Q&A

Even With One Thought Attains Birth In Pure Land 乃至一念,得生净土 

Question: Just before detailing on the Three Grades (三辈) of birth in the Immeasurable Life Sūtra《无量寿经》, Śākyamuni Buddha (释迦牟尼佛) taught this:

「诸有众生,闻其名号,信心欢喜,乃至一念至心回向,愿生彼国,即得往生,住不退转。唯除五逆,诽谤正法。」

‘All sentient beings, [who] hear his name [i.e. Āmítuófó], [with the] faithful mind joyful, and even [with] one thought, [with the] sincere mind dedicate, aspire [to be] born [in] that land, [will] immediately attain rebirth [there, and] abide in non-retrogression. Only excluded [are those with the] Five Heinous [Transgressions, who] slander [the] right Dharma.’

In the last line on the Low Grade (下辈), the Buddha taught this:   

「若闻深法,欢喜信乐,不生疑惑,乃至一念,念于彼佛,以至诚心,愿生其国… 亦得往生。」

‘If hearing [the] profound Dharma, rejoicing [with] joyful Faith, not giving rise [to] doubts [and] confusions, and even [with] one thought mindful of that Buddha, with [the] utmost sincere mind, aspiring [to be] born [in] his land… [they will] likewise attain rebirth.’

Other than Āmítuófó’s 18th vow in the same sūtra, these lines which verify its accomplishment, most simply express how to reach Pure Land. How are these two teachings same or different?  

Answer: They are essentially the same, though expressed slightly differently to aid understanding.

Based on the second quote, ‘hearing the profound Dharma’ (闻深法) is essentially the same as to ‘hear his name’ (闻其名号), as the profound Dharma is encapsulated within his name.

‘Rejoicing with joyful Faith’ (欢喜信乐), will naturally have ‘not giving rise to doubts and confusions’ (不生疑惑), and is the essentially the same as ‘with the faithful mind joyful, not giving rise to doubts and confusions’ (信心欢喜).

To be ‘mindful of that Buddha’ (念于彼佛) is essentially the same as to ‘hear his name’ (闻其名号).

The ‘utmost sincere mind’ (至诚心) is essentially the same as the ‘sincere mind’ (至心).

Based on the first quote, to ‘dedicate’ (回向) is to express ‘aspire to be born in that land’ (愿生彼国) and ‘aspiring to be born in his land’ (愿生其国). When born there, all will naturally ‘abide in non-retrogression’ (住不退转).

The last line saying, ‘Only excluded are those with the Five Heinous Transgressions, who slander the right Dharma’ (唯除五逆,诽谤正法) can be applied to the second quote too. However, those who have repented sincerely for these mistake(s), while fulfilling the above conditions can be included for birth in Pure Land. To summarise:

Faith (信): 欢喜信乐 = 信心欢喜 =  不生疑惑      
Aspiration (愿): 回向 =  愿生彼国 =  愿生其国  
Practice (行): 闻深法 = 闻其名号 = 念于彼佛    

Thus, the Three Provisions (三资粮) for birth in Pure Land are Faith, Aspiration and Practice

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谁能得生净土?  
Who Can Attain Birth In Pure Land?
https://purelanders.com/2020/01/09/who-can-attain-birth-in-pure-land 

《无量寿经》三辈往生第二十一
Twenty-First Chapter On Three Grades’ Rebirths (Of Immeasurable Life Sūtra)
https://purelanders.com/2020/05/03/21-twenty-first-chapter-on-three-grades-rebirths

一念佛当往生   
Be Mindful Of Buddha For One Thought For Immediate Rebirth
皆生极乐偈  
Verses On All Born In Ultimate Bliss
https://purelanders.com/2019/01/31/verses-on-all-born-in-ultimate-bliss 

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