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How Āmítuófó Manifested To Guide To His Pure Land With Twelve Skilful Means As A Parrot 阿弥陀佛如何以化成鹦鹉的十二种方便引导往生净土

《佛化鹦鹉,引人念佛》
[The] Buddha’s Manifestation [As A] Parrot [To] Guide People [To Be] Mindful [Of] Buddha

安息国人,不识佛法,居边鄙,气质愚。

Parthia country’s [i.e. today’s northeastern Iran] people, [who did] not know [the] Buddha’s teachings, dwelt [at a] border region, [and had the] temperament [of] foolishness.

时有鹦鹉鸟,黄金色,青白文饰,能作人语。

Then, [there] was [a] parrot bird, yellow-gold [in] colour, [with] blue-white lines adorned, able [to] have human speech.

[Note 1: Āmítuófó is often, as described and manifested, golden in colour and with golden light. Manifesting as a splendid-looking and communicative bird, these are the Buddha’s first and second skilful means, to attract attention for the Dharma-sharing to follow.]

国人爱其身肥力强,问曰:「汝以何为食?」

[The] country’s people [who] loved his body, [which was] plump [and with] strength great, asked [him], ‘You [are] with what as food?’

[Note 2: Appearing with significant size and strength, these are the Buddha’s third and fourth skilful means, to further attract attention and curiosity, to initiate dialogue.]

鸟曰:「我闻唱阿弥陀佛名,即以为食。若欲养我,但唱佛名,不须别食。」

[The] bird said, ‘I hear [and] chant Āmítuófó’s name, immediately with [it] as food. If desiring [to] raise me, [you] only [have to] chant [the] Buddha’s name, [with] no need [to give me] other food.’

[Note 3: The answer was direct ‘temptation’ and invitation to begin focusing on practising recitation of the Buddha’s name. This is the Buddha’s fifth skilful means.]

诸人闻之,竞唱佛名。鸟即飞腾往还,驯甚。

All people hearing this, contended [to] chant [the] Buddha’s name. [The] bird immediately flew [and] soared, departed [and] returned, [and was] very tame.

[Note 4: Knowing the people will be eager to recite, and having recited already, taking to the sky magnificently to let them calm down before returning, this furthered their interest. This is the Buddha’s sixth skilful means.]

鸟曰:「汝等欲见丰饶土否?」

[The] bird said, ‘[Do] you all desire [to] see rich [and] fertile land or not?’

[Note 5: Although knowing the people were probably thinking in terms of a worldly paradise, thus enticing them with it, this is the Buddha’s seventh skilful means, to guide them to a vision of his transcendental paradise instead – his Pure Land.]

答:「欲见。」

[They] answered, ‘[We] desire [to] see [it].’

鸟曰:「若欲见,当乘我羽翼。」

[The] bird said, ‘If desiring [to] see [it, you] should ride [on] my wings.’

诸人乘之,力犹少弱,鸟劝令念佛,即飞腾虚空,向西而去。

All [the] people rode [on] them, [yet he was still with] strength, as if [with] little weakness, [as the] bird encouraged [and] led [them to be] mindful [of the] Buddha’s [name, and] immediately flew [and] soared [into] empty space, towards [the] West then leaving.

[Note 6: There is amazement due to being able to ferry many easily. This further impresses upon the people to pay attention. This is the Buddha’s eighth skilful means. Motivating them to recite the Buddha’s name, perhaps to ‘give’ him extra strength, this is the Buddha’s ninth skilful means, to get them to continue practice.]

国人叹异曰:「此是阿弥陀佛,化作鹦鹉,引摄边鄙,现身往生。」

[The] country’s people exclaimed [at the] marvel [and] said, ‘This is Āmítuófó, manifesting as [a] parrot, [to] guide [and] gather [us at the] border region, [to in the] present life [be] reborn [in his Pure Land].’

[Note 7: Āmítuófó must have inspired the people to realise that the bird was his manifestation, and what his purpose was. This is the Buddha’s tenth skilful means.]

即于其地立精舍,号鹦鹉寺,每斋日,修念佛三昧。

Immediately on their land, [they] erected [a] vihāra named Parrot Monastery, [where on] every purification day, [they] cultivated Samādhi [From] Mindfulness [Of] Buddha.

[Note 8: After the series of inspiring events above, the people were sufficiently learned and motivated in terms of the Three Provisions of Faith, Aspiration and Practice. Knowing the method and purpose of practice, they naturally set up the monastery for further long-term practice. This is the Buddha’s eleventh skilful means.]

自是安息国人,初识佛法,念佛往生净土者甚多。

Since then, [the] Parthia country’s people, [after] first knowing [about the] Buddha’s teachings, [had] those [who were] mindful [of the] Buddha [to be] reborn [in his] Pure Land, [who were] extremely many.

[Note 9: Even though the effects of manifestations might wear out after some time in our defiled land due to the nature of impermanence and sentient beings’ defiled nature, there are still maximised efforts to guide as many as possible to Pure Land, with all given conditions. This is the Buddha’s twelfth skilful means, which is his overall ongoing skilful means for all with appropriate karmic affinity and receptivity, who can include the foolish.]

(三宝感应要略)
([The] Triple Gem’s Responses’ Summaries)

《净土圣贤录》
Pure Land Noble Sages’ Record
三编 • 补遗第五
Third Compilation: Fifth [Section]: Addendum
德森辑师辑
Compiled [by Dharma] Master Désēn

Namo Amituofo : Translation And Notes By Shen Shi’an

相关公案
Related Testimonial:

阿弥陀佛如何以化成鱼的十种方便引导往生净土
How Āmítuófó Manifested To Guide To His Pure Land With Ten Skilful Means As Fishes
https://purelanders.com/2020/06/02/how-amituofo-manifested-to-guide-to-his-pure-land-with-ten-skilful-means-as-fishes

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