Biographies

Biography Of The Twelfth Patriarch Of The Chinese Pure Land Tradition Great Master Chèwù 净土宗十二祖彻悟大师传

出家法名:释彻悟(大师)| 号:梦东
地位:净土宗十二祖
俗名:马(姓)
出生地:京东丰润(今河北省丰润县)
出生年:1741年 | 往生年:1810年
代表作品:《梦东禅师遗集》

Monastic Dharma Name: Shì Chèwù (Great Master) | Alternative Name: Mèngdōng
Status: Twelfth Patriarch Of The Pure Land Tradition (School)
Family Name: Mǎ (Surname)
Place Of Birth: Jīngdōng Fēngrùn (present day Héběi Province’s Fēngrùn District)
Year Of Birth: 1741 C.E. | Year Of Rebirth: 1810 C.E.
Best Known Works: Mèngdōng Chán Master’s Bequeathed Collection

彻悟大师生于公元1741年,俗姓马,京东丰润(今河北省丰润县)。大师幼而颖异,长喜读书,经史群籍,无不博览。22岁时因大病,深感幻躯无常,发出世志。病患痊愈后,到房山县,投三圣庵荣池老和尚剃发,第二年,受具足戒。

Great Master Chèwù was born in 1741 C.E. to a Ma family, in present day Héběi Province’s) Jīngdōng Fēngrùn (District). He was a highly intelligent child who loved to extensively read classical and historical books. At 22, due to a great sickness, he deeply realised impermanence of the body, thus aspiring to renounce the household life. After his full recovery, he went to Fángshān District to receive tonsure at Sānshèng Monastery through old Venerable Róngchí. In the following year, he received the complete monastic precepts.

后参学诸方,听隆一法师讲《圆觉经》,晨夕研究诘问,精寻奥义,圆觉全经的大旨,了然于胸。又依慧岸法师听讲法相宗,深得妙要。后于遍空法师座下,听讲《法华经》、《首楞严经》、《金刚经》等大乘经典,圆解顿开,对于性相二(性宗:法性宗,相宗:法相宗),以及三观十乘的奥旨,了无滞碍。

He then travelled to study in many places. When he heard Dharma Master Lóngyī speak the Sūtra On Perfect Awakening, from dawn to dusk, he did research and asked questions, to diligently seek its profound meaning, to perfectly awaken to the entire sūtra’s main points, which he became well aware of. He also relied on Dharma Master Huì’àn, to hear him speak on the Yogācāra Tradition, and attained its profound and wonderful essentials. After which, under Dharma Master Biànkōng’s seat, he listened to his lectures on the Lotus Sūtra, Śūraṅgama Sūtra, Diamond Sūtra and other Great Vehicle sūtras, with which he had perfect understanding with sudden awakening. On the Dharma-Nature (法性宗) Tradition and Dharma Characteristics Tradition (法相宗), profound implications of the Threefold Contemplation (空观: contemplation of emptiness, 假观: contemplation of the falsely named, and 中观: contemplation of the Middle Path) and the Ten Vehicles, he understood them without hindrances.

乾隆33年冬,大师参广通寺粹如纯禅师,明向上事,师资道合,之后嗣法为临济36世,磬山七世。后来,接续广通寺,率众参禅,警策勉励后学,津津不倦。14年如一日,声名播扬四方,宗风大振。后因多诸病缘,念佛祛疾。继思念佛一门,文殊普贤等诸大菩萨,马鸣龙树等诸大祖师,智者永明楚石莲池等诸大善知识,皆羡归心。我何人斯,敢不归命。由此,便一意归心西方净土,专修专弘念佛法门。

During the winter in Emperor Qiánlóng’s 33rd year, Great Master went to study under Guǎngtōng Monastery’s Chán Master Cuìrú. With his understanding inclining towards higher service, as the teacher’s and student’s paths merged, he received Dharma transmission as the 36th Dharma heir of the Línjì Tradition and as the 7th Dharma heir of Qìngshān Tradition. After that, he took over the Abbotship at Guǎngtōng Monastery. He led the assembly to practise Chán meditation, and with admonitions encouraged junior students, enthusiastically and tirelessly. With 14 years passing like a day, his reputation spread far and wide in the four directions, as the Chán Tradition’s was greatly boosted. Later, due to many sicknesses, he practised mindfulness of Buddha to cure them. Continuing to contemplate on the one Dharma Door Of Mindfulness Of Buddha, he thought, ‘Mañjuśrī, Universal Virtue and all other great Bodhisattvas, Aśvaghoṣa, Nāgārjuna and many other Great Patriarchs, Zhìzhě, Yǒngmíng, Chǔshí, Liánchí and many other great good-knowing advisors, all praised the mind of taking refuge (in Pure Land). Who am I thus, to dare to not take refuge for life (in Pure Land)?’ Hereby, with complete devotion, he then took refuge with his mind in the Western Pure Land, with focused cultivation and focused propagation of the Dharma Door Of Mindfulness Of Buddha.

由是大师中止参禅,纯提净土,数十年所有积稿,付之一炬。由大师诚心所感,参禅人亦多皆念佛。大师对禅净二宗明晓精奥,开导说法,辩才无碍。律己甚严,每日限定一尺香的时间会客,过时惟是礼佛念佛而已。大师与大众一道精进修持,莲风大扇,远近仰化,道俗归心。当时佛门中,彻悟大师为第一人。

Due to this, Great Master ceased Chán meditation, to solely propagate the Pure Land teachings. He put to a torch all his decades of accumulated Chán articles written. Touched by Great Master’s sincerity, many Chán practitioners likewise all changed to practise mindfulness of Buddha. For both Chán and Pure Land traditions, Great Master had clear understanding of their subtle profundities, with which he was able to inspire and guide, to speak the Dharma, with eloquence and without obstacles. His upholding of the precepts was very strict. Every day, he would limit his time to the duration of a stick of burning incense for meeting guests, after which, only practising prostration to the Buddha and recitation of the Buddha’s name. As Great Master with the great assembly together diligently practised, the ‘wind’ of the Lotus (Pure Land) Tradition was greatly fanned, with people from far and near, with respect transformed, with monastics and laypersons with their minds taking refuge. At that time, within the Buddhist circle, Great Master Chèwù was as the foremost revered.

大师早年参禅得悟,归心净土后,便专志开示净宗旨及启信发愿立行。嗣后,弟子们将大师的这些开示合前诗偈等篇共结集两卷,而大师复将宗门中语句删去大半。其预防禅宗流弊、弘护净宗之婆心,于斯可见。兹将大师净土思想,略述三点。

Great Master in his early years practised Chán meditation to attain awakening. After taking refuge with his mind in Pure Land practice, he then focused on his Aspiration to reach the Pure Land Tradition’s objectives, and on how to initiate Faith, to give rise to Aspiration for establishing Practice. Afterwards, his disciples complied these teachings of Great Master, combining them with his previous poems and verses, together forming a collection with two scrolls. Yet, Great Master deleted about half of his Chán Tradition’s lines. This was to prevent the Chán Tradition’s malpractice, to propagate and protect the Pure Land Tradition. From this, his painstaking sincerity can be seen. Now with Great Master’s Pure Land thought, it is briefly stated as these three points.

(1) 摄禅归净 崇尚念佛

大师以开悟禅师之资质,诠释禅净之本质内涵,比较二者的下手难易与功德大小,以此建立对净宗念佛法门的坚固信心。

(1) Gathering Chán Practitioners’ To Return To Pure Land, Advocating Mindfulness Of Buddha

Great Master, with his natural qualities as an awakened Chán Master, expounded on the Chán and Pure Land Traditions’ inner meanings. He compared these two traditions, on their difficulty and ease of practice, with the magnitude of their meritorious virtues, with this establishing firm Faith in the Pure Land Tradition’s Dharma Door Of Mindfulness of Buddha.

大师认为:《观经》是心作佛,是心是佛二语,较之禅宗直指人心,见性成佛,尤为直截痛快,何也?以见性难而作佛易故。何为见性?离心意识,灵光迸露,始为见性,故难。何为作佛?持佛名号,观佛依正,即作佛,故易。大师例举修禅行人,诸如泰首座,纸衣道人等坐脱立亡,却未明大法,未脱生死,果能回此一段精神,专心念佛求生净土,必稳得上品上生。

Great Master taught that with these two lines from the Contemplation Sūtra, ‘It is this mind that becomes Buddha, it is this mind that is Buddha’ (是心作佛,是心是佛), comparing them with the Chán Tradition’s two lines, ‘Directly pointing at one’s mind, see one’s true nature to become a Buddha’, the first is especially straightforwardly and joyful. Why it this so? With seeing of one’s true nature difficult, yet becoming one with Buddha easy thus. What is seeing of one’s true nature? It is to depart from the mind’s (false) consciousness, with spiritual light entering and revealing, only then seeing one’s true nature, thus is this difficult. What is becoming one with the Buddha? Upholding the Buddha’s name, contemplating the Buddha’s circumstantial and direct rewards, is becoming one with Buddha, thus is this easy. Great Master gave an example, saying that of Chán practitioners, many like Rector Tài, Master Zhǐyī and others, who could sit and stand to depart, have yet to understand the great Dharma (completely), yet to be liberated from the cycle of birth and death. If able to return to this one fragment of spiritual vigour, with focused mindfulness of Buddha to seek birth in his Pure Land, they will definitely attain the High Grade’s High Birth.

吾人现前一念之心,全真成妄,全妄即真;终日不变,终日随缘。不随佛界之缘而念佛,便念其他九法界。凡起一念,必落十法界。今以此念,念于西方阿弥陀佛,求生极乐净土。正当念时,西方依正庄严在我心中;而我此心,已在西方依正庄严之内;如两镜交光,相容互照,即是横遍十方之相。若从竖穷三际来说,则念佛时即见佛时,亦即成佛时;求生时即往生时,亦即度生时,三际同时,更无前后,帝网珠光,全体顿现。

Our single thought presently manifested, is with the completely true becoming false, and the completely false becoming true. If all day with no change, then all day long according with conditions. Not following the condition of the Buddha’s realm to then be mindful of the Buddha, is then to be mindful of the other nine Dharma realms. All arising with one thought, will definitely fall back into one of the ten Dharma realms. Now with this thought, be mindful of the Western Amitābha Buddha, to seek birth in his Pure Land Of Ultimate Bliss. Just when mindful, the Western Pure Land’s circumstantial and direct rewards’ adornments are within my mind; and my this mind, is already within the Western Pure Land’s circumstantial and direct rewards. Like two mirrors with intersecting lights, containing and illuminating one another, this is the same as to be horizontally pervading with forms of the ten directions. If from vertically crossing the three periods (of past, present and future) speaking, then when mindful of the Buddha, this is the same as when seeing the Buddha, likewise the same as when becoming one with the Buddha. When seeking birth in Pure Land, this is the same as when reborn in Pure Land, likewise the same as when delivering sentient beings. With the three periods at the same time, also without before and after, like Śakra’s net of gems’ lights, all suddenly appearing.

信愿持名,即是以佛知见为知见,亦即是念念中,以佛知见治众生知见。众生见惑心中,但置一信愿持名之心,即转众生界缘起,为佛界缘起。此于修道门中,乃点铁成金极妙之法。大乘通途佛法,须见道而后修道,修道而后证道。而见道殊为不易。教下必大开圆解,宗门必直透重关,然后得论修道。否则便为盲修瞎练,不免撞墙磕壁,堕坑落堑。而净土一门,无须见道,只要深信圣言量,信愿持名,决定往生净土,一得往生,便永不退转。

With Faith and Aspiration upholding the Buddha’s name, this is the same as, with the Buddha’s knowing and seeing as one’s knowing and seeing, likewise the same as, from thought to thought within, with the Buddha’s knowing and seeing, to cure sentient beings’ knowing and seeing. Within sentient beings’ confused minds, only establishing the one mind to, with Faith and Aspiration upholding the Buddha’s name, this is the same as transforming sentient beings’ realms’ conditioned arising, as the Buddha realm’s conditioned arising. Of this Dharma Door for cultivating the path within, thus is it the utmost wonderful method to turn iron to become gold. The Great Vehicle’s Common Buddha’s Dharma practices need seeing of the path, then after cultivating the path, with cultivating the path, then after realising the path. Yet seeing the path is especially not easy. Those practising the (scripturally based traditions’) teachings must have great awakening to complete understanding. Those practising the Chán Door must have direct penetration of heavy barriers, afterwards attaining the doctrine to cultivate the path. Otherwise, then with blind cultivation and practice, unavoidably bumping and colliding into walls, falling into pits and moats. Yet, this one Pure Land Door, does not need seeing of the path, only needing to have profound Faith in the noble ones’ words. With Faith and Aspiration upholding the Buddha’s name, definitely with rebirth in Pure Land, once attaining rebirth, then forever not retrogressing.

又余门修道,先须忏其现业,若现业不忏,即能障道,进修无路。而修净业,乃带业往生,不须忏业。又余门修道,须断烦恼,若见思烦恼分毫未尽,则分段生死不尽,不能出离同居秽土。唯修净业,乃横出三界,不断烦恼,从此同居秽土,生彼同居净土。一生彼土,则生死根株永断。证知,净土一门,最初省去求悟门,末后不待发慧,不须忏业,不断烦恼,至极省要,至极径捷,及其证入果德,又至极广大,至极究竟。

Also, those practising other Dharma Doors’ cultivation paths, first need to repent their present negative karma. If present karma is not repented completely, then is it able to obstruct the path, with advancing of cultivation without a way. However, for cultivating of pure karma (e.g. the Pure Land path), then can there be carrying of negative karma to be reborn in Pure Land, not needing to repent it completely. Also, those practising other Dharma Doors’ cultivation paths, need to sever their afflictions. If mistaken views’ and thoughts’ afflictions are with a hairsbreadth yet to be exhausted, then will segmented birth and death not be exhausted, not being able to depart from this together-dwelling defiled land. Only cultivating pure karma, thus horizontally exiting from the three realms, not needing to sever afflictions, from this together-dwelling defiled land, born in that together-dwelling Pure Land. Once born in that land, then is the root and trunk of birth and death forever severed. With this as proof, it should be known that this one Pure Land Door is able to, from the very beginning, omit seeking of awakening’s door, finally in the end, not awaiting to give rise to wisdom, not needing repentance of karma completely, not needing severing of all afflictions. It is extremely simplified and to the point, extremely convenient and straightforward, and its realisation for entering the fruit’s virtues, is also extremely vast, great, and complete.

大师透辟剖析般若与净土两门大义。般若,乃即缘起而明性空,虽性空而不坏缘起;净土,乃即性空而明缘起,虽缘起而不碍性空。空有二门互不相碍,且复相辅相成。缘起性空,同时无碍,即是向上圆融不可思议第一义谛;圆融第一义谛,即是当人本源心性之异名。是知佛说种种般若门,无非显示此本源心性;佛说种种净土门,亦无非显示此本源心性。般若与净土二门,悉皆指归本源心性。

Great Master also penetratingly analysed the main points of Prajñā and Pure Land, these two Dharma Doors. Prajñā, thus is the same as conditioned arising, yet explained as the nature of emptiness. Although with the nature of emptiness, yet not destroying conditioned arising. Pure Land, thus is the same as the nature of emptiness, yet explained as conditioned arising. Although with conditioned arising, yet not obstructing the nature of emptiness. The two doors of emptiness and form do not obstruct each other, moreover repeatedly helping and complementing each other. Conditioned arising and the nature of emptiness, are thus at the same time, without obstructing of each other, then inclining towards perfect harmony with the inconceivable supreme truth. Perfect harmony with the supreme truth, is the same as one’s original source’s mind-nature, as its different name. From this, know that the Buddha’s speaking of all kinds of Prajñā Dharma Doors, are with none not for revealing this original source’s mind-nature. The Buddha’s speaking of all kinds of Pure Land’s Dharma Doors, likewise are with none not for revealing this original source’s mind-nature. The two Dharma Doors of Prajñā and Pure Land all point to return to the original source’s mind-nature.

大师深鉴禅净二门精髓,故死心念佛,万牛莫挽。其《念佛偈》自况:自怜自作太平僧,了生脱死却未曾,但愿名标莲芷里,不须高列上传灯。」唯忻莲蕊之宗教情怀,以及每日十万声佛号的精勤,来自大师知见的深确。其自行化他,力量甚巨。

As Great Master deeply reflected upon the essence of both Chán and Pure Land Dharma Doors, thus was he dead set upon mindfulness of Buddha, with ten thousand bulls not able to pull him back from it. In his Verse On Mindfulness Of Buddha, he viewed himself thus, ‘With self-pity for oneself being a monk in peaceful times, with liberation from the cycle of birth and death however, yet to have. Only wishing my name to be marked on a lotus root, not needing a high rank (of enlightenment) to transmit the lamp.’ He only delighted in the Lotus Tradition’s teachings and his feelings for them. Every day chanting the Buddha’s name a hundred thousand times with concentrated diligence, this came from Great Master’s understanding with deep certainty. With his personal practice transforming others, the power of his influence was very great.

(2) 16字净土纲宗 允为净业轨则

大师教眼圆明,将 真为生死,发菩提心,以深信愿,持佛名号」16字,楷定为念佛法门一大纲宗。并进而诠释四句话的内在关联。若真为了脱生死之心不发,一切开示,皆为戏论,念佛法门,无由契入;故真为了脱生死是修净业的前提。不发菩提心,则外不能感通诸佛,内不能契合本性;上不能圆成佛道,下不能广利群生,故发菩提心是净业修持的根本。大心既发,应修大行,而于一切行门之中,求其最易下手、最易成就、至极稳当、至极圆顿者,则无如以深信愿,持名念佛,往生净土。

16 Words As Pure Land Practice’s Guiding Principle, Used As Cultivating Pure Karma’s Rules And Regulations

Great Master’s vision of the teachings was complete and clear. ‘Truly for liberation from the cycle of birth and death, give rise to the Bodhi Mind, and with profound Faith and Aspiration, uphold the Buddha’s name.’ With these 16 words, he used them as a definitive model, as the Dharma Door of mindfulness of Buddha’s one great guiding principle. He also then expounded on the four lines of words’ inner relationships. If the mind of truly for liberation from the cycle of birth and death is not given rise, all teachings, are all as frivolous discussions, and the Dharma Door of mindfulness of Buddha, is unable to have that agreeable with for entry. Thus, being truly for liberation from the cycle of birth and death is the prerequisite for cultivating pure karma. Not giving rise to the Bodhi Mind, then externally not able to connect with all Buddhas, and internally not able to agree and unite with original nature. Above not able to completely accomplish the Buddha path, below not able to widely benefit sentient beings. Thus, giving rise to the Bodhi Mind is the fundamental root of pure karma’s practice. With the great mind since given rise, there should be cultivation of great practice, and of all practice doors within, seeking that most easy to start with, most easy to accomplish, that utmost reliable, utmost complete and sudden, then is without that like with profound Faith and Aspiration, upholding mindfulness of the Buddha’s name, for rebirth in his Pure Land.

大师以16字纲宗为核心,进一步演绎为净宗修持八大要领:一真为生死,发菩提心,是学道通途。二以深信愿,持佛名号,为净土正宗。三以摄心专注而念,为下手方便。四以折伏现行烦恼,为修心要务。五以坚持四重戒法,为入道根本。六以种种苦行,为修道助缘。七以一心不乱,为净心归宿。八以种种灵瑞,为往生证验。此八种事,各宜痛讲,修净业者,不可不知。大师这段开示,理事圆融,既外慕诸圣,又内重己灵,自力、佛力、自性功德力,三力和合并运,成就殊胜净业。

Great Master with these 16 words’ guiding principle as the core, went a step further, to deduce it for the Pure Land Tradition’s practice’s Eight Great Essentials: ‘First, truly for liberation from the cycle of birth and death, give rise to the Bodhi Mind, as this is the common path for learning the path to Buddhahood. Second, with profound Faith and Aspiration, uphold the Buddha’s name, as the Pure Land Tradition’s right practice. Third, with gathering of the mind for focused concentration then reciting, as skilful means to start practice. Fourth, with subduing of presently active afflictions, as cultivating the mind is the most important duty. Fifth, with firm upholding of the Dharma of the Four Heavy Precepts (to guard against lust, killing, stealing and lying), as fundamental foundation for entering the path. Sixth, with all kinds of ascetic practices (to live simply), as cultivating the path’s supportive conditions. Seventh, with wholeheartedness without being scattered, for purifying the mind to “return” home to Pure Land. Eighth, with all kinds of spiritual auspicious signs, as Pure Land rebirths’ verifications. Of these kinds of matters, each should be thoroughly spoken of. Those who cultivate pure karma, cannot not know them.’ This part of Great Master’s teachings, is with principle and practice in complete harmony, both externally emulating all noble ones, and internally valuing one’s spiritual nature, with Self-power, Buddha’s power, self-nature’s meritorious virtues’ power, these three powers harmoniously combined for use, to accomplish excellent pure karma.

大师将真信具体列为十种。一信生必有死(普天之下,从古至今,曾无一人逃得),二信人命无常(出息虽存,入息难保,一息不来,即为后世),三信轮回路险(一念之差,便堕恶趣,得人身如爪上土,失人身者,如大地土),四信苦趣时长(三途一报五千劫,再出头来是几何),五信佛语不虚(此日月轮,可令坠落;妙高山王,可使倾动,诸佛所言,无有异也),六信实有净土(如今娑婆无异,的的是有),七信愿生即生(已今当愿,已今当生;经有明文,岂欺我哉),八信生即不退(境胜缘强,退心不起),九信一生成佛(寿命无量,何事不办),十信法本唯心(唯心有具、造二义,如上诸法,皆我心具,皆我心造)。修净业者,如能具备以上十种信心,其往生西方极乐世界,如操左卷而取故物,夫何难之有?

Great Master specifically classified true Faith into ten kinds. ‘First is Faith that with birth, there definitely will be death. (Universally, of all under the heavens, from ancient times until today, never before is there one human who attained escape.) Second is Faith that human life is impermanent. (The exhaling breath although exists, the inhaling breath is difficult to guarantee. When one breath does not come, it immediately becomes the next life.) Third is Faith that rebirth’s path is dangerous. (With the difference of one thought, then falling into evil realms. Those who attain the human body are few, like dirt in the nails. Those who lose the human body are many, like the great earth’s dirt.) Fourth is Faith that suffering realms’ durations are long. (In the three paths once with retribution, is 5000 kalpas. Emerging again to attain the human body, when will it be?) Fifth is Faith that the Buddhas’ words are not false. (This sun and moon can be enabled to fall, and the Wonderful High Mountain King (i.e. Mount Sumeru) can be caused to collapse and shake, but all that the Buddhas have said will not have differences.) Sixth is Faith that there truly is Pure Land. (Like the present Sahā World without difference, it certainly does exist.) Seventh is Faith that with Aspiration to be born there immediately is birth. (Those who already aspired, presently aspire, and in the future aspire, are already born there, presently born there, and in the future born there. As the Amitābha Sūtra has clear words on this, how can it deceive me?) Eighth is Faith that with birth there immediately is non-retrogression. (With its realm supreme and conditions powerful, the mind of retrogression cannot arise.) Ninth is Faith that in one lifetime is accomplishment of Buddhahood. (With lifespan immeasurable, what matter cannot be accomplished?) Tenth is Faith that dharmas are fundamentally mind-only. (Mind-only has the two meanings of fundamental completion [本具足] and creation [造作]. Like all dharmas above, all are in my mind complete, and all are by my mind created.) For those cultivating pure karma, if able to be complete with these ten kinds of Faiths, of their rebirths in that Land Of Ultimate Bliss, like holding the left scroll to obtain a former item, what difficulty is there?’

[Note: In ancient China, there are agreements that when a left scroll can be aligned (or matched) with a right one held by another party, this guarantees that an item withheld by the latter will be returned to the first. Thus, ‘like holding the left scroll to obtain a former item’ is an analogy of holding on to the practice of mindfulness of Buddha being what guarantees great confidence and ease of attaining birth in his Pure Land.]

净土门中,以愿为最,凡有愿者,终必能满。阿弥陀佛以四十八愿,自致成佛,而我所发之愿,正合佛摄生之愿。此则直以发愿便可往生。佛既慈悲一切众生,岂独不慈悲我乎?佛既满一切众生之愿,岂独不满我之愿乎?大慈悲心,无有拣择。是以真能发愿,则信在其中。信愿既真,行门不期起而自起,是故信愿行三种资粮,唯一愿字尽之。

Within the Pure Land Dharma Door, it is with Aspiration as the most important, as all those who have Aspiration, will in the end be able to fulfil it. Amitābha Buddha, with his 48 vows, personally reached accomplishment of Buddhahood, and of my that Aspiration given rise, as it rightly agrees with the Buddha’s vows to gather sentient beings, this then is directly with giving rise to Aspiration, then able to be reborn in his Pure Land. Since the Buddha has loving-kindness and compassion for all sentient beings, how can he be alone not with loving-kindness and compassion for me? Since the Buddha fulfils the Aspirations of all sentient beings, how can he alone not fulfil this Aspiration of mine? With the mind of great loving-kindness and compassion, he is not with choosing. Thus, truly being able to give rise to Aspiration, it then has Faith within it. With Faith and Aspiration since true, without expecting the practice door to arise, yet it naturally arises. Therefore, of Faith, Aspiration and Practice, these three kinds of provisions, only with the one word of Aspiration, it is complete with them.

修习净业,信贵于深,愿贵于切。以信深愿切故,一切邪说莫能摇惑,一切境缘莫能引转。若正修净业时,倘达摩大师,忽现在前,乃曰:吾有直指人心见性成佛之禅,汝但舍置念佛,吾即以此禅授汝。」但当向祖师作礼,谓:我先已受释迦如来念佛法门,发愿受持,终身不易,祖师虽有深妙禅道,吾则不敢自违本誓也。纵或释迦如来,忽尔现身,谓曰:吾先说念佛法门,特一时方便耳,今更有殊胜法门,超于彼者,汝当且置念佛,吾即为说胜法。亦只可向佛稽首陈白:我先禀受世尊净土法门,发愿一息尚存,决不更张,如来虽有胜法,吾则不敢自违本愿也。虽佛祖现身,尚不改其所信,况魔王外道,虚妄邪说,岂足以摇惑之耶?能如是信,可谓深信。

To cultivate pure karma, Faith is valued with it being profound. Aspiration is valued with it being sincere. With Faith and Aspiration sincere thus, all evil teachings will not be able to agitate and confuse, all situations’ conditions will not be able to lead and transform. If when rightly cultivating pure karma, supposing that Great Master Bodhidharma suddenly appears before you, then saying, ‘I have the Chán practice that directly points to one’s mind to see one’s nature, to accomplish Buddhahood. You only have to abandon mindfulness of Buddha, and I will immediately with this Chán practice teach you.’ You should only to the Patriarch prostrate and say, ‘I have already first received Śākyamuni Thus Come One’s Dharma Door of mindfulness of Buddha, and have given rise to Aspiration to uphold it lifelong and without change. Although the Patriarch has the profound and wonderful Chán path, I thus do not dare to personally defy my fundamental Aspiration.’ Even if perhaps Śākyamuni Thus Come One suddenly to you appears with his body, then saying, ‘I first spoke the Dharma Door of mindfulness of Buddha, specially as one time’s skilful means only. Now I have an even more excellent Dharma Door, that surpasses that. You should abandon mindfulness of Buddha, and I will immediately for you speak the supreme Dharma.’ Likewise only can there be to the Buddha prostrating and explaining, ‘I had first received the World-Honoured One’s Pure Land Dharma Door, and gave rose to the Aspiration that with one breath still existing, I will definitely not change and start all over again. The Thus Come One although having the supreme Dharma, I thus do not dare to personally defy my fundamental Aspiration.’ Although the Buddha appears with his body, still not changing that Faith, moreover if Māra King and those from external paths, with false and evil teachings, how can they be sufficient to agitate and confuse then? Able to thus have such Faith, it can be called profound Faith.

若赤热铁轮旋转顶上,不以此苦,退失往生之愿;若转轮王胜妙五欲现前,亦不以此乐,退失往生之愿。此逆顺至极,尚不改所愿,况世间小小逆顺境界,岂能引转? 能如是愿,可谓切愿。

If a red hot iron wheel is spinning above the crown, not with this as suffering, to have regression of the Aspiration for rebirth in Pure Land. If a Wheel-turning King’s supremely wonderful objects of the five desires appear before one, likewise not with this as joy, to have regression of the Aspiration for rebirth in Pure Land. With these resisting and complying utmost, still not changing that Aspiration. Moreover, with the world’s very small resisting and complying circumstances, how can they be able to lead away and transform the Aspiration? Able to thus have Aspiration, it can be called sincere Aspiration.

以此信愿之心,执持名号,持一声是九莲种子,念一句是一往生正因。一句佛号,不杂异缘,十念功成,顿超多劫。舍此别修,非狂即痴。大师剀切剖示16字纲宗,诚为末法众生净业正范。

With this mind of Faith and Aspiration, firmly upholding the Buddha’s name, even upholding one recitation is planting a seed for one of the nine lotuses, even reciting one line is creating the right cause for rebirth in Pure Land. One line of the Buddha’s name, not mixed with different conditions, with its ten thoughts’ merits’ accomplishment, suddenly surpasses those of many kalpas. To renounce this with other cultivation, if not mad, is then deluded. Great Master’s earnestly dissected explanations for teaching the 16 words’ guiding principle, truly is for the Dharma-Ending Age’s sentient beings’ pure karma, as its right model.

(3) 欣厌心切  精进勇猛

大师劝导:念佛当生四种心,一无始以来造业至此,当生惭愧心;二得闻此法门,当生忻庆心;三无始业障,此法难遭难遇,当生悲痛心;四佛如是慈悲,当生感激心。此四种心中有一,净业即能成就。

(3) With Joyous And Revulsed Mind Sincere, Diligence Bold And Powerful

As Great Master advised and guided, ‘Those mindful of Buddha should give rise to four kinds of minds. First, as from beginninglessness since, creating negative karma until now, we should give rise to the repentant mind. Second, as having attained hearing of this Dharma Door, we should give rise to the joyful and fortunate mind. Third, as with beginningless karmic obstacles, this Dharma Door is difficult to encounter and difficult to meet, we should give rise to the sorrowful mind. Fourth, as the Buddha is thus with loving-kindness and compassion, we should give rise to the grateful mind. Of these four kinds of minds within, if having at least one, pure karma is then able to be accomplished.‘

厌欣心于净业修持大有裨益。以西方净土之乐,回观娑婆世界之苦,厌离自深;如离厕坑,如出牢狱。以娑婆世界之苦,遥观极乐世界之乐,欣乐自切;如归故乡,如奔宝所。这种深切的厌欣心,始终渗透在大师一生的净业修持中。

Having the revulsed and joyous minds, for pure karma’s practice, have great benefits. With the bliss of the Western Pure Land, observe in all directions the suffering of the Sahā World, and revulsed renunciation will naturally deepen, like leaving a cesspit, like exiting a prison. With the suffering of the Sahā World, observe from a distance the bliss of the Land Of Ultimate Bliss, and joyousness will naturally be sincere, like returning to one’s homeland, like rushing to a treasure’s location. These kinds of profound and sincere revulsed and joyous minds, from the beginning to the end, permeated Great Master’s lifelong pure karma’s practice.

大师一生以求生净土为职事,一天持念十万声佛号,不欣世语,孜孜于出离苦海的道业。大师深感:吾人旷大劫来,久在轮回,岂永不发求出离之心,修向道之行耶?皆废于因循,败于怠惰,所以,常在生死,受大苦恼,今闻持名简要法门,若仍循故辙,安于覆败,可谓第一等无血性汉子矣。大师以此反省策进自己的净业,住持道场,处理事务,以尺香时间为限。

Great Master was lifelong with seeking birth in Pure Land as the essential matter of his practice. In each day, he upheld a hundred thousand recitations of the Buddha’s name, not delighting in worldly speech, for the path practising diligently, to depart from the ocean of suffering. Great Master deeply felt that, ‘As we have for great kalpas since, long been in rebirth, how can we forever not give rise to the mind of seeking renunciation, to cultivate practice towards realising the path? All are wasted by procrastinating, defeated due to idleness, therefore, constantly in the cycle of birth and death, to receive great suffering from afflictions. Now hearing upholding of the Buddha’s name, this easy and essential Dharma Door, if still following conventional ways, feeling contented with “capsizing” in defeat [again], we can be said to be the foremost kind of fellows without courage.’ Great Master with this reflected to spur himself to be diligent with his own pure karma’s practice. As the Abbot of the monastery, for handling its affairs, he used a foot of incense’s burning time as the limit, so as to spend more time on practice.

嘉庆五年,大师退居红螺山资福寺,打算于兹终老。四众弟子依恋追随者甚众,大师为法为人,始终没有厌倦之心,于是便收留大众,与大众同甘同苦,担柴运水,泥壁补屋,遂成一念佛道场。

In Emperor Jiāqìng’s fifth year, Great Master retreated to Mount Hóngluó’s Zīfú Monastery, with the intention to be there till the end of life when old. As his fourfold disciples were fondly attached, his followers were extremely many. Great Master served the Dharma and served people, from the beginning to the end without having the mind of weariness. Therefore, he offered shelter for the great assembly, together sharing joys and sorrows, carrying firewood and transporting water, plastering walls and repairing buildings. Thereupon, they accomplished a Dharma centre for mindfulness of Buddha.

大师居红螺山十年,至嘉庆十五年二月,到万寿寺扫粹祖塔,辞别山外诸护法云:「幻缘不久,人世非常,虚生可惜,各宜努力念佛,他年净土好相见也。」三月回到红螺山,命弟子预办荼毗事。交接住持位,告诫众人:「念佛法门,三根普被,无机不收,吾数年来,与众苦心建此道场,本为接待方来,同修净业。凡吾所立规模,永宜遵守,不得改弦易辙,庶不负老僧与众一片苦心也。」

Great Master dwelled in Mount Hóngluó for 10 years, until Emperor Jiāqìng’s 15th year’s second month, when he arrived at Wànshòu Monastery to sweep and clean the Patriarch’s pagoda, bidding farewell to all Dharma Protectors beyond the monastery, ‘These illusory conditions are not lasting, and this human life is not permanent. As to emptily live is pitiful, each should strive with mindfulness of Buddha, so that in some other year, there will be seeing of one another well in Pure Land.’ In the third month, he returned to Mount Hóngluó and instructed his disciples to prepare for his cremation matters. He handed over the position of the Abbot and admonished everyone, ‘The Dharma Door of mindfulness of Buddha, is with the three roots universally covered, with no capacity not received. In my many years since, with everyone painstakingly building this Dharma centre, it is originally for receiving those from all directions coming, to together cultivate pure karma. All my established rules and norms should always be complied with. There must not be altering of “strings” and changing of “tracks” [for other “tunes” and directions]. Hopefully, you will not let down the one painstaking heart of this old monk and everyone.’

圆寂前半月,大师觉身有微疾,即命大众助称佛号,见虚空中幢幡无数,自西方而来。大师告众人说:「净土相现,吾将西归矣。」众弟子恳劝大师住世。大师回答:「百年如寄,终有所归,吾得臻圣境,汝等当为师幸,何苦留耶?」

Two weeks before his departure, when Great Master felt that his body had a slight ailment, he then instructed the great assembly to support in reciting the Buddha’s name. Seen in the empty sky were innumerable banners and pennants, that came from the western direction. Great Master told everyone, ‘With Pure Land’s forms  appearing, I will be returning to the West.’ All disciples then sincerely urged Great Master to abide in the world. Great Master replied, ‘A hundred years is like a temporary stay, in the end having that to return to. As I will attain the utmost holy realm, you and others should for your teacher be glad, why take the trouble, to persuade me to stay?’

十二月十六日,大师指令设涅槃斋。十七日申刻,大师告众人说: 吾昨已见文殊观音势至三大士,今复蒙佛亲垂接引,吾今去矣。」大众称念佛号更厉更响。大师面西端坐合掌说:「称一声洪名,见一分相好。」遂手结弥陀印,安详而逝。众人闻到异香盈空。供养七日,大师面貌如生,慈和丰满,头发由白变黑,光泽异常。二七入龛,三七荼毗,获舍利百余粒。门徒弟子请灵骨葬于普同塔内。大师世寿70,僧腊49年,法腊43 。有《梦东禅师遗集》流通于世。印光大师将其推为净宗十二祖,名实相符。

On the 16th day of the 12th lunar month, Great Master gave instructions to set up Nirvāṇa food offerings. On the 17th day between 3 to 5 pm, Great Master told everyone, ‘Yesterday, I had already met Wénshū (Mañjuśrī), Guānyīn (Avalokiteśvara) and Shìzhì (Mahāsthāmaprāpta), these three Bodhisattva Mahāsattvas. Today, again having the Buddha personally approaching to guide and receive, I am now departing.’ With this, the great assembly recited the Buddha’s name even more strongly and loudly. Facing the West, Great Master sat upright in the lotus position, with joined palms said, ‘Reciting once the great name, seeing one part of his excellent forms.’ Thereupon, with his hands forming the Amitābha Mudrā, he peacefully departed. Everyone could smell extraordinary fragrance filling the air. With making of offerings for seven days, Great Master’s facial appearance was as if alive, kindly and ample, with his hair from white changing to be black, and with extraordinary lustre. On the second seventh day after his departure, his body was placed into a niche. On the third seventh day, after cremation, more than a hundred pieces of relics were obtained. His disciples then requested to have his remains buried within Pǔtóng Pagada. Great Master was then 70, after 49 years of monastic life, with monastic precepts for 43 years. There is his ‘Chán Master Mèngdōng’s Bequeathed Collection’, that is still circulating in the world. Great Master Yìnguāng proclaimed Great Master as the Pure Land Tradition’s 12th Patriarch, a title which truly corresponds with his contributions and attainment.

完整中文原文 Complete Chinese text: donglin.org
图片 Pictures: 任新宇 《净土》
英译 English translation: purelanders.com

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