Appendix [On] Cultivation [Of The] Practice [Of The] Pure Land Dharma Door’s Afterword
[This] Sahā [World, is] suffering’s realm. If desiring [to be] liberated [from] all suffering, [there] must [be] cultivation [to be born in the] Western [Pure Land].
[The] Western [Pure Land, is a] blissful land. If desiring [to be] born [in this Land Of] Ultimate Bliss, [there] must [be] Faith [in the] Buddha’s words.
For example, [there] is [a] person, walking in [the] open wilderness. [In the] late night’s dim darkness, [are] hordes [of] robbers behind, holding firmly [to] sharp weapons, contending [to] come, compelling [and] chasing.
Looking around [in the] four [directions, it is] without [a] place [to] escape [to].
Crying [to the] heavens [and] yelling [to the] earth, who [can] come [to] save [and] give relief?
Suddenly meeting [an] old man, [who] then tells him [these] words, ‘[From] this [place], not far [away, there] is [an] elder’s residence, [with] blessed virtues, majesty [and] power, [that] robbers cannot invade.
[With] towering pavilions real, [with] happiness [and] ease.
[By] smoke [and] mist obstructed, you not able [to] see [it].
You [should] however [be] determined [to] go towards [it, as] I [will] not [have] you deceived.’
[When] this person hears [these] words, [with] joy [and] enthusiasm, [he] advances [with] steps highly raised, not again looking back, gazing [ahead] wholeheartedly, also without other thoughts.
In a moment between, reaching [the] elder’s place.
[The] hordes [of] robbers, suffering [and] afflictions, disappear absolutely [without a] trace.
[With] all kinds [of] happiness, [it is] without difference [from] that heard.
[With A]mitā[bha Buddha’s] gathering [and] receiving [of] sentient beings, [to where the] elder resides, how can [one] not [go] towards [it]?
[With] Śākyamuni [Buddha’s] direction [and] guidance [of] lost sentient beings, [of the] old man’s words, how can [they] not [be] believed?
[On] people of [this] world, of speak of [the] Western [Pure Land, those] ignorant [and] not able [to] know [this, are] able to be found everywhere.
Knowing yet not believing, believing yet not cultivating, [with] those cultivating not able [to] exert [to do their best, of] ten also often [having] eight [or] nine!
I [am] now repeating [this, to] establish this parable, [for] those persons not knowing [this, so that they] can understand what taught.
And [for] those not believing, not cultivating [and] not exerting [to do their best, this] can also [be for giving them] additional encouragement.
[For] those cultivating [to be reborn in the] Western [Pure Land], and those [with] determined Aspiration [to be] reborn [there], how can there be others, [who] well exhaust their efforts, like [the] old man met, at [the] moment for avoiding robbers then?
(1) The dangerous wilderness and robbers represent the world we are in with all kinds of physical threats.
(2) The old man represents Śākyamuni Buddha.
(3) The elder represents Amitābha Buddha.
(4) The elder’s residence represents Amitābha Buddha’s Pure Land.
(5) The smoke and mist represent our spiritual obstacles that obstruct us from discerning a clear and definite path to liberation.
(6) Gazing ahead wholeheartedly represents sincere Practice of mindfulness of Buddha.
(7) Since it is not easy to suddenly meet the ‘old man’ or ‘elder’ when about to depart without having some prior connection with previous Practice, there should be heeding of the ‘old man’s advice now, to learn to be sincerely mindful of the ‘elder’s name (Āmítuófó) to reach his ‘residence’ in good time.
(8) This parable is as if a simplified version of the ‘Parable Of Two Rivers And The White Path’ below.]
Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an
Complete Parable: The Parable Of Two Rivers And The White Path
‘The Pure Land Tradition’s Five Sūtras’ As Checked By The Chinese Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng