Translations

How To Reach Pure Land Despite Great Negative Karma? 如何业重而得生净土?

吾人在生死轮回中久经长劫,所造恶业,无量无边。

[As] we [have been] reborn within [the cycle of] birth [and] death, [for a] long time, passing long kalpas, of [our] created evil karma, [it is] immeasurable [and] boundless.

若仗自己修持之力,欲得灭尽烦恼惑业,以了生脱死,其难愈于登天。

If relying [on the] power of oneself’s [spiritual] cultivation [only], desiring [to] attain [the] eradication [and] exhaustion [of] afflictions [and] defiled karma, for liberation [from the cycle of] birth [and] death, [the] difficulty [of] that [is] even more, [than to] ascend [to a] heaven.

若能信佛所说之净土法门,以真信切愿,念阿弥陀佛名号,求生西方,无论业力大,业力小,皆可仗佛慈力,往生西方。

If able [to have] Faith [in] that [which Śākyamuni] Buddha spoke of [the] Pure Land Dharma Door, with true Faith [and] sincere Aspiration, mindful [of] Amitā(bha) Buddha’s name [i.e. Āmítuófó, to] seek birth [in his] Western [Pure Land], regardless [of negative] karma’s power [being] great, [or negative] karma’s power [being] small, all can rely [on the] Buddha’s power [of] loving-kindness, [to be] reborn [in his] Western [Pure Land].

譬如一颗沙子,入水即沉,纵有数千万斤石,装于大火轮船中,即可不沉而运于他处,以随意使用也。

For example, one grain [of] sand, [when] entering water immediately sinks, [while] even if [there] are numerous rocks [of] ten million catties [(with 1 catty being 0.5 kilogram)], loaded within [a] great fire[-powered] steamship, [they] immediately can [be assured to] not sink, and [can be] transported to another place, for usage according [to one’s] wishes.

石喻众生之业力深重,大火轮喻弥陀之慈力广大。

[The] rocks [are an] analogy [for] sentient beings’ [negative] karma’s power, [that is] deep [and] heavy, [and the] great fire[-powered] steamship [is an] analogy [for the] vast greatness [of] Āmítuófó’s power of loving-kindness.

若不念佛,仗自己修持之力,欲了生死,须到业尽情空地位方可。

If not mindful [of] Buddha, [to] rely [on] oneself’s power of [spiritual] cultivation [only], desiring [to be] liberated [from the cycle of] birth [and] death, [one] needs [to] reach [the] stage [of negative] karma’s exhaustion [with realisation of] passions’ emptiness. Then can [this be possible].

否则纵令烦恼惑业断得只有一丝毫,亦不能了。

Otherwise, even if enabling afflictions [and] defiled karma [to be] severed until [there] is only one slightest bit, likewise [are you] not able [to be] liberated.

喻如极小之沙子,亦必沉于水中,决不能自己出于水外。

[As an] analogy, like [an] extremely small [grain] of sand [by itself, it] likewise must sink within [the] water, definitely not able [to by] oneself exit from [the] water [to the] outside.

阁下但生信心,念佛求生西方,不可再起别种念头。

Your Excellency [must] only give rise [to the] mind [of] Faith, [to be] mindful [of] Buddha [to] seek birth [in his] Western [Pure Land, and you] must not again give rise [to] other kinds [of] thoughts.

果能如是,寿未尽则速得痊愈。以专一志诚念佛功德,便能灭除宿世恶业,犹如杲日既出,霜雪即化。

If able [to do] thus, [when your] lifespan, [if] yet [to] exhaust, then [will you] quickly attain full healing. With focused sincere [and] wholehearted mindfulness [of] Buddha’s meritorious virtues, then able [to] eradicate past lives’ evil karma, similar to [the] morning sun [once] already out, [has] frost [and] snow immediately melting.

寿已尽则即能往生,以心无异念,即得与佛感应道交,故蒙佛慈接引往生也。

If [your] lifespan [is] already exhausting, then [will you] immediately [be] able [to be] reborn [in Pure Land]. With [your] mind without [any other] different thoughts, immediately attaining connection [and] response [for] mutual interaction with [the] Buddha, thus receiving [the] Buddha’s kind receiving [and] guiding, [to be] reborn [there].

阁下若信此话得及,则生也得大利益,死也得大利益。

Your Excellency, if [with] Faith [in] these words in time, then [will you, if to] live, also attain great benefits, [and if to] die, also attain great benefits.

瞋心乃宿世之习性,今作我已死想。任彼刀割香涂,于我无干。所有不顺心之境,作已死想,则便无可起瞋矣。

[Knowing the] mind [of] anger only [as] habitual nature of past lives, now have [the] thought [that] ‘I [am] already dead.’ [Just] let that knife cut, [if there is surgery or autopsy, and that] fragrant [water be] applied [if being cleaned after death, as these have] nothing to do with me, [while only being sincerely mindful of Buddha. And] of all [other] situations [that do] not accord [with your] wishes [when alive, also] have [the] thought [that you are] already dead. Then [will you] not [be] able [to] give rise [to] anger.

此即如来所传之三昧法水,普洗一切众生之结业者,光特为阁下述之,非光自出心裁妄说也。

This is [Śākyamuni] Thus Come [One’s] Dharma water [from] Samādhi, as transmitted, [that] universally washes [away] all those sentient beings’ fettering karma [that binds them to rebirth, that I, Yìn]guāng, specially for Your Excellency stated, not [being Yìn]guāng’s [coming] out [with] personal ideas [to] falsely speak [so].

若不念佛求生西方,纵生到至极尊贵之非非想天,天福一尽,仍复轮回六道。

If not mindful [of] Buddha [to] seek birth [in his] Western [Pure Land], even if born [to] reach [the] very respected [highest] Heaven [Of] No [Perception And No] Non-Perception, once heavenly blessings exhaust, [one will] still again [be] reborn [in the] six paths.

若具志诚恳切念佛,纵将堕阿鼻地狱,尚能蒙佛接引,往生西方。

If complete [with] sincere [and] wholehearted mindfulness [of] Buddha, even [if] going to fall [into] Avīci Hell [which is the worst place to be reborn, one is] still able [to] receive [the] Buddha’s receiving [and] guiding, [to be] reborn [in his] Western [Pure Land].

万不可卑劣自居,谓我业重,恐不能生。若作此想念,则决定不能生矣。

[You] absolutely must not consider yourself as [spiritually] inferior [or lowly], saying [that ‘As] my [negative] karma [is] heavy, [I] fear not [being] able [to be] born [there].’ If having this thinking, then definitely [will you] not [be] able [to be] born [there, as this is being without profound Faith and sincere Aspiration, even if being ‘mindful’ of the Buddha].

何也?以心无真信切愿,无由感佛故也。

Why [is this so]? With [the] mind without true Faith [and] sincere Aspiration, [this is] thus unable [to receive response from] connection [to the] Buddha.

净土宗十三祖印光大师
Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
《复裘佩卿居士书二》
(Second Reply Letter [To] Layperson Qiú Pèiqīng)

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

Related Article:

How Can Niànfó Prevent The Worst Rebirth To Attain The Best?
https://purelanders.com/2016/03/23/how-can-nianfo-prevent-the-worst-rebirth-to-attain-the-best

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