Translations

How The Buddha Encouraged His Father The King And His Clanspeople To All Be Mindful Of Āmítuófó 佛陀如何劝父王族人都念阿弥陀佛

[佛陀如何劝父王族人都念阿弥陀佛]
[How The Buddha Encouraged His Father The King And His Clanspeople To All Be Mindful Of Āmítuófó]

[随着佛陀最好的的榜样,愿一切孝儿孝女也劝父母一心念佛。]
[Following the Buddha’s best example, may all filial sons and daughters encourage their Fathers and Mothers to be wholeheartedly mindful of Buddha too.]

佛为父王说念佛
[The] Buddha For [His] Father [The] King Speaking [Of] Mindfulness [Of] Buddha

《宝积经》云:「世尊父王,顶礼佛足,一心合掌,而白 [释迦牟尼] 佛言:『云何修行,当得诸佛之道?』

[The Great] Treasures’ Collection (i.e. Mahāratnakūṭa) Sūtra says, ‘[The] World-Honoured [One’s] Father [the] King, prostrated [at Śākyamuni] Buddha’s feet, wholeheartedly [with] joined palms, then [to the] Buddha said, “How [should we] cultivate practice, [so that we] will attain [the] path of all Buddhas?”

[Note 1: On behalf of the Sākyan clan, including himself, King Śuddhodana (净饭王) was asking his son, Śākyamuni Buddha (释迦牟尼佛: Awakened Sage Of The Sākyans) for the best method to attain Buddhahood (成佛).]

佛言:『一切众生皆即是佛,汝今当念西方世界阿弥陀佛。常勤精进,当得佛道。』

[The] Buddha said, “[As] all sentient beings all thus are ‘Buddhas’ [i.e. with Buddha-nature (佛性)], you now should [be] mindful [of the] Western [Pure] Land [Of Ultimate Bliss’] Āmítuófó [i.e. Amitā(bha) Buddha]. [With] constant diligence, [you] will attain [the] Buddhas’ path.”

[Note 2: All sentient beings are fundamentally Buddhas in the sense that they already have Buddha-nature (佛性), the pure potential to attain Buddhahood. With mindfulness of Āmítuófó, a Buddha who represents all awakened Buddhas and our unawakened Buddha-nature, there will be alignment and connection to his/their blessed virtues (福德), to awaken our Buddha-nature.]

王言:『一切众生云何是佛?』

[The] King said, “[Of] all sentient beings, how are [they] Buddhas?”

佛言:『一切法无生无动摇,无取捨,无相貌无自性。可于此佛法中,安住其心,勿信於他。』

[The] Buddha said, “All dharmas [are] without arising [and] without instability, without accepting [and] rejecting, without forms’ appearances [and] without self-nature. [You] can in this Buddha’s Dharma within, peacefully abide your minds, [and] not believe in others.”

[Note 3: All dharmas (法) are phenomena of mind (心) and matter (身), which are impermanent (无常). Exactly since they are changing from moment to moment, they are ultimately without that fixed arising (生) from, and that fixed ceasing (灭) forever. Thus, they are non-arising and non-ceasing (不生不灭), with no fixed forms or appearances, therefore without fixed natures.

This is while the Buddha’s Dharma (佛法) teachings, including that which says ‘sentient beings all have Buddha-nature’ (众生皆有佛性), and the Pure Land teachings are truly constant or permanent (常). Thus, there can be peaceful abiding upon the Buddha’s name (安住佛号), without need to focus on other teachings.]

尔时,父王,与七万释种,闻说是法,信解欢喜,悟无生忍。

At that time, [his] Father [the] King, with seventy thousand Sākyans, hearing [the] speaking [of] this Dharma, [with] Faith, understanding [and] joy, awakened [to] Non-Arising’s Forbearance.

[Note 4: As taught in the Contemplation Sūtra《观经》towards its end, ‘(A)ttaining sight of the Buddha’s body, and the two Bodhisattvas (i.e. Contemplator Of The World’s Sounds, Great Power Arrived). Their minds gave rise to joy, praising that never before had. Suddenly opening to understanding with great awakening, reaching Non-Arising’s Forbearance… (They) gave rise to Anuttara Samyak Saṃbodhi’s mind, and aspired to be born in that (Pure) Land… (A)ll will be reborn there.’ (得见佛身,及二菩萨 【观世音、大势至】。心生欢喜,叹未曾有。豁然大悟,逮无生忍。… 发阿耨多罗三藐三菩提心,愿生彼国… 皆当往生。)

As taught by the Pure Land Tradition’s 2nd Patriarch Great Master Shàndǎo (净土宗二祖善导大师) in his Commentary On The Contemplation Sūtra In Four Fascicles《观经四贴疏》on an earlier part of the sūtra, ‘Speaking (of) that ‘(with) minds joyful thus’, (on) that attained Forbearance, this (is) explained (as) Amitā(bha) Buddha land’s pure (and) bright lights, suddenly appearing before (the) eyes. How supreme (is this joyful [欢喜]) enthusiasm! Due (to) this joy thus, immediately attaining (the) Forbearance Of Non-Arising, also named (as) [1] Joy Forbearance, also named (as) [2] Awakening Forbearance, also named (as) [3] Faith Forbearance… This mostly is (the) Forbearance within (the) Ten Faiths (with Faith as essence [以信为体]), not (that from) understanding (and) practice already, (the) superior Forbearance (of the Ten Abodes [十住], Ten Practices [十行], Ten Dedications [十回向], and even Ten Grounds [十地], who have destroyed one grade of ignorance and more [破一品无明以上] which will be swiftly realised in Pure Land). (言「心欢喜故」,得忍者,此明阿弥陀佛国清净光明,忽现眼前,何胜踊跃!因兹喜故,即得无生之忍,亦名喜忍,亦名悟忍,亦名信忍。… 此多是十信中忍,非解行已上忍也。)

To note on seeing (the Buddha and his) Pure Land, Great Master Shàndǎo taught that ‘(if) personally, without (the Buddha’s) noble power’s unseen blessings, (of) that land, (with) what cause (can there be) attaining sight (of it)?’ (自非圣力冥加,彼国何由得睹?) Thus, sincere mindfulness for connection to the Buddha is key, especially when departing from this life.

As taught by the Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng (净土宗二祖印光大师) in his Reply Letter To Layperson Yuán Fúqiú《复袁福球居士书》, ‘True Non-Arising Forbearance, (is) truly not (a) small (attainment, as it is) thus (with) destroying (of) ignorance (to) realise Dharma-nature, (with) those lowest as (the) Complete Teachings’ First Abode Bodhisattvas, (who are) then (equivalent to those of the) First Ground of (the) Separate Teachings, how (can it be) discussed (as being) easy (to realise)?’ (真无生忍,实非小可,乃破无明证法性,最下者为圆教初住菩萨,即别教之初地也,谈何容易?)

However, the Pure Land Tradition’s (净土宗) Non-Arising Of Dharmas’ Forbearance (无生法忍) as above in the sūtra has these three aspects of meaning (三义) below:

[1] Joy Forbearance (喜忍) (from seeing the Buddha, Bodhisattva[s], their bright lights and/or the Pure Land, with the mind embracing joy) (见佛菩萨光明净土,心怀欢喜);
[2] Awakening Forbearance (悟忍) (from awakening to only needing Faith, Aspiration and Practice to connect to the Buddha’s power, to immediately be reborn in his Pure Land) (觉悟只要信愿行感通佛力,即可往生净土);
[3] Faith Forbearance (信忍) (from profound [i.e. deep] Faith that there will definitely be rebirth in his Pure Land) (深信决定往生净土).

These three aspects are reflected in the words. ‘(with) [3] Faith, [2] understanding (and) [1] joy, awakened (to) Non-Arising’s Forbearance’ (信解欢喜,悟无生忍). This ‘Special’ Dharma Forbearance is not from the common severing of ignorance and confusions. (此’特别’法忍非通途断无明惑。) With this attained, there will be non-retrogression (不退转) in progress towards Pure Land and Buddhahood.]

佛现微笑,而说偈曰:

[The] Buddha showed [a] smile, and spoke [these] verses:

『释种决定智,是故於佛法,
决信心安住。

人中命终已,得生安乐国,
面奉阿弥陀,无畏成菩提。』」

“[As the] Sākyans [have] definite wisdom,
therefore, of [the] Buddha’s Dharma,
[with the] definite faithful mind peacefully abide [in this.

When your] human lifespans end afterwards,
[you will] attain birth [in the] Land [Of] Peace [And] Bliss,
[to] face [and] receive Āmítuó[fó,
and] fearlessly accomplish [the] Bodhi [of Buddhahood].”‘

[Note 5: Those with definitive wisdom are able to have definitive Faith (信) and Aspiration (愿) (for birth in Pure Land [净土]), with the Practice (行) (of peacefully abiding upon Āmítuófó’s name to reach it, thus able to reach it for progress towards Buddhahood with the greatest of ease (自在). Those without adequate wisdom (and Faith) will not do so.

As Nāgārjuna Bodhisattva (龙树菩萨) taught in the Treatise On Perfection Of Great Wisdom《大智度论》, ‘The Buddha’s Dharma teachings are like the great ocean (in breadth of scope and depth of profundity), only by Faith are they able to be entered.’ (佛法如大海,唯信能入。)

This teaching being in the Treatise On Perfection Of Great Wisdom is very significant as it reminds us, that even to perfectly realise Great Wisdom, some Faith has to be developed first. Interconnectedly, as Faith should arise before wisdom, it is thus wise (i.e. with wisdom) to give rise to Faith.

The great importance of Faith applies to the Pure Land teachings too, for they are, as taught by Śākyamuni Buddha in the Amitābha Sūtra《阿弥陀经》, ‘difficult to believe Dharma teachings’ (难信之法). Thus, there must be more efforts to learn them, including by active enquiry, followed by sincere practice.]

《庐山莲宗宝鉴》念佛正教卷第二:第二章)
Mount Lú’s Lotus Tradition’s Treasury [Of] Reflections: 2nd Scroll [On] Mindfulness [Of] Buddha’s Right Teachings: 2nd Section
元·普度编
[By] Yuán [Dynasty’s Master] Pǔdù Compiled

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

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