Preface Of Meritless Old Man’s ‘Record Of Confidence In Pure Land’ 无功叟《净土自信录》序

[9] Ninth [Of ‘The] Pure Land [Tradition’s] Ten Essentials’: Appendix Two

Preface [Of] Meritless Old Man’s ‘Record [Of] Confidence [In] Pure Land’


Of ancient [times’] great noble ones, [who] established words [with] bequeathed teachings, [for] reaching of [a] hundred generations below, their aspirations [are] still elegant, but not yet unimpeded, obscured then [to] those yet [to] understand, [with] them having hindrances. Even [for] our Buddha’s Pure Land Dharma Door, [it] is [thus] too.


I [have] completely read all [the] sūtras, [to] deeply seek their purpose, [and on] rebirth [in Pure Land’s] meritorious virtues. With one statement summarising them, saying, ‘[They] are [for] ordinary beings [to] obtain non-retrogression only.’ Why thus?


[In] this land cultivating practice, [with the] Complete Teaching’s First Faith, [or the] Small Vehicle’s First Fruit, evil views and [the] three poisons [will] forever not arise. [It is with] this [then], as severing [of] confusions [and] giving rise [to] awakening, beginning [to] enter [the] noble stream. Then transcending [to be] born not ignorant [of] that they realised, [with] this surpassing [the] four realms [of hell-beings (地狱), hungry ghosts (饿鬼), animals (畜生) and asuras (阿修罗)], not losing human [and] heavenly [paths].


Speaking of [those] within ordinary beings’ ground, although subduing confusions [and] giving rise [to] awakening [as] Bodhisattvas, once passing changes of birth [and] death, [they will] then forget that they realised [and] that cultivated. Therefore [when] encountering conditions, perhaps retrogressing, still [as] those falling [into] suffering’s realms, possibly having them [there].


Speaking of Ordinary [And] Noble [Beings’] Together Dwelling Pure Lands, like [that in the] Land [Of] Ultimate Bliss [and] others, although complete [with the] three realms’ [beings born there, they] only have human [and] heavenly [beings (in appearance)]. Thus, all those containing consciousnesses [who] obtain birth [there, will] immediately long depart [from the] four realms.


Also [having] supporting conditions great [and] complete, [and] lifespans’ numbers [that] cannot [be] measured. Even if [with] extremely dull roots, once born [to be] permeated [with] cultivation [there], without [those] not realising noble fruits, [how] can [they] again have [the] matter [of] retrogression? [The] Thus Come [One’s] original intention of praising [and] encouraging [the Pure Land Dharma Door, is] no more than [for] this.


Moreover, [for those with] Complete [Teaching’s] capacity [to] realise [the] path, [this] is [for attaining the] most supreme pure karma. If [with] additional aspirations guiding [them, they will] immediately in advance [have] superior grades. If [there are] those [of the] foolish [and] simple grade, those only able [to] recite [the] Buddha[‘s name, and] give rise [to] Aspiration [for birth there, it is] yet [to be] without [those] not reborn [there]. Alas! Contemplating [the] Pure Land, [this] one [Dharma] Door, then knowing noble persons [are] without [any] abandoned beings.


Of those persons guarding [their] delusions emptily, imitating [those] without obstacles [yet] without cultivation, giving rise [to] self-obstructing minds, cutting [off] others’ learning paths, thus loudly speaking these words, ‘[As] Pure Land [practice is an] insignificant matter, what [is] worth speaking [about this]?’ How [is this] not pitiable?

Namo Amituofo : Translation by Shen Shi’an

Related Teachings:

The Pure Land Tradition’s Ten Essentials

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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