Biographies

Biography Of The Ninth Patriarch Of The Chinese Pure Land Tradition Great Master Ǒuyì 净土宗九祖蕅益大师传

出家法名:释蕅益(大师)
地位:净土宗九祖
俗名:钟(姓)
出生地:江苏吴县 (今苏州市)
出生年:1599 | 往生年:1655
代表作品:法藏指要(2部)、经释【《阿弥陀经要解》一卷】(21部)、律释(11部)、论释(6部)、文集【《灵峰宗论》十卷】(4部)、忏仪(3部)与杂著(2部)。今存有21册《蕅益大师全集》。   

Monastic Dharma Name: Shì Ǒuyì (Great Master)
Status: Ninth Patriarch of Pure Land Tradition (School)
Family Name: Zhōng (Surname)
Place Of Birth: Jiāngsū Province, Wú County (Present day Sūzhōu City)
Year Of Birth: 1599 C.E. | Year Of Rebirth: 1655 C.E.
Best Known Works: Essential Points Of The Dharma Treasury (2 Sections), Sūtra Explanations: Essential Explanation Of The Amitābha Sūtra (1 Scroll: 21 Sections), Vinaya’s Explanations (11 Sections), Treatises’ Explanations (6 Sections), Collected Works: Spirit Peak Tradition’s Treatise (10 Scrolls: 4 Sections), Repentance Rites (3 Sections) and Mixed Works (2 Sections). Now extant are 21 volumes in ‘Great Master Ǒuyì’s Complete Works’.

蕅益大师生于1599年,俗姓钟,江苏吴县人。父亲十年持念大悲咒以祈子,母亲金氏梦观音菩萨抱儿授之而生大师。

Great Master Ǒuyì was born in 1599 C.E to a Zhōng family in Jiāngsū Province’s Wú County. To pray for a son, his father upheld recitation of the Great Compassion Mantra for 10 years, with which his mother Jīn Shì dreamt of Guānyīn Bodhisattva carrying and giving a son to her. After that, Great Master was born.

大师七岁茹素,12岁读儒书,尊崇儒教而誓灭释老。之后开荤酒,作《辟佛论》著数十篇。

At the age of seven, Great Master became vegetarian. When he was 12, as he studed the Confucian texts and revered Confucian teachings, he vowed to destroy Buddhism and Taoism. After that, he started to eat meat and drink alcohol, writing more than ten articles in a treatise to refute Buddhism.

17岁时,偶然翻阅莲池大师《自知录序》与《竹窗随笔》,顿觉佛教义理深刻,自知以前知见有误,于是将批判佛教著述集而焚之,以表忏悔。

At 17, when he chanced upon and read Great Master Liánchí’s ‘Preface To Record Of Knowing Oneself’ and ‘Essays By The Bamboo Window’, he suddenly awakened to the Buddhist doctrine’s profundity, and self-realised his past views on Buddhism to be wrong. Thus, he collected and burned his writings that criticised Buddhism, to express his repentance.

20岁其年冬,大师的父亲亡故,在作超度时闻《地藏菩萨本愿经》心有所感,萌出世心,恢复吃素。每日持诵佛名,尽焚《辟佛论》文稿1000余篇。

When 20, Great Master’s father passed away during winter. During the deliverance chanting of the ‘Sūtra On Earth Treasury (Kṣitigarbha) Bodhisattva’s Fundamental Vows’, he was moved to give rise to the thought of leaving worldly life, as he resumed being vegetarian. Every day, he would uphold recitation of the Buddha’s name, as he completed burning more than 2000 articles of his treatise to refute Buddhism.

23岁时,听一法师讲《首楞严经》时说“世界在空,空生大觉”,心生疑团,自问:“因何空能生此大觉,世界与虚空又从何而生?”闷绝无措,自感昏沉散乱颇重,功夫不能相续,遂于佛像前发四十八愿,决意出家,体究大事。

At 23, he gave rose to doubt when he heard a Dharma Master, when speaking on the Śūraṅgama Sūtra’ say, ‘The universe is in emptiness, with emptiness giving rise to great awakening.’ He asked himself, ‘How is emptiness able to give rise to this great awakening? And of the universe and space, how did they arise?’ Feeling faint and helpless, heavily befuddled and scatter-minded, he was unable to continue his practice. Thereupon, before a Buddha image, he gave rose to 48 vows, and became determined to renounce the household life, to experience and investigate the great matter of attaining enlightenment to deliver all beings.

24岁时,大师梦中礼拜憨山大师,恳请上乘佛法。那时憨山大师在曹溪,大师不能往从,乃从憨山大师门人雪岭法师出家,法名智旭,字蕅益。

When 24, Great Master dreamt that he prostrated to Great Master Hānshān, and sincerely requested for the Buddha’s teachings of the Great Vehicle. At that time, Great Master Hānshān was at Cáoxī, and Great Master Ǒuyì was not able to go there. Thus, through Great Master Hānshān’s disciple, Dharma Master Xuělǐng, he renounced the household life, and became a monk named Zhìxù, with the style name Ǒuyì.

当年夏,至云栖寺参学,闻莲池大师门人古德法师讲《成唯识论》,闻性相二宗不可会通,表示疑惑。而往径山坐禅参究其理。

In summer that year, he reached Yúnqī Monastery to study. When he heard Great Master Liánchí’s disciple Dharma Master Gǔdé teach the ‘Treatise On Perfection Of Consciousness-Only’ (Vijñaptimātratāsiddhi Śāstra), hearing that the Dharma-Nature Tradition (法性宗) and Dharma Characteristics Tradition (法相宗) cannot be understood thoroughly together, he expressed uncertainty. So, he went forth to Mount Jìng to practise meditation, contemplate and investigate their principles.

大师仰崇莲池大师而作私淑弟子,于莲池大师像前自誓受戒,26岁后再正式受菩萨戒。

As Great Master highly admired Great Master Liánchí, he became his posthumous disciple. Before Great Master Liánchí’s image, he personally vowed and received the precepts, and at 26, formally received the Bodhisattva Precepts.

大师母亲在大师28岁时过世,尽孝子礼毕,誓断世缘而往苏州闭关苦修,不料关中大病,乃有求生西方净土信愿。

With his mother’s passing away when he was 28, after the funeral to fulfil filial piety, he vowed to sever from worldly conditions, and went forth to Sūzhōu for retreat and ascetic cultivation. However, he unexpectedly fell greatly sick, thus having the Faith and Aspiration to seek birth in the Western Pure Land.

大师的佛学思想淹贯宏富,如:念佛即圆顿心宗。大师倡禅教律三学一源之说,三学之结穴归根则在念佛一门。

Great Master’s thought on Buddhist philosophy was wide-ranging, thorough and vast, such as Mindfulness of Buddha being complete (or perfect) and sudden realisation of the essence of the mind (which is the Chán tradition’s practice itself). Great Master advocated the Chán, Scriptural and Vinaya’s three kinds of teachings to be of one source, with their concluding point and returning root thus being the one Dharma Door Of Mindfulness Of Buddha.

念佛三昧名宝王三昧,三昧中王,凡偏圆权实之种种三昧,无不从此三昧中流出,亦无不还归此三昧门。净土宗念佛法门圆顿之要旨,体现出广度利钝众生的善巧方便。

The Samādhi From Mindfulness Of Buddha is named the Treasure King Samādhi, and the King Of Samādhis. Of all kinds of Samādhis, that are partial or complete, expedient or ultimate, there are none that do not flow from this Samādhi, likewise with none not returning to this Samādhi door. The main point of the Pure Land Tradition’s Dharma Door Of Mindfulness Of Buddha’s perfect and sudden nature is that it reflects its skilful means for widely delivering sentient beings of both sharp and dull faculties.

大师回答弟子恭请心要之问,答云:“心要莫若念佛。念佛心即是佛。是故念一声,有一声佛名显现;念十百千万声,有十百千万佛名显现;而不念时便寂然。念性既是缘生无性,则无性不碍缘生。

When Great Master answered a disciple’s respectful enquiry on the essence of the Dharma, he replied that, ‘The essence of the Dharma is none other than mindfulness of Buddha. The mind that is mindful of Buddha is the Buddha. Therefore, mindfully reciting once, is with one Buddha’s name appearing. Reciting 10 billion times, is with 10 billion Buddha’s names appearing. And when not reciting, there is then silence. This nature of mindfulness is conditioned arising without self-nature, thus does self-nature not obstruct conditioned arising.

倘不念佛,正恐又生种种杂念;纵不生杂念,亦恐堕在无生窠臼。故必以佛号生我之念,使我念念不离佛号,此乃心外无佛,佛外无心;是心作佛,是心是佛。

If not mindful of Buddha, rightly to be feared is the repeated giving rise of all kinds of stray (or false) thoughts. Even if not giving rise to stray thoughts, likewise to be feared is to fall into the stereotypical pattern (of attachment to) non-arising. Therefore, there must be with the Buddha’s name to give rise to the thought of self, to enable oneself to, from thought to thought, not depart from the Buddha’s name, as this thus is to have, outside the mind, without the Buddha, outside the Buddha, without the mind, with this mind that becomes the Buddha, this mind that is the Buddha.

果如此信得及,直下念去,则诸佛出广长舌相以证之。若人专念阿弥陀,号曰无上深妙禅。至心想像见佛时,即是不生不灭法。金口诚言,可不信哉!”

If with such Faith attained, being directly (and continuously) mindful, thus is with all Buddhas’ extension of the broad and long tongue’s form as proof. If one focuses on mindfulness of Āmítuófó, this is named unsurpassable profound and wonderful Chán (meditation). When sincerely visualising and seeing the Buddha, this is the same as non-arsing and non-ceasing Dharma. Of these sincerely truthful words (from the Buddha’s) golden mouth, how can they not be believed?’

大师从一即一切的圆顿理念出发,判言念佛法门乃总持一切的妙法。《示念佛法门》云:“岂知念得阿弥陀佛熟,三藏十二部极则教理,都在里许;千七百公案向上机关,亦在里许;三千威仪,八万细行,三聚净戒,亦在里许。真能念佛,放下身心世界,即大布施;真能念佛,不复起贪瞋痴,即大持戒;真能念佛,不计是非人我,即大忍辱;真能念佛,不稍间断夹杂,即大精进;真能念佛,不复妄想驰逐,即大禅定;真能念佛,不为他歧所惑,即大智慧。”这段文句与莲池大师的
“一句阿弥陀佛,赅罗八教*,圆摄五宗**”之说,同一韵致。

With the perfect and sudden principle of ‘one is the same as everything’, Great Master concluded that the Dharma Door Of Mindfulness Of Buddha retains all the wonderful Dharma teachings in their totality. In ‘Guidance To The Dharma Door Of Mindfulness Of Buddha’, he said, ‘How to know that with mindfulness of Āmítuófó mature, the Tripiṭaka’s twelve divisions’ highest principles’ teachings, are all within, that the thousand and seven hundred public cases’ (kōans) progressive mechanisms, likewise are all within, that the three thousand awe-inspiring manners, the eighty thousand fine practices, the three assemblies of pure precepts, likewise are all within? In true mindfulness of the Buddha, letting go of body, mind and the world is great Generosity. In true mindfulness of the Buddha, not again giving rise to attachment, aversion and delusion is great Morality. In true mindfulness of the Buddha, not being attached to rights and wrongs of others and oneself is great Patience. In true mindfulness of the Buddha, not having a slight interruption with mixed thoughts is great Diligence. In true mindfulness of the Buddha, not again giving rise to stray thoughts, to quickly chase after them is great Concentration. In true mindfulness of the Buddha, not being confused by other divergent paths is great Wisdom.’ This paragraph resonates with the saying of Great Master Liánchí, that ‘one line of Āmítuófó, completely collects the Eight Teachings*, and completely gathers the Five Traditions’**, with the same grace.

大师以《华严经》、《法华经》、《首楞严经》、唯识宗为司南。而要通达这些经典,又须藉天台智者大师、华严贤首大师、法相窥基大师的诠释为准绳,融会贯通,并会归于净土。以此开解,即以此成行,教观齐彰,禅净一致,卓绝千古。大师这一思想,遥接慈愍三藏、永明大师之遗响,善巧导引他宗行人皈投净土,同时亦强固专修净业者的信心。

Great Master used the Flower Adornment (Avataṃsaka) Sūtra, Dharma Flower (Lotus) Sūtra, Śūraṅgama Sūtra and the Consciousness-Only Tradition as a compass. And to understand thoroughly these scriptures, he also relied on Tiāntái Tradition’s Great Master Zhìzhě, Huáyán Tradition’s Great Master Xiánshǒu, Dharma Characteristics’ Tradition’s Great Master Kuījī’s commentaries’ explanations as criteria, to integrate and thread them together, also conclusively returning them to the Pure Land path. With this understanding and reconciliation, it is the same as with this accomplishing Practice, with teachings and contemplation equally clear, with Chán and Pure Land identical, being illustrious for all of eternity. This thought of Great Master remotely connected Tripiṭaka Dharma Master Címǐn, with Great Master Yǒngmíng’s bequeathed influence, and skilfully led other traditions’ practitioners to seek refuge in Pure Land, at the same time also strongly strengthening the Faith of practitioners who focus on cultivating the Pure Land path.

大师在净宗祖师中是著述最多的一位,凡四十余种。大师还甄选了历代重要净宗著作,合成《净土十要》一书,为后世净业学人必读之经典。而后人于大师著作集中有关净土的论著而成《蕅益大师净土集》,有心探研大师净土思想者可从中窥其全貌。

Of all the Patriarchs in the Pure Land Tradition, Great Master was the one with the most written works, altogether with more than 40 books. Great Master even selected past generations’ works important to the Pure Land Tradition, compiling them into the book, The Pure Land Teachings’ Ten Essentials, as a must-read classic for later generations learning the Pure Land path. Later generations also compiled Great Master’s treatises regarding the Pure Land path into the book, Collection Of Great Master Ǒuyì’s Pure Land Teachings. From it, those who intend to study his Pure Land thought can catch a glimpse of its complete picture.

其《弥陀要解》独步千古,成为净宗经典力作。在《弥陀要解》中,依据大乘通义,提出至极圆顿的“六信”阐述净土之三资粮之“信”,以圆摄三根,破其疑惑。六信为:信自、信他、信因、信果、信事、信理。如此信已,则娑婆即自心所感之秽,而自心秽,理应厌离。极乐即自心所感之净,而自心净,理应欣求。是为愿。言行者,“言执持名号,一心不乱者。名以召德,德不可思议故,名号亦不可思议。”

The Essential Explanation Of The Amitābha Sūtra will be unrivalled for all of eternity, having become the Pure Land Tradition’s classic masterpiece. In it, according to the Great Vehicle’s common meaning, he raised extremely perfect and sudden ‘Six Faiths’, to elaborate upon the Pure Land path’s Faith of the Three Provisions (of Faith, Aspiration and Practice). With complete gathering of the Three Roots (of high, medium and low practitioners), they break their doubts and confusions. The Six Faiths are Faith In Self, Faith In Other (Buddha), Faith In Cause, Faith In Effect, Faith In Practice and Faith In Principle. With these Faiths already, thus is the Sahā World the same as one’s mind’s connected defilements, and of one’s mind’s defilements, there ought to be revulsed renunciation. The Land Of Ultimate Bliss is the same as one’s mind’s connected purity, and of one’s mind’s purity, there ought to be joyful seeking. This is as Aspiration. Speaking of Practice, ‘Speaking of those who firmly uphold the name (of Āmítuófó) wholeheartedly without being scattered, with the name beckoning virtues, with these virtues being inconceivable, thus is the name likewise inconceivable.’

大师云:“信愿持名,一经要旨。信愿为慧行,持名为行行。得生与否,全由信愿之有无;品位高下,全由持名之深浅。故慧行为前导,行行为正修,如目足并运也。”

The Great Master said, ‘With Faith and Aspiration upholding the name, is this whole sūtra’s main point. With Faith and Aspiration as Wisdom Practice, and upholding the name of Āmítuófó as Practical Practice. Attaining birth (in Āmítuófó’s Pure Land) or not, is all due to Faith and Aspiration being present or absent; the grade of birth being high or low, is all due to (the Practice of) upholding the name being deep or shallow. Therefore, with Wisdom Practice as the guide, for Practical Practice as the Main Cultivation (or Practice), like eyes and feet combined in use.’

大师在《灵峰宗论》言:“若欲决定得生极乐世界,又莫如以信为前导,愿为后鞭。信得决,愿得切,虽散心念佛,亦必往生;信不真,愿不猛,虽一心不乱,亦不得往生。”

In the Spirit Peak Tradition’s Treatise, Great Master said, ‘If desiring definite attainment of birth in the Land Of Ultimate Bliss, nothing is better than to be with Faith as the leading guide, and Aspiration as the whip behind. With Faith attaining certainty, and Aspiration attaining sincerity, although scatter-mindedly mindful of Buddha, this also definitely attains rebirth. With Faith not true, and Aspiration not intense, although single-minded and not scattered, this also does not attain rebirth.’

大师以一切佛法修学终归净土,念佛三昧摄尽如来一代时教,对念佛给予最广义的说明,其实也是把佛陀一切教法归纳于念自佛、念他佛、自他俱念佛的三种念佛方法内。但是,大师同时强调,《阿弥陀经》中的执持名号一法,为至简易、至奇特之法,末法时代众生当精进持名,一生成办往生大事。

Great Master, with all of the Buddha’s teachings cultivated and studied, in the end returned to Pure Land, with Samādhi From Mindfulness Of Buddha gathering all the Thus Come One’s one lifetime of teachings. Giving mindfulness of Buddha the broadest of meaning and explanation, he in fact also took all of the Buddha’s teaching methods to be summarised as three methods to be mindful of Buddha —Mindfulness Of Self-Buddha, Mindfulness Of Other-Buddha, and Mindfulness Self-And-Other Buddha Together. However, Great Master at the same time emphasised that as within Amitābha Sūtra, the one Dharma Door of firm upholding of the Buddha’s name is the utmost easy and utmost special method, the Dharma-Ending Age’s sentient beings should diligently uphold the name, so as to, in one lifetime, accomplish the great matter of rebirth in Pure Land.

念佛矢志净土的目标确定,亦假之以忏悔自讼,洗濯心垢,藉此惭愧种子,方堪送想乐邦。大师以身说法,感人至深。

With mindfulness of Buddha, vowing to reach Pure Land as the definite goal, if also with repentance reproaching oneself, thereby with this seed of repentance, to cleanse the mind’s defilements, one is then worthy of thinking of reaching the Land Of Bliss. As Great Master with his example spoke the Dharma, he deeply moved people.

56岁时大师示疾,抛却己分,专仰佛力济拔。对自负高慢者,亦不啻当头棒喝。

When he was 56 years of age, Great Master manifested sickness and recognition of the limits of Self-power, to focus upon connecting to the Buddha’s Other-power to be rescued. For those overly self-confident and proud, this is just like, right above their heads, delivering a strike and shout to awaken them.

57岁时,大师再次示疾,遗命身体火化,屑骨和粉,分施水陆禽鱼,以结往生西方之缘。跏趺而坐,面西念佛,举手而逝。

When he was 57, the Great Master again manifested illness, and willed his body to be cremated, to have his bones’ crumbs mixed with flour, distributed and given as food offerings to fish in the water and animals on land, for creating affinity to be reborn in the Western Pure Land. Seated in the lotus position, facing West while reciting the Buddha’s name, he raised his hand and departed.

圆寂三年后,门人如法荼毗。启龛,见大师趺坐巍然,发长覆耳,面貌如生。火化后,牙齿俱不坏,与鸠摩罗什大师的舌相不坏,同一征信。门徒们不忍遵从遗命,便奉灵骨,建塔于灵峰。

After passing away for three years, his disciples, accorded with the Dharma to prepare for cremation. When they opened his urn, the Great Master was seen to still sit majestically in the lotus position, with hair grown to cover his ears, and his face as it alive. After cremation, his teeth were all not destroyed, just like Great Master Kumārajīva’s tongue was not destroyed after cremation, being the same as proof for reliability and believability of their teachings. As his disciples could not bear to follow his last will, they chose to revere his relics by building a pagoda for them at Língfēng (Spirit Peak).

大师是明末四大高僧中最晚也是影响最大的,后人也把大师尊为净土宗第九代祖师

Great Master was the last yet most influential of the four great masters towards the end of the Míng Dynasty, whom later generations also honourifically addressed as the Pure Land Tradition’s Ninth Patriarch.

* 化法四教与化仪四教,合称为八教。化法四教是三藏教、通教、别教、圆教,因此四教是教化众生的法门,故名化法;化仪四教是顿教、渐教、秘密教、不定教,因此四教是教化众生的仪式,故名化仪。以上八教,都是天台宗所立。
* ‘Four Teachings Of Transformative Dharma’ and ‘Four Teachings Of Transformative Methods (or Formats), together are known as the ‘Eight Teachings’. The first four are the Tipiṭaka Teachings, Common Teachings, Separate Teachings and Complete Teachings. As these are the Dharma Doors to teach and transform sentient beings, thus named as ‘Transformative Dharma’. The second four are Sudden Teachings, Gradual Teachings, Secret Teachings, and Indefinite Teachings. As these are the formats to teach and transform sentient beings, thus named as ‘Transformative Methods’. The above classification of the Eight Teachings was established by the Tiāntái Tradition.

** 五宗:禅、教(包括天台、华严、三论)、律、密、净。
** Five Traditions: [1] Chán Tradition (which is more meditative), [2] Scriptural Tradition (which is more scholarly, including the Tiāntái, Huáyán (Avataṃsaka), Sānlùn (Three Treatises) Traditions), [3] Vinaya Tradition, [4] Esoteric Tradition and [5] Pure Land Tradition.

完整中文原文 Complete Chinese text: donglin.org
图片 Pictures: 互联网 Internet
英译 English translation: purelanders.com

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