What Is The First Kind Of Beings Who Reach Pure Land? 何为往生净土的第一种众生?


[Sūtra]: Moreover, [there] are three kinds [of] sentient beings, [who] will attain rebirth. What are [the] three? First, [are those with] loving-kindness’ mind, [who do] not kill, [and are] complete [with] all precept practices.


[Commentary]: Fourth, from ‘Moreover, [there] are three kinds [of] sentient beings’ afterwards, [is the] main explanation [to] examine [the fundamental] abilities, [with the] ability [to] undertake, act with reverence [to the] Dharma, [and] rely [upon the] teachings [to] cultivate practice.


Fifth, from ‘What are [the] three?’ below, until ‘Six Mindfulnesses’ afterwards, [is the] main explanation [of those] receiving [the] Dharma [that is] not [the] same. Then having these three [sub-explanations].


First, [is] explanation [of ‘those with] loving-kindness’ mind, [who do] not kill’. However, killing’s karma has many kinds, perhaps having verbal killing, perhaps having mental killing. Speaking [of] those [with] verbal killing, instructing [to] allow [it, is] named as verbal killing. Speaking [of] those [with] bodily killing, moving [the] hands [and] others, instructing [it, is] named as bodily killing. Speaking [of] those [with] mental killing, thinking [of] ‘skilful’ means, arguing [and] others, [is] named as mental killing.


If regarding killing’s karma, [this does] not discriminate [between those of the] Four Births [by womb (胎), egg (卵), moisture (湿) and manifestation (化)], [with] all able [to] cause transgressions, [and] obstruct birth [in] Pure Land.

但于一切生命起于慈心者,即是施一切众生寿命安乐,亦是最上胜妙戒也。此即合上初福第三句云「 慈心不杀」也。

Only those with all lives giving rise to loving-kindness’ mind, then are [those who] give all sentient beings lifespans [with] peace [and] bliss, likewise are [those with the] most supreme [and] wonderful precepts. This then agrees [with the] above First Blessing’s third line, ‘[with] loving-kindness’ mind not kill’.


Then having Cessation’s and Practice’s Two Goodnesses – personally not killing, [is] thus named Cessation’s Goodness, [with] teaching others [to] not kill, [is] thus named Practice’s Goodness. Personally [and with] others first severing, [is] named Cessation’s Goodness, [with it] completely [and] forever eradicated, [is] named Practice’s Goodness.


Although having Cessation’s [and Practice of] upholding’s Two Goodnesses, [this in] summary becomes loving-kindness’ lower practice [only].


Speaking [of] those ‘complete [with] all precept practices’, if according [to the] capacities of human [and] heavenly [beings’] two vehicles, [they are] then named [with] ‘Small Precepts’. If according to people of [the] great mind [and] great practices, [they are] then named [with] ‘Bodhisattva Precepts’.


These precepts, if with those positions accordingly, then [are] those [of] these High Grades’ three positions, [they are] then named [with] ‘Bodhisattva Precepts’, precisely due [to these] persons’ positions determined, thus naturally transforming [and] becoming. Then agreeing [with the] above Second Blessing’s ‘precepts’ good roots.


Pure Land Tradition’s 2nd Patriarch Great Master Shàndǎo
(Commentary [On The] Contemplation Sūtra [In] Four Fascicles: Scroll Four: Scattered Goodness’ Meaning)

Summary: The first kind of beings who reach Pure Land are those with loving-kindness, who do not kill any kind of sentient beings through body, speech and mind, directly and indirectly. (Those who have done so should sincerely repent with remorse, and resolve to never kill again too.) To abstain from killing is also to avoid harming, which is the essence of the precepts, in terms of not doing evil, before offering further well-being. Other than personally not killing, there should also be discouraging of others from killing, both for the long-term. When doing this lower practice of observing the Small Precepts with the Bodhi Mind instead, along with commitment to the Bodhisattva Precepts, this becomes the higher practice – which aligns with part of the criteria for the first three of the Nine Grades of rebirth in Pure Land.      

Namo Amituofo : Translation and summary by Shen Shi’an

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What Is The Second Kind Of Beings Who Reach Pure Land?

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What Is The Third Kind Of Beings Who Reach Pure Land?

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