Buddha Speaks of Amitabha Sutra

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Transcript of Buddha Speaks of Amitabha Sutra

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    The Buddha Speaks of

    Amitabha Sutra

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    The Buddha Speaks of

    Amitabha Sutra

    with commentaries of the

    Venerable Master Hsuan Hua

    English translation by theBuddhist Text Translation Society

    Buddhist Text Translation SocietyDharma Realm Buddhist University

    Dharma Realm Buddhist AssociationBurlingame, California U.S.A.

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    The Buddha Speaks of Amitabha Sutra

    A General Explanation

    Published and translated by:

    Buddhist Text Translation Society1777 Murchison Drive, Burlingame, CA 94010-4504

    2002 Buddhist Text Translation SocietyDharma Realm Buddhist University

    Dharma Realm Buddhist Association

    First edition (USA) 1974Second edition (USA) 2002

    11 10 09 08 07 06 05 04 03 02 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1

    ISBN 0-88139-430-0

    Printed in Malaysia.

    Addresses of the Dharma Realm Buddhist Association branches arelisted at the back of this book.

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    Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .viiWhy You Should Read This Book . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . viiiTranslators Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .xvThe Land of Ultimate Bliss . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xxiThe Translation of the Text . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . xxiii

    Part I. The Five-fold Profound Meanings . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1Explaining the Name . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .2

    The Special Title . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3The Common Title . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14The Seven Classifications ofSutra Titles . . . . . . . . . . 17The Twelve Divisions ofSutra Texts . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19

    Describing The Substance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25

    Clarifying the Principle . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26Faith . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26Vows. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30Practice: Holding The Name . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 42Discussing the Function . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47Determining the Teaching Mark . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49

    Part II. The Translator. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50

    Part III.The Preface . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .54

    Anandas Four Questions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .57The Four Applications Of Mindfulness . . . . . . . . . . . . . .63The Six Requirements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .68The Benefactors Garden . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .70The Six Harmonious Unities of the Sangha . . . . . . . . . . .74

    Contents

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    The Kasyapa Brothers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 76The Assembly of Arhats. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 80

    Shariputra. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 81Mahamaudgalyayana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 85Mahakasyapa . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 89

    Mahakatyayana . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 95Mahakausthila . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98Revata . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98Suddhipanthaka . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100Nanda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 102Sundarananda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 103Ananda . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 108Rahula. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 109

    Gavampati . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 111Pindola Bharadvaja . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112Kalodayin. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 112MahaKapphina . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113Vakkula . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 113Aniruddha . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 114

    The Assembly Of Bodhisattvas . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 116

    Manjushri . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 117Ajita . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 122Gandhahastin and Nityodyukta . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124

    Part IV.The Principle Proper. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 126

    The Transmission. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 174Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 177

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    vii

    Introduction

    by Tripitaka Master Hsuan Hua

    The Buddha Speaks of Amitabha Sutra belongs to the class ofSutras spoken without formal request. It describes in detail thesupremely beautiful adornments of the Western Land of UltimateBliss. Living beings of the ten directions need only recite AmitabhaBuddha's name, practicing even just the Dharma of Ten Recitations,in order to be assured of rebirth in that land.

    When the Buddhadharma becomes extinct in the Saha World,this Sutra will be the last to disappear. The first to go will be theShurangama Sutra, the Sutra most feared by heavenly demons andother religions, all of whom would like to see every existing copyof it burned to ashes. The Shurangama Sutra catches thereflections of the li mei and wang liang ghosts who, unable tohide, hate it with vengeance. Scholars who are without sufficientcommon sense fall in with the demons. This is truly pitiable.

    The Buddha Speaks of Amitabha Sutra may be compared to agreat magnet, and the living beings of the ten directions are likeiron filings; all the filings, without exception, are drawn to themagnet.

    Now, upon the completion of the English translation, I haveadded these words as a brief introduction.

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    viii

    Why You Should Read This Book

    Gold Mountain Shramana Tripitaka Master Hua explains thepath of self-cultivation as it has never been explained before.

    Where other Buddhist Masters merely recite texts, theVenerable Master illuminates the Way so that those who hear arecrystal clear about its meaning. Where other Buddhist Mastersexplain texts with the intellectual juggling of manifold lists and

    technical discriminations which easily confuse an audience, theVenerable Master picks out the essentials which reveal the methodsto eradicate suffering. Where other Buddhist Masters repeat inter-pretations learnd by rote, the Venerable Master speaks directly tothe conditions around him, showing one man how to free himselffrom the grip of arrogance and conceit, instructing another how torelieve the suffering of chronic illness; showing one how to shakeoff the bonds of heavy emotional attachments, instructing others onthe way to recovver from the pain of loss; showing one how to bepatient and peaceful in the face of slander, scoldings, and beatings;showing others how, ultimately, to put an end to the unbroken cycleof birth and death. To the degree that those who seek his instructionare capable of understanding, to that degree the Venerable Masterexplains the Dharma, showing those of limited understanding howto be free from the suffering of excessive greed and anger, or how

    to transform stupidity into wisdom, and guiding those whose

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    ix

    capacity is great to put an end to the last traces of birth and death.Never trapped in convention, the Venerable Masters teaching

    covers the whole spectrum, leading beings from the hells, throughall the intermediate realms of mind, and establishing them in thewonderful enlightenment of Buddhahood.

    Where scholars worry about sources and chronology, discrimatethe goods and bads of secondary sources, and try to organize anattendant host of biographical and bibliographical minutiae, theVenerable Master deals directly with the ultimate meaning of theprimary texts. Although he teaches with unassuming simplicity,

    when he speaks people spontaneously change for the good andcome to understand the profound and mysterious. His teaching is sothorough that it affects everything, but none of those who seek hisinstruction lans on him. When he seems to be doing nothing, hisinfluence is felt everywhere, and when no one is aware of him, hefills everyone with happiness. His teaching transcends teaching.

    How is it that he has come to be able to teach in a way that is so

    unlike the ways of others? It is because he has cultivated the path toenlightenment and because he has cultivated the path to tnlighten-ment and has arrived at the goal that what he ways can be believed.This is what makes him different from everyone else who talksabout self-cultivation, and this is why you should read this book.

    You may wonder about the particulars of his cultivation of theW