Preface [On The] Conditions [For] Arising [Of The] Flower Adornment Sūtra’s Pure Practices’ Chapter Attached Behind [The] Pure Land [Tradition’s] Five Sūtras (Connected [To The] 11th Chapter)
[The] Flower Adornment’s wonderful sūtra, [is with] principles [and] practices [interpenetrating in] perfect harmony, [with] principles following practices shown, [with] practices due to principles accomplished, [with] principles [and] practices each reaching [their] utmost, [to] perfectly realise Vairocana [Buddha’s] Dharma Body.
Therefore, [when the] Thus Come [One] first accomplished Right Awakening, for [those of the] Ten Abodes, Ten Practices, Ten Dedications, Ten Grounds [and] Equal Awakening, [these] forty-one positions’ Dharma Body’s Great Beings, [he] spoke [of the] Thus Come [One’s] self-realised Dharma Door’s all dharmas’ causes [and] effects.
[These] causes [and] effects, are the same as practices. [The] dharmas that [the] Thus Come [One] self-realised, are the same as [the] One True Dharma Realm, [that is with] stillness [and] illumination [interpenetrating in] perfect harmony, not arising [and] not ceasing, [with] True Suchness’ Buddha-nature, that [is] not existing [and] not empty.
Of this Buddha-nature, when [as] ordinary [beings, it does] not decrease, [and] when [as] noble [beings, it does] not increase.
[The] Buddha, with [his] ultimate realisation thus, constantly enjoys [the] Dharma joy of permanence, bliss, self [and] purity.
Sentient beings, with thorough confusion thus, constantly suffer [the] deluded suffering of births [and] deaths [in] rebirth.
For example, like [a] great perfect treasure mirror, passing kalpas covered [by] dust, although having light that illuminates [the] sky [and] illuminates [the] ground, [it is] not [until] following [its] discovery, then attaining [its] benefits.
Thus [using this] as a pretext, [for] all Bodhisattvas, [for] one another [having] exchanges [with] replies, for [them] speaking [of the] Ten Faiths, Ten Abodes, Ten Practices, Ten Dedications, Ten Grounds [and] Equal Awakening, each [of their] Dharma Doors.
Also again, with [the] Ten Great Vows’ King, guiding [to] return [to the Pure Land Of] Ultimate Bliss, in order to perfect [and] complete [the] Buddha fruit.
This [is the] Thus Come [One], with [the] cause [and] effect of [his] self-realisation, universally teaching all sentient beings, [to] enable them, each [and] every one, [to] personally realise that one great criterion.
Those at Faith’s positions, then with [the] ‘Pure Practices’ Chapter’, [are] with [it] as [their] causal ground’s mind, [to] above agree [with the] fruit [of] awakening’s great vows.
Although advancing and ascending [to the] Ten Abodes, Ten Practices, Ten Dedications, Ten Grounds [and] Equal Awakening, each profound position, [is] still again with these one hundred [and] forty-one vows [i.e. the aspiration verses in the Pure Practices’ Chapter], then for advancing cultivation [with] them accordingly.
[From this] is [it] known, [that] this one chapter [and this] sūtra, [have] connections [that are] extremely great, not only as [the] beginning foundation of entering Buddhism, [it] truly can [be] called [the] great root of accomplishing Buddhahood.
And [of the Dharma-]Ending Age’s sentient beings, [with spiritual] roots [and] capacities shallow [and] thin, if [they are] able [to, from] thought [to] thought, constantly recite this text, constantly give rise [to] these vows (aspirations), then can [their] Three Karmas suddenly obtain purity. [With] thought [to] thought above agreeing [with the] Buddha’s mind, [when] approaching [the] end [of life], directly ascending [to a] High Grade [in Pure Land]. With ‘Universal Virtue’s Practices’ [And] Vows’ Chapter’s meritorious virtues’ intersecting lights shining [with] one another, without [any] possible exception.
Thus [did the] Early Sòng [Dynasty’s] Dharma Master Xǐngcháng [i.e. 净土宗七祖: The Pure Land Tradition’s 7th Patriarch], [who] admired [the] character [of] Mount Lú’s honourable [Great Master Huì]yuǎn] [i.e. 净土宗初祖: The Pure Land Tradition’s 1st Patriarch), promote [the] Pure Land Dharma Door, [with his] pricked blood write this chapter, also with Pure Practices naming his society [i.e. 净行社: Pure Practices Society].
And [the] Lotus Tradition, [was with] those able to, [with] great strength promote [it], with profound devotion [of] efforts, for everyday use [in] speech [and] actions, [with] all enabled [to] therefore [be] with [the] Thus Come [One’s] unsurpassable awakening’s path merged.
A disciple Yáng Huìdǎo, planned [to] use [the] ‘Pure Practices’ Chapter’, with ‘Universal Virtue’s Practices’ [And] Vows’ Chapter’, combined [to be] printed [and] distributed.
[Yìn]guāng said, [that if] desiring [to] enable beginners [to] cease [distracting] thoughts [to be] mindful [of] Buddha, [as it] should [be] with ‘[The] Pure Land [Tradition’s] Five Sūtras’ as guides first, [it is] not appropriate [to], from ‘[The] Five Sūtras’ within, only choose ‘Practices [And] Vows’ one chapter.
Enabling those [who have] completely studied ‘[The] Five Sūtras’, [to then] again with [this] ‘Pure Practices’ one chapter, acting as admonitions [for] all times [and] all places, then naturally can [they] happily start [walking on the] path.
Alas! Of [the] present time, [this] is when, also [with] abandonment [of the] moral principles [of the Three] Guiding [Principles and Five] Constant [Regulations], specially [with those who would] rather [use their] scheming minds [to] deceive, [the] time [with their] murdering of one another.
[Note: Three Guiding Principles (三纲): With rulers, fathers and husbands as good examples, then with rulers governing ministers as a guiding principle (君为臣纲), fathers governing children as a guiding principle (父为子纲), husbands governing wives as a guiding principle (夫为妻纲). Five Constant Regulations (五常): Benevolence (仁), Righteousness (义), Propriety (礼), wisdom (智) and trustworthiness (信).]
If not with Faith [and] Aspiration mindful [of] Buddha, [for] seeking birth [in the] Western [Pure Land] as [their] guide, then [in] later lifetimes as humans, [it is] feared that ancient sages’ established names, of [their] moral principles [of the three] Guiding [Principles and Five] Constant [Regulations, they] also cannot [be] attained and heard.
Therefore, [are] all those [who] possess right views [and] right Faith, all with cultivation [of] upholding pure karma as [their] aspired Practice.
Now, specially relating these conditions [for] arising, [to be] with [this] attachment behind [the] sūtras’ text, [with] hope that later, readers, [are] without that [to] doubt.
[On the] People’s Republic [Of China’s] 23rd year, Jiǎshù [year’s] [i.e. 1934 C.E.] Summer Solstice’s Day, [by the] Constantly Repentant Monk Shì Yìnguāng sincerely written.
Namo Amituofo : Translation and note by Shen Shi’an
‘The Pure Land Tradition’s Five Sūtras’ As Checked By The Chinese Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng