[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.
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.
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].
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.
[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.
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].
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.
[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.
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.
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.
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].
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.
[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.
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].
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.
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].
[You] absolutely must not consider yourself [as spiritually] inferior [and 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].
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.
Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
(Second Reply Letter [To] Layperson Qiú Pèiqīng)
Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an
How Can Niànfó Prevent The Worst Rebirth To Attain The Best?