If knowing oneself is [a] completely bound ordinary being, [with the] whole body [having evil] karma’s power, [if] not relying [on Amitā[bha] Buddha Thus Come One’s (阿弥陀佛如来) great vows’ power, [it will] certainly [be] difficult [to], immediately [in this] life, [have] definite exit [of] rebirth.
[Note 1: We are completely bound by the Three Poisons (三毒) of attachment (贪), aversion (嗔) and delusion (痴). While we do have some limited good karma (善业), we definitely have much evil karma (恶业) too, or we would not still be reborn here, trapped as ordinary beings, what more in this increasingly Dharma-Ending Age (末法时期) now. Our Self-Power (自力) for liberation is also weak, while Āmítuófó’s (阿弥陀佛) Other-Power (他力) for receiving and guiding (接引) us to his Pure Land (净土) for liberation is strong. Thus, if we do not take refuge in Āmítuófó’s vows by practising mindfulness of Buddha (念佛) with profound Faith (深信) and sincere Aspiration (切愿), to combine our Self-Power with his Other-Power, it will be (near) impossible to break free from rebirth.]
Then [should it be] known, [that of the] one Pure Land Dharma [Door, with Śākyamuni Buddha’s] one lifetime’s [other] teachings, all [of the latter are] not able [to be] comparable [with] its power [and] function.
[Note 2: This is clearly so as Śākyamuni Buddha (释迦牟尼佛) taught in the Immeasurable Life Sūtra《无量寿经》, which is his most detailed discourse on Āmítuófó, that even after the end days of the Dharma-Ending Age, when all other teachings have perished by being neglected, misunderstood, lost or forgotten, its Pure Land teachings will be the last to still exist in this world, as specially protected by him, for a century more. This means that they are so profoundly powerful, that they will still be practically functional then, with those who learn and practise them then, still able to break free from rebirth, by reaching Pure Land. This teaching is as follows – ‘In the world of the future, when sūtras’ paths are destroyed and ended, I, with loving-kindness, compassion and sympathy, will specially retain this sūtra, to abide and dwell for one hundred years longer. If there are sentient beings, who encounter this sūtra, accordingly as wished, with that aspired, all can attain deliverance.’ (当来之世，经道灭尽，我以慈悲哀愍，特留此经，止住百岁。其有众生，值斯经者，随意所愿，皆可得度。)]
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