Of] Essence
Second, [is] distinguishment [of] essence.
[The] Great Vehicle’s sūtras [are] all with True Form as [their] Main Essence.
Our presently manifested One Thought’s Mind-Nature, [is] not in [the] internal, not in [the] external, not in [the] in-between, not [in the] past, not [in the] present, not [in the] future, not blue [or green], yellow, red, white, long, short, square, round, not [with] smell, not [with] taste, not [with] touch [and] not [with] thought.
[With] seeking of [it] not attainable, yet [it] cannot [be] said [as] that not [there].
[With Principles] complete [i.e. 理具] [practically] creating [i.e. 事造] [the] Hundred Realms [And] Thousand Suchnesses, yet [they] cannot [be] said [as] that there.
Ten Dharma Realms (十法界):
Four Enlightened Realms (四圣):
(With the greater above, in descending order of spiritual greatness)
(10) Buddhas (佛陀)
(9) Bodhisattvas (菩提萨埵 / 菩萨)
(8) Pratyekabuddhas / Conditioned Awakeners / Lone Awakeners (辟支佛 / 缘觉 / 独觉)
(7) Voice-Hearers (Śrāvakas) / Arhats (声闻 / 阿罗汉 / 罗汉)
Six Ordinary Realms (六凡):
(6) Heavenly Beings (天人)
(5) Asuras (阿修罗)
(4) Human Beings (人)
(3) Animals (畜生)
(2) Hungry Ghosts (饿鬼)
(1) Hell Beings (地狱众生)
Hundred Realms (百界):
According to the Tiāntái Tradition (天台宗), with our presently manifested One Thought’s Mind-Nature (一念心性), it inevitably falls into one of the Ten Dharma Realms (十法界). Each realm also contains all the other nine realms in interconnected but concealed ways. Thus, with ten kinds of the Ten Dharma Realms, there are a Hundred Realms (百界) together.
Ten Suchnesses (十如是):
According to the ‘Dharma [Lotus] Flower Sūtra’《法华经》， these are ten qualities of the Ten Dharma Realms (十法界).
(1) Suchness (Of) Form (如是相)
(2) Suchness (Of) Nature (如是性)
(3) Suchness (Of) Essence (如是体)
(4) Suchness (Of) Power (如是力)
(5) Suchness (Of) Function (如是作)
(6) Suchness (Of) Cause (如是因)
(7) Suchness (Of) Condition (如是缘)
(8) Suchness (Of Direct) Effect (如是果)
(9) Suchness (Of Indirect) Effect (如是报)
(10) Suchness (From) Beginning (To) End Completely (如是本末究竟)
Thousand Suchnesses (千如是):
With the Hundred Realms (百界) each with Ten Suchnesses (十如是), there are a Thousand Suchnesses (千如是) together.]
Departed [from] all conditioned thoughts [with] discrimination, language [and] words’ forms, yet, conditioned thoughts [with] discrimination, language [and] words, [are] not departed [from] this with other Self-Nature.
In essence, departed [from] all forms, [it] is the same as all phenomena.
Departed thus without forms, [it] is the same thus, as [that] without non-forms. With no choice, [it is] with reservations named [as] ‘True Form’.
[The] essence of True Form, [is] not Stillness [and] not Illumination, yet again Still, yet eternally illuminating, illuminating yet eternally still.
Illuminating yet still, [it is] with reservations named [the] ‘Eternally Still Light Land’.
Still yet illuminating, [it is] with reservations named [the] ‘Pure Dharma Body’.
Also, illuminating stillness [is] with reservations named [the] ‘Dharma Body’, [and] still illumination [is] with reservations named [the] ‘Reward Body’.
Also, Nature’s Virtues’ still illumination [is] named [the] ‘Dharma Body’, [and] Cultivated Virtues’ still illumination [is] named [the] ‘Reward Body’.
Also, Cultivated Virtues’ illuminating stillness [is] named [the] ‘Enjoyment Body’, [and] Cultivated Virtues’ still illumination [is] named [the] ‘Manifestation Body’.
[With] Stillness [and] Illumination not two, [the] body [and] land not two, nature [and] cultivation not two, [the] True [Body and] Manifested [Body] not two, without [that] not [of] True Form.
[With] True Form without two, also without [that] not two.
Therefore, [with the] entire essence as Circumstantial [Rewards and] as Direct [Rewards], as [the] Dharma [Body and] as [the] Reward [Body], as Self [and] as Other.
And even [the one] [i.e. Śākyamuni Buddha] able [to] speak [and the one] [i.e. Amitābha Buddha] spoken [of, who is] able [to] deliver [sentient beings and] those delivered, [who are] able [to have] Faith [and the] one [with] Faith [in], able [to have] Aspiration [and] that aspired [for], able [to] uphold [the Buddha’s name and] that upheld, able [to be] born [in his Pure Land and] that born [in, those] [i.e. Śākyamuni and all other Buddhas] able [to] praise [and] that praised [i.e. Pure Land’s Circumstantial and Direct Rewards], [are] without [that] not [with] True Form’s Right Seal, [by] it that [is] sealed [i.e. confirmed].
– 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: Amitābha Sūtra’s Principles
The Third Layer Of Profound Meaning
Complete English Translation Of ‘The Essential Explanation On The Amitābha Sūtra As Spoken By The Buddha’