Four Passes When Approaching The End Of Life 临终四关

Four Passes [When] Approaching [The] End [Of Life]

四关者,慈照宗主《净土十门告诫》云:「凡夫虽有信心念佛,缘为宿业障重,合堕地狱,乘佛力故,于床枕间,将轻换重。若也因病苦故,悔悟身心,当生净土也。[1] 无智之人不了此事,却言:『我今念佛,又有病苦』,反谤弥陀,因此一念恶心,径入地狱,此是一关也。

These four passes [to break through for reaching Pure Land, are as the Pure Land] Tradition’s Master Cízhào, [in ‘The] Pure Land’s Ten Gates’ Admonishments’ said – ‘Ordinary beings, although having [the] faithful mind [to be] mindful [of] Buddha, [when] conditioned by past [negative] karmic obstacles [that are] heavy, [which when] joined [with, will] fall [into] hell, riding [on the] Buddha’s power thus, when on [their death]beds’ pillows, [they] will [have] lighter [negative karma, as] changed [from the] heavy. If also because [of] sicknesses’ suffering thus, [with] repentance awakening [in] body [and] mind, [they] will [be] born [in] Pure Land. [1] Of people without wisdom, not understanding these matters, instead saying, “I [am] now mindful [of] Buddha, [yet] also [still] having [much] sicknesses’ suffering”, [they] instead slander Āmítuófó, [and] because [of] this one thought’s evil mind, directly enter hell. This is [the] first pass.

[2] 二者虽则持戒念佛,缘为口谈净土,意恋娑婆,不求出世善根,为爱家缘长旺,以致临终遭病,怕死贪生,信受童儿,呼神唤鬼,烧钱化马,杀戮众生。缘此心邪,无佛摄护,因兹流浪,堕落三涂,是二关也。

[2] That second [pass, is that] although upholding precepts [and] mindful [of] Buddha, conditioned by [their] mouths chatting [about] Pure Land, [yet with their] minds attached [to this] Sahā World, not seeking world-transcending good roots, for attachment [to their] families, [to have] conditions [to] long prosper, such that [when] approaching [the] end [of life], encountering sicknesses, fearing death [and] greedy [for] life, [they] believe [and] accept [their] children’s beckoning [of] gods [and] summoning [of] ghosts, burning [of joss] money [and paper] horses, [with] slaughtering [of] sentient beings. Conditioned [by] this mind’s evil, without [the] Buddha’s gathering [and] protecting, because [of] this wandering [and] falling [into the] three paths. [This] is [the] second pass.

[3] 三者或因服药须用酒腥,或被亲情递相逼劝,此人无决定信,丧失善根,临终追赴王前,任王判断,是为第三关也。

[3] That third [pass, is that] perhaps because [of] taking medicine, “needing” [to drink] alcohol [and] eat meat, or by [their] families’ loved [ones], alternating [with] one another, [being] forced [and] urged, these people without definite Faith [will] lose [their] good roots. [When] approaching [the] end [of life], pursued [to] go before King [Yama], allowing [the] King [to] determine [their future. This] is [the] third pass.

[4] 四者临终之际,思惟活业,系缀资财,爱恋眷属,心放不下,失却正念,故于家舍堕鬼趣中,已为祸祟,或为悭犬,或作蛇身,守护家庭,宛如在日,是为四关也。

[4] That fourth [pass, is that when] at the time of approaching [the] end [of life], thinking [about] administering properties, [being] bound [and] linked together [with] material [possessions and] wealth, [with] deep attachment [to] family members, [with their] minds not letting go, losing right mindfulness, thus in [their] families’ houses, falling [into the] ghost realm within, with themselves as disastrous evil spirits, or as stingy dogs, or having snakes’ bodies, guarding [and] protecting [their] households, just like in [the] days [when living. This] is [the] fourth pass.


Therefore, [did] Yáng [Jié: 杨杰] write [the] law [that] says, “[If] attachment [is] not heavy, [there will] not [be] birth [in this] Sahā [World. If] mindfulness [of Buddha is] not whole[hearted, there will] not [be] birth [in his] Pure Land [Of Ultimate Bliss].” True [and sincere] are [these] words! All those [who] cultivate [the] Pure Land [door], should pour [to drink the] true [and] clear [away the] excessive [that is false, with] thinking focused [on] thoughts [for] peace, [with] thought [to] thought [mindful of] Āmítuófó[‘s name, with the] entire body let go [of. If] able [to] only [be] resolute [with] this one thought, then can [there be] breaking [through] those four passes, then [will the] Pure Land’s lotus dais truly not [be] far. [It] can [thus be] said, [that with this] one line [of] Āmítuófó’s [name, and] without other thoughts, not [even] toiling [with the] snapping [of] fingers, [we will] reach [the] Western [Pure Land].’


[Note: If with profound Faith and sincere Aspiration mindful of Āmítuófó’s name, then are these four passes able to be broken through.]

Mount Lú’s Lotus Tradition’s Treasury [Of] Reflections: Scroll Eight
元  普度编
[By] Yuán [Dynasty’s Master] Pǔdù Compiled

Namo Amituofo : Translation and note by Shen Shi’an

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Three Doubts When Approaching The End Of Life

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