Sutras

Immeasurable Life Sūtra’s Ninth Chapter’s Summary & Explanation《无量寿经》第九品:小结与解释

The below is with reference to: Ninth Chapter On Land’s Treasures’ Adornments (Of Immeasurable Life Sūtra)《无量寿经》国土宝严第九 at https://purelanders.com/2020/04/30/09-ninth-chapter-on-lands-treasures-adornments

Immeasurable Life Sūtra’s Ninth Chapter’s Summary & Explanation
《无量寿经》第九品:小结与解释

[1] Āmítuófó’s Pure Land is karmically composed with various splendid, precious and refined materials, which reflect his vows to share his great meritorious virtues with all its inhabitants. Although these materials are named as listed, the actual materials there greatly surpass their impure equivalents in our world.

[2] His Pure Land’s expanse is as immeasurable as his meritorious virtues. It cannot be limited in size as his meritorious virtues continue to ‘expand’ and multiply as we speak, from and for continual benefiting of immeasurable sentient beings. The size of the Pure Land is as immeasurable as Āmítuófó’s immeasurable heart of compassion, which embraces all beings. As such, overcrowding from over-population despite it being a popular destination is impossible.

[3] All his Pure Land’s forms are interconnected in perfect harmony, with each capable of inspiring and instructing with the Dharma. Although physically like the Sixth Heaven’s treasures in our world system (i.e. Sahā World: 娑婆世界), which are the finest in the Desire Realm (欲界) which we are in, they surpass them spiritually, as they radiate the Dharma for all the senses too. They likewise surpass the treasures in our world system’s Ultimate Form Heaven, which are the finest in the Form Realm (色界).

[4] A world system can be thought of as a galaxy (i.e. galactic world), thus with the Sahā World being the Milky Way, and its central galactic bulge being its Mount Sumeru. Āmítuófó’s Pure Land, unlike a common world system such as that we are in, is without a Mount Sumeru as its central axis. Without it for spatial reference, it is also without a Vajra Wall and other mountains, also without valleys, which together represent inequality in physicality, and non-equanimity in spirituality, with their ups and downs. Its lack of water bodies (other than lotus ponds for manifesting birth and bathing) also represent the lack of obstacles that need to be crossed, thus maximising accessibility. However, those who prefer seeing the above for inspiration will be empowered to see them.

[5] Also unlike many world systems, it is without the Three Evil Paths (三恶道: of the Desire Realm) and their associated hardships to see. Although the Three Evil Paths are not there, all from the Three Evil Paths can reach it with the Three Provisions (三资粮).

[6] As empowered by Āmítuófó’s ‘Twenty-First Vow Of Each Complete With Thirty-Two Forms’ (第二十一:各具三十二相愿), all beings in his Pure Land will be accomplished fully with the thirty-two great human’s forms (三十二大人相) – which transcend the appearances of both human and heavenly beings, by resembling the Buddha. Thus, when hell-beings (地狱众生), hungry ghosts (饿鬼) and animals (畜生) are born in the Pure Land, they will also have the same magnificent forms, no longer having their previous inferior forms. Due to this vow, these Three Evil Paths do not appear there.

[7] Based on the principle of ‘When the mind is pure, then is the land pure’ (心净则国土净), according to the level of the beings in Pure Land on the spectrum of purity, they will perceive it accordingly, either as with some, or without any worldly paths. Thus, the Flower Adornment Sūtra《华严净》says, ‘All Buddha Lands are equally and universally magnificent and pure. As sentient beings’ karmic actions differ, that seen by each is not the same.’ (一切诸佛刹,平等普严净。众生业行异,所见各不同。)

[8] Of the Five Paths (五道), only the two good paths – the human and heavenly paths (人天道) can be seen there directly. However, that perceived in Pure Land is not the worldly version that might give rise to the Three Poisons (三毒), but a further purified version. For example, a worldly tree is not the same as a Pure Land’s tree – same in ‘name’, yet different in quality. The gap between lack of purity and total purity perceived will be most swiftly closed in Pure Land.

[9] The Nine Grades (九品) apply to all the ‘Pure Land’s heavenly and human beings’ (国中天人) in terms of spirituality, other than those in lotus flowers, yet to manifest birth. Previous worldly statuses in terms of power do not apply in Pure Land. For more on this, see the Related Article below.

[10] Also unlike our world, its weather is always pleasant, while able to be changed as wished for individual beings. It is thus free from all natural disasters from the Four Great Elements (四大) of earth (e.g. earthquakes, sinkholes), water (e.g. floods, tsunamis), fire (e.g. forest fires, volcano eruptions, droughts) and wind (e.g. hurricanes, tornadoes). Note that these are manifestations of the fruition of strong negative karma, resulting from the Three Poisons of greed, hatred and delusion, as associated with strong waters, fires and winds respectively. Thus, all natural disasters that harm humans are essentially ‘man-made’ disasters.

[11] Although the Pure Land’s world system is without a Mount Sumeru for reference of the locations of heavenly planes, its inhabitants who are still with the heavenly mind state of the Desire Realm where they are from can naturally (i.e. habitually) see Desire Realm’s heavens (欲界天) there, such as that of Four Heavenly Kings and Trayastriṁśa. Likewise, those who are still with the form heavenly mind state of the Form Realm can naturally see Form Realm’s Heavens (色界天) there. This is in spite the Pure Land essentially and actually transcending all Three Realms (三界), of the Desire, Form and Formless Realms.

[12] In the same sūtra, Śākyamuni Buddha (释迦牟尼佛) taught that the beings in the Pure Land are actually ‘neither heavenly nor human beings’ (非天非人) physically, [and thus spiritually too]. Thus, what they perceive in the Pure Land are actually neither heavenly nor human paths (非天道非人道) too.

[13] As empowered by Āmítuófó’s ‘Sixth Vow Of All Attaining Heavenly Eye With Penetrative Sight’ (第六:皆得天眼彻视愿), all beings in his Pure Land will attain the heavenly eye, to see innumerable Buddha lands. This is the ability to also see all other world systems’ Three Realms.

[14] Just as the Third Yāma Heaven upwards to the Ultimate Form Heaven, are all above Mount Sumeru, thus not relying on it for abiding in our world system, the Four Heavenly Kings’ and Trayastriṁśa Heavens perceived in the Pure Land also do not rely on a Mount Sumeru, although they usually do elsewhere. What they solely rely on are conduct’s inconceivable meritorious karmic results – from both Āmítuófó and the beings there.

[15] The Formless Realm’s Heavens (无色界天) cannot be perceived in the Pure Land as they are without forms to see, while the Pure Land is only with pure forms.

相关论著:

《释净土群疑论卷第一》唐西都千福寺大德怀感撰:
http://www.donglin.org/wenku/3/3-03A-027%E9%87%8A%E5%87%80%E5%9C%9F%E7%BE%A4%E7%96%91%E8%AE%BA%EF%BC%88%E5%AE%9A%E7%A8%BF20190629%EF%BC%89.docx

问曰:极乐世界既许凡夫得生,未知为是有漏土,为是无漏土?

释曰:如来所变土,佛心无漏,土还无漏。凡夫之心未得无漏,依彼如来无漏土上,自心变现作有漏土而生其中。若约如来本土而说,则亦得名生无漏土;若约自心所变之土而受用者,亦得说言生有漏土。虽有漏以托如来无漏之土而变现故,极似佛无漏,亦无众恶过患。

问曰:若是有漏土,三界之中,何界所摄?

释曰:此有二释:一、有漏净土是欲、色界摄,以有漏心不离三界故。三界即有漏,有漏即三界。既言有漏,即三界摄。若未离欲界欲,以欲界生得善或方便善,读诵大乘方等经典,修三福行,又十六观等,以此善根生于净土,此心所变即欲界摄。若已离欲,得色界心,修十六观,生于净土,即色界摄。故彼净土通欲、色二界。无色界众生无实色身可生净土,以净土是众宝庄严故,实非无色界摄。定心示现,其理可然。彼净土宝地上者,是于欲界;虚空中者,是欲、色天。故《无量寿经》:“阿难白佛言:‘彼佛国土若无须弥山,其四天王及忉利天依何而住?’佛语阿难言:‘此界第三炎天乃至色究竟天皆依何住?’阿难白佛言:‘行业果报不可思议。’佛语阿难言:‘行业果报不可思议,诸佛世界亦不可思议。其诸众生功德善力,住行业之地,故能尔耳。’”下卷言:“尔时佛告阿难:‘汝见彼国从地已上至净居天,其中有微妙严净自然之物,为悉见不?’”以此准知,彼之净土有漏心所变,即欲、色二界摄。二释:虽是有漏所变净土,不得名为是三界摄。(一、摄不二义。)

问:既是有漏识心所变,有漏之心即三界摄,无有有漏心而出三界摄。心既三界摄,所现净土宁非三界耶?

答:虽知有漏体性不出三界,然以别义,但得名有漏,不得名三界,故三界名局,有漏名宽。亦如凡夫得生西方,非五趣摄,故《无量寿经》言:“横截五恶趣,恶趣自然闭。”又,《阿弥陀经》言,“彼佛国土无三恶趣”等。又,《无量寿经》言:“彼国众生,非天非人,因顺馀方,故有人天之号。”故知彼土无五趣。既许生是凡夫而非五趣所摄,何妨土名有漏而非三界所收?(二、问答不摄。

Related Article:

Why Are Heavenly And Human Beings Stated In Āmítuófó’s Vows?
阿弥陀佛的大愿为何提起天人?
https://purelanders.com/2020/10/07/why-are-heavenly-and-human-beings-stated-in-amituofos-vows

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