That Sòng [Dynasty’s] Wèi Shìzi, [was a] person [from] Liáng Prefecture. [He] practised with reverence for [the] Dharma diligently. [His] son [and] daughter [also] followed [him in] cultivation. Only [his] wife [was] confused [and] closed[-minded], not believing [in] Śākyamuni Buddha’s teachings.
[Note 1: This is the case of an almost complete Buddhist family, of how its family members all eventually became sincere Buddhists. Together, there are eight miracles involved.]
[During the] Yuánjiā [period’s (424–453 C.E.)] beginning, [his] daughter [at the] age [of] fourteen, [from] sickness died. Seven days [later, she] then revived. [She] said, ‘[You] can install, [to] give [me a] high seat and [for placing the] Immeasurable Life Sūtra.’ Shìzi immediately for [her] completely set up [the] sūtra [and] seat.
[Note 2: The daughter’s resurrection, not from a ‘near-death experience’, but after actual death, and after significant time is doubly amazing. The first miracle is resurrection. The second miracle is it occurring after much time.]
[The] daughter, although [having practised the] Purification Precepts [and] prostration [before], but [had] not yet once seen sūtras, immediately ascended [the] seat [to] recite [the] sūtra, [with her] sounding [of its] lines clear [and] orderly.
[Note 3: As in the case of many Buddhists, she was pious in practice, yet did not recite the scriptures before, what more to study them in detail. That she was able to confidently ask to be respectfully seated to teach the Pure Land sūtra, this is the third miracle. To be able to recite it clearly and orderly is the fourth miracle. She must have mastered the sūtra shortly after reaching Pure Land, which demonstrates how swiftly the Dharma can be learnt in Pure Land. This is the fifth miracle. Her confidence also was a skilful means to instil confidence in her family members, to banish doubts and create reverence. This is the sixth miracle.]
[When she] descended, [she] explained [to her] Father, saying, ‘[Your] daughter [after] death [was] then reborn [in the] Immeasurable Life [Buddha’s Pure] Land. [I] saw [that] Father, Brother and myself, [we] three persons, [in a] pond within, already having large lotus flowers [as the vehicles of birth there]. Later, [you] will [all] manifest [to be] born [in] them within. Only Mother alone [is] without [a flower. As I] could not bear [the thought of] this suffering [of hers to come by not reaching Pure Land], thinking thus, [I] returned [to] inform [and] report [on this].’
[Note 4: She could see the lotus flowers of her family members growing as they too were practising well to reach Pure Land, thus having their vehicles naturally well formed. Despite being born in Pure Land already, out of compassion, she returned to encourage her Father and Brother to continue with their diligent practice, and to inspire her Mother to begin her practice. Being able to do so, this is the seventh miracle, surely, as enabled by Āmítuófó out of his great compassion too.]
[Having] spoken completely, [she] again ‘died’. [Her] Mother thereupon then revered [the] Dharma.
[Note 5: As her resurrection was merely to skilfully deliver the message above, upon its complete delivery, she immediately returned to Pure Land. Technically, this is not considered a second death, as her consciousness merely left her body, without sickness or the dying process again. Being able to, with great ease return to Pure Land, this is the eighth miracle.]
[The] Dharma Garden’s Grove [Of] Pearls: 15th Scroll
[By] Xīmíng Monastery’s Śramaṇa Dàoshì Compiled
Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an
‘The Sūtra In Which The Buddha Speaks Of Immeasurable Life’ Translated By Cáo Wèi Dynasty’s Saṅghavarman (In Simplified Chinese With Pīnyīn)