[187] Śūraṅgama Sūtra’s Foremost Dharma Door《楞严经》之第一法门

[187] Śūraṅgama Sūtra’s Foremost Dharma Door


[Of this] one Śūraṅgama Sūtra, [when] those [who do] not know [the] Pure Land [Dharma Door (净土法门)] ‘study’ it, [they will] then [see it] as [a] principal proponent [for] disproving [the] Pure Land [Dharma Door. When] those [who] know [the] Pure Land [Dharma Door] study it, [they will] then [see it] as [a] good guide that propagates [the] Pure Land [Dharma Door].

[Note 1: Those who do not understand the Pure Land Dharma Door might focus on the twenty-four perfect penetrations (圆通) without Other-power (他力), while those who understand it will focus on the twenty-fourth perfect penetration in the Section On Great Power Arrived Bodhisattva’s Perfect Penetration With Mindfulness Of Buddha《大势至菩萨念佛圆通章》, for reaching Āmítuófó’s (阿弥陀佛) Pure Land (净土)].


Why [is it] with this said? [As] with [only] Self-power, awakening [to the] path is difficult, [while] Pure Land’s rebirth is easy [with Other-power’s (他力) support].


[There, of the] ten dharma realms’ causes [and] effects, each [and every] one [will be] understood clearly.

[Note 2: The ten dharma realms (十法界) are the realms of (i) hell-beings (地狱众生), (ii) hungry ghosts (饿鬼), (iii) animals (畜生), (iv) humans (人), (v) asuras (阿修罗), (vi) heavenly beings (天人), (vii) Voice-Hearers (声闻), (viii) Pratyekabuddhas (辟支佛), (ix) Bodhisattvas (菩萨) and (x) Buddhas (佛陀). With clear understanding of them is swift attainment of Buddhahood.]


If not relying [on the] Buddha’s power, although [of the Five] Aggregates breaking [free from] one [or] two, [it is] still possible [to become] possessed [by] demons [to] go mad, [with this] as hell’s seed.

[Note 3: The Five Aggregates (五阴) are form, feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness (色受想行识). The potential demonic disturbances related to the Five Aggregates are detailed in the sūtra’s Section On The Fifty Aggregates’ Demonic States《五十阴魔章》,with ten states linked to each aggregate.]


Furthermore, [on the] skills [needed for the] twenty-four perfect penetrations [without Other-power’s support, of] today’s people [in this Dharma-Ending Age (末法时期)], who [are] able [to] practise [them]?


[It is] only [with] like [a] child recollecting [the] mother then mindful [of the] Buddha, [that] all those [who] have [the sincere] mind, can all practise.


Only [needing to] attain pure mindfulness [in] continuous succession, one can personally realise samādhi.

[Note 4: Pure mindfulness of Buddha is with profound Faith (深信) and sincere Aspiration (切愿). The Samādhi (i.e. concentration) From Mindfulness Of Buddha (念佛三昧) is for attaining wisdom (智慧).]


[When] those [who] know [the] good [from the] ‘bad’ read this, [how can] they [be] willing, [to] only [and] mainly [be with] Self-power, [and] not rely [on the] Buddha’s power [too]?


Those [who do] not know [the] good from [the] ‘bad’ [are the] opposite [of] this. With them stopping [at the] desire [to be known] as extensive ‘experts’ [in many teachings, but] without [the] intention [to be] liberated [from the cycle of] birth [and] death.

Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
Dharma Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings (Second Compilation): Seventh Reply Letter [To A] Certain Yǒngjiā Layperson;
Record [Of] Great Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings’ Essence (187th Short Section): 4th [Chapter]: Discussion [On] Births’ [And] Deaths’ Great Matter: Second, Teachings [On] Focusing [On] Relying [On The] Buddha’s Power (3rd Short Section)
[Ref: #187 / 4.2.3]

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

Related Text:

Record Of Great Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings’ Essence

More Notes:

[5] The Śūraṅgama Sūtra《楞严经》is the first sūtra to disappear in this Dharma-Ending Age (末法时期), while the Immeasurable Life Sūtra《无量寿经》 : will be the last, to be specially safeguarded by the Buddha, as it contains the last feasible path to liberation.

[6] Some of the reasons why the Śūraṅgama Sūtra will be the first to disappear are due to its emphasis on [i] morality, in its Section On Four Kinds Of Clear Instructions《四种清净明诲章》:, [ii] the dangers of wrong Self-powered meditative practice (自力禅修), in its Section On The Fifty Aggregates’ Demonic States’《五十阴魔章》, [iii] and its connection to the last possible path to liberation in this era, in its Section On Great Power Arrived Bodhisattva’s Perfect Penetration With Mindfulness Of Buddha《大势至菩萨念佛圆通章》:

[7] When these three sections are misunderstood or neglected respectively, there will be [i] rampant evil, (with many becoming immoral; being without precepts), [ii] much spiritual chaos, (with evil ‘concentration’ [邪定]; without right concentration [正定]) and [iii] no path for liberation, (with much delusion; without essential wisdom). With these fundamental aspects, [i] Precepts, [ii] Concentration and [iii] Wisdom (戒定慧) of the Threefold Learning (三学) increasingly ruined worldwide, this is ending of the Dharma‘s essence, thus deepening the Dharma-Ending Age.

[8] The Pure Land Tradition’s Main Practice (正行), although seemingly simple, already contains the essence of Threefold Learning. [i] With sincere mindfulness of Āmítuófó’s sacred name (阿弥陀佛), that tunes to one’s Buddha-nature (佛性), evil is avoided, thus upholding the precepts. [ii] With increasingly focused practice, thus will concentration deepen. [iii] With the mind becoming more calm, it will also become more clear, as the innate wisdom of one’s Buddha-nature is revealed.

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

Related Teachings:

What Are The Three Most Important Sections In The Śuraṅgama Sūtra?
Verses On Three Sections
Verses On Becoming Noble Persons

The Great Buddha Crown’s Śūraṅgama Sūtra’s Section On Great Power Arrived Bodhisattva’s Perfect Penetration With Mindfulness Of Buddha

Buddha Mindfulness As Threefold Learning

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