[Of] people [who in] normal times have true Faith [and] sincere Aspiration, they [are] without one [who do] not attain rebirth [in Pure Land]. Moreover, [as] Fújùn, [when] approaching [life’s] end, [was with] right mindfulness manifested, [with] making [of a] half-bow, prostrating [and] other signs, and after death, [with] body gentle [and] supple, clean [and] pure, [with] countenance as if alive, again, why [is there] need [to], with his skills [possibly being] shallow, as doubt [of him having reached Pure Land]?
[Note 1: This is not to say that those who assume and/or claim they already have Faith and Aspiration do not need to practise mindfulness of Buddha in everyday life. In fact, the Great Master also taught that those who have Faith and Aspiration WILL practise mindfulness of Buddha in everyday life. (See https://purelanders.com/2019/08/01/is-your-faith-and-aspiration-resolute-enough for details.) Thus with all Three Provisions (三资粮) of Faith, Aspiration and Practice (信愿行) complete, birth in Pure Land is definite.]
[Note 2: The Three Provisions were expressed directly by Fújùn with ‘right mindfulness’ (正念) as a Pure Land practitioner, which is to be with the Practice of mindfulness of Buddha (念佛), and indirectly when he practised the above other practices too, of expressing reverence, probably before practising mindfulness of Buddha one last time to reach Pure Land, with proof of reaching it via the auspicious signs listed.]
[As] that Āmítuófó’s king [of] vows [i.e. his 18th great vow], [states that those with] ten thoughts [of his name will] still [be] delivered, moreover, [as] he [had] diligently cultivated upholding [of his name], already [for] two [to] three years, again, what doubt [is] there?
[Note 3: Note 1 does NOT mean that those who practise mindfulness of Buddha in time just before departure from this life (instead of in everyday life) will not reach Pure Land. As Āmítuófó’s 18th vow states, even ‘ten thoughts’ in time (before or after death, but before rebirth) will do. However, it is with more Practice in everyday life, that makes it more easy to swiftly connect to him with ten thoughts (or even less). As in Fújùn’s case, with learning about Pure Land Practice, he had since practised for two to three years, before departure. He is an example of those the Great Master mentioned in the beginning — ‘[Of] people [who in] normal times have true Faith [and] sincere Aspiration, they [are] without one [who do] not attain rebirth [in Pure Land].’ (念佛人平时有真信切愿，无一不得往生者)]
[This] world has [a] kind [of] persons, [who have] aspiration [that is] inferior, although often mindful [of the] Buddha, [yet] not seeking rebirth [in his Pure Land], only desiring [to] seek human [or] heavenly blessings’ rewards. [If] this kind [of] persons, even [to the] end [of their] lives cultivate practice, [they] attain ignorant blessings of future lives only.
[Note 4: Those who did not learn about the ultimate purpose of mindfulness of Buddha might not know the superior (or rather supreme) Aspiration to have — to be reborn in Pure Land, for perfecting learning and practice, to guide one and all to Buddhahood. Thus do they end up practising merely for general or specific blessings in this and the future life, still in terms of rebirth; not in terms of Pure Land, for self-liberation or Buddhahood. The blessings they accumulate are thus ignorant because of their short-sighted and short-lived nature.]
[Of] those [who] have right Faith, personally with Faith [and] Aspiration connecting [to the] Buddha, [the] Buddha with loving-kindness [and] compassion [will] gather [and] receive [them, to have] connection [and] response [with] mutual interaction. [They are] definitely able [to] rely [upon the] Buddha’s power [of] loving-kindness, [to] bring [their negative] karma [to be] reborn [in his Pure Land]. Again, why [is there] need [to] ask [if] he saw [the] Buddha or not, [to] then absolutely judge [if he had reached Pure Land]?
[Note 5: With ‘Faith (and) Aspiration connecting (to the) Buddha’ (信愿感佛) is to with ‘true Faith (and) sincere Aspiration’ (真信切愿) be mindful of the Buddha’s name (念佛). Again, these are the Three Provisions, being expressed together.]
Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
(Reply Letter [To] Layperson Yù Zhìlǎng)
Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an