[6] Why Seek Birth In Pure Land And Not Be ‘Immortals’? 为何求生净土不做仙?

Sixth [Essay For] Arising [Of] Faith [In] Pure Land

[6] Why Seek Birth [In] Pure Land [And] Not Be ‘Immortals’?


[As the] Buddha’s eyes see immeasurable kalpas’ matters, thus since ancient [times], reaching now, [he is] without that not seen. Also admonishing people [with] false speech, definitely not personally with false speech deceiving people. Also admonishing people having self[‘s view], definitely not personally with having self[‘s view] boasting [to] people. Thus, his words truly can [be] learnt [and] followed.


According to [the] Śūraṅgama Sūtra, [it] says, ‘[There] are ten kinds [of] “immortals” [i.e. those with apparently ‘limitless’ yet actually limited lifespans], all [with] lifespans [of a] thousand [of] ten thousand years, [after their] numbers end, again entering rebirth.’ With not having understood [and] attained true nature thus, with [the] six paths’ sentient beings together, named [as the] seventh realms, [they] are all people within rebirth too. [Of] those people [of the] world learning [to be] ‘immortals’, [of] ten thousand, [there is] not one attaining [so]. Even if attaining it, likewise not avoiding rebirth, with attachment to [their] forms [and] consciousnesses, then not able [to be] abandoned too. Moreover, those forms [and] consciousnesses, [are] then [from] true nature within, those appearing as false thoughts, not as [that] true.


Thus [does] Hánshān’s Poetry [Collection]《寒山诗集》say, ‘Although you [have] attained [to be an] “immortal” person, [you are] just like [a] corpse-guarding ghost.’ [This is] not like Buddhism’s freedom [from] birth [and] death, then without that constrained.


Recently, since [the last] several hundreds [of] years, [of] those attaining [as] ‘immortals’, [there are] only [Hàn] Zhōnglí (汉钟离) [and] Lǚgōng [i.e. Lǚ Dòngbīn (吕洞宾)]. Yet, [of] those learning [to be like] Zhōnglí [and] Lǚgōng, [there are] not merely [a] thousand [of] ten thousand.


Among my personal relatives [and] friends, [their] numbers [are] likewise not few, [in the] end, [after] death, all buried in [the] earth below, [they] were throughout life, [with] emptily wasted mental effort, [in the] end without those benefitting too. Desiring [to] seek long life, [there is] none like [in] Pure Land. [As] those born [in] Pure Land, [are with] lifespans’ number [of years] immeasurable, they [are] of long lives also great.


Not knowing cultivation [of] this Dharma Door, then learning [to be] godly ‘immortals’, is [to] abandon [the] present beautiful jade, yet seeking [that] jade-like stone [which] cannot definitely [be] attained. How [is this] not confused?


[A] question says, ‘[As reaching] Pure Land [is] thus after closing eyes’ matter, [it] has what [for] verification?


[An] answer says, ‘[As] Pure Land Biographies [are] complete [with] records [of] connections [with] responses, how can [it be] without verification? Moreover, those [records of] godly “immortals”, having that attained, [are] then extremely secretive and not spread, with [doing so] called divulging [of] heavenly secrets, then having transgressions. [The] Buddha’s Dharma Doors only fear [having] spreading [that] is not extensive, directly desiring [to] completely deliver sentient beings, then ending. [This] is his loving-kindness [and] compassion, [with] extensiveness [and] greatness [that is] not easy [to] measure, not [that which those] of godly “immortals” can compare.’


Sòng [Dynasty’s] Wáng Rìxiū
Lóngshū’s Pure Land Text:
First Scroll: Nine Essays [On] Arising [Of] Faith [In] Pure Land

Namo Amituofo : Translation by Shen Shi’an

Previous Essay:

[5] Mistakes Of Impractically Speaking Of The Profoundly Wonderful While Denying There Is Pure Land

Next Essay:

[7] For Those Not Believing Cause And Effect, Not Believing In Pure Land

Nine Essays:

Lóngshū’s Pure Land Text:
[1] First Scroll: Nine Essays On Arising Of Faith In Pure Land, etc.

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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