Translations

Respond With Spiritual Capacities To Speak The Pure Land Dharma Door 应机说净土法门

应机说净土法门
Respond [With] Spiritual Capacities [To] Speak [The] Pure Land Dharma Door

念念在净土,方可往生,乃上品往生者之身分。若执定此义,以自求上品,何善如之。

[With] thought [to] thought on [the] Pure Land, then can [there be] rebirth [there], thus [with the] identity of those [with] high grades. If attached decidedly [to] this meaning, with oneself seeking [a] high grade, what good [is] like this?

[Note 1: If able to have, from thought to thought, sincere mindfulness of Āmítuófó’s name (阿弥陀佛) with the Three Provisions (三资粮) of Faith, Aspiration and Practice (信愿行), there can surely be attainment of a high grade of rebirth in his Pure Land. In this Dharma-Ending Age (末法时期), there is surely no greater goal attainable in this life.]

若执定此义,以教中下根人,则阻人胜进不浅。

If attached decidedly [to] this meaning, with [this] teaching medium [and] low roots’ persons, thus [with] obstruction [of these] persons’ superior advancement, [this harm is] not shallow.

[Note 2: As criteria for high grades’ rebirths is for high roots’ persons only, those of lesser roots should not be taught with them only. They should be taught with focus on less criteria instead, so that they can still advance spiritually, to attain middle and low grades of rebirths in Pure Land accordingly. Without knowing lower criteria, thus not motivated to advance spiritually, they will not reach Pure Land, with this being deeply harmful in the long run.]

何以故?以彼必以为此法太高,遂以卑劣自居,不肯修持耳。

Why [is this] thus? With those [with] certainty assuming this Dharma [Door to be] too high, [they might] thereupon consider themselves as [spiritually] inferior [and lowly, and] not [be] willing [to] cultivate upholding [of Āmítuófó’s name].

[Note 3: Briefly speaking, even those with (ir)regular (i.e. non-constant) mindfulness of Āmítuófó’s name can attain at least a middle grade of rebirth, while those with ten thoughts (or even one moment) with mindfulness of Āmítuófó’s name before departing from life can attain at least a low grade of rebirth. This should be taught to correct their misunderstanding of the Pure Land Dharma Door (净土法门) being too high for their cultivation, as it truly universally gathers all three roots (三根普被). However, if there is time for more learning and practice later, there should be further sharing with them, on how to attain higher grades of rebirth.]

净土宗十三祖印光大师
Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
(复濮大凡居士书)
(Reply Letter [To] Layperson Pú Dàfán)

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

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Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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