[26] How To Transform Definite Negative Karma To Be Not Definite? 如何把定业转成无定业?A Thousand Years’ Darkened Room With One Lamp Is Able To Be Destroyed 千年暗室一灯能破

问 :五逆可以往生,佛何不能灭定业耶?

Question: [If those with the] Five Transgressions can [still be] reborn [in Āmítuófó’s Pure Land], why [is the] Buddha not able [to] eradicate definite [or ‘fixed’ negative] karma?

[Note 1: The Five Transgressions (五逆罪) of killing father (杀父), killing mother (杀母), killing Arhat (杀阿罗汉), causing Buddha to bleed (出佛身血) and causing schism in Saṃgha (破和合僧) should create definite negative karma that is so heavy that it leads to rebirth in the lowest hell quickly by default. However, with sincere (and repentant) mindfulness of Āmítuófó, his great blessings connected to can dilute even the worst negative karma, thus avoiding fall into hell, even enabling reach of his Pure Land. As there is mindfulness of Buddha (念佛) with Faith (信) and Aspiration (愿) needed with some Self-power (自力) to connect to the Buddha’s Other-power (他力), he cannot eradicate one’s negative karma with his power alone.]


Also, persons [with heavy negative] karma, if using this [for] personal lenience, how [can they] not enter hell [swiftly] like arrows shot?

[Note 2: Those who already understand the teachings in Note 1 should not purposely create such negative karma. Thus, they are unlikely to use them for ‘letting themselves off the hook’. This is while it is usually those who do not understand them, who do create such negative karma.]

答 :千年暗室,一灯能破。忏力既殷,业便无定。

Answer: [A] thousand years’ darkened room, [with] one lamp[‘s brightness, is] able [to be] destroyed. [With] repentance’s power since earnest, [negative] karma [is] then without [that] definite.

[Note 3: Even if there is much negative karma accumulated over a long time, with Āmítuófó’s great light of blessings connected to, even if only for a short time, such karma will be eradicated. It is with true repentance (真心忏悔) that there will be earnest (i.e. sincere) mindfulness of Buddha, thus having this effect.]


If stubborn, foolish [and] confused, attaining [a] ship [but] not boarding [it, instead] pulling [on a] garment as [a] raft, [or] embracing [a] boulder as [a] boat, since without [the] power of turning around, [this] is truly definite karma [that is] difficult [to] escape [from]!

[Note 4: Having encountered these teachings of mindfulness of Buddha when otherwise bound to fall into hell, is to have attained a ‘rescue ship’ in time to reach Pure Land, while seeking other lesser refuge is to sink, karmically and accordingly. Thus, whether there is truly definite karma bearing fruit or not will depend on whether there is mindfulness of Buddha in time or not.]

Pure Land Tradition’s 9th Patriarch Great Master Ǒuyì
《灵峰宗论》卷第三之一:答问一 /
Spirit Peak Tradition’s Treatise: First [Part] Of Scroll Three: First Answers [For] Questions /
Great Master Ǒuyì’s Pure Land Collection: 9th [Section]: Answers [For] Questions: Answers [For] Zhuō Zuǒchē’s Thirty-Two Questions [On The] Commentary [On The Sūtra In Which The Buddha Speaks Of A]mitā[bha Buddha] [#26]

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

Related Teachings:

[15] How Does Sincere Mindfulness Of Buddha Eradicate So Many Transgressions And Attain Non-Retrogression?
One Thought Powerful Surpasses Hundred Years’ Leisureliness

[18] Why Did The Amitābha Sūtra Speak Of The Buddha Appearing At Life’s End Only?
With Faith, Aspiration And Practice Accomplished, Rebirth In Pure Land Is Naturally Without Doubt

[19] How To Know In Advance The Time Of Arrival In Pure Land?
Those Not Valuing Advance Knowing Enable Their Minds To Not Be Inverted

[20] Are There Differences Between The Ten Thoughts In The Greater Sūtra And The Contemplation Sūtra?
With The Sincere Mind Of Joyful Faith, How Profound And Clear!

[23] Why Speak Of Rebirth In Pure Land In A Future Life Too?
Those With True Mindfulness Of Buddha Are Definitely Without Those Not Born In Pure Land

Can Those With Heinous Transgressions & Dharma Slander Reach Pure Land?

How Can Pure Land Reached With Ten Thoughts?

How Can Niànfó Prevent The Worst Rebirth To Attain The Best?

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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