Translations

As Thrice Spoken On Two Sayings 三说二语 [5] This Mind Becomes Buddha, This Mind Is Buddha 是心作佛,是心是佛

「原敘」摘录
Excerpt [From] ‘Original Narration’

经所称「是心作佛,是心是佛」二语,尤反覆求详,三致意焉。  

[In The] Contemplation Sūtra, that said [on, ‘It] is [the] mind [that] becomes Buddha, [and it] is [the] mind [that] is Buddha’, [these] two sayings, [were] especially [by Great Master Chèwù] repeated, requesting [for] thorough [understanding], thrice devoting attention [to them in this collection, as highlighted in the three sections below].

(三宝弟子诚安谨识)
([By] Triple Gem’s disciple Chéng’ān remembered clearly)

【五】《观经》「是心作佛,是心是佛」二语,较之禅宗「直指人心,见性成佛」,尤为直截痛快。

[5] [On the] Contemplation Sūtra’s ‘[It] is [the] mind [that] becomes Buddha, [and it] is [the] mind [that] is Buddha’, [these] two sayings, comparing [with that] of [the] Chán Tradition’s [saying], ‘directly pointing [at the] person’s mind, seeing [one’s] nature [to] accomplish Buddhahood’, [the first is] especially straightforward [and] joyfully [satisfying].

何也?以「见性」难而「作佛」易故。

Why? With ‘seeing [one’s] nature’ difficult and ‘becom[ing] Buddha’ [with the mind] easy thus.

何为「见性」?离心意识,灵光迸露,始为「见性」,故难。

What is ‘seeing [one’s] nature’? Departing [from the] mind, thought [and] perception, [with Buddha-nature’s] spiritual light entered [and] revealed, then is ‘seeing [one’s] nature’, thus [is this] difficult.

何为「作佛」?持佛名号,观佛依正,即为「作佛」,故易。

What is ‘becom[ing] Buddha’? Upholding [the] Buddha’s name, [or] contemplating [the] Buddha’s circumstantial [and] direct [rewards], immediately is ‘becom[ing] Buddha’, thus [is this] easy.

[Note 1: Mindfulness of Buddha with his name and, with contemplation (i.e. visualisation) of his forms and Pure Land’s attributes, are different practices, not taught to be practised simultaneously. The first practice using his name is easier and safe, as generally recommended by the Pure Land Patriarchs, while the second practice is not only more difficult, but also potentially dangerous if practised wrongly, if not according to the strict and detailed teachings in the Contemplation Sūtra.]

经云:「汝等心想佛时,是心即是三十二相,八十种好。」

[The Contemplation] Sūtra says, ‘when you [and] others [have] minds [with] thoughts [of the] Buddha, this mind is the same as [his] thirty-two forms, [and] eighty appearance-following excellences’.

岂非以想念于佛即为「作佛」耶?

How [is this] not with [the] thought of Buddha immediately as ‘becom[ing] Buddha’ [then]?

[Note 2: Even with only mindfulness of the Buddha’s name, it is also ‘becoming Buddha’, as in becoming one with the Buddha in essence, as represented by his name, with varying degrees of alignment, according to the depth of practice.]

夫成佛是佛,理无二致。

Those [who] accomplish Buddhahood are Buddhas, [in] principle without two [who are not] identical.

而「见性」「作佛」,难易相悬若是。

Yet ‘seeing [one’s] nature’ [and] ‘becom[ing] Buddha’, [are with] difficulty [and] ease, greatly different [from] each other in this way [above].

岂非念佛较之参禅,尤为直截痛快也哉?

How [is it] not [then, that] mindfulness [of] Buddha, comparing [with that] of [the] Chán [meditative] contemplation, [is] especially straightforward [and] joyfully [satisfying]?

一是祖语,一是佛言。

One [tradition] is [based upon] Patriarchs’ words, [and the other] one is [based upon the] Buddha’s words [in the Contemplation Sūtra].

[Note 3: The first is the Chán Tradition (禅宗), that mainly uses its Patriarchs’ records for reference, as Patriarchs’ Chán (祖师禅) teachings, while the second is the Pure Land Tradition (净土宗), which also uses many other Pure Land sūtras for reference, as taught by the Buddha.]

何重何轻,何取何舍?

Which [is] heavier [and] which [is] lighter [in weightiness]? Which [should be] obtained [and] which [should be] relinquished, [if having to choose one for practice, especially if due to lack of time in this life]?

学者但当尽舍旧习,虛其心,平其气,试一玩味而检点之。

Scholars only should [with their] utmost relinquish old habits [of theoretical speculation and such], humble their minds, calm their minds, [and] try [mindfulness of Buddha] once, ponder [its] subtleties, and examine it.  

当必首肯是说为不谬矣。  

[They] will definitely [with their] heads [nod in] approval, [as] this said is not erroneous.

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【十九】《观经》「是心作佛,是心是佛」二语既举,则言外之「心不作佛,心不是佛;心作九界,心是九界;心不作九界,心不是九界」等义俱彰矣。

[19] [On the] Contemplation Sūtra’s ‘[It] is [the] mind [that] becomes Buddha, [and it] is [the] mind [that] is Buddha’, [these] two sayings, since raised, thus [also] say [that] outside of [these, ‘If the] mind [does] not become Buddha, [the] mind is not Buddha. [If the] mind becomes [the] nine realms, [the] mind is [the] nine realms. [If the] mind [does] not become [the] nine realms, [the] mind is not [the] nine realms.’ These other meanings [are] together evident.

[Note 4: The Ten Dharma realms (十法界) are the Six Ordinary (六凡) Dharma realms (法界) of hell-beings (地狱), hungry ghosts (饿鬼), animals (畜生), human beings (人), asuras (阿修罗) and heavenly beings (天人), with the Four Noble (四圣) Dharma Realms of Voice-Hearers (声闻), Pratyekabuddhas (辟支佛), Bodhisattvas (菩萨) and Buddhas (佛). The Nine Dharma Realms (九法界) are all the above without the Buddha realm (佛法界). In principle, when one realm arises in the mind, all other realms fall away in the moment. As the mind can only have a thought in each moment, when not mindful of Buddha, one is mindful of one of the lesser realms by default, just as when mindful of Buddha, one is not mindful of any of the lesser realms by default. This is why it makes great sense to be as mindful of Buddha as possible. Aligning to Buddha through his name sincerely also tunes to one’s Buddha-nature.]

噫!果明此理,而犹不念佛者,则吾末如之何也已矣。

Yes! If understanding this principle, [of] those yet still not mindful [of] Buddha, then [am] I certainly [with] no way [to] handle [them].

【二十】《观经》「是心作佛,是心是佛」二语,不唯是《观经》一经纲宗法要,实是释迦如來一代时教大法纲宗。

[20] [On the] Contemplation Sūtra’s ‘[It] is [the] mind [that] becomes Buddha, [and it] is [the] mind [that] is Buddha’, [these] two sayings, [are] not only [the] Contemplation Sūtra’s one sūtra’s guiding principles’ Dharma essence, [but] truly [also] is Śākya[muni] Thus Come [One’s] one lifetime’s teachings great Dharma [teachings’ main] guiding principle.

不唯释迦一佛法藏纲宗,实是十方三世一切诸佛法藏纲宗。

Not only [is it] Śākya[muni Buddha’s] one Buddha’s Dharma treasury’s [main] guiding principle, [but] truly [also] is [the] ten directions’ three periods’ all Buddhas’ Dharma treasury’s [main] guiding principle.

此宗既透,何宗不透?

[With] this [main] principle since penetrated, what [other] principles [and Buddhist traditions are] not [also] penetrated?

此法既明,何法不明?

[With] this Dharma [essence] since understood, what [other] Dharma [teachings are] not [also] understood?

所谓学虽不多,可齐上贤也。

[This is] so-called [with] learning although not [being] much, [yet being] able [to be] equal [to that of] superior virtuous [ones].

门人唤醒了睿辑录【于净土宗十二祖彻悟大师教诲】
[By] disciples Huànxǐng [And] Liǎoruì Compiled [from the Pure Land Tradition’s 12th Patriarch Great Master Chèwù’s teachings]

《彻悟大师遗集》
Great Master Chèwù’s Bequeathed Collection

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

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