Upholding Āmítuófó’s Name Is The Good Of Good, The Blessing Of Blessings 持佛名号即善中之善,福中之福

Upholding [Āmítuófó’s] Name Is [The] Good Of Good, [The] Blessing [Of] Blessings

△ Second, [is] starting [of] practice, divided [into] two [parts]: first, [is on] choice [of] other practices, second, [is on] guidance [of] Main Practice. △ Now, [is the] first


[Sūtra]: Śāriputra, [one] cannot, with few good roots [and] blessed virtues, [as] cause and condition, attain birth [in] that land.


[Commentary]: Continuing [on the] above speaking, all sentient beings [are] easy [to] approach, [while] good assemblies [are] difficult [to be] close [to], furthermore, [for the] gathering of most superior good persons, how can [it be] with few good [roots and] few blessed [virtues] then attaining birth too?


Of [these] within, [Great Master] Língzhī [was] with good roots as [the] Main Practice, belonging [to that] of upholding [Āmítuófó’s] name, [and] with blessed virtues as Supportive Practices, belonging [to that] of pure karma. [On the] Three Blessings, [the] Hǎidōng [Commentary《海东疏》is] however generally with much good [roots and] much blessed [virtues] [i.e. blessings] as Main Practice, saying [it] is [‘to] give rise [to the] Bodhi Mind’, [and] with few good [and] few blessings as [a] Supportive Practice, saying [it] is [to] ‘firmly uphold [Āmítuófó’s] name’. [As these] two contradict each other, now [with] both becoming harmonious [to] meet, saying desiring birth [in] that land, needs much good roots [and] much blessings, now [is] upholding [Āmítuófó’s] name thus [the] good of good within, [the] blessing of blessings within, [it is] precisely so-called [‘to] give rise [to the] Bodhi Mind’, then as [the] great cause [and] condition [for] birth [in] that land too.


[Collected Writings]: That [part] contradicting each other, [is] one with upholding [Āmítuófó’s] name belonging [to] Main [Practice, and the other] one with upholding [Āmítuófó’s] name belonging [to] Supportive [Practices, with these] two [ways of] speaking contradictory. Yet, this sūtra’s main point, precisely emphasizes upholding [Āmítuófó’s] name. If [with] upholding [Āmítuófó’s] name as [a] Supportive Practice, then [with the] lower text’s ‘hear [this] said [about] Amitā[bha] Buddha, firmly uphold [Āmítuófó’s] name’, how [is its] meaning connected? [With] Supportive Practice [as] upholding [Āmítuófó’s] name, [it is] absolutely without this reason.


Also, [Great Master] Língzhī [was] with [the] Contemplation Sūtra’s Three Blessings matching these blessed virtues, however [with the] Third Blessing’s [‘to] give rise [to the] Bodhi Mind’ thus becoming [a] Supportive Practice, with [the] Hǎidōng [Commentary’s] Bodhi Mind as Main Practice, [these] two [are] also contradictory. Yet, [as the] Contemplation Sūtra [is] with [the] Three Blessings as pure karma’s right causes, thus [is a] Supportive Practice [as the] Bodhi [Mind] also without this reason. Now, [with] that [of] both [the Amitā(bha) Sūtra and the Contemplation Sūtra] becoming harmonious [to] meet, [they are] still with upholding [Āmítuófó’s] name as Main Practice, again with [‘to] give rise [to the] Bodhi Mind’, thus [with] both obtaining [from their] two sides, then harmoniously meeting [with] their meanings too.


[Of] those good roots, [the] Contemplation Sūtra [is] then in accordance with [the] above Third Blessing’s [‘to] give rise [to the] Bodhi Mind’, [and the] Greater Version [is] then [with the] Three Grades [of] rebirth, all speaking [of ‘to] give rise [to the] Bodhi Mind’. According [to] these, then giving rise [to] ordinary beings’ mind, [this] is called without good roots. Giving rise [to] Voice-Hearers’ mind, those not giving rise [to the] Bodhi Mind, are called [to be with] few good roots too.

[Note 1: According to the Pure Land Tradition’s 9th Patriarch Great Master Ǒuyì (净土宗九祖蕅益大师) in his ‘Essential Explanation Of The Amitā(bha) Sūtra As Spoken By The Buddha’《佛说阿弥陀经要解》, ‘With profound (i.e. deep) Faith giving rise to the Aspiration (to be born in Āmítuófó’s Pure Land), this is unsurpassable Bodhi(citta) (i.e. Bodhi Mind: 菩提心)… The “Larger Version Of The Amitā(bha) Sūtra” (i.e. Immeasurable Life Sūtra《无量寿经》), is likewise with giving rise to the Bodhi Aspiration (i.e. Bodhicitta) as essential (in its section on the Three Grades [三辈] of rebirth in Pure Land), which is exactly with this, the same (in meaning). (深信发愿,即无上菩提。… 大本《阿弥陀经》,亦以发菩提愿为要,正与此同。]

福德者,《观经》则「孝养父母」等,《大本》 则「修诸功德」等。据此,则施、戒等,乃至立寺、造像、禅诵、苦行一切福业,舍置不作,是谓无福德。但作此福,种人天小果有漏之因,是谓少福德也。   

[Of] those blessed virtues, [the] Contemplation Sūtra [is] then [with to ‘have] filial support [of their] fathers [and] mothers’ [and] others, [and the] Greater Version [is] then [with] ‘cultivate all meritorious virtues’ [and] others. According [to] these, then [with] giving, precepts [and] others, and even erecting monasteries, making statues, meditation, recitation [and] ascetic practices, all [their] blessed karma, abandoned [and] set aside, not doing [them, this] is called without blessed virtues. [To] only create these blessings, [is to] plant [the] causes [of] human [and] heavenly [beings’] small fruits with outflows, [and] are called [to be with] few blessed virtues too.

[Note 2: Also taught by the 9th Patriarch in Spirit Peak Tradition’s Treatise《灵峰宗论》, ‘With Faith and Aspiration already complete, recitation of (Amitābha) Buddha’s name (i.e. Āmítuófó: 阿弥陀佛) is then as the Main Practice, while correction of evil and cultivation of good are all as Supportive Practices. (信愿既具,念佛方为正行,改恶修善皆为助行。)]


That good within good, naturally has five meanings, complete with [the Great] Wisdom’s [Perfection] Treatise’s《大智度论》five Bodhi Minds thus. 


First, aspiring mind’s Bodhi, [is that] called, in immeasurable births [and] deaths within, [for] giving rise [to the] great Bodhi Mind too. And upholding [Āmítuófó’s] name, precisely [is to], in ordinary beings’ minds [of] births [and] deaths within, give rise [to] great awakening thus.


Second, subduing mind’s Bodhi, [is that] called severing [of] all afflictions, [for] subduing that mind too. And upholding [Āmítuófó’s] name, then [is with] Right Mindfulness, only then clear, [with] afflictions self-extinguishing thus.


Third, understanding mind’s Bodhi, [is that] called completely understanding all dharmas’ true form too. And upholding [Āmítuófó’s] name, [is] precisely [and] immediately this one mind, [that] clearly understands all dharmas’ true form thus.


Fourth, exiting [and] arriving Bodhi, [is that] called attaining Non-Birth’s Forbearance, [for] exiting [the] three realms, [and] arriving [at] sarvajña [i.e. omniscience] too. And upholding [Āmítuófó’s] name, immediately attains [the] First, Second [and] Third Forbearances, [to] quickly transcend [the cycle of] birth [and] death, [and] hasten [towards] all[-knowing] wisdom thus.


Fifth, unsurpassable Bodhi, [is that] called sitting [in the] place [for realising the] path, [for] accomplishing [the] Most Right Awakening too. And upholding [Āmítuófó’s] name, then attains non-retrogression’s ground, directly until accomplishing Buddhahood thus.

Pure Land Tradition’s 8th Patriarch Great Master Liánchí
(Collected Writings [On] Commentary [On The] Sūtra [In Which The] Buddha Speaks [Of] Amitā[bha Buddha])

Namo Amituofo : Translation by Shen Shi’an

Following Teaching:

Āmítuófó Is The Same As Unsurpassable Bodhi, The Good Of Good, The Blessing Of Blessings

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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