Differences [Between] Support-Chanting According With [The] Dharma And [With] ‘Three Periods’ Continuous Recitation’
‘Three Periods’ Continuous Recitation’, [is] but [by] later generations’ people that written, posing [with the] name of National Teacher Zhōngfēng. This book has two kinds, [with] styles largely [the] same, [but with] words not very similar.
Then [in] ordinary times, [with some] promoting its style, how can [it be] used for support-chanting? Support-chanting must focus single-mindedly [on] reciting [i.e. mindfulness] [of the] Buddha[‘s name] [i.e. Āmítuófó (阿弥陀佛)].
If reaching [when life] will end, [this is] furthermore [with the A]mitā[bha] Sūtra also not recited. Then can [this] lead people [at] life’s end, [to be with their] minds returning [to] one place [with reciting of the Buddha’s name only].
[According to] this book, [it is] then [with the] Dharma Master ascending [the] seat, together reciting with explaining [of] one section, [with the] great assembly seated, listening [to the] explanation completely, reciting once [the] Buddha[‘s name. It is] overarching with explaining as emphasis, [and] reciting [of the] Buddha[‘s name] as supportive. Those writers [of] this book, [thus] truly [did] not know [the] path of support-chanting. Yet, of those [in the] world [who do] not know [the] Pure Land Dharma Door, [they are] with [it] as support-chanting, [as a] Buddhist [funeral] practice. [This is] also regrettable.
[When] approaching [life’s] end [having] support-chanting, [be] with focused reciting [of the] Buddha’s name as [the] Main [Practice] [正行].
[注 (1)：可在 https://purelanders.com/2018/02/08/the-three-provisions 得知助行与正行的分别。]
[Note (1): On the differences between Supportive Practices and Main Practice, see https://purelanders.com/2018/02/08/the-three-provisions.]
Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
Third Reply Letter [To] Layperson Dépéi
东林寺方丈大安法师解释：《三时系念》有传说是中峰国师 [禅师] 所作的，但印祖 [净土宗十三祖印光大师] 说它是后人伪造的，假托中峰国师名义而已。它没有明确依照那部经典。它无非就是类似经忏的派头，念一段经，然后再唱一段佛号，然后再讲一段开示。假如你很好乐《三时系念》，偶尔尝试一下也好像没有多大问题，但是你不要把它看的很重要，非得说有多大功德，这就有点过分。…
Dōnglín Monastery’s Abbot Dharma Master Dà’ān’s Explanation: ‘Three Periods’ Continuous Recitation’ is said to be by National Teacher Zhōngfēng [Chán Master] that written, but [the Pure Land Tradition’s 13th] Patriarch [Great Master] Yìn[guāng] said it was by later generations’ people faked, under the guise of National Teacher Zhōngfēng’s name only. It does not clearly accord with any sūtra. It is nothing but that similar to the style of repentance chanting, with reciting of one sūtra section, then again chanting the Buddha’s name for one section, then again explaining one section. If you are very fond of ‘Three Periods’ Continuous Recitation’, occasionally trying it is also seemingly without big problems, but you must not see it as being very important, and must not say it has great meritorious virtues, as this will be somewhat going too far…
Pure karma’s practitioners must still be with wholehearted reciting [i.e. mindfulness] of the Buddha’s name as the best practice. Because ordinary sentient beings’ minds are scattered and confused, they might then like that bustling with ‘noise and excitement’. As ‘Three Periods’ Continuous Recitation’ has the style of repentance chanting, even in addition, with eating and drinking [in between], with that then, it is bustling with even more ‘noise and excitement’.
In reality, for true meritorious virtues, they are are still created with wholehearted reciting of the Buddha’s name, as being able to ‘gather the six roots, with pure mindfulness in continuous succession’ reciting the Buddha’s name, its meritorious virtues are very great. Regardless of, for transcendental deliverance, offering to the deceased, eliminating disasters, extending lifespans and other good aspirations, all are able to be truly attained. [The Pure Land Tradition’s 13th] Patriarch [Great Master] Yìn[guāng], regarding this, very much emphasised that when doing all kinds of Buddhist [funeral] practices, they should still be with wholehearted reciting of the Buddha’s name as the first and essential choice.
[注 (2)：关于丧礼助念，可在 https://purelanders.com/wake 看以念佛为正行（的念诵步骤）的例子，并在有需要时加长正行。关于临终助念，如链接中所述，应省略诵经。念诵步骤可重复一、二、三、四… 等次。关于非助念的个人修行，若目的是为往生净土，而培养与表达信愿行三资粮，念佛也应当作为正行。]
[Note (2): For wake support-chanting, an example of (recitation sequence with) ample recitation (i.e. mindfulness) of the Buddha’s name as the Main Practice can be seen at https://purelanders.com/wake, with this Main Practice extended as needed. For support-chanting when approaching life’s end, as stated in the link, sūtra recitation should be omitted. Recitation sequences can be repeated once, twice, thrice, four… or more times. For non-support-chanting personal practice, recitation of the Buddha’s name should be as the Main Practice too, if the objective is to nurture and express the Three Provisions of Faith, Aspiration and Practice for reaching Pure Land.]