Rejoice [For Being] Able [To] Meet [The] Great Vehicle’s Sūtras
[A] sūtra says, ‘[This] human body [is] difficult [to] attain, [and the] Buddha’s Dharma [is] difficult [to] hear.’ If not [in] past [lives] having causes [and] conditions, [of the] Buddha’s sūtras’ names, [one is] still not able [to] hear [them]. Moreover, [to] attain receiving, upholding, studying [and] reciting [of them, to] cultivate [the] cause [to] realise [the] fruit [of Buddhahood]?
[Note 1: The human life is not easy to attain because there must be more or less good observation of the Five Precepts (五戒), to abstain from (i) killing, (ii) stealing, (iii) sexual misconduct, (iv) lying and (v) intoxicants (杀盗淫妄酒). (Thus, those who do not observe these precepts well will lose the human life.) The Buddha’s Dharma is not easy to hear because there must be sufficient blessings and wisdom (福慧) to be able to encounter and understand it. (Thus, those who are not interested in learning it might further lose affinity with it.)]
Yet, that [the] Thus Come [One] speaks, truly relies [on the] principle that sentient beings’ immediate minds [are] originally complete, outside [their] mind-nature, completely without one Dharma [that] can [be] attained. [It is] only with sentient beings in confusion, [that they are] not able [to] understand clearly, ‘from’ True Suchness’ true forms within, illusorily giving rise [to] deluded thoughts [and] attachment.
[Note 2: The mind-nature (心性) has Buddha-nature (佛性), the potential to realise True Suchness (真如), which is the nature of reality, including oneself, for attaining Buddhahood (佛果).]
Due [to] now giving rise [to] greed, anger [and] delusion, creating killing, stealing [and] sexual [misconduct]. With confused ‘wisdom’ becoming afflictions, immediately [with that] constantly abiding, then ‘becoming’ rising [and] ceasing. Passing dust motes [of] kalpas, [with] that not able [to be] reversed.
[Note 3: The three poisons (三毒) of greed, anger and delusion (贪嗔痴) are the causes of breaking the precepts. For example, to have killing, stealing and sexual misconduct is to break the first three of the Five Precepts.]
Fortunately meeting [the] Thus Come [One], those spoken Great Vehicle’s all exoteric [and] esoteric sūtras, then knowing [that one’s] clothing’s gem [is] thus there, [that] Buddha-nature still exists. Even if [with] that guest [regarded] as [a] lowly person, [he] is originally [an] elder’s true son.
[Note 4: Based on two parables in the Dharma (Lotus) Flower Sūtra《法华经》, the precious gem sewn into one’s shabby clothing that one wears represents the already present Buddha-nature that one was not aware of. The lowly guest is the son of a forgotten rich host, who represents the Buddha, who has great wealth, which represents the rewards of Buddhahood. The son should know that he has the right to inherit this great wealth, by realising his Buddha-nature.]
[The] human [and] heavenly [of the] six paths, are not one’s dwelling places. True Rewards’ [Adornment Land (实报庄严土)] [and Eternal] Still Light’s [Land (常寂光土), are] then as [the] hometowns [we] originally have.
[Note 5: The six paths (六道) are those of hell-beings (地狱众生), hungry ghosts (饿鬼), animals (畜生), human beings (人), asuras (阿修罗) and heavenly beings (天人), are where we impermanently migrate, to and fro, while Pure Land (净土) is where we should ‘return’ to, with this representing permanent return to our Buddha-nature.]
[Note 6: The two lands are aspects of Pure Land, with True Rewards’ Adornment Land (实报庄严土) being where Bodhisattvas dwell, and the Eternal Still Light’s Land (常寂光土) being where the Buddha’s Dharma Body dwells.]
Recalling [that] from beginninglessness since, [when] yet [to] hear [the] Buddha speak, although then complete [with] this mind-nature, without end receiving rebirth in vain. [This is] truly worthy [of] painful crying [with] flowing tears, [with its] sound thundering [through the] great thousandfold [world, the] heart slice [by] slice split, [and] intestines cùn [by] cùn severed. [With] this kindness [and] these virtues, surpassing those [of the] heavens’ [and] earth’s fathers [and] mothers, how [are they] only [by a] thousand million times? Even if powdering [the] body [and] crushing [the] bones, how [is this] able [to] repay [them]?
[Note 7: The great thousandfold world (大千世界) is this galactic system.]
[Note 8: One cùn is a Chinese inch, which is 3.71475 centimetres.]
Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
Dharma Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings (First Compilation): Treatise [On With] Wholehearted Sincerity Then Obtaining True Benefits;
Record [Of] Great Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings’ Essence (216th Short Section): 5th [Chapter]: Encouragement [Of The] Mind [To] Dwell [In] Sincerity [And] Reverence (11th Short Section)
[Ref: #216 / 5.11]
Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an
Related Text: 《印光大师文钞菁华录》
Record Of Great Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings’ Essence