[00] Preface Section (Of Contemplation Sūtra)《观经》序分

Contemplation Sūtra

[The] Sūtra [In Which The] Buddha Speaks [Of] Contemplation [On] Immeasurable Life Buddha

[The] Sūtra [Of] Contemplation [On The] Land [Of] Ultimate Bliss, Immeasurable Life Buddha, Contemplator [Of The] World’s Sounds Bodhisattva [And] Great Power Arrived Bodhisattva

[The] Sūtra [On] Pure Eradication [Of] Karmic Obstacles, [For] Birth Before All Buddhas

[公元 424 年] 刘宋西域三藏法师畺良耶舍译
[In 424 C.E. By] Liú Sòng [Dynasty’s] Western Regions’ Tripiṭaka Dharma Master Kālayaśas Translated [To Chinese]

公元 2020 年优婆塞沈时安译
[In] 2020 C.E. By] Upāsakā Shěn Shí’ān Translated [To English]

[For ease of detailed studying and editing, square brackets show necessary connective words used in translation, to be removed for final published version later, with addition of glossary and notes. Suggestions are welcome for more precise choice of words. Námó Āmítuófó.]

[00] Preface Section


Thus is [as] I [have] heard. [At] one time, [the] Buddha [was] at Rājagṛha City, within Mount Gṛdhrakūṭa. With [the] Great Bhikṣus’ assembly, [of one] thousand two hundred [and] fifty persons together. [And] Bodhisattvas [of] thirty-two thousand, [with] Mañjuśrī Dharma Prince then as [the] foremost elder.


At that time, Rājagṛha’s great city had a prince named Ajātaśatru. Accordingly complying [with] Devadatta, [the] instruction of [his] evil friend, [he] arrested [his] father King Bimbisāra, imprisoning [and] placing [him] in [a] seven-layered room within, restricting all ministers, [with] no one allowed [to] go [towards him].


[The] Queen [was] named Vaidehī. [With] reverence [for the] Great King, [she] bathed [and] cleansed [herself, and] with ghee [and] honey holding fried flour, used [them for] spreading [on] her body. [With] all necklaces within, filled [with] grape juice, secretly with [these] offered [to the] King.


At that time, [the] Great King ate [the] fried flour, drank [the] juice, [and] requested [for] water [to] rinse [his] mouth. [Having] rinsed [his] mouth completely already, [with] joined palms reverencing, towards Mount Gṛdhrakūṭa, [from] afar prostrated [to the] World-Honoured [One], and made this statement, ‘[The] Great Maudgalyāyana, [who] is my relative [and] friend, may [you] give rise [to] loving-kindness [and] compassion, [to] confer me [with the] Eight Precepts.’


Then, Maudgalyāyana, like [a] hawk [and] falcon flying, swiftly reached [the] King’s place. Day after day thus, conferring [the] King [with the] Eight Precepts. [The] World-Honoured [One] likewise sent Honoured One Pūrṇa, for [the] King, [to] speak [the] Dharma. Thus [with] time, passing three [of] seven days, [with the] King eating fried flour [and] honey, attaining hearing [of the] Dharma thus, [his] countenance [was] harmonious [and] joyful.


Then, Ajātaśatru asked [the] gatekeeper, ‘[Of my] father [the] King now, [does he] still remain alive?’


Then, [the] gatekeeper said, ‘Great King, [the] Queen, [with her] body spread [with] fried flour [and] honey, [and] necklaces filled [with] juice, hold [and] use [them to] offer [the] King. [The] Śramaṇas Maudgalyāyana and Pūrṇa, [who] from [the] sky then come, for [the] King, [to] speak [the] Dharma, cannot [be] prohibited.’


Then, Ajātaśatru, [having] heard these words already, [with] anger [at] his mother said, ‘My mother is [a] traitor, with [a] traitor as companion. [Those] Śramaṇas [are] evil persons, [using] illusions [to] confuse [with] sorcery skills, [to] enable this evil King, [to] not die [for] many days.’ Immediately holding [a] sharp sword, [he] desired [to] harm his mother.


Then, [there] was a minister named Moon Light, [who was] clever [and with] much wisdom, and with Jīvaka, to [the] King paid homage. [He] said, ‘Great King, [we] ministers [have] heard [the] Vedic commentaries [and] scriptures say, [that] since [the] kalpa’s beginning, [there] were many evil Kings, [with] greed [for] kingship’s position thus, killing [and] harming their fathers. [Of] eighteen thousand, never before heard were [those] without [the] path, [who] harmed [their] mothers. [The] King, [if] now doing this matter of killing, against [this], defiling [the] Kṣatriya caste, [we] ministers cannot bear [to] hear [it. As this] is [of] Caṇḍālas, we [and] others [will] not [be] appropriate [to] continue dwelling in here.’ Then, [the] two great ministers, [having] said these words completely, with hands grasping [their] swords, walked backwards and withdrew.


Then, Ajātaśatru, surprised [and] frightened, told Jīvaka, ‘[Will] you not help me?’


Jīvaka said, ‘Great King, [be] cautious [to] not harm [your] mother.’


[The] King, hearing these words, repented [and] requested [his] help. Immediately then giving up [his] sword, [he] stopped [and did] not harm [his] mother. [He] ordered [his] inner officials [to] imprison [and] place [her in an] inner palace, [to] not enable [her to] again exit.


Then, Vaidehī, subject to imprisonment already, [became] worried, wan [and] sallow. [From] afar towards Mount Gṛdhrakūṭa, to [the] Buddha [she] paid homage, and made this statement, ‘[The] Thus Come World-Honoured [One], when in [the] past, often sent Ānanda, [to] come [and] console me. I now [am] worried, [with the] World-Honoured [One’s] majesty, [having] no way [to] attain sight [of it]. May [you] send Maudgalyāyana [and] Honoured One Ānanda for me, [to] meet one another.’ [Having] made this statement already, sorrowfully weeping [and] raining tears, [from] afar towards [the] Buddha [she] prostrated.


Yet [to] raise [her] head, just then, at that time, [the] World-Honoured [One], at Mount Gṛdhrakūṭa, knew that thought of Vaidehī. Immediately, [he] ordered Great Maudgalyāyana, and with Ānanda, [who] from [the] sky then came. [The] Buddha from Mount Gṛdhrakūṭa disappeared, [and] in [the] royal palace appeared.


Then, Vaidehī, [having] prostrated already, [when] raising [her] head, saw [the] World-Honoured Śākyamuni Buddha, [with his] body purple-gold [in] colour, seated [on a] hundred treasures’ lotus flower. [With] Maudgalyāyana attending [on his] left, [and] Ānanda attending [on his] right. [With] Śakra, Brahma [and] all world-protecting heavenly [beings], in [the] empty space within, universally raining heavenly flowers, holding [and] using [them to] make offerings.


Then, Vaidehī, seeing [the] Buddha World-Honoured [One], personally abandoned [her] necklaces, [with her] entire body thrown [to the] ground, wailing towards [the] Buddha, said ‘World-Honoured [One], I [in the] past, [created] what transgression, [to give] birth [to] this evil son? [The] World-Honoured [One] moreover, has what kind [of] cause [and] condition, [to be] with Devadatta, together as family members? [I] only wish [that the] World-Honoured [One, will] for me extensively speak [of the] place without worries [and] afflictions, [that] I should [be] reborn [in, as I do] not [have] joy [in this] Jambudvīpa’s defiled [and] evil period. This defiled [and] evil place, [with] hell-beings, hungry ghosts [and] animals filled fully, [is with] many unvirtuous [ones] gathered. May I [in the] future, not hear evil voices, [and] not see evil persons. Now towards [the] World-Honoured [One, with] five [parts of my] body thrown [to the] ground, seek [your] pity [with] repentance. [I] only wish [that the] sun[like] Buddha, [will] teach me [to] contemplate on [that] place [with] pure karmas.’


At that time, [the] World-Honoured [One] emitted light [from] between [his] brows. His light golden [in] colour, illuminated everywhere [in the] ten directions’ immeasurable worlds. Returning [to] abide [on the] Buddha’s crown, transforming [to] be [a] gold dais, like Mount Sumeru. [The] ten directions’ all Buddhas’ pure [and] wonderful lands, [with] all within appear. Perhaps having lands, [with] seven treasures composed. Moreover, having lands, [that] are purely [with] lotus flowers. Moreover, having lands, like Ease Heaven’s palace. Moreover, having lands, like crystal mirrors. [The] ten directions’ lands, [with] all within appear. Having such [and] other immeasurable all Buddha lands, majestic, prominent [and] worth contemplating, enabling Vaidehī [to] see [them].


Then, Vaidehī [to the] Buddha said, ‘World-Honoured [One], all these Buddha lands, even though pure, [with] all having bright lights, I now [have] joy [for] birth [in] that Land [Of] Ultimate Bliss [of] Amitā[bha] Buddha, only wishing [that the] World-Honoured [One] teach me [to] contemplate [it, and] teach me [to] rightly receive [it].’


At that time, [the] World-Honoured [One] immediately then [gave a] smile, [that] had five colours’ lights, from [the] Buddha’s mouth emitting. [With] each [and every] one light illuminating King Bimbisāra‘s crown.


At that time, [the] Great King, although imprisoned, [his] mind’s eye [was] without obstructions. [From] afar seeing [the] World-Honoured [One, with his] head [and] face [he] paid homage. Naturally increasing [in] progress, [he] accomplished [as an] Anāgāmin.


At that time, [the] World-Honoured [One] told Vaidehī, ‘[Do] you now not know, [that] Amitā[bha] Buddha, from here, [is] not far? You should [with] continual mindfulness, attentively contemplate that land, [and] those [with] pure karmas accomplished. I [will] now for you, extensively speak [with] all analogies, [to] likewise enable future lives’ all ordinary beings, those desiring [to] cultivate pure karmas, [to] attain birth [in the] Western Land [Of] Ultimate Bliss.


Those desiring birth [in] that land, should cultivate Three Blessings. First, [is to have] filial support [of their] fathers [and] mothers, attend [to their] teachers [and] seniors, [with] loving-kindness’ mind not kill, [and] cultivate [the] Ten Good Karmas. Second, [is to] accept [and] uphold [the] Threefold Refuge, [be] complete [with] all precepts, [and] not violate majestic conduct. Third, [is to] give rise [to the] Bodhi Mind, [have] profound faith [in] cause [and] effect, study [and] recite [the] Great Vehicle’s [sūtras, and] encourage progress [of] practitioners. Thus, these three matters, [are] named as pure karmas.’


[The] Buddha told Vaidehī, ‘[Do] you now not know, [that] these three kinds [of] karmas precisely are, [in the] past, future [and] present, [the] three periods’ all Buddhas’ pure karmas’ right causes?’


[The] Buddha told Ānanda and Vaidehī, ‘Attentively listen, attentively listen, [and] carefully contemplate [with] mindfulness of [this. The] Thus Come [One] now, for future lives’ all sentient beings, for those by afflictions’ thieves harmed, [will] speak [of] pure karmas. Excellent, Vaidehī, [for] quickly asking [about] this matter.


Ānanda, you should accept [and] uphold [this, to] extensively for all assemblies, proclaim [the] Buddha’s words. [The] Thus Come [One] now, [will] teach Vaidehī and future lives’ all sentient beings, [to] contemplate on [the] Western Land [Of] Ultimate Bliss. With [the] Buddha’s power thus, [you] should attain sight [of] that Pure Land. Like holding [a] bright mirror, personally seeing [your] face’s image. Seeing that land’s ultimate wonderful [and] blissful matters, [with] minds joyful thus, immediately then attaining Non-Arising [Of] Dharmas’ Forbearance.’


[The] Buddha told Vaidehī, ‘You are [an] ordinary being, [with your] mind’s contemplation weak [and] inferior, yet [to] attain [the] heavenly eye, not able [to] far contemplate. All Buddha Thus Come [Ones], have distinctive skilful means, [to] enable you [to] attain sight [of it].’


Then, Vaidehī [to the] Buddha said, ‘World-Honoured [One], those like me now, with [the] Buddha’s power thus, see that land. If after [the] Buddha’s Parinirvāṇa, [of] all sentient beings’ kinds, [the] defiled [and] evil, unvirtuous, [and] those [by the] Five Sufferings bothered, how should [they] see Amitā[bha] Buddha’s Land [Of] Ultimate Bliss?’

Following Text:

Main Principles’ Section
[The First Contemplation: Sun Contemplation]

Complete Text:

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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