Four Kinds Of Minds For Mindfulness Of Buddha 念佛四种心 


[Those] mindful [of] Buddha should give rise [to] four kinds [of] minds. What [are] as [the] four? 

[Note 1: These four minds can also be represented by utmost sincere (至诚) wholeheartedness (一心), (as it binds them together.) (四心亦可以至诚一心代表。)]


First, [as from] beginninglessness since, creating [negative] karma until now, [we] should give rise [to a] repentant mind.

[Note 2: Even if we have created some positive karma in between, our negative karma is so much, that it has caused us to still be reborn, trapped within this Dharma-Ending Age. As such, we should repent. This attitude can be expressed by reciting the Repentance Verse (忏悔文) daily before practising mindfulness of Buddha.]   


Second, [as having] attained hearing [of] this Dharma door, [we] should give rise [to a] joyful [and] fortunate mind.

[Note 3: Despite our great negative karma, we also have enough positive karma to learn about mindfulness of Buddha, as the sure path to liberation in this lifetime. As such, we should rejoice for this great good fortune. This attitude can be expressed by enthusiastically practising mindfulness of Buddha, cherishing each opportunity to have recitation of the Buddha’s name.] 


Third, [as with] beginningless karmic obstacles, this Dharma [door is] difficult [to] encounter [and] difficult [to] meet, [we] should give rise [to a] sorrowful mind.

[Note 4: Despite uncountable karmic obstacles, now that we have overcome them all, to learn about mindfulness of Buddha, we must treasure this path by practising well. Knowing that all our past pain and suffering could had been averted with this practice, we should feel sorrowful, with a sense of empathy. However, this sorrow should be transformed to become diligent practice, so as to not again have such sorrows.]


Fourth, [as the] Buddha [is] thus [with] loving-kindness [and] compassion, [we] should give rise [to a] grateful mind.

[Note 5: Without the Buddha’s great loving-kindness and compassion, we would not know about mindfulness of Buddha, to be able to swiftly attain Buddhahood via reach of Pure Land. For this, we should have great gratitude, and not let the Buddha down, by having regular and earnest practice.]   


[Of] these four kinds [of] minds within, [if] having [at least] one, pure karma [is] then able [to be] accomplished.

[Note 6: As these four kinds of minds are interconnected, to have the essence of one is to have the essence of the other three too. Thus, when one kind of mind is truly present, the other three are present too. Depending on the individual, as one might be more resonant with one of the minds, that one can be connected to more deeply. As in Note 1, the utmost sincere mind (至诚心) also contains these minds collectively.]   


Mindfulness [of] Buddha should [be] enduring [and] lasting, [and] must not [be] interrupted.

[Note 7: If practice is short-lived and interrupted by distractions, it will not progress much in the long run, with less guarantee of bearing fruits in time, especially in terms of reaching Pure Land.] 


[If] interrupted, pure karma likewise [is] not able [to] have accomplishment.

[Note 8: Pure karma for ordinary beings is for becoming pure enough with the Three Provisions (三资粮) of Faith, Aspiration and Practice (信愿行) to reach Pure Land.] 


Enduring [and] lasting, [it] should [be] courageous [and] powerful, [and] must not [be] weary [and] dispirited.

[Note 9: Although increasing in calmness, practice should also be confident and energetic, or it might become exhausting and unmotivated.] 


[If] weary [and] dispirited, pure karma likewise [is] not able [to be] accomplished.

[Note 10: Pure karma in its ultimate form for beings who have reached Pure Land is for becoming completely purified, to be Buddhas. Even those in Pure Land continue to practise mindfulness of Buddha eagerly.]


[If] enduring [and] lasting, [but] not courageous [and] powerful, then having retrogression.

[Note 10: If consistent in long-term efforts, yet not with brave and substantial practice, it is easy to backslide.]


[If] courageous [and] powerful, [but] not enduring [and] lasting, then without advancement.

[Note 11: If with bold and strong practice, yet not persistent in ongoing efforts, it is difficult to progress far.]  


Pure Land Tradition’s 12th Patriarch Great Master Chèwù
[By] Disciples Huànxǐng [And] Liǎoruì Compiled  
Great Master Chèwù’s Bequeathed Collection: Higher Scroll

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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