Home » Excerpts » [9] How Do Those Lacking Roots Reach Pure Land From Afar?

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]  

第九疑: 路远难到,根缺不生疑
The Ninth Doubt: Doubt Of The Path Being Far, The Land Being Difficult To Reach, And Those Lacking Roots Being Unable To Be Born

问:「西方去此,十万亿佛刹。凡夫劣弱,云何可到?又《往生论》云:『女人及根缺,二乘种不生。』既有此教,当知女人及以根缺者,定必不得往生? 」

Question: The West[ern Pure Land of Amitā(bha) Buddha (Amituofo)], from here, is a hundred thousand koṭis of Buddha Lands away. As ordinary beings are inferior and weak, how can it be reached? Moreover, the Rebirth Treatise says, ‘Women and those lacking roots,135 and those with seeds of the two vehicles are not born there.’ Since there is this teaching, it should be known that women and those lacking roots, will surely not attain rebirth there?

答:「为对凡夫肉眼,生死心量说耳,西方去此,十万亿佛刹。

Answer: For ordinary beings with eyes of flesh, who measure with minds of birth and death only, it is said that the West[ern Pure Land], from here, is one hundred thousand koṭis of Buddha Lands away.

但使众生净土业成者,临终在定之心,即是净土受生之心,动念即是生净土时。

However, if sentient beings accomplish the karma for birth in Pure Land, when approaching the end of life, the mind in concentration is the mind that receives birth in Pure Land. When the mind moves, it is the moment of birth in Pure Land.

为此,《观经》云:『弥陀佛国,去此不远。』

Due to this, the Contemplation Sūtra says, ‘Amitā[bha] Buddha’s [Amituofo] Land, from here, is not far.’

又业力不可思议,一念即得生,彼不须愁远。又如人梦,身虽在床,而心意识,遍至他方一切世界,如平生不异也。生净土于尔,动念即至,不须疑也。

Moreover, as the power of karma is inconceivable, with one thought, immediately is birth attained. There is no need to worry that it is far. Moreover, like a person dreaming, although the body is in bed, yet the mind’s consciousness pervades and reaches all worlds in other directions, like always,136 without difference. Birth in Pure Land is like so. As when the mind moves, it is reached, there is no need for doubt.

『女人及根缺,二乘种不生者 』, 但论生彼国,无女人及无盲聋喑哑人。不道此间女人,根缺人不得生。彼若如此说者,愚痴全不识经意。

‘Women and those lacking roots, and those with seeds of the two vehicles are not born there’, only regards those already born in that [Pure] Land [of Amitā(bha) Buddha (Amituofo)], which is without women, and without blind, deaf and mute persons. This is not saying that women and those lacking roots here cannot attain birth there. If there are those who say so, they are ignorant, fully not understanding the sūtras’ meanings.

即如韦提夫人,是请生净土主,及五百侍女,佛授记悉得往生彼国。

As such, Lady Vaidehī, who was the main requester137 for birth in [Amitā(bha) Buddha’s (Amituofo)] Pure Land, and her five hundred maids, were conferred confirmations by the Buddha, that they will all attain rebirth in that [Pure] Land.

但此处女人,及盲聋喑哑人,心念弥陀佛,悉生彼国已,更不受女身,亦不受根缺身。

As long as women, blind, deaf and mute persons here have minds that are mindful of Amitā[bha] Buddha [Amituofo], after all are born in that [Pure] Land, they will not again receive female bodies, likewise not receiving bodies lacking roots.

二乘人但回心,愿生净土,至彼更无二乘执心。

As long as those of the two vehicles change their minds, and aspire for birth in that Pure Land [of Amitā(bha) Buddha (Amituofo)], upon arriving there, they will no more have minds attached to the two vehicles.

为此,故云『女人及根缺,二乘种不生』,非谓此处女人及根缺人不得生也。

Due to this, it is thus said that, ‘Women and those lacking roots, and those with seeds of the two vehicles are not born there.’ It does not mean that women and those lacking roots here cannot attain birth there.

故《无量寿经》四十八愿云:『设我得佛,十方世界一切女人,称我名号,厌恶女身,舍命之后,更受女身者,不取正觉。』

Thus, in the Sutra Of Immeasurable Life, one of the forty-eight vows138 says, ‘If, when I139 attain Buddhahood, all women of the worlds of the ten directions, who recite my name,140 loathe their female bodies, after they renounce their lives, should again receive female bodies, I will not attain perfect enlightenment.’141

况生彼国,更受女身,根缺者亦尔。」

Furthermore, born in that [Pure] Land [of Amitā(bha) Buddha (Amituofo)], how can they again receive female bodies? For those lacking roots, it is likewise so.

Notes

137   … as in the Contemplation Sūtra (See Note 67 on Page 39)
138   … of Amitā(bha) Buddha (Amituofo)
139   Dharmākara Bodhisattva, who became Amitā(bha) Buddha (Amituofo)
140   … sincerely (with wholeheartedness and single-mindedness)
141   Buddhahood (See Note 64 on Page 35)

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