[What The] Foolish And ‘Learned’ Might [Be] Ignorant About [The] Pure Land Dharma Door
Very often, [there] are foolish persons, lowly [and] inferior [with] self-reliance, [who do] not dare [to] undertake [the Pure Land Dharma Door (净土法门)].
[Note 1: This refers to the ignorant, who are neither well learned nor practised spiritually, who instinctively assume they are not good enough to take up Pure Land practice as they do not understand the great Other-power (他力) of the Buddha’s blessings available to them, while they are attached to their limited Self-power (自力).]
Also having those learned, [who] consider themselves [to be of the] Great Vehicle, [who assume it is] not worth cultivating.
[Note 2: This refers to the so-called ‘learned’, who are not as learned as they imagine, as they have yet to truly learn the Pure Land teachings, thus thinking they are too ‘high and superior’ to practise them. They are also attached to their limited Self-power, which is inadequate for non-retrogressible progress towards Buddhahood, especially in this Dharma-Ending Age (末法时期).]
[It] should [be] known [that] of people [with the] Five Heinous [Transgressions (五逆罪) and] Ten Evil [Karmas (十恶业)], [when] approaching [life’s] end [with] hell’s forms appearing, [when] good friends teach [them] with mindfulness [of] Buddha, [when] yet [to] fulfill ten recitations, [they can] receive [Amitābha] Buddha’s (阿弥陀佛) reception [and] guidance, [to be] reborn [in his] Western [Pure Land Of Ultimate Bliss (西方极乐世界)].
[Note 3: With profound Faith (深信) and sincere Aspiration (切愿) mindful of the Buddha’s name in time, between one to ten thoughts, or one to seven days, that also expresses deep repentance (忏悔) by default, the above is possible. The above most ‘extreme’ scenario is reflected in the last (ninth) grade of rebirth in the Contemplation Sūtra《观经》: https://purelanders.com/guanjing.]
With those lowly [and] inferior [with] self-reliance, [they] can give rise [to it].
[Note 4: When the Practice of mindfulness of Buddha is done according to Note 3, Self-power thus connects to Other-power’s great meritorious virtues (功德), making escape even from falling into the hells possible.]
[The] Flower Adornment, [this] one [sūtra, the] king of [the] Three Treasuries, [in the] end finally returns [to the] source, [having] Universal Virtue Bodhisattva, with [his] Ten Great Vows’ King, dedicating [for] rebirth [in the] Western [Pure] Land [Of] Ultimate Bliss. Universally encouraging [the youth] Good Wealth (善财童子) and [the] Flower Treasury’s ocean[-wide] assembly, [to] unanimously advance [in] practice, [to] seek birth [in the] Western [Pure and], in order [to] perfect [and] complete [the] Buddha fruit [too].
[Note 5: The Flower Adornment Sūtra《华严经》is called the ‘King Of The Sūtras’ (经中之王).]
[Note 6: The Three Treasuries are the Sūtra Treasury (经藏), Vinaya Treasury (律藏) and Treatise Treasury (论藏), with the middle treasury forming its core literally.]
[Note 7: ‘To return to the source’ refers to reaching the Land Of Ultimate Bliss, to ‘return’ to our Buddha-nature (佛性), for realising Buddhahood. Complete realisation of our Buddha-nature is the source of our Buddhahood.]
[Note 8: In the above sūtra’s last part is the Chapter On Universal Bodhisattva’s Practices And Vows《普贤菩萨行愿品》, which detail the dedication practice in his Tenth Great Vow, which all Bodhisattvas now and/or eventually practise, as can be seen at https://purelanders.com/xingyuan.]
Of this Dharma Door, who dares [to] see [it] as [of the] Small Vehicle?
[Note 9: With the Pure Land practice highlighted in the conclusive vow above, bearing in mind that seeking birth in the Pure Land is to most swiftly attain liberation for oneself, and for training, to most swiftly guide all other beings to liberation (through seeking birth in the Pure Land) too, this practice is clearly of the Great Vehicle.]
Moreover, Good Wealth already realised Equal Awakening, [and the] ocean[-wide] assembly, [are] all realised [as the] Dharma Body [Great Beings (法身大士) too].
[Note 10: Good Wealth was already a Great Bodhisattva (大菩萨) of the highest ground, while the other Bodhisattvas present were also already capable of manifesting as Buddhas to guide other beings.]
[If even] those still seek birth [there], who [am] I [to think] this [is] not worth cultivating?
[Note 11: If even these many Great Bodhisattvas all have to learn and practise the Pure Land teachings to swiftly progress towards Buddhahood, we who are far from being as great as them, should surely do so too.]
(Great Master Liánchí said, ‘Mindfulness [of] Buddha [to] seek birth [in the] Western [Pure Land], thus is [with] great virtues [and] great blessings, great knowledge [and] great wisdom, [as] great noble [ones and] great virtuous [ones’] practice, [for] transforming [the] Sahā [World to] become Pure Land, not [the] same [as a] small [and] unimportant cause [and] condition.’ – Compiler’s respectful note)
[Note 12: As this Sahā World is in the three realms (三界), while Pure Lands transcend the three realms (出三界), the above was not literally referring to making this world a Pure Land, but ‘making’ it a gateway to reach the Western Pure Land. For more on this, see https://purelanders.com/2022/06/07/how-pure-lands-transcend-the-three-realms.]
How [is this not] only [to] highly erect arrogance’s banner, [when it] is [to] directly slander [the] Flower Adornment [Sūtra too]?
[Note 13: To do so is also to slander all Buddhas, all of whom make it a point to teach the Pure Land teachings in all worlds, to most swiftly guide all beings to Buddhahood.]
Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
Dharma Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings (Second Compilation): Preface [For] Sincere Words [On] Mindfulness [Of] Buddha;
Record [Of] Great Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings’ Essence (9th Short Section): 1st [Chapter]: Praise [Of The] Pure Land [Dharma Door Being] Transcendental [And] Supreme (9th Short Section)
[Ref: #9 / 1.9]
Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an
Record Of Great Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings’ Essence
Chapter On Universal Bodhisattva’s Practices And Vows
How Pure Lands Transcend The Three Realms