Biographies

Biography Of The Thirteenth Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng 净宗十三祖印光大师传

出家法名:释印光(大师)  
地位:净土宗十三祖  
俗名:赵(姓)绍伊(名),子任(字)
出生地: 陕西郃阳(今合阳)
出生年:1861年
往生年: 1940年
代表作品:《印光法师文钞》(正、续、三编); 《印光大师全集》七册、《印光法师嘉言录》(李圆净居士辑)、《上海护国息灾法会法语》等

Monastic Dharma Name: Shì Yìnguāng (Great Master)
Status: Thirteenth Patriarch Of The Pure Land Tradition (School)  
Family Name: Zhào (Surname) Shàoyī (Name), Zirèn (Style Name)
Place Of Birth: Shǎnxī Province (present Héyáng County)
Year Of Birth: 1861 C.E.  
Year Of Rebirth: 1940 C.E.  
Best Known Works: Dharma Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings (First, Second, Third Compilation); Great Master Yìnguāng’s Complete Collection (Seven Volumes), Record Of Dharma Master Yìnguāng’s Excellent Words (by Layperson Lǐ Yuánjìng compiled), Shànghǎi Dharma Assembly For Protection Of The Country And Cessation Of Disasters’ Dharma Words, and others

印光大师生于1861年,俗姓赵,名绍伊,陕西郃阳人。幼随兄读儒书,颇以传承儒家圣学自任,应和韩欧辟佛之议。后来,病困数载,始悟前非,顿革先心,出世缘熟,即投终南山南台莲华洞寺出家,礼道纯和尚剃染。次年受具足戒于陕西安康县双溪寺。

Great Master Yìnguāng was born in 1861, in Shǎnxī Province’s Héyáng County, in a Zhào family and was named Shàoyī. When young, he followed his brother to study Confucianism and was inclined to take on propagation of Confucianism as his personal responsibility, echoing the criticism of Hán and Ōu to refute Buddhism. Later, when by sickness besieged for several years, he began to awake to his past wrongdoings, as he suddenly reformed his former thoughts. With his world-transcending conditions matured, he renounced his householder life at Liánhuádòng Monastery at the southern peak of Mount Zhōngnán under Venerable Dàochún to become a monk. In the following year, he received full ordination at Shǎnxī Province’s Ānkāng County, in Shuāngxī Monastery.

大师出生六个月有眼疾,几近失明,后来虽痊愈,而目力已损,稍发红,即不能视物。出家后,于湖北莲华寺充照客时,帮着晾晒经书,得读残本《龙舒净土文》,而知念佛往生净土法门是即生了生脱死的要道。

When Great Master was six months old, he had an eye disease and was on the verge of losing his sight. Although he recovered later, his eyesight was already impaired. When slightly reddish, he would then be unable to see. After his renunciation, while at Húběi’s Liánhuá (Lotus Flower) Monastery, he served as its guest attendant. When he was helping to sun its sūtra books, he chanced upon an incomplete version of Lóngshū’s Pure Land Text. He then came to know that the Dharma Door Of Mindfulness Of Buddha for rebirth in Pure Land is the essential path for liberation from the cycle of birth and death in this immediate life.

大师凡写字过多,眼睛发红如血灌。由此眼疾,深悟身为苦本,即于闲时专念佛号,夜众睡后,复起坐念佛;即写字时,亦心不离佛,故虽力疾力书,仍然勉强支持。后眼疾竟得痊愈。由此深信念佛功德不可思议,而自行化他,一以净土为归,便由此而始。大师修净土,久而弥笃。26岁时,到红螺山资福寺净土道场,入堂念佛,三载之中,念佛正行而外,研读大乘经典,妙契佛心,净业大进。

Whenever Great Master wrote too much, his eyes would turn red to become bloodshot. Due to this eye disease, he deeply awakened to the body as the root of suffering. Thus, whenever he had free time, he would focus on reciting the Buddha’s name (Āmítuófó: 阿弥陀佛). After the assembly went to sleep at night, he would again arise, to sit and recite the Buddha’s name. Even when writing, his mind also did not depart from the Buddha’s name. Therefore, although it was strenuous with the disease, he resolutely wrote on, and was still able to, with difficulty. The eye disease later completely healed. Due to this, he had profound faith that the meritorious virtues of reciting the Buddha’s name are inconceivable. Then was he with his personal practice transforming others, to first be with Pure Land as the destination for return, due to this, then beginning practice. Great Master cultivated the Pure Land path, over a long time and with complete sincerity. At 26, he arrived at the Pure Land’s practice centre at Mount Hóngluó’s Zīfú (Provision Of Blessings) Monastery to practise mindfulness of Buddha. Within three years, other than the Main Practice of mindfulness of Buddha, he studied the Great Vehicle’s sūtras. Through wonderful uniting with the Buddha’s mind, his cultivation of pure karma greatly advanced.

33岁时,应普陀山法雨寺化闻和尚请,护藏经南下,住法雨寺藏经楼闲寮,近20载,励志精修,深入经藏。间或受寺众坚请,乃为讲净土经典,讲毕,旋即闭关。斋房书“念佛待死”以自勉,学行倍进。大师出家30余年,始终韬晦,不喜与人往来,亦不愿人知其名字,长期昼夜持念阿弥陀佛名号,早证念佛三昧。

At 33, responding to the invitation of Venerable Huàwén of Mount Pǔtuó’s Fǎyǔ (Dharma Rain) Monastery to protect the treasury of sūtras, he went southwards and resided in an empty room in the sūtra repository tower of Fǎyǔ Monastery. For close to 20 years, he roused his resolve to diligently cultivate, and deeply entered the treasury of sūtras. Occasionally, perhaps receiving the monastery’s assembly’s strong invitation, he would then speak on the Pure Land sūtras. With speaking completed, he would soon after enter a solitary retreat. In his study room, he wrote, ‘With reciting of the Buddha’s name awaiting for death’. With this for self-encouragement, his learning and practice advanced by many folds. After Great Master’s renunciation, for more than 30 years, from the beginning to the end, he concealed to hide his talents. Not delighting in associating with many people, he also did not wish people to know his name. Over a long time, in day and night, he upheld Āmítuófó’s name, and soon attained Samādhi From Mindfulness Of Buddha.

晚年,大弘法化之余,于苏州报国寺方便闭关。1937年,于苏州灵岩山闭死关念佛,关中答一日本人的「近来动静」问题时,答云:「自到灵岩,任何名胜,均不往游,以志期往生,不以名胜介意故。」足证大师一生行化,以身弘法,但念无常,深心求生净土。

In his later years, other than greatly propagating the Dharma, he would at his convenience, have solitary retreats at Sūzhōu’s Bàoguó (Repayment Of The Country) Monastery. In 1937, at Sūzhōu’s Mount Língyán to have a mindfulness of Buddha retreat for a spiritual breakthrough, when Great Master replied to a Japanese person’s enquiry about his recent activities, he replied. ‘Since reaching Língyán, of whatever famous scenic place, of all, I will not go to visit them, with my aspiration hoping to be reborn in Pure Land, not with famous scenic places bothered thus.’ This was enough to prove that Great Master, with all of his life’s travels and teachings, and with his conduct propagating the Dharma, he was only mindful of impermanence, and resolutely sought rebirth in Pure Land.

1911年,大师52岁,高鹤年居士取大师文稿数篇,刊入上海佛学丛报,署名常惭。人虽不知为谁,而文字般若已足引发读者善根。徐蔚如、周孟由诸居士见之,一再搜集印祖文稿,刊为《印光法师文钞》,于商务印书馆、中华书局及佛学界内部广为制流通,印祖德名由此而腾誉海内外。

In 1911, when Great Master was 52, layperson Gāo Hènián obtained several of Great Master’s articles for publication in Shànghǎi Buddhist Studies Journal, with his signed name as Chángcán (Constantly Repentant). Although no one knew who he was, yet his words with Prajñā were already enough to inspire readers’ good roots to grow. When Xú Wèirú, Zhōu Mèngyóu and many other laypersons saw them, they repeatedly searched and collected Great Master’s articles, to be published as ‘Dharma Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings’, which was by the Commercial Press, Zhōnghuá Book Company and the Buddhist circle widely circulated. Great Master’s virtuous name, due to this, then became famous locally and overseas.

《文钞》实为大师弘法之缘起。由读《文钞》而倾慕大师道德,渴望列于门墙的善男信女,日益增多。或航海梯山而请求摄受,或鸿来雁往而乞赐法名,20余年,皈依大师座下者,不计其数。即依教奉行,吃素念佛,精修净业,得以往生西方净土的士女,不胜枚举。

With his ‘Collected Writings’, they truly marked the beginning of Great Master’s propagation of the Dharma. Due to reading of his ‘Collected Writings’, then greatly admiring the Great Master’s morality, good men and faithful women who desired to line up by his door and walls to be his disciples by the day increased to be many. Perhaps sailing by sea and climbing steps up mountains, then requesting to be accepted as disciples, or with letters to and fro then requesting to be given Dharma names. In more than 20 years, of those who took refuge through Great Master, their numbers cannot be counted. Thus, relying on his teachings for practice, of those eating as vegetarians, practising recitation of the Buddha’s name, and diligently cultivating pure karma, men and women who were able to attain rebirth in the Western Pure Land were too numerous to mention one by one.

凡乘愿再来的大菩萨,有应运与应劫之不同。值太平时代,是应运而生,乱世是应劫而生。净宗祖师中,慧远大师与印光大师是应劫而生。大师降生于清咸丰11年,正值英法驻军攻破北京。尔后,军阀混战,日寇侵华等等,在此华夏板荡,国人忧苦涂炭之际,大师高擎世法行善、出世法念佛求生净土的法炬,抚慰国人破碎的心灵,力敦信众明因慎果,急难苦厄时至诚持念南无观世音菩萨圣号,潜消厄难于未萌,以佛法挽狂澜于既倒,减轻民众的苦难,其难以言称的无形至德,较之于可见可闻的功德,亦难以比量。

All great Bodhisattvas who ride on their vows to come again, are different with those who respond to the occasion, and those who respond to disasters. Those encountering eras of great peace are those responding to the occasion then born. Those encountering chaotic periods are those responding to disasters then born. Within the Pure Land Tradition’s masters, Great Master Huìyuǎn and Great Master Yìnguāng were those responding to disasters then born. Great Master was born in the Qīng Dynasty’s Xiánfēng’s 11th year, just when the Anglo-French garrison troops attacked and broke through Běijīng. Thereafter, were incessant fights between warlords, Japanese bandits’ invasion of China and so on. At this time, with China in chaos and turmoil, and the country’s people at that time with worries, suffering and extreme distress, Great Master highly raised the Dharma torch of worldly Dharma for practising good, and the world-transcending Dharma of mindfulness of Buddha for seeking birth in Pure Land, to comfort the broken spirits of the country’s people, resolutely and sincerely urging devotees to understand causes, to be cautious of their effects, when in times of emergencies with difficulties, suffering and distress, to sincerely uphold the sacred name of Námó Guānshìyīn Púsà (Homage to and refuge in Contemplator Of The World’s Sounds Bodhisattva), to latently eliminate distress and difficulties when they are yet to bud, with the Buddha’s teachings pull up those in raging waves already fallen, to reduce and lighten the suffering and difficulties of the people. It is difficult to, with words, speak of his formless and utmost virtues. Comparing them with meritorious virtues that can be seen, that can be heard, they are also difficult to be with them inferred.

大师除了以文字般若与讲经说法的形式弘扬念佛法门外,还建立灵岩山寺十方专修净土道场,亲自立定规约章程,诚为末法丛林之表范。大师还将自己的香俸捐出(加之劝募),广印经书流通,创办弘化社。20余年,所印各种佛书,不下4-500万部,佛像亦在100万余帧,法化之弘,滂溥中外。

Other than using the formats of words with Prajñā and teaching of sūtras to speak the Dharma for propagating the Pure Land Dharma Door, Great Master also established Mount Língyán (Spirit Rock) Monastery as a ten-directional practice centre for cultivation of the Pure Land path. Personally and definitively establishing the terms of its constitution, it was truly as this Dharma-Ending Age’s model monastery. Great Master even contributed his allowance to encourage others to donate, to widely print sūtra books for circulation, founding Hónghuàshè (Great Transformation Society). For more than 20 years, all kinds of Buddhist books that were printed numbered not less than 4 to 5 million, with more than 1 million pictures of Buddha images, with this propagation of the Dharma to transform, that was voluminous and widespread, in China and beyond.

大师一生刻苦俭仆,注重惜福。衣食住等,皆极简单粗劣,力斥精美。食唯充饥,不求适口;衣取御寒,厌弃华丽。有供养珍美衣食,非却而不受,即转送他人。如果是普通物品,便令交库房,与大家共享,决不自用。洒扫洗涤,事事躬自操作。受请外出讲开示,虽为准备轿舆,亦不肯坐,以为折福故。大师自奉节俭,待人却甚为慈厚。凡善男信女供养的香敬,悉皆代人广种福田。用于流通经籍,救济饥贫,凡闻何方被灾告急,必尽力提倡捐助。悲愍苦难众生,无以复加。

Great Master was hardworking and frugal all his life, paying attention to cherishing of his blessings. His food, clothing, lodging and others were all extremely simple and coarse, as he strongly rejected the exquisite. He ate only to allay hunger, not seeking that to suit his taste. With clothing chosen only to keep out the cold, he rejected the flamboyant. When having offerings of delicious food and beautiful clothing, not only declining and not accepting them, he would then transfer them, to give them to others. If the offered items are ordinary objects, he would then order them to be turned over to the storeroom, with everyone together shared, definitely not with them for personal use. Sprinkling water and sweeping to wash and clean his room, everything was by himself handled. When receiving invitations to go out to speak and teach, although for him preparing a sedan chair, he would also be not willing to sit on it, seeing riding on it as losing his blessings thus. Great Master personally practised thriftiness. However, when treating people, he was with extremely great kindness. For all good men and faithful women who made offerings to him, he would, all on their behalf, widely plant them in fields of blessings. Using them to circulate sūtra texts, and to supply relief for the hungry and poor. Whenever hearing of wherever encountering disasters and in states of emergency, he would do his best to promote donations. With compassion sympathising with sentient beings having suffering and difficulties, it was utmost, without that to be added.

大师的净土思想上承古佛祖师之血脉,下契近代众生之根机,言言归宗,字字见谛,诚为一大光明藏所流现的诚谛法语,允为当代众生亟须研讨服膺之宝藏。大师淹贯各宗,世出世间知识学问渊,念佛修持早臻三昧,故其文字摄受力极强。大师净土思想宏富,兹撷其要者,以下略示。

Great Master’s Pure Land thought, from the above, succeeded the blood lineage of ancient Buddhas and Patriarchs, for the below, agreed with the roots and capacities of recent times’ sentient beings, with word by word returning to the source, word by word for seeing the truth. Truly as a great treasury of bright light that flows to present sincere and true Dharma words, his teachings were granted as a treasure for the present era’s sentient beings, that must be urgently discussed and kept in mind. As Great Master knew each Buddhist tradition deeply and widely, his worldly and world-transcending knowledge and learning was deep, and with mindfulness of Buddha’s practice already having reached samādhi, thus are his words with the power to gather, receive and protect, that is extremely strong. As Great Master’s Pure Land thought is vast and rich, now gathering their essentials, they are as below, briefly presented.

细读大师文钞,随时可以感受到大师为度我等众生出离生死苦海之苦切婆心。从佛法与众生根机的对应角度,大师为我们提供了最佳的抉择。大师云:药无贵贱,愈病者良;法无优劣,当机则妙。在昔之世,人根殊胜,知识如林,随修一法,则皆可证道。

With attentive studying of Great Master’s ‘Collected Writings’, one can at any time feel Great Master’s mind, to be with painstaking sincerity and benevolence, for delivering us and other sentient beings, to depart from suffering’s ocean of birth and death. From the perspective of correspondence between the Buddha’s teachings and sentient beings’ roots, Great Master already provided the most excellent choice for us. According to Great Master, medicine is without the noble and lowly, as that which heals sickness is good. The Dharma is without the good and bad, with that suiting capacities then wonderful. In times of the past, humans’ roots were excellent, with knowledge abundant like forests, with the cultivating of any one Dharma teaching, all then were able to realise the path.

即今之世,人根陋劣,知识希少,若舍净土,则莫由解脱。净土法门普被上中下根,统摄律教禅宗,如时雨之润物,若大海之纳川。偏圆顿渐一切法,无不从此法界流;大小权实一切行,无不还归此法界。不断惑业得预补处,即此一生圆满菩提。九界众生离是门,上不能圆成佛道;十方诸佛舍此法,下不能普利群萌。

In this immediate world now, with humans’ roots coarse and inferior, the knowledgeable are rare and few. If abandoning the Pure Land path, one is then without cause for liberation. The Pure Land Dharma Door universally covers those of high, medium and low roots, unifying and gathering all teachings of the Vinaya, Sūtra and Chán traditions. It is like timely rain that moisturises all living beings, and like the great ocean that receives all rivers. Of the partial and complete, sudden and gradual, of all Dharma teachings, none do not from this Dharma realm flow. With the Great and Small Vehicles, skilful and true, of all practices, none do not also return to this Dharma realm. Not needing to sever confusions and evil karma, yet attaining in advance the position of one lifetime to replacement, immediately in this one life attain perfect Bodhi. If the nine realms’ sentient beings depart from this door, those above will not be able to completely accomplish the Buddhas’ path. If the ten directions’ all Buddhas abandon this Dharma teaching, for those below, they will not be able to universally benefit sentient beings.

净土法门最妙最玄,下手易而成功高,用力少而得效速,全仗佛力。普被三根,不论富贵贫贱,老幼男女,智愚僧俗,士农工商,一切人等,皆能修习,咸可往生。是以千经万论,处处指归;往圣前贤,人人趋向。

The Pure Land Dharma Door is the most wonderful and most profound, with starting of its practice easy, yet with its success rate high, with exerting of efforts little, yet with attaining of results swift, this completely relies on the Buddha’s power. Universally covering the three roots, regardless of the rich or honoured, poor or lowly, old or young, male or female, wise or foolish, monastics or laypeople, of scholars, farmers, artisans, merchants and all other people, as all are able to practise it, all can be reborn in the Pure Land. Thus is it with thousands of sūtras and ten thousand treatises, that everywhere point to it for return. Of former nobles and past virtuous ones, everyone inclined towards it.

净土法门诚乃如来普度众生之要道,众生即生出苦之妙法。当今之世,纵是已成正觉之古佛示现,决不另于敦伦尽分,及注重净土法门外,别有所提倡。使达摩大师现于此时,亦当以仗佛力法门而为训导,时节因缘,实有根本。

The Pure Land Dharma Door is thus truly the essential path of the Thus Come Ones, for universally delivering sentient beings, and the wonderful Dharma for sentient beings to, in this immediate life, exit suffering. In the world of the present, even if ancient Buddhas who have already accomplished Right Awakening manifest, they definitely will not separately, away from ‘having harmonious human relationships, to the utmost fulfilling responsibilities, and paying of attention to the Pure Land Dharma Door’, have other teachings that are promoted. Even if Great Master Bodhidharma is present in this period, he will also be relying on this Dharma Door with the Buddha’s power, for teaching and guiding, with this timing as the cause and condition, and with true existence (absolute reality) as the root.

待续…
To be continued…

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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