Power tends to corrupt,
and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
Great men are almost always bad men.
– Lord John Emerich Edward Dalberg Acton
Buddha Recitation practitioners [of mindfulness of the name of Amitabha Buddha – Amituofo] should dedicate all meritorious virtues [merits] toward rebirth in the [Amituofo’s] Pure Land, whether they are earned through reciting sutras and mantras, paying respect to the Buddhas, practicing repentance, rescuing victims of accidents or disasters, or helping the needy. You should not seek the merits and blessings of the human and celestial [heavenly] realms either in this lifetime or the next [as they are limited in time and scope, thus subject to retrogression (spiritual backsliding)]. If you have such thoughts, you will lose the beneﬁt of rebirth in the Pure Land and drown in the sea of Birth and Death [cycle of rebirth].
You should know that the more blessings you enjoy, the greater the evil karma you are likely to create, making it exceedingly diﬃcult to avoid the path of hells, hungry ghosts and animality in the third lifetime. At that point, it will be more diﬃcult to recover the human form and hear the Pure Land Dharma of liberation in one lifetime than to achieve rebirth as a celestial [god]! [Note: In the first lifetime (now), one does mundane good deeds which karmically bring fleeting worldly blessings (wealth, power, authority, etc.) in the second lifetime. As unenlightened power tends to corrupt, one is likely to create evil karma, resulting in retribution in the third lifetime. Thus, good deeds in the first lifetime are potential ‘enemies’ of the third lifetime. To ensure this does not happen, one should dedicate all merits to a transcendental goal, i.e. to attain birth in Pure Land for learning and practice to become Bodhisattvas and Buddhas.]
Sakyamuni Buddha taught the method of reciting Amitabha Buddha’s name [wholeheartedly, with right Faith and Aspiration], seeking rebirth in the Western Pure Land, in order to help sentient beings resolve the problem of Birth and Death in this very lifetime. If you aspire to gain the blessings of the celestial and human realms in the next lifetime, you are going counter to the teachings of the Buddhas. It is like exchanging a priceless pearl for a piece of candy – how truly regrettable!
Record Of [Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch] Great Master Yinguang’s Excellent Words
Translated by Master Thich Thien Tam, et al
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