Translations

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

【经】:复有三种众生,当得往生。何等为三?一者,慈心不杀,具诸戒行。

[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.

【疏】:四从「复有三种众生」已下,正明简机,堪能奉法,依教修行。

[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.

五从「何等为三」下,至「六念」已来,正明受法不同。即有其三。  

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].

一明「慈心不杀」。然杀业有多种,或有口杀,或有身杀,或有心杀。言口杀者,处分许可,名为口杀。言身杀者,动身手等指授,名为身杀。言心杀者,思念方便计校等,名为心杀。  

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.

若论杀业,不简四生,皆能招罪,障生净土。  

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’.

即有止行二善:自不杀,故名止善;教他不杀,故名行善。自他初断,名止善;毕竟永除,名行善。

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.

虽有止持二善,总结成慈下行也。    

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

言「具诸戒行」者,若约人天二乘之器,即名小戒;若约大心大行之人,即名菩萨戒。

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’.

此戒若以位约者,当此上辈三位者,即名菩萨戒,正由人位定,故自然转成。即合上第二福「戒」善根也。      

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.

净土宗二祖善导大师
《观经四帖疏》卷四:散善义

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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