Sutras

[30] Immeasurable Life Sūtra’s Thirtieth Chapter’s Summary & Explanation《无量寿经》第三十品:小结与解释

The below is with reference to: Thirtieth Chapter On Exhortation To Advance For Rebirth (Of Immeasurable Life Sūtra)《无量寿经》 劝进往生第三十 at https://purelanders.com/2020/05/dajing30 :

Immeasurable Life Sūtra’s Thirtieth Chapter’s Summary & Explanation
《无量寿经》第三十品:小结与解释

[1] As all the beings in Āmítuófó’s (阿弥陀佛) Pure Land (净土), including its human beings (人), heavenly beings (天人), Voice-Hearers (声闻), Bodhisattvas (菩萨), Āmítuófó and others have immeasurable and unnameable meritorious virtues (功德) and wisdom (智慧), all yet to be reborn there should do so, so as to join their most excellent company, to learn and master the Dharma through them, to cultivate both blessings and wisdom (福慧双修) like them, for most swiftly progressing towards Buddhahood.

[2] Āmítuófó’s Pure Land is, mentioned here for emphasis via summation by Śākyamuni Buddha (释迦牟尼佛), with refined wonders, pure (清净) peace and bliss (安乐) as described. Thus, all should practise as much good (善) as possible, and be mindful of the most natural nature of this path towards Buddhahood, that aligns with and awakens our Buddha-nature (佛性). It is natural because all should naturally aspire to progress towards Buddhahood, which is the True Happiness that we all want, which also guides others to it when attained. Also, Āmítuófó most naturally hopes that we take his Pure Land path to expedite our Buddhahood. Doing more good now will karmically lead to further alignment with his Pure Land, to easier reach it, with a higher grade of birth.

[3] Āmítuófó’s Pure Land and his blessings enable all to be equanimous (平等), without the duality of attachment (贪) and aversion (嗔) to that above and below, to be even-minded and open-minded, so as to realise the boundless and complete wisdom of everything.

[4] Due to the reasons above, all should faithfully practise mindfulness of Āmítuófó’s name (念佛) well, with the Aspiration (愿) of reaching his Pure Land. Doing so, we will certainly be able to attain connection to Āmítuófó’s great Other-Power (他力) with response (感应), to be received and guided (接引) to his Pure Land.

[5] Practising as above will horizontally (i.e. directly) sever the possibility of karmic rebirth in the Five Evil Paths (五恶道) of hell-beings (地狱众生), hungry ghosts (饿鬼), animals (畜生), human beings and heavenly beings once and for all. This is to ‘horizontally exit the Three Realms’ (横出三界) of Desire (欲界), Form (色界) and Formlessness (无色界), which together include the Five Evil Paths, for liberation (解脱). In comparison to supreme rebirth in Pure Land, even human beings and heavenly beings are considered to be evil paths. This is so despite them being relatively better off than the Three Evil Paths (三恶道) of hell-beings, hungry ghosts and animals, as the two good paths (善道) when outside Pure Land. (All Five Evil Paths are in the Desire Realm, except the Heavenly Beings’ Path [人天道], which can be in all Three Realms, depending on what kind of heavenly beings they are.)

[6] The verse below introduces some important related Pure Land terms:

二力偈

自力难行,
竖出三界。
自他易行,
横出三界。

Verse [On] Two Powers

[With] Self-Power [only is the] Difficult Practice [Path] [难行道],
[to] vertically exit [the] Three Realms.
[With] Self [and] Other Powers [is the] Easy Practice Path [易行道],
[to] horizontally exit [the] Three Realms.

All non-Pure Land practices are Self-Powered while only Pure Land Practice is with Self-Power added to Other-Power. Self-Powered practices are difficult as they lack Other-Power’s support while personally struggling alone to exit the Three Realms vertically, like a worm trying to burrow upwards and through the hard and slippery segments of a bamboo stem to escape all by oneself, with recurring and disheartening backsliding (i.e. retrogression: 退转) too. In contrast, Pure Land practice is easy as it has Other-Power’s support for exiting horizontally, like the same worm taking a direct shortcut from where he or she is, to escape to Pure Land, where liberation is guaranteed.

[7] Those who are reaching or who have reached Āmítuófó’s Pure Land will directly ascend on the unsurpassable path towards Buddhahood, without any backsliding at all.

[8] Due to the availability of Āmítuófó’s Other-Power of support and the ease of the main Pure Land Practice (正行) of mindfulness of Āmítuófó’s name, it is relatively easy to be reborn in his Pure Land. Yet, there are not many people doing so. Although his Pure Land already has immeasurable beings born there, most beings yet to be born there still lack Faith (信) and thus Aspiration to have Practice. Thus are these Three Provisions (三资粮) for reaching his Pure Land still amiss or inadequate. They ought to learn more, to transform their doubts to be profound Faith (深信), their lack of motivation to be sincere Aspiration (切愿), and their laxity to be true Practice (实行).

[9] As long as beings do not have revulsed renunciation of this Sahā World (厌离娑婆), they will be karmically trapped here. Thus, why not see the deficiencies of the worldly that we have false refuge in here, to joyfully aspire (and sincerely practise mindfulness of Āmítuófó’s name), to reach his Pure Land Of Ultimate Bliss (欣求极乐) instead? This will lead to attainment of all the virtues on the path to Buddhahood. Even before gathering them all, as we will have blissful immeasurable life (无量寿), there will be more than enough time for doing so, with the journey towards the goal being a most joyous one.

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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