Translations

[4] Have Profound Faith That Life Is Between Exhaling And Inhaling, For Diligent Mindfulness Of Buddha 深信生命在呼吸间而精进念佛

【四】:入道要门,信为第一。

[Part 4]: [For] entering [the] path’s essential door, Faith [is] as [the] foremost.

[Note 1: Without Faith, there will be no motivating interest to even begin entering the door to reach the essential.]

恶事非信,尚不成就,况善事乎?

[Even for] evil matters, [if] not [with unwholesome] faith, [they] still cannot [be] accomplished, moreover [for] good matters?

[Note 2: From right Faith arises right Aspiration to have right Practice.]

譬如世间盗贼,时乎败露,官府非不以极刑绳之,迨后释免,依旧不悔。所以者何?

For example, like [the] world’s thieves, at that time, [when they] fail [and are] exposed, [if] official authorities [do] not with extreme punishment restrain them, until later [when] released [to be] spared, [they will] as before, not regret. How [is] that [so]?

他却信得这条门路,不赍一文本钱,自获利无算。所以备受苦痛,决不退悔。

They still [have unwholesome] faith [that] this channel, [that does] not [need to] give one coin [as] capital, self-obtains benefits [that are] incalculable. Therefore, prepared [to] receive suffering [and] pain, [they] definitely [will] not shrink back [and] regret.

今人念佛再不肯真切加功,只是不曾深思谛信。

Now[adays, of] people mindful [of] Buddha, if not willing [to be] truly sincere [with] added efforts, [this] only is [due to] never deeply contemplating, [to] truly [have] Faith.

[Note 3: Those who might have heard a little of the Pure Land teachings, but remain uninterested are all those who need further learning and contemplating, so as to give rise to Faith, as the first of the Three Provisions (of Faith, Aspiration and Practice).]

不要说不信净土,只如世尊说「人命在呼吸间」这一句话,于义理不是难解说。

Not [yet] speaking [of] not [having] Faith [in the] Pure Land [teachings], just like [that the] World-Honoured [One] said, [that] ‘human life [is] at exhaling [and] inhaling, [in] between’, [of] this one saying, of [its] meaning [and] principle, [they] are not difficult [to] explain.

[Note 4: What the Buddha meant is that life is extremely fragile, impermanent and precious. With an exhaling breath and without the next inhaling breath, or vice versa, death would have arrived.]

你们眼里亲见,耳里亲闻,经过许多榜样。

[With] your eyes within personally seeing, ears within personally hearing, passing by [are] many examples.

如今要你信得这句话,早是不能勾也。

Nowadays, wanting you [to have] faith [in] this saying, [since] a long time ago, [this] is not able [to be] enough.

你若真实信得这句话,则念佛法门,不必要我费尽力气,千叮万嘱,尔自如水赴壑,万牛不能挽矣!

You, if truly [having] faith [in] this saying, then [of] mindfulness [of] Buddha’s Dharma Door, [you] need not me [to] completely spend [my] energy, [with a] thousand exhortations [and] ten thousand instructions. Thus naturally like water going [into a] gully [or pit], ten thousand bulls [will] not [be] able [to] pull [you] back [from its teachings]!

[Note 5: There are some essential teachings that are so important, that they are often reiterated by good teachers in many ways, so that they can be grasped, for there to be true spiritual progress.]

即如前日津送亡僧时,你们睹此榜样,当愀然不乐,痛相警策道:「大众!我与你但今日送某僧,明日送某僧,不知不觉轮到自身,此时悔恨无及,须疾忙念佛,时刻不要放过方好。」

Such as [the] day before yesterday, when tending [to and] sending [off a] deceased monastic, you [have] seen this example, being sorrowful-looking thus [with] unhappiness, [with a] painful expression admonishing, saying, ‘Great assembly! I with you, [am] only today, sending off [a] certain monastic, [but] tomorrow, [am] sending off [yet another] certain monastic. [When] unconsciously becoming oneself’s turn, this moment [is then with] regret [and] remorse not in time. [Thus, we] must quickly [be] mindful [of] Buddha, [with every] moment, [it] must not [be] let slip off, [this is only] then good.’

[Note 6: Every time someone is sent off, it should be a grave reminder that one’s turn is coming ever closer, using this to motivate oneself to be more spiritually diligent, immediately and constantly.]

我见你们自家也说可惜,对人也说可惜,及乎堂中估唱,依然言笑自如。

I see you [to your own] self also saying it is a pity, to others also saying it is a pity, [yet when] reaching in [the] hall within appraising [and] chanting, [still] as before, speaking [and] laughing at ease.

[Note 7: There might be seeing of another’s death as sombre at first, but soon losing mindfulness of it, even in its midst.]

你只不信「人命在呼吸间」也!

[This is because] you only [do] not [have] faith [that] ‘human life [is] at exhaling [and] inhaling, [in] between’!

[Note 8: If we truly know and see the significance of the Buddha’s teaching, we would not be spiritually complacent even for a moment, and always be diligent.]

净土宗八祖莲池大师
Pure Land Tradition’s 8th Patriarch Great Master Liánchí
《云栖净土汇语》:警众(八条)
(Collection [Of] Yúnqī’s Pure Land Sayings: Eight Articles [As] Warnings [For The] Masses)

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

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莲池大师「警众」八条文
Great Master Liánchí’s Eight Articles Of Warnings For The Masses
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