[6] How To Understand Heavier Karma Leading First? 如何了解重业先牵?

Below is the sixth of the last seven questions and answers in the Rebirth Treatise’s Commentary’s Lower Scroll, as titled for easier reference.]

[6] 如何了解重业先牵?
How To Understand Heavier Karma Leading First? 


Question: [The Ten Good] Paths’ Karmas Sūtra [i.e.《十善道业经》] says, ‘Karma’s path [is] like [a] balance, [with] that heavier first leading.’

如《观无量寿经》言:「有人造五逆十恶,具诸不善,应堕恶道,经历多劫,受无量苦,临命终时,遇善知识,教称南无无量寿佛,如是至心,令声不绝,具足十念」 ,便得往生安乐净土,即入大乘正定之聚,毕竟不退,与三途诸苦永隔。

Like [the] Sūtra [On] Contemplation [Of] Immeasurable Life [Buddha] says, ‘[If there] are persons [who] have created [the] Five Heinous [Transgressions and the] Ten Evil [Karmas], complete [with] all [that is] not good, [who] should fall [into the] evil paths, passing through many kalpas, receiving immeasurable suffering, when approaching life’s end, [if] meeting good-knowing friends, [who] teach reciting [of] “Námó [i.e. Homage to and refuge for life in] Immeasurable Life Buddha” [i.e. Āmítuófó], thus [with a] sincere mind, enabling [its] sound [to] not [be] interrupted, completing ten thoughts’, [they will] easily attain rebirth [in the] Pure Land [Of] Peace [And] Bliss, immediately enter [the] Great Vehicle’s Right Definite Assembly, [with] Ultimate Non-retrogression, with [the] three paths’ all suffering forever separated.


[Of the] meaning of first leading, [of this], how [is this] of reason? Also, since past kalpas, [with] many readily created practices [of the] Dharma having outflows, fastened [to] belong [to the] three realms [of desire, form and formlessness], however with ten thoughts mindful [of] Āmítuófó, easily exiting [the] three realms, [with the] meaning of fastened karma, how [can there], again, [be] desire [to do so]?  


Answer: You say [that those with the] Five Heinous [Transgressions and] Ten Evil [Karmas’] fastened karma [and] others as heavy, with lower low grade’s persons’ ten thoughts as light, [who] should by transgressions that lead, first fall [into] hell, [as] those fastened in [the] three realms. Now, [you] should with [this] meaning consider.


[The] meaning of light [and] heavy, [is determined by that] ‘at mind’, ‘at condition’ [and] ‘at certainty’, not ‘at duration’ [being] long [or] short, much [or] little.


What [is] that called ‘at mind’? Those persons [who] created transgressions self-relied [upon] false [and] inverted views rising, [while] those [with the] ten thoughts rely [upon] good-knowing friends’ skilful comforting, [with] hearing [of] true nature’s Dharma arising. [With] one true [and] one false, how can [they] be compared?


For example, [a] thousand year [old] dark room, if [with] light briefly reaching, immediately [and] easily [becomes] bright [and] clear. How can darkness say [that as it was] in [the] room [for a] thousand years, then not depart? [This] is named ‘at mind’.


What [is] called ‘at condition’? That person [who] created transgressions self-relied [upon] false thoughts’ mind, [and] relied [upon] afflictions [and] many false karmic results born arising, [while] those [with the] ten thoughts rely [upon the] unsurpassable faithful mind, [and] rely [upon] Amitā Thus Come [One’s] skilful, true, pure, immeasurably meritorious [and] virtuous name arising.


For example, [there] is [a] person by [a] poisonous arrow that [was] shot, [that] cut off tendons [and] broke bones. Hearing [the] poison-eradicating medicinal drum, immediately [is the] arrow extracted [and the] poison eradicated.

(《首楞严经》言:譬如有药,名曰灭除。若斗战时,用以涂鼓,闻鼓声者,箭出毒除。菩萨摩诃萨亦复如是,住首楞严三昧, 闻其名者,三毒之箭自然拔出。) 

([The] Śūraṅgama Sūtra says, ‘For example, [there] is medicine, named [as able to] eradicate [poison]. If when battling, with [it] used for smearing [on a medicinal] drum, those hearing [the] drum’s sound, [will have] arrows extracted [and] poisons eradicated. Bodhisattva-Mahāsattvas [are] likewise thus, abiding [in] Śūraṅgama Samādhi, [with] those hearing that name, [having] arrow of three poisons naturally pulled out.’) 


How can [it be] suitable [to] say that [as the] arrow [is] deep [and the] poison [is] severe, [with] hearing [of the] drum’s sound, [it is] not [be] able [to] pull [out the] arrow [and] eradicate [the] poison? [This] is named ‘at condition’.


What [is] called ‘at certainty’? That person [who] created transgressions, relied [upon] having after-thoughts’, [and] having interrupted thoughts’ mind arising, [while] those [with] these ten thoughts rely [upon being] without after-thoughts, [and] without interrupted thoughts arising, [which] is named [as ‘at] certainty’.


Considering [these] three meanings, those [with the] ten thoughts heavier, [have] that heavier first leading, [thus] able [to] exit [the] Three Existences [of desire, form and formlessness, which is the] two sūtras’ one meaning.

《无量寿经优婆提舍愿生偈注 卷上》
(Immeasurable Life Sūtra’s Upadeśa’s Verses [On] Aspiration [For] Birth: Upper Scroll)

婆薮槃头菩萨 造
Written [by] Vasubandhu Bodhisattva
菩提流支 译
Translation [by] Bodhiruci
昙鸾大师 注
Commentary [by] Great Master Tánluán

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

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Previous Question: Why Is Slander Of The Dharma A Heavy Transgression?

Next Question: How Long Is One To Ten Thoughts With Mindfulness Of Buddha?

Rebirth Treatise
Immeasurable Life Sūtra’s Upadeśa

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