[You] should encourage him [to be] earnestly mindful [of] Buddha, [to] seek birth [in his] Western [Pure Land].
[Note 1: This should be done for all whom we can encourage, be they male or female, young or old, as all might die at any time, and should prepare for securing their next life as soon as possible, with the best being in Pure Land.]
With hope [of] forever departing [from] all [kinds of] suffering, only receiving all [kinds of] bliss.
[Note 2: As Śākyamuni Buddha (释迦牟尼佛) taught in the Amitābha Sūtra《阿弥陀经》, ‘As that land’s sentient beings, are without all kinds of suffering, and only receive all kinds of bliss, it is thus named “Ultimate Bliss”.’「其国众生，无有众苦，但受诸乐，故名极乐。」]
If still not willing [to] give rise [to the] mind [with resolution to be] mindful [of] Buddha, [to] seek birth [in his] Western [Pure Land], then this person [is truly] as [so] ‘lowly’, [that] even [the] Buddha [will] not [be] able [to] save [him].
[Note 3: Āmítuófó can save even those of lower roots (下根), but they must still give rise to profound Faith (深信) and sincere Aspiration (切愿) to have true Practice (实行) of mindfulness of his name, so as to connect to him. If one is even unwilling to do so, even all the Buddhas, with their immeasurable compassion will not be able to save one.]
Even if [from] this life not immediately falling [into] hell, then [in] one, two, three [or] four lives later falling [into] hell, then definitely without [the] cause of escape, [until negative karma exhausts a long time later].
[Note 4: If Pure Land is not reached by the end of this life, even if human rebirth is retained in the next life, due to entering more deeply into this Dharma-Ending Age, it will be even more difficult to practise the Dharma well. This means there will be higher tendency to fall into an evil path in the next life. (As the ultimate cautionary measure to spur spiritual diligence in this life, all should think they might ultimately fall into the lowest evil path due to much evil done later, which is hell, with this being a matter of time.)
Note 5: If one practises the Dharma quite well in this life (i.e. life #1), and retains the human rebirth in the next life (i.e. life #2), the positive karma from life #1 will bear fruit in life #2 in terms of having a more satisfying worldly life. This can lead to sensual indulgence, spiritual complacency and breaking of precepts. Thus, in the life after the next (i.e. life #3), when positive karma from life #1 depletes and negative karma from life #2 ripens, there will be fall into an evil path. One then takes a long time to regain a situation similar to that of life #1.
Note 6: The above repetitive problem in Note 5 is called ‘Three Lifetimes’ Grievance’ (三世冤), and is how we have been rising and falling in the good and evil paths over countless lifetimes, while wrongly imagining we are doing ‘quite alright’ now. If we can so easily progress towards liberation, yet, having passed through countless lifetimes already, the fact that we are still not liberated, what being more already in this Dharma-Ending Age, is adequate reason to pay attention to the Pure Land path, with which there will be liberation by the end of this life if taken. In other words, the fact that we have entered this Dharma-Ending Age means we have been spiritually complacent for too long already.]
Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
(Third Reply Letter [To] Layperson Lǐ Wèinóng)
Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an
Those Not Born In Pure Land Will Fall Into Evil Paths
Be Mindful Of Buddha To Exit Rebirth
Why Is It Easier To Reach Āmítuófó’s Pure Land Than To Retain Human Rebirth?
Should We Aspire To Return Here Immediately?
Are You ‘Recycling’ Yourself Every Three Lifetimes?
Verses On Three Lifetimes’ Grievances