Translations

Why Should We Fear Suffering’s Fruit And Seek Birth In Pure Land? 为何应当畏惧苦果而求生净土?

娑婆之苦,说不能尽。

[The] suffering of [this] Sahā [World, is] not able [to be] spoken [of] completely.

纵时属升平,仍然日在苦恼中。

Even if [some] times belong [to those with] great peace, [they are] still days [with] suffering [and] afflictions within.

以众生久习相安,遂不知耳。 …

With sentient beings over a long time habitually [at] ‘peace’ with [this], following along unknowingly…

今闻此说,当愤发大心,以速求往生。

Now hearing this said, [you] should [be] vigorously roused [to] give rise [to the] great mind [of Aspiration], with [it to] quickly seek rebirth [in Pure Land].

然后回入娑婆,普度一切。

After that returning [to the] Sahā World [liberated, to] universally deliver all [beings].

经云,菩萨畏因,众生畏果。

[A] sūtra says, ‘Bodhisattvas fear [evil] causes, [and] sentient beings fear [evil] effects.’

[Note 1: Not believing in the karmic law of cause and effect, unenlightened beings do not fear creating of evil karma, while ironically fearing their effects when they arrive, yet often still not realising then, that they are due to their own evil karma.]  

菩萨恐招恶果,故断恶因。

Bodhisattvas fear attracting evil effects, thus severing evil causes.

[Note 2: This is done by mindfully ensuring not to create evil karma in the first place.]

恶因断而恶果无从而生。

[With] evil causes severed, then [will] evil effects [be] without way [to] then arise.

众生竞作恶因,至受恶果。

Sentient beings vie [to] create evil causes, until [they] receive [their] evil effects.

受恶果时,不知自忏往业,又复更造恶法以为对治,则怨怨相报,经劫不息。

When receiving evil effects, not knowing [to] self-repent past [negative] karma, also [to] again create even more evil ways, with [them] as ‘remedies’, then [with] grudge [after] grudge repaying one another, passing kalpas unceasingly.

可不哀哉,可不畏哉?

How [is this] not pitiful? How [is this] not [to be] feared?

知是而不求生西方者,非夫也。  

[Those] knowing this yet not seeking birth [in the] Western [Pure Land, are not persons [of great character]. 

净土宗十三祖印光大师
《复永嘉某居士昆季书》

Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
(Reply Letter [To A] Certain Yǒngjiā Layperson [And His] Brother)

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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