Translations

Why Should We Encourage All To Be Born In Pure Land? 为何应当劝人人生净土?

夫劝一人生净土,即成就一众生作佛。

Those encouraging one person [to be] born [in] Pure Land, are the same as [those] accomplishing one sentient being [to] become [a] Buddha.

[Note 1: This is so as those who have reached Pure Land will be definitely and most swiftly attain Buddhahood.]

凡成佛必度无量众生,而其功由我始,其功德利益,何可思议也哉?

[As] all [who] accomplish [as] Buddhas definitely [will] deliver immeasurable sentient beings, and [as] their meritorious [virtues are] due [to] ‘me’ [that] began, [of] these meritorious virtues’ benefits, how can [they be] conceivable? 

[Note 2: The meritoriousness from guiding one to Pure Land is not only from bridging one person to Buddhahood, but also from that one future Buddha’s guiding of immeasurably more beings to (Pure Land and) Buddhahood. Thus are such meritorious virtues inconceivable.]   

又自既修净土,尚须以此法门普告一切,况妻妾子女,岂可不劝令发心,而失此巨益乎?

Moreover, [with] oneself since cultivating [the] Pure Land [Dharma Door, one] still must with this Dharma Door, universally tell [it to] all, moreover [to one’s] wife [and husband], sons [and] daughters. How can [one] not encourage, [to] enable [them to] give rise [to the] mind [to practise it], and lose these great benefits?

[Note 3: Since the benefits of reaching Pure Land are so great, everyone should share the Pure Land teachings with all, what more with family members, whom one should already have more affinity with.]  

倘天性相近,则何善如之。

If [with] innate nature close to [goodness], then what [other] good [is] like it?

[Note 4: Of those with characters already close to goodness, all the more should they be guided to learn and practise the path to reach Pure Land, as there is no swifter way to perfect their goodness, for attaining purity.]  

如稍相远,亦须渐磨渐染,俾即远而成近耳。

If slightly further from [goodness], likewise must [there be] gradual polishing [and] gradual permeating , so that [those] then far [can] then become [those] near.

[Note 5: Of those with characters not so close to goodness, they should be gradually and skilfully guided to learn and practise the path to reach Pure Land too, as this will guide them to be closer to goodness and purity.] 

此所谓深爱,所谓宏慈,捨此而为慈爱,皆名有而实无耳。

This so-called deep love, [is] so-called great loving-kindness. Abandoning this, yet [calling oneself] as [having] loving-kindness, all [this is] named [as] ‘having’ [it], yet truly without [it].

[Note 6: True love or deep love is actually great loving-kindness and compassion for all beings, that wishes all to be well and happy, to be free from pain and suffering, once and for all. Such love is best expressed by guiding all to reach Pure Land. This is so as it is the swiftest path to Buddhahood, which is True Happiness. It is also with attainment of Buddhahood, that one can most swiftly guide others to Buddhahood.]

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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