[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’s Mount Gṛdhrakūṭa within. 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, [had him] imprisoned [and] placed in [a] seven-layered room within, [and] restricted all ministers, [with] no one allowed [to] go [towards him].


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


At that time, [the] Great King, ate [the] fried flour, drank [the] syrup, [and] requested 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 Venerable 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] gentle [and] joyful.


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


Then, [the] gate-keeper said, ‘Great King, [the] Queen, [with her] body spread [with] fried flour [and] honey, [and] necklaces filled [with] syrup, 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 this said 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, paid homage to [the] King, saying, ‘Great King, [we] ministers [have] heard [the] Vedic commentaries [and] scriptures say, [that] since [the] kalpa’s beginning, [although there] were many evil Kings, [with] greed [for] kingship’s position thus, killing [and] harming their fathers, [of] eighteen thousand, not previously heard were [those] without [the] path, [who] harmed [their] mothers. [The] King, if doing this matter of heinous killing, defiling [the] Kṣatriya caste, [we] ministers cannot bear [to] hear [of 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 [to] 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, [having] received 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, constantly 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] Venerable Ānanda, [to] help 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 Ānanda, from [the] sky [to] then come. [The] Buddha from Mount Gṛdhrakūṭa disappeared, [and] in [the] royal palace appeared.


Then, Vaidehī, [having] prostrated already, 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 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, have 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] where [is] without worries [and] afflictions, [that] I should [be] reborn, [as I do] not [have] joy [in this] Jambudvīpa’s defiled evil period. This defiled evil place, [with] hell-beings, hungry ghosts [and] animals filled fully, [is with] much [that is] unvirtuous 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, seeking pity [with] repentance. [I] only wish [that the] sun[-like] Buddha, [will] teach me [to] contemplate with regard to [that] place [with] pure karma.’


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, manifesting as [a] gold dais, like Mount Sumeru. [The] ten directions’ all Buddhas’ pure [and] wonderful lands, [with] all in [them] within appear. Perhaps having lands, [of] 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 in [them] within appear. Having such [and] other immeasurable all Buddha lands, majestic, illustrious [and] worth contemplating, enabling Vaidehī [to] see [them].


Then, Vaidehī [to the] Buddha said, ‘World-Honoured [One], all these Buddha lands, although [are] alike [in] purity, [with] all having bright lights, I today [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, accomplishing [as an] Anāgāmin.


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


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


[The] Buddha told Ānanda and Vaidehī, ‘Attentively listen, attentively listen, [and] carefully consider [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 karma. 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 [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 ultimately 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 thoughts weak [and] inferior, yet [to] attain [the] heavenly eye, not able [to] far contemplate. All Buddha Thus Come [Ones], have special skilful means, [to] enable you [to] attain sight [of it].’


Then, Vaidehī [to the] Buddha said, ‘World-Honoured [One], those like I now, with [the] Buddha’s power thus, see that land. If after [the] Buddha’s Parinirvāṇa, [of] all sentient beings [and] others, defiled, evil [and] 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’s Contemplation]

Complete Text:

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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