Mahayana Teachings

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    eBUDDHANET'SBOOK LIBRAR

    Y

    E-mail: bdea@buddhanet.netWeb site: www.buddhanet.net

    Buddha Dharma Education Association Inc

    Passages from the Commentary onThe InfiniteLife Sutra

    The InfiniteLife Sutra

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    Table of Contents

    Table of Contents ................................................................2Preface:Passages from the Commentary on The Infinite Life Sutra.3

    Chapter One:The Assembly of Sages Attend the Dharma Teaching .....9Chapter Two:The Virtues of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva

    were followed by All ......................................................12Chapter Three:The Original Cause of the Great Teaching .....................35Chapter Four:The Causal Ground of Monk Dharmakara......................44Chapter Five:Ceaseless Cultivation with Vigorous Devotionand Utmost Sincerity ......................................................58

    Dedication .........................................................................73The Ten Recitation Method...............................................74Glossary............................................................................. 76Dedication of Merit ...........................................................85Verse for Transferring Merit .............................................86Places to contact: ...............................................................87

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    Preface:

    Passages from the Commentary on The Infinite

    Life Sutra

    The full name of this sutra is The Buddha Speaks of the

    Infinite Life Sutra of Adornment, Purity, Equality andEnlightenment of the Mahayana School.

    Buddhais a Sanskrit(Skrt) word meaning a perfect,enlightened being. He has gained complete awareness of

    the nature, phenomenon and function of the whole universe,in the past, present and future.

    There are three kinds of realization: self, helping others toachieve their own and complete all-encompassing

    realization.

    AnArhat(Skrt) is one who has reached self-realization; astate in which one possesses no erroneous perceptions,views, speech or behavior.

    ABodhisattva(Skrt) is one who helps others to reachrealization after achieving their own.

    A Buddha is one who has reached perfection in both self-

    realization and helping others to reach realization.

    Names of each Buddha and Bodhisattva represent theirspecialties within the teachings.

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    Shakya means kindness, which represents the way weshould treat others. Muni means stillness, whichrepresents freedom from agitation, the state in which ourmind ultimately should exist.

    Buddhists regard Buddha Shakyamuni as our OriginalTeacher. Buddhism is an educational system, for the titleof teacher is not found in religions, only in education.

    The aspiration of a Buddha is to help all beings to be freefrom suffering, to reach full realization. When the time

    comes for beings to accept the Pure Land teachings, greatjoy arises in all the Buddhas.

    The power of visualization is tremendous. Everything in theuniverse is derived from ones mind. Constant

    contemplation of the Buddha leads to becoming a Buddha,whereas a mind constantly harboring ignorance, greed andanger leads one to the three lower realms of animals,hungry ghostsand hells, respectively.

    A Buddhas mind, in essence, is equal to that of an ordinarybeing. However, a Buddha has a clear mind without anygreed, anger, and ignorance, whereas, an ordinary being hasa deluded one. This makes an ordinary being different froma Buddha.

    Amitabha(Skrt) is a Buddhas name, primarily meaningInfinite Life.

    Infinite Life is the most important meaning within

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    Amitabha virtually encompasses every word from theInfinite Life Sutra. TheWestern Pure Landis also containedwithin this name. No virtue is beyond the scope of the nameAmitabha.

    Contemplation of Buddha Amitabhas name all the time,persistently and without any doubt or intermingling withother thoughts leads one to true realization.

    By purifying ones body, mind and speech through thepractice of chanting Amitabha, one is adorned with

    magnificence radiated from within.

    The Western Pure Land, Amitabhas world, is a world oftruth, grace, splendor and wisdom. All beings there developtheir purity from within.

    Many great masters in China, even ones from otherBuddhist schools, have chosen to be born into the PureLand, for example, the Zen masters Yung Ming of the SungDynasty and Cher Wu of the Ching Dynasty.

    Chanting only one Buddhas name, Amitabha, contributesto the benefits of purifying ones mind and of being borninto the Western Pure Land within the shortest period.

    The Western Pure Land has all the wonderful things thatother Buddhalands have, but none of the unpleasant ones.That is why it is called the Land of Ultimate Bliss.

    All other Buddhas admire Buddha Amitabha and praise the

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    sentient beingsto seek rebirth into Buddha Amitabhasworld.

    The practice of Buddha name chanting will workeffectively with pure conviction and strong determination.The practitioner is assured to go to the Western Pure Landand become a Buddha in one lifetime when one alsopractices according to the teachings.

    Buddha Amitabha is a Buddha within onesself-nature. Hisworld also appears in ones mind. Everything essentially is

    a reflection of and cannot be separated from ones truenature.

    In order to attain apure mind, one must overcome theinternal obstacles of worry,delusionand habit accumulated

    overaeonsof lifetimes, and the external obstacles of theenticements of too many adverse conditions which surroundus.

    It is just a matter of thought whether we remain in or

    transcend the cycle of birth and death. We make thedecision. Realizing this, we can escape from this cycle bycultivating a pure mind and vowing to go to the WesternPure Land.

    How does one check to see whether ones practice isprogressing? A good sign is when we have less worry andwandering thoughts.

    The Buddha has taught us many methods to be freed from

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    give different prescriptions to patients with differentillnesses.

    Master Yin-Guang, the thirteenth Patriarch of the PureLand School, recommended people in thisDharmaEndingAge practice the Pure Land teachings.

    The study and practice of the Buddhas teaching followthree guidelines: 1.Following theprecepts, 2. Cultivatingdeep concentration and 3. Uncovering wisdom.

    The primary methods of practice are reciting the sutra andBuddha name chanting. When reciting, one also practicesthe Six Principles or Paramitas (Skrt) of giving, preceptobservation, patience, diligence, concentration and wisdom.When no other thought is concerned, it is Giving. When

    no erroneous thought occurs, it is Precept observation.When staying with this process without interruption, it isPatience. When reaching ones goal in recitation, it isDiligence. When focusing on recitation, it isConcentration. When insight is obtained from within, it is

    Wisdom.

    Diligently reciting the sutra helps one to eliminatekarmicobstacles, worry and established habits acquired over aeons.Consequently, one attains purity, equality and finally,

    ultimate realization.

    Duality is not equality. Oneness is equality. A wanderingthought arising in ones mind disturbs this oneness andrenders everything unequal

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    TheInfinite Life Sutra can help everyone to become aBuddha. Everyone who follows this teaching. From a

    Bodhisattva to an Arhat, from an ordinary being to one inthe lower three realms can turn into a Buddha.

    The benefits from this Pure Land teaching are soinconceivable that initially they are extremely difficult forpeople to believe.

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    Chapter One:

    The Assembly of Sages Attend the Dharma

    Teaching

    All the teachings given by Buddha Shakyamuni were based

    upon true reality. Venerable Ananda learned andmemorized all the teachings from Buddha Shakyamuni.

    Observing that the opportunity is near for a certain numberof people to attain Buddhahood, the Buddha then startedthis Pure Land teaching.

    It was in the city of Ragagriha, on the mountainGridhrakuta, that an assembly of twelve thousand of theBuddhas great Bhikshus (monks), together with those greatBodhisattvas, attended this teaching.

    Buddha Shakyamuni played a leading character while otherBuddhas were supporting characters, with some as his

    students. When Buddha Shakyamuni appeared in thisworld, their role-playing helped to educate all beings.

    Venerable Kondanna was the first one to actualize theachievement of an Arhat from the Buddhas teachings. His

    presence at this teaching represents that theInfinite LifeSutra is the foremost teaching for all Buddhas in helpingsentient beings to escape the cycle of birth and death.

    Venerable Sariputra was the student foremost in wisdom.

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    Venerable Mahamaudgalyayana was the foremost inspiritual penetrations. Once one is reborn into the Western

    Pure Land and later becomes a Buddha, aided by Amitabha,one recovers this foremost innate power.

    Maha is a Sanskrit word meaning great.

    The first Patriarch in the Zen school was VenerableMahakasyapa who also attended this meeting.

    Venerable Ananda did the primary work of compiling theBuddhas teachings into sutras.