Home » Excerpts » [5] How Can Ordinary Beings Reach Pure Land?

净土十疑论
The Treatise On Ten Doubts About Pure Land

隋天台智者大师著
Written by Sui Dynasty’s Tiantai Tradition’s Great Master Zhizhe (538–597 CE)
优婆塞沈时安英译
Translated to English by Upāsaka Shen Shi’an (2014 CE)
[This improved version replaces previous versions]

疑: 具缚得生
The Fifth Doubt: Doubt Of Attaining Birth Despite Being Bound

问:「具缚凡夫,恶业厚重,一切烦恼,一毫未断。西方净土,出过三界,具缚凡夫,云何得生?」

Question: Bound ordinary beings have evil karma that is thick and heavy, with all afflictions, that are not in the least severed. As the Western Pure Land [of Amitā(bha) Buddha (Amituofo)] transcends the three spheres, how can bound ordinary beings attain birth there?

答:「有二种缘。一者,自力。二者,他力。

Answer: There are two kinds of conditions. The first, is Self-Power. The second, is Other-Power.

自力者,此世界修道,实未得生净土。

Practitioners with Self-Power, who cultivate the path in this world, in reality, still cannot attain birth in [the] Pure Land [of Amitā(bha) Buddha (Amituofo)].

是故《璎珞经》云:『始从具缚凡夫,未识三宝,不知善恶因之与果。初发菩提心,以信为本。

Thus, the Garland Sūtra81 says, ‘From the beginning as bound ordinary beings, they have yet to know the Triple Gem,82 also not knowing the causes of good and evil, and their effects. Those who have just given rise to Bodhicitta, [should cultivate] faith83 as their fundamental practice.

住在佛家,以戒为本。受菩萨戒,身身相续,戒行不阙,经一劫、二劫、三劫,始至初发心住。

To abide in the family of the Buddha[s],84 [they should uphold the] precepts as their fundamental practice. Receiving the Bodhisattva precepts,85 life after life continually, if the practice of precepts is not transgressed, passing one kalpa, two kalpas, three kalpas, then can they attain the First Abode Of Aspiration To Bodhicitta.

如是修行十信、十波罗蜜等无量行愿,相续无间,满一万劫,方始至第六正心住。若更增进,至第七不退住,即种性位。』

Thus cultivating the Ten Faiths,86 Ten Pāramitās87 et cetera, with immeasurable practices and vows, continually and without interruption, fully for ten thousand kalpas, then can they attain the Sixth Abode Of Right Mind. If they progress even further, they will attain the Seventh Abode Of Non-Retrogression, which is the Stage Of Seed-Nature.’88

此约自力,卒未得生净土。

This is about Self-Power. After all, they still cannot attain birth in [the] Pure Land [of Amitā(bha) Buddha (Amituofo)].

他力者,若信阿弥陀佛大悲愿力,摄取念佛众生,即能发菩提心,行念佛三昧,厌离三界身,起行施戒修福,于一一行中,回愿生彼弥陀净土,乘佛愿力,机感相应,即得往生。

Practitioners with Other-Power, if they have faith that Amitā[bha] Buddha’s [Amituofo] great compassionate power of vows, can gather sentient beings mindful of [Amitā(bha)] Buddha [Amituofo], and are able to give rise to Bodhicitta, practise the Samādhi From Mindfulness Of Buddha, have Revulsed Renunciation89 of this body in the three spheres, begin practising generosity, upholding of precepts and cultivating of blessings, and in the course of each practice, dedicate the meritorious virtues for the aspiration to be born in that Pure Land of Amitā[bha] Buddha [Amituofo], riding on the Buddha’s power of vows, there will be correspondence of potential and response, and they will immediately attain rebirth there.

是故《十住婆沙论》云:『于此世界修道有二种。一者,难行道。二者,易行道。

Thus, the Ten Abodes Vibhāṣā Treatise says, ‘In this world, there are two kinds of ways to cultivate the path. The first, is the Path Of Difficult Practice. The second, is the Path Of Easy Practice.

难行者,在于五浊恶世,于无量佛时,求阿鞞跋致,甚难可得。此难,无数尘沙,说不可尽。略述三五。

Practitioners of the Difficult Practice, in this evil period of the five defilements, and the ages of immeasurable Buddhas, seek the fruit of Avaivartikas,90 which is extremely difficult to attain. These difficulties, innumerable as motes of dust and grains of sand, cannot be completely spoken of. To briefly state are a few.

一者,外道相善,乱菩萨法。

The first, is that external paths’ forms of practices resembling goodness confuse Bodhisattvas’ Dharma practices.

二者,无赖恶人,破他胜德。

The second, is that shameless evil persons destroy their excellent virtues.

三者,颠倒善果,能坏梵行。

The third, is that inverted fruits of goodness are able to destroy pure practices.

四者,声闻自利,障于大慈。

The fourth, is that they might seek Śrāvakas’91 self-benefits, which obstruct great loving-kindness.

五者,唯有自力,无他力持。

The fifth, is that they only have Self-Power, without Other-Power for support.

譬如跛人步行,一日不过数里。极大辛苦,谓自力也。

For example, a lame person walking on foot in a day cannot go beyond a number of miles. With extremely great hardship, this is the meaning of Self-Power.

易行道者,谓信佛语,教念佛三昧,愿生净土。乘弥陀佛愿力,摄持决定, 往生不疑也。

For practitioners of the Path Of Easy Practice, this means having faith in the Buddha’s words, that teach the Samādhi From Mindfulness Of Buddha, and aspiring for birth in Pure Land. Riding on Amitā[bha] Buddha’s [Amituofo] power of vows, which will definitely gather and protect, they will be reborn [in his Pure Land], without any doubt.

如人水路行,藉船力故,须臾即至千里,谓他力也。

Like a person by a waterway travelling, thus relying on the power of a boat, in a short while reaching one thousand miles, this is the meaning of Other-Power.

譬如劣夫,从转轮王,一日一夜周行四天下,非是自力,转轮王力也。』

For example, an inferior man, following a Wheel-Turning King,92 can within one day and one night, traverse around the four continents, not with Self-Power, but the Wheel-Turning King’s power.’

若言有漏凡夫不得生净土者,亦可有漏凡夫应不得见佛身。然念佛三昧,并无漏善根所起,有漏凡夫,随分得见佛身粗相也,菩萨见微细相。

If one says ordinary beings with outflows93 cannot attain birth in that Pure Land, this likewise says ordinary beings with outflows should not be able to attain sight of the Buddha’s body. However, with the Samādhi From Mindfulness Of Buddha, together with good roots without outflows arising, ordinary beings with outflows, to corresponding degrees, can attain sight of the coarse form of the Buddha’s body, while Bodhisattvas see his extremely subtle form.

净土亦尔,虽是无漏善根所起,有漏凡夫发无上菩提心,求生净土常念佛故,伏灭烦恼,得生净土,随分得见粗相,菩萨见微妙相。此何所疑?

That Pure Land is likewise so. Although arising from good roots without outflows, ordinary beings with outflows who give rise to unsurpassable Bodhicitta, and thus seek birth in that Pure Land by constant mindfulness of Buddha, to subdue and extinguish their afflictions, can attain birth in that Pure Land, and to corresponding degrees, attain sight of its coarse forms, while Bodhisattvas see its subtle and wonderful forms. Of this, what is there to doubt?

故《华严经》说:『一切诸佛刹,平等普严净。众生业行异,所见各不同。』即其义也。」

Thus, the Flower Adornment Sūtra says, ‘All Buddha Lands are equally and universally magnificent and pure. As sentient beings’ karmic actions differ, that seen by each is not the same.’ This is its meaning.

Notes

81 Bodhisattva Keyura Parikarman Sūtra 菩萨璎珞本业经: Discourse On Bodhisattvas’ Garland’s Fundamental Karma
82 Buddha(s), (Buddha)dharma, (Ārya)saṃgha [Saṅgha]: Buddhas, their teachings and the community of monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen with various levels of enlightenment
83 … in the Triple Gem (See Note 82 above)
84 … as ‘Dharma children’ or true disciples of the Buddhas
85 … for avoiding harming of any sentient being, and for guiding all sentient beings to Buddhahood
86 Ten Stages Of: [1] Faith [2] Mindfulness [3] Diligence [4] Concentration [5] Wisdom [6] Precepts [7] Dedication Of Of Merits (Meritorious Virtues) [8] Protection Of Dharma [9] Renunciation [10] Aspiration
87 Ten Perfections (十度): [1] Generosity [2] Morality [3] Patience [4] Diligence [5] Concentration [6] Wisdom [7] Expedient Means [8] Aspiration [9] Spiritual Power [10] Knowledge
88 … with non-backsliding progress assured of Buddhahood
89 Healthy spiritual ‘aversion’ to being trapped in rebirth
90 Those in the Stage Of Non-Retrogression, with non-backsliding progress assured of Buddhahood
91 ‘Voice-Hearers’ of the Buddha’s teachings; disciples of the Buddha seeking Arhathood
92 Universal king who turns the Dharma wheel by ruling with Dharma practice and teaching
93 Those having afflictions due to defilements that ‘flow out’ to form deluded experiences

For The Other Nine Doubts, get the book @ thedailyenlightenment.com/store

Tags:

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

Name (required please)

Email (required, will not be published)

Website (optional)



3 + = 5

(B) (^) (P) (@) (O) (D) (C) (&) (E) (~) (K) (I) (L) (8) (T) (G) (U) (W) (F) (N) (Y) :-[ :-S ;-( :-$ :-O :-( (H) :-) (*) :-D :-P ;-) :bloody: :cool: :choler: :love: :oups: :aie: :beurk: :canny: :go: :miam: :neo: :ueue: :nose: :oh: :oups2: :prud: :yo: :sadd: :bloody2: :cache: :rose: :spd: :dream: :sure: :yes: :sweat: :kiss: :creve: :what: :pff: :hm: :bobo: :aie2: :aie3: :ciao: :dribble: :gene: :pp 88) :loll: =(( :88 ;)) ::(( :oo: :[[ :)) :DD :-|| :-[)) :alien: :angel: :angry: :blink: :blush: :cheerful: :getlost: :cry: :dizzy: :ermm: :face: :biggrin: :happy: :kissing: :lol: :pinch: :sad: :shocked: :sick: :sideways: :silly: :sleeping: :smile: :tongue: :unsure: :w00t: :wassat: :whistle: :wink: :wub: :lovey: :pouty: :bandit: :sb: :ninja: :ninjaa: :666: :devil: :heart: