If Abandoning Mindfulness [Of] Buddha, [We Are] Absolutely Without Hope
[The] Thus Come [One’s] noble teachings, [are with] Dharma doors immeasurable. Accordingly relying [on] one Dharma [door], with [the] Bodhi Mind practising, all can [be] liberated [from the cycle of] birth [and] death, [to] accomplish [the] Buddha path. However, for [those] cultivating, and yet [to have] realisation before, [there] are great differences of difficulty [and] easiness, swiftness [and] slowness.
[Note 1: The Bodhi Mind (菩提心) is Bodhicitta, the aspiration to guide one and all to Buddhahood (佛果).]
[For] seeking that utmost complete [and] utmost sudden [awakening, the] most simple [and] most easy [method, that] accords [with] principles [and] accords [with spiritual] capacities, immediately [with that] cultivated immediately [as our] nature, [with the] three roots universally covered, [the] sharp [and] dull completely gathered, as [the] home [to] return [to], of [the] Vinaya, Teachings, Chán [and] Esoteric, all [these] traditions, as [the] shortcut of human [and] heavenly [beings], ordinary [and] noble [beings, to] realise [the] truth, none [are] like [with] Faith [and] Aspiration mindful [of the] Buddha[‘s name (Āmítuófó: 阿弥陀佛) to] seek birth [in his] Western [Pure Land, this] one Dharma [door].
[Note 2: That immediately cultivated is mindfulness of Buddha (念佛), which immediately corresponds with our Buddha-nature (佛性), our potential to become Buddhas. The three roots (三根) are low roots (下根), medium roots (中根) and high roots (上根), with low roots also called dull roots (钝根), and high roots also called sharp roots (利根). Those with medium roots are with average dullness and average sharpness.]
[Note 3: The key Five Traditions (五宗) are the Vinaya, Teachings, Chán, Esoteric and Pure Land (律教禅密净) traditions. Briefly, the (i) Vinaya Tradition (律宗) focuses on strict upholding of the precepts (持戒), to purify the three karmas (三业) of body, speech and mind. The (ii) Teachings Tradition (教宗) focuses on studying the sūtras’ teachings (经教), to rely on their teachings to cultivate contemplation (依教修观). The (iii) Chán Tradition (禅宗) focuses on Self-powered (自力) meditation (禅修) to see one’s nature (见性). The (iv) Esoteric Tradition (密宗) focuses on forming of mudrās (结印), upholding of mantras (持咒) and visualisations (观想), to empower the three samayas (mysteries) (三密加持) of body, speech and mind. The (v) Pure Land Tradition (净土宗) focuses on the Practice (行) of mindfulness of Buddha (念佛), with profound Faith (深信) and sincere Aspiration (切愿), for reaching his Pure Land, to most swiftly expedite progress to Buddhahood for one and all.]
[This is] really because all Dharma doors, all rely [on] Self-power, [while the] Dharma Door [Of] Mindfulness [Of] Buddha, simultaneously relies [on the] Buddha’s power. Relying [on] Self-power, [if] not [with] afflictions [and] confusions severed completely, [one is] not able [to] transcend [and] exit [the] three realms. Relying [on the] Buddha’s power, if [with] Faith [and] Aspiration true [and] sincere, immediately can [there be] ascent [of the] nine lotus [grades].
[Note 4: The three realms (三界) are the (i) desire realm, (ii) form realm and (iii) formlessness realm, with the transcending and exiting (超出) of which is to be liberated (解脱), or to reach Pure Land (净土), where liberation is assured. The nine lotus (九莲) grades can be seen at https://purelanders.com/guanjing.]
[Note 5: In this era, it is already extremely difficult, or as the Great Master taught, impossible to rely on only Self-power (自力) for self-liberation in this lifetime, what more to attain Buddhahood. As all Dharma doors rely upon Self-power, the Two-powered (二力) Pure Land path does too. However, it combines our limited Self-power with the great Other-power (他力) or Buddha’s power (佛力) of Āmítuófó, for the crucial connection and support to reach his Pure Land, thus enabling swiftest progress towards Buddhahood there. With interconnection to all other Buddhas, this Other-power is all Buddhas’ united power of blessings too.]
Of people nowadays, [in this Dharma-Ending Age, if there are] those desiring [to, in this] present life, [accomplish the] great matter [of] liberation [from the cycle of] birth [and] death, abandoning this one Dharma [door], then [are they] absolutely without hope.
[Note 6: In this Dharma-Ending Age (末法时期), the quality of the Buddha’s Dharma (佛法) being learnt, practised, realised and shared is in general decline.]
[It] must [be] known [that the] Pure Land Dharma Door, [is with every] Dharma [door] perfectly penetrated. Like [the] bright moon magnificent [in the] sky, [is in every] river together reflected. [Like] mercury falling [to the] ground, [is with every] drop equally round.
[Note 7: Within the Pure Land Dharma Door (净土法门) Of Mindfulness Of Buddha (念佛法门), is the essence of all other Dharma doors as they are all interconnected, with mindfulness of Buddha being the fundamental core.]
Not only for those investigating things [to] arrive [at] knowledge, [also for] studying principles [to] completely [understand human] nature, [for] awakening [the] world [and] enlightening people, [for] ruling countries [and bringing] peace [to] regions, [it] has great benefits.
Even [for] scholars, farmers, artisans, merchants, [who] desire [to] develop their undertakings, [the] old [and] young, males [and] females, those desiring [to] eliminate their sicknesses [and] suffering, [they are] without [those] not accordingly [with] connections and responses, [to their] liking, fulfilling [their] aspirations.
[Note 8: Sincere mindfulness of Buddha is thus like a wish-fulfilling gem (如意珠), that accords with all wishes aligned with the Dharma.]
Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
Dharma Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings (Second Compilation): Preface [For] ‘Wúxī Pure Karma Society’s Annual [Publication]’;
Record [Of] Great Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings’ Essence (10th Short Section): 1st [Chapter]: Praise [Of The] Pure Land [Dharma Door Being] Transcendental [And] Supreme (10th Short Section)
[Ref: #10 / 1.10]
Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an
Record Of Great Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings’ Essence