The Buddha Speaks of 
Amitabha Sutra

(Continued from issue #40)

Commentary translated by Disciple Bhiksuni Heng Yin
Text Translated by Disciple Upasaka I Kuo Jung
Edited by Director Upasaka Dun Kuo Hsun

The Five Quick Servants are related to the delusions of views and are called quick because they arrive quickly. Related to the delusion of thought and arriving more slowly, are the Five Dull Servants: greed, hatred, stupidity, pride, and doubt.

Afflictions come from ignorance. When the delusions of ignorance arise, delusions like dust and sand follow. The delusions like dust and sand are called "delusions of stupidity" because there is no genuine knowledge, whereas delusions of views and thought are called the "delusions of shortsightedness."

Ignorance turns into the first of the Five Dull Servants, greed. When you want something, greed arises, and with it come all the various afflictions. These afflictions turn into hatred, and you argue on your own behalf, never seeing the other person's side. You only know yourself and are unaware of other people, except for attempts to ruin them. In this reckless and unreasonable way you become stupid, unable to tell black from white, right from wrong.

Stupid people are arrogant and no matter what you say, they doubt it.  They doubt the truth and doubt the false even more. All the doubts are the delusions of thought.

The three categories, those of views and thought, dust and sand, and ignorance, all change into affliction. Afflictions are inexhaustible and endless. Observing this, cultivators vow: ACCORDING TO THE TRUTH OF ORIGINATION, I VOW TO CUT OFF THE INEXHAUSTIBLE AFFLICTIONS.


To cultivate the Way, you must understand all of limitless and unbounded Dharma doors, which are the methods of cultivation. Unless you understand them, you cannot cultivate. Relying on the third Holy Truth, the Way, vow to learn them.

What is the origin of these Dharma doors?

The Buddha spoke all dharmas for the minds of men;

If there were no minds, what use would Dharmas be?

All dharmas come from the minds of living beings, and each mind is unique.  Since no two minds are alike, all Dharma doors differ. Generally speaking, however, there are three classes of dharmas: Buddhadharma, mind-dharma, and living being-dharma. Within these three classes arise the Four Truths, the Six Perfections, the Twelve Causes and Conditions, and the thirty-seven Bodhi-Way Categories. So many Dharma doors!

Take, for example, my explanations of the Sutras. When I finish explaining one Sutra, I begin another, and no sooner have I finished that one, than I start yet another. Is this not measureless? What we study now is like a drop of water in the sea. We certainly haven't got the whole sea. Vow to study the immeasurable Dharma doors.

"What is the advantage of studying the Buddhadharma?” you ask. "It's a lot of trouble, you know."

We study the Buddhadharma because we want to realize Buddhahood.

"But isn't wanting to realize Buddhahood just another false thought?"

No, it's not a false thought. Buddhahood was our position to begin with, it is our origin. Consequently everyone can realize Buddhahood, and we should hurry up and do just that.

"But how?"


The Truth of Extinction is the attainment of Nirvana, which is the position of neither production nor extinction. If you wish to attain this position, resolve to cultivate the supreme Buddha Way. Don't be skeptical and ask, "Can I really become a Buddha?" Even if you have doubts, you can become a Buddha; it will take a little longer, that's all. Without doubts you can do it right away. All living beings have the Buddha nature and all can realize Buddhahood. But this does not mean that all beings are Buddhas. To arrive at Buddhahood you must cultivate, for without cultivation living beings are just living beings, not Buddhas. In principle, everyone can become a Buddha, but unless you cultivate according to Dharma and rid yourself of greed, hatred, stupidity, pride, and doubt, you won’t become a Buddha very fast. This completes the discussion of the Four Great Vows.

If you wish to accomplish something, you should first make a vow. Then act upon it. In this way you will naturally attain your aim.

A Question of Past Affinities:
Mahamaudgalyayana and the Bees

Once, Sakyamuni Buddha and his' disciple Mahamaudgalyayana went with a large gathering of followers to another country to convert living beings.  When the citizens saw the Buddha they shut their doors and ignored him. When they saw Maudgalyayana, however, they ran to greet him, and everyone, from the King and ministers to the citizens, all bowed and competed to make offerings to him. The Buddha's disciples thought this most unfair. "World Honored One," they said, "your virtuous conduct is so lofty, why is it they do not make offerings to you, but instead compete to make offerings to Maudgalyayana?"

"This is because of past affinities," the Buddha answered. "I will tell you...

"...Limitless kalpas ago, Maudgalyayana and I were fellow-countrymen. Maudgalyayana gathered firewood in the mountains and I lived in a hut below.  A swarm of bees were bothering me and I decided to smoke them out, but Maudgalyayana refused to smoke them out, even though they stung him until his hands were swollen and painful. Instead he made a vow, 'It must be miserable to be a bee,' he thought, 'and always sting people. Once you sting them, they hate you even more. I vow that when I attain the Way I will take these asura-like bees across first thing.’

"Many lifetimes later the bees were reborn as the citizens of this country. The queen bee became the King, the drones the ministers, and the workers the citizens. Because I didn't like the bees, I now have no affinity with these people and therefore no one makes offerings to me. But because of his vow, all the citizens revere Maudgalyayana."

Considering this, we should certainly make vows and benefit living creatures.


When the water-clearing pearl is tossed in muddy water,
            The muddy water becomes clear;
            When the Buddha's name enters a confused mind,
            The confused mind attains the Buddha.

This Sutra takes Faith, Vows, and Holding the Name as its doctrine.  Having discussed Faith and Vows, we shall now discuss Holding the Name.

Reciting the Buddha's name is like throwing a pearl into muddy water so that the muddy water becomes clear. This water-clearing pearl can purify even the filthiest water. Recitation of the Buddha's name is like this pearl.

Who can count the false thoughts, which fill our minds and succeed one another endlessly like waves on the sea? When the Buddha's name enters a confused mind, the confused mind attains the Buddha. Recite the name once and there is one Buddha in your mind; recite it ten times and there are ten Buddhas; recite it a hundred times and there are a hundred Buddhas. The more you recite, the more Buddhas there are.

Superior Rebirth In the Middle Grade in the Pure Land

Say, "Namo Amitabha Buddha," there's a Buddha-thought in your mind.  When you are mindful of the Buddha, the Buddha is mindful of you. It's like communication by radio or radar. You recite here, and it's received there.  But if you don't recite, nothing is received, so you must hold the name.

      In the Dharma-ending age recitation of the Buddha’s name is a most important Dharma door, and a great many people have faith in it. Don’t take it lightly. Every time Dhyana Master Yung Ming Shou recited "Namo Amitabha Buddha," a transformation Buddha, which could be seen by those with the Five Eyes and the Six Spiritual Penetrations, came out of his mouth. 

When you recite the Buddha’s name, you emit a light which frightens away all weird creatures and strange ghosts. They run far, far away and leave you alone. So the merit and virtue of holding the Buddha’s name is inconceivable.
      The Amitabha Sutra is currently being prepared for publication, and will be ready for distribution in the near future.