Buddha Speaks of
-Continued from issue 49
"Sariputra!" Sakyamuni Buddha called again. He's especially fond of his great disciple, and thinks to himself, "Sariputra has a little wisdom, but he doesn't know what to ask, so I'll have to tell him."
"Sariputra, what do you think? Why is this Buddha called Amitabha? Sariputra, the brilliance of that Buddha's light is measureless, illumining the lands of the ten directions everywhere without obstruction; for this reason he is called Amitabha."
Sariputra should have asked this question himself, but just like you always do, he had gone off to "samadhi." Whenever I ask you something you just stare at me blankly.
Now, why is this Buddha called Amitabha? Amitabha means "limitless light." This Buddha's light is immeasurable so that not a single land in the ten directions is screened from it. For this reason he is called Amitabha.
"Moreover, Sariputra, the life of that Buddha and that of his people extends for measureless, limitless, asankhyeya kalpas; for this reason he is sailed Amitayus. And Sariputra, since Amitabha realized Buddhahood ten kalpas have passed."
Asankhyeya, a Sanskrit word, means "limitless in number." Amitayus means "limitless life." It's been ten great kalpas since he became a Buddha, and how many great kalpas he will live in the future is uncertain, but boundless, measureless, asankhyeya kalpas they will be.
"Moreover, Sariputra, that Buddha has measureless, limitless 'sound-hearer' disciples, all Arhats, their number incalculable, thus also is the assembly of Bodhisattvas.
Sariputra, the realization of the Land of Ultimate Bliss is thus meritoriously adorned."
In Amitabha Buddha's Land of Ultimate Bliss there are many, many Sravakas, that is, "sound-hearer" disciples, who have certified to the attainment of no-outflows and are all Arhats, without desire. You can't count them. The assembly of Bodhisattvas also is just as big.
"Moreover, Sariputra, those living beings born in the Land of Ultimate Bliss are all avaivartika. Among them are many who in this very life will dwell in Buddhahood. Their number is extremely many; it is incalculable and only in measureless, limitless asankhyeya kalpas could it be spoken."
Avaivartika is Sanskrit. Translated it means "not retreating or turning away." Those beings who are avaivartika do not retreat in 1) position, 2) conduct, or 3) thought.
Not retreating in position means that they do not retreat to the lesser vehicle. Those of the lesser vehicle who are avaivartika do not retreat to the position of ordinary men. Not retreating in thought means that every day their thoughts to cultivate increase. Not retreating in conduct means that day by day they work harder and never say, "I've cultivated for quite awhile; it's time to take a rest." Taking a rest is simply retreating and turning away from anuttarasamyaksambodhi, "the utmost right and perfect enlightenment." Those who are avaivartika do not retreat in their quest for Bodhi.
There are many living beings in the Land of Ultimate Bliss who in this very life can step into the position of Buddhahood. Born in a lotus flower, in one life they can realize Buddhahood. How many such beings are there? You could never count them all. They can't be calculated or even estimated. All you can say is that, in limitless, measureless asankhyeya kalpas, you could not name them all.
"Sariputra, those living beings who hear should you, 'I wish to be born in that country.' And why? Those who thus attain are all-superior and good people, all coming together in one place. Sariputra, one cannot have few good roots, blessings, virtues, and causal connections to attain birth in that land."
Sakyamuni Buddha said, "All those living beings who hear the doctrine I teach should vow to be born in the Land of Ultimate Bliss. Why? Because the Sravakas and Bodhisattvas born there are all superior and good people.
Although one may talk about it, unless one has good roots, blessings, and virtues, one cannot be born there. You must have cultivated all the Paramita doors over many lifetimes and thus obtained great good roots, great blessings, and great virtue, in order to have the opportunity to meet this wonderful Dharma.
"Sariputra, if there is a good man or a good woman who hears spoken 'Amitabha' and holds the name, whether for one day, two days, three, four, five days, six days, as long as seven days, with one heart unconfused, when this person approaches the end of life, before him will appear Amitabha and all the assembly of holy ones. When the end comes, his heart is without inversion: in Am.tabha'8 Land of Ultimate Bliss he will attain rebirth. Sariputra, because I see this benefit, I speak these words: if living beings hear this spoken they should make the vow, 'I will be born in that land.'"
"Sariputra," said the Buddha, "A good man or woman who cultivates the five precepts and the ten good acts and hears the name 'Amitabha Buddha,' should hold to it, like holding something tightly in his hand and not letting go, reciting 'Namo Amitabha Buddha, Namo Amitabha Buddha, Namo Amitabha Buddha..."
...whether for one day: In Chinese, the word "whether," looks like this. If you move the stroke in the middle, it changes into the word "suffering," which looks like this. So you can say, "...suffering for one day, two days, three, four, five days. Reciting the Buddha's name from four in the morning until ten at night for seven days, you can reach the level of "one heart unconfused." When your life is about to end, Amitabha Buddha thinks, "That living being suffered for seven days reciting my name, and so now I will guide him to the Land of Ultimate Bliss. The time has come!" Then Amitabha with Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, Mahasthamaprapta Bodhisattva, and the entire clear, pure ocean-wide assembly of Bodhisattvas appears before you, holds on to you, and leads you to the Land of Ultimate Bliss. If you think you can escape, you can't. You're surrounded.
At this time, your heart is without inversion. You won't say, "I don't want to go. It's too boring there." It would never occur to you to refuse Amitabha's invitation and so you are born at once in the Western Land.
"Sariputra, because I see this benefit, I speak these words. If living beings hear this spoken they should make the vow, 'I will be born in that land.'"
"Sariputra," said the Buddha, "I see the advantages and so I am explaining them to you. If there are other living beings in the Saha world who hear these doctrines, they should make the vow to be born in that land."
Before, the text said, "...those living beings who hear should vow,' I wish to be born in that country.'" This passage says, "I will be born in that land," that is, "I vow that I shall certainly be born in the Land of Ultimate Bliss."
"Sariputra, as I new praise the inconceivable benefit from the merit and virtue of Amitabha, thus in the East are also Aksobhya Buddha, Sumeru Appearance Buddha, Great Sumeru Buddha, Sumeru Light Buddha, Wonderful Sound Buddha, all Buddhas such as these, numberless as Gange's sands. In his own country each brings forth the appearance of a vast and long tongue, everywhere covering the three thousand great thousand worlds, and speaks the sincere and actual words, 'All you living beings should believe, praise, and hold in reverence the inconceivable merit and virtue of this Sutra of the Mindful One of Whom All Buddhas are Protective'"
"Not only do I praise the subtle, wonderful, inconceivable, merit and virtue of all of Amitabha Buddha's beneficial deeds," says Sakyamuni Buddha, "but so does Aksobhya Buddha in the East."
Aksobhya of the Vajra Division in the east, is the Buddha who eradicates disaster and lengthens life. Translated, his name means "unmoving and eternally dwelling Dharma body."1 His Dharma body does not move, and it eternally dwells.
Sumeru Appearance Buddha. "Sumeru" means "wonderfully high."2 This Buddha's marks are as lofty as Mount Sumeru.
Great Sumeru Buddha, that is. Great Wonderfully High Buddha. Sumeru Light Buddha, Wonderfully High Light Buddha.
...all Buddhas such as these...This is to bring up the names of a few of the Eastern Buddhas. If one were to speak them in detail, they are as numberless as Gange's sands.
In his own country, each brings forth his very broad, very long tongue, which completely fills the great trichiliocosm. How can one speak with a tongue like that?
This represents the Buddhadharma circulating to all places and the Buddhas speaking the sincere and actual words. These words are, "All of you living beings should believe, praise, and accept the inconceivable merit and virtue of this Sutra of 'the Mindful One of Whom All Buddhas are Protective." All Buddhas protect those who recite this Sutra. If you recite the Amitabha Sutra, it is that of which the Buddhas are mindful and protective. Just as they are of the Wonderful Dharma Lotus Blossom Sutra. If you read or recite the Amitabha Sutra, the Buddhas of the ten directions will happily come to your aid and in the future, when your life is over, they will witness your rebirth in the Land of Ultimate Bliss.
"Sariputra, in the Southern world are Sun Moon Lamp Buddha, Well-Known, Light Buddha, Great Blazing Shoulders Buddha, Sumeru Lamp Buddha, Measureless Vigor Buddha, all Buddhas such as these, numberless as Ganges sands. In his own country each brings forth the appearance of a vast and long tongue, everywhere covering the three thousand great thousand worlds, and speaks the sincere and actual words, 'All you living beings should believe, praise, and hold in reverence the inconceivable merit and virtue of this Sutra of the Mindful One of Whom All Buddhas Are Protective.'"
speaking of the Buddhas in the East who praise Amitabha Buddha, Sakyamuni Buddha
speaks of the Buddhas in the South who praise that Buddha, Sariputra, he said,
"in the South as well there are many, many Buddhas who extend their vast
and long tongues to speak about the Dharma." Who are they?
They are Sun Moon Lamp Buddha, Well-Known Light Buddha, Great Blazing Shoulders Buddha, who emits light from his shoulders, Sumeru Lamp Buddha, that is, Wonderfully High Lamp Buddha, Measureless Vigor Buddha who is energetic in the six periods of the day and night. As well as other Buddhas as numberless as the grains of sand in the Ganges River. They all stick out their vast and long tongues to cover the three thousand great thousand worlds and speak the truth, not falsity.
"All you living beings," they say, "in this country and that country, in this world and that world, in all the limitless countries, you should believe, praise and revere the inconceivable merit and virtue of this Sutra. You must bring forth a heart of 1) real faith, 2) real vows, and 3) real practice. Praise the inconceivable merit and virtue of this Sutra, which Sakyamuni Buddha spoke without request. If you believe, accept, praise, and recite it, all the Buddhas will protect you. Resolve to revere Amitabha Buddha and the Amitabha Sutra."
"Sariputra, in the Western world are Measureless Life Buddha, Measureless Appearance Buddha, Measureless Curtain Buddha, Great Light Buddha, Great Brightness Buddha, Jeweled Appearance Buddha, Pure Light Buddha, all Buddhas such as these, numberless as Ganges sands. In his own country each brings forth the appearance of a vast and long tongue, everywhere covering the three thousand great thousand worlds, and speaks the sincere and actual words, 'All you living beings should believe, praise, and hold in reverence the inconceivable merit and virtue of this Sutra of the Mindful One of Whom All Buddhas Are Protective'"
After speaking of the Buddhas in the East and South who praise Amitabha Buddha, Sakyamuni Buddha speaks of the Buddhas in the West who praise him. For example. Measureless Life Buddha, who is just Amitabha, the Buddha of limitless life. You should recognize him right away. However, there are many, many Buddhas who have the same name. Therefore Measureless Life Buddha might be Amitabha, the teacher of the Western Land of Ultimate Bliss, or it might be some other Buddha. It may definitely be Amitabha Buddha or it may definitely not be. What if it is? What if it isn't? Don't be attached one way or the other, because there (really) isn't any "is" and there isn't any "isn't." The Buddhadharma is that wonderful.
Which is? Which isn't? Is and is not are your discriminations. For the Buddha, there is one substance, one unity, and no division between this and that. The Buddha is identical with the Way, and this Buddha is the same as that Buddha. Although all Buddhas are the same, they each have their own individual adornments of Dharma characteristics. But they are not like people who obstruct each other and say, "Hey! You're so rotten, so mean to me!" The Buddha has none of this. "You are just me," he says, "and I am just you. There is no division between this and that." This is why he has attained the state of no self, where "is" and "is not" are the same.
Those who wish to become Buddhas must not have discriminatory thoughts, false thoughts, desires, or longings. They must have nothing at all. This is truly wonderful to the extreme. So do not be attached. If you actually recognize Amitabha Buddha, you won't waste your effort trying to discriminate one Limitless Life Buddha from another.
Measureless Appearance Buddha has limitless marks. It is not known how many Buddha-marks he has.
Measureless Curtain Buddha is covered and sheltered by many jeweled curtains.
Great Light Buddha's light shines everywhere.
Great Brightness Buddha, Jeweled Appearance Buddha, Pure Light Buddha: all have a clear, pure, bright light...all Buddhas such as these. Were we to speak of them in detail they would be as numerous as grains of sand in the Ganges River.
the Buddhas in the Western Land of Ultimate Bliss, and in all the many
Buddha-worlds, extend their enormous tongues. Now, if we extended our tongues,
they probably wouldn't even cover a room; but the tongues of the Buddhas cover
the entire three thousand great thousand world systems. Why? For them, the three thousand great thousand worlds are just one thought,
and one thought is just the three thousand great thousand worlds. Three thousand
great thousand worlds are not beyond one thought, and the Buddha's tongue covers
Listening to the Buddhadharma, do not be attached. Although the tongue covers the three thousand great thousand worlds, there is not even a mote of dust; there is basically nothing there at all.
"Nothing?" you ask, "then was the Buddha lying?"
If the Buddha did not lie, how could you believe him? From the point of view of living beings, it seems to be a lie; but from the point of view of the Buddha, it's true, real speech, not false speech, not a lie. Living beings see it as a lie and the Buddha sees it as the truth. It's the same speech, but when the Buddha speaks it, it's true, and when living beings speak it, it's a lie. This point is not easy to understand and be clear about. If you want to understand this doctrine, do not fear suffering or difficulty. Work hard! You can't just study for two and a half days and then think you have mastered it and quit listening to Sutras and reciting the Buddha's name even to the point that you don't investigate Dhyana or do anything at all saying, "I know what the Buddha said. There's nothing much to it, really. I've studied for about five years and it's all like that, no great meaning. So now I study nothing at all and it's a great improvement. I don't have nearly so many problems." Such talk is not very principled, wouldn't you say? However, you should know that Sakyamuni Buddha cultivated blessings and wisdom for three asankhyeya kalpas by practicing charity and studying the Buddha-dharma. For a hundred great kalpas, he cultivated his fine characteristics and therefore he has the thirty-two marks and eighty minor characteristics. Why don't we have even a single mark? Why do people look at you and say, "Keep away from him. He's so ugly. He's no good, you can tell by looking at him"? Some people make you angry on sight. Why? It's because they don't cultivate and so they have no virtuous conduct.
The Buddha's tongue, then, covers the entire universe and speaks the truth. The Buddha does not cheat and he does not lie. Do not try to fathom the Sage's wisdom with your ordinary opinions, don't try to measure the Sage's mind with your common mind. Have I not always told you that the First Level Bodhisattvas don't know the experience of Second Level Bodhisattvas, and Tenth Level Bodhisattvas don't know the experience of Equal Enlightenment Bodhisattvas. First Stage Arhats don't know the experience of Second Stage Arhats and Second Stage Arhats don't know the experience of Third Stage Arhats. First Stage Arhats may think that they are doing things correctly, but from the point of view of Second Stage Arhats, they may be wrong. Second Stage Arhats may think they are right, but the Third Stage Arhats may look at them and say, "You're off Just a little bit..."
I am your teacher, and you can't possibly know my state. If you knew, you wouldn't need a teacher. So think over and examine what I say. Don't say, "He's just talking..." This world is dangerous, very dangerous. The only reason you haven't disintegrated in the sea of suffering is because the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are protecting you.
"Sariputra, in the Northern world are Blazing Shoulders Buddha, Most Victorious Sound Buddha, Hard to Injure Buddha, Sun Birth Buddha, Net Brightness Buddha, all Buddhas such as these, numberless as Ganges sands. In his own country each brings forth the appearance of a vast and long tongue, everywhere covering the three thousand great thousand worlds, and speaks the sincere and actual words, 'All you living beings should believe, praise, and hold in reverence the inconceivable merit and virtue of this Sutra of the Mindful One of Whom All Buddhas Are Protective.'"
Not only are there Buddhas in the East, South, and West praising Amitabha Buddha, but there are also Buddhas in the North.
Great Blazing Shoulders Buddha emits light from his shoulders.
Most Victorious Sound Buddha has a spectacular sound, which is heard, throughout the three thousand great thousand worlds.
"Then why haven't I heard it?" you ask.
You aren't in that world system. If you were, you'd hear it, of course. But you're in this world system, not that one.
Hard to Injure Buddha cannot be destroyed. No one can defame his Buddhadharma.
Sun Birth Buddha, Net Brightness Buddha...
You should hold in reverence the inconceivable merit and virtue, for it is most wonderful. Were this merit and virtue conceivable, it would have a limit. Because this Sutra's merit and virtue is inconceivable, it is the Sutra of the Mindful One of Whom All Buddhas Are Protective. Because its merit and virtue are so wonderful it is the Sutra of the Mindful One of Whom All Buddhas are Protective. Because it is a Sutra of which all Buddhas are mindful and protective, therefore its merit and virtue are extremely wonderful. Now I shall quit speaking and that is just wonderful; were I to keep talking, it wouldn't be wonderful.
"Sariputra, in the world below are Lion Buddha, Well-Known Buddha, Famous Light Buddha, Dharma Buddha, Dharma Curtain Buddha, Dharma Maintaining Buddha, all Buddhas such as these, numberless as Ganges sands. In his own country each brings forth the appearance of a vast and long tongue, everywhere covering the three thousand great thousand worlds, and speaks the sincere and actual words, 'All you living beings should believe, praise, and hold in reverence the inconceivable merit and virtue of this Sutra of the Mindful One of Whom All Buddhas Are Protective.'"
Having spoken of the Buddhas in the North, East, South, and West, Sakyamuni Buddha again says to Sariputra, "In the world below there is a Buddha named Lion Buddha who speaks the Dharma with the roar of a lion."
Well-Known Buddha's name has been heard by everyone in the Triple World.
Famous Light Buddha's light, as well as his fame, shines everywhere within the Triple World.
Dharma Buddha, Dharma Curtain Buddha has a jeweled Dharma curtain. Dharma Maintaining Buddha exclusively upholds the Buddhadharma. You can explain his name two ways:
1. There is a Buddha in the world below, and
You, who now receive, maintain, and recite the Amitabha Sutra will in the future
become Dharma Maintaining Buddha.
"Sariputra in the world above are Pure Sound Buddha, King of Past Lives Buddha, Superior Fragrance Buddha, Fragrant Light Buddha, Great Blazing Shoulders Buddha, Vari-colored Jewels and Flower Adornment Body Buddha, Sala Tree King Buddha, Jeweled Flower Virtue Buddha, Vision of All Meaning Buddha, Such as Mount Suneru Buddha, all Buddhas such as these, numberless as Ganges sands. In his own country each brings forth the appearance of a vast and long tongue, everywhere covering the three thousand great thousand worlds and speaks the sincere and actual words, 'All you living beings should believe, praise, and hold in reverence the inconceivable merit and virtue of this Sutra of the Mindful One of Whom All Buddhas Are Protective.'"
Pure Sound Buddha's sound is clear, pure, and resonant.
King of Past Lives Buddha in past lives made great powerful vows.
If you light incense. Superior Fragrance Buddha will appear and Fragrant Light Buddha will emit light.
As in the Southern World, there is also in the world above, a Buddha called Great Blazing Shoulders. The light from his shoulders represents the two kinds of wisdom, provisional and real.
Vari-colored Jewels and Flower Adornment Body Buddha adorns his supreme result virtue with the causal flowers of the ten thousand practices.
Sala Tree King Buddha: the Sala is the Bodhi tree in India. Sala means "solid and durable." No water can wash this tree away just as nothing can destroy the Buddha's Dharma body. This Buddha, then, is like the ala tree.
"Sariputra, what do you think? Why is it called the Sutra of the Mindful One of Whom All Buddhas Are Protective? Sariputra, if a good man or good woman hears this Sutra and holds to it and hears the names of all these Buddhas, this good man or woman will be the Mindful One of whom all Buddhas are protective, and will irreversibly attain to anuttara-sam-yak-sambodhi. Therefore Sariputra, all of you should believe and accept my words, and those which all Buddhas speak."
Having praised the Buddhas in the six directions, Sakyamuni Buddha asks, "Sariputra, what is your opinion? Why is this Sutra called the Sutra of the Mindful One of Whom All Buddhas Are Protective?"
This section discusses the Sutra's name.
Sariputra just stared, speechless. Sakyamuni Buddha waited about five minutes, until he couldn't wait any longer, and then he said, "I'll tell you, Sariputra. If there is a good man or a good woman, that is a man or woman who has received the five precepts and who cultivates the ten good acts. If these can receive, maintain, recite from memory, and not forget the names of the Buddhas just mentioned these good men or women will be the Mindful Ones of Whom all, Buddhas are protective. Not only will the Buddhas in the six directions come to their aid, but the Buddhas in all ten directions will support them.
All will further attain to irreversibility of 1) position, 2) thought, and 3) conduct, with respect to his attainment of the utmost right, equal, and perfect enlightenment.
"Therefore, Sariputra, all of you should believe and accept my words and those which all Buddhas speak." Do you see how extremely compassionate the Buddha is? We should be grateful to the point of tears. "All of you children and grown-ups should believe and accept what I tell you," he says.
You should also believe what I explain to you now. Don't have doubts. Don't say, "Ultimately, I don't know if this Chinese Dharma Master's doctrines are correct." You should believe and accept what I say, what Sakyamuni Buddha says, and what all the Buddhas praise as the inconceivable merit and virtue of this Sutra. Believe me when I say that this Sutra's doctrines are true, real, and not false. You are certainly not being cheated. So vow to be born in the Land of Ultimate Bliss.
"Sariputra, if there are people who have already made the vow, who now make the vow, or who are about to make the vow, 'I desire to be born in Amitabha's Country,' these people, whether born in the past, now being born, or to be born in the future, all will irreversibly attain to annutara-samyak-sambodhi. Therefore, Sariputra, all good men and women, if they are among those who have faith, should make the vow, 'I will be born in that country.'"
Buddha was afraid that Sariputra might have gone to sleep, so he called,
"Sariputra! Sariputra! Wake, up! Those who have already vowed to be born in
the Land of Ultimate Bliss have most certainly been born there. Those who now make the vow may now be born there, and those who make the
vow in the future will in the future be born there. But in order to make vows
you must first have faith. Faith, vows, and practice are the three prerequisites
for cultivation of the Pure Land Dharma Door. First, believe there is a Land of
Ultimate Bliss, and second that there is an Amitabha Buddha. Third, believe that
you and Amitabha Buddha have a great karmic affinity, and that you can certainly
be born in the Land of Ultimate Bliss.
"I want to be born in the pure Western land."
I want to be born there. Nobody's forcing me to go, nobody's dragging me there. Although Amitabha Buddha comes to guide me. I'm going as a volunteer, because I want to be close to him. I want to be born in the Land of Ultimate Bliss and see Amitabha when my lotus flower opens. I want to meet the Buddha and hear the Dharma.
You need these vows.
Then you must practice. How? Recite the Buddha's name, saying "Namo Amitabha Buddha, Namo Amitabha Buddha..." as if you were trying to save your head from the executioner--] like running ahead to keep your head like the Sixth Patriarch. He knew that after his death someone would try to steal his head and so he told his disciples to take precautions. They consequently wrapped his neck with sheets of iron. When the thief tried to cut off his head, he couldn't do it. The Great Master the Sixth Patriarch protected his head even after he had entered the stillness. How much the more should we who have not entered the stillness protect our heads. We should be that concerned about cultivating the recitation of the Buddha's name. Reciting the Buddha's name is actual practice.
Faith, vows, and practice are the travel expenses, the "capital" for rebirth in the Land of Ultimate Bliss. They are your ticket.
All those who vow to be born in the Land of Ultimate Bliss can obtain irreversible position, thought, and conduct with respect to the attainment of the utmost right, equal, and perfect enlightenment. All those who believe in me should make the vow--and this is an order! No kidding around!--"I will be born in that country." If you make this vow, you can be born in the Land of Ultimate Bliss.
"Sariputra, just as I now praise the inconceivable merit and virtue of all Buddhas, all those Buddhas equally praise my inconceivable merit and virtue saying these words, 'Sakyamuni Buddha can complete extremely rare and difficult deeds. In the Saha world, in the evil time of the five turbidities, in the midst of the kalpa turbidity', the view turbidity, the affliction turbidity, the living beings turbidity, and the life turbidity, he can attain anuttara-8amyak-sambodhi and for the sake of living beings, speak this Dharma which in the whole world is hard to believe.
"Sariputra, you should know that I, in the evil time of the five turbidities, practice these difficult deeds, attain anuttara-samyak-sambodhi, and for all the world speak this dharma, difficult to believe, extremely difficult!
After the Buddha spoke this Sutra, Sariputra and all the Bhiksus, all the gods, men, and asuras, and others from all the worlds, 'hearing what the Buddha had said, joyously welcomed, faithfully accepted, bowed and withdrew.
"Sariputra, I'll tell you some more good news. As I now praise the Buddhas in the six directions and the inconceivable merit and virtue of this Sutra, all these Buddhas also praise me, and my inconceivable merit and virtue:
"'Sakyamuni Buddha,' they say, 'can complete extremely rare and difficult deeds. He's truly outstanding, truly rare. Why? He can, do what men cannot do, extremely rare and difficult deeds."'
Sakya means "able to be humane,"1 and muni means "still and silent." The Buddha humanely teaches and converts living beings and silently returns the light to cultivate samadhi. The humaneness is movement and the silence is stillness. He moves and yet is always still, according with conditions yet never changing, not changing and yet according with conditions. For him, there is
Nothing conditioned, nothing unconditioned,
Nothing done and nothing left undone.
Sakyamuni Buddha is inconceivable.
In the Saha land, which is so hard, to bear...Saha is Sanskrit, which translates as "able to be endured." In the Saha world, where one enjoys no bliss but endures every kind of suffering, living beings have a great deal of endurance. They endure it unaware that they are suffering.
...in the evil time of the five turbidities...There are five turbidities in the Saha world, and they are just terrible! The reason we don't realize Buddhahood is because we're stuck in the five turbidities as if in quicksand, and can't pull ourselves out of the mud. When we lift one leg, the other leg sinks deeper, and when we lift the other leg, the first goes down. There's no escape.
But Sakyamuni Buddha is most talented, with his great spiritual power he can teach you to leap right out of the five turbidities, in a ksana, a mere instant of time. At night, when we recite the Great Transference of Merit, we say, "Leaving the five turbidities in a ksana and arriving at the lotus pool in the flick of the wrist."
Like a talented magician, Sakyamuni Buddha leaves the five turbidities, which are:
The kalpa turbidity. The kalpa, or time, is turbid. It arises dependent upon the
other four turbidities, which increase daily, growing bigger and bigger and more
extreme. That is to say the kalpa (time) turbidity is created with the help of
the view turbidity, the affliction turbidity, the living beings turbidity, and
the life turbidity, and takes the growth of these first four as its basic
substance. It takes unceasing flaming as its mark for, like flaming fuel, the
more it burns, the higher it blazes without cease.
1 -neng ren.
2. The view turbidity takes the five sharp servants (the view of a body, the view of extremes, deviant views, the view of grasping at views and the view of prohibitive morality) as its basic substance, and the mistaken wisdom and cattle morality as its mark. Seeing a dog or cat or cow reborn in the heavens, some, people imitate their conduct so that they may be reborn there too. With deviant knowledge and views, they take the genuine doctrine to extremes.
3. The affliction turbidity takes the five dull servants (greed, hatred, stupidity, pride, and doubt) as its basic substance and the harass merit of afflictions as its mark.
4. The living beings turbidity takes the combination of three conditions of the father, mother, and one's own karma as its basic substance. It takes unceasing turning on the wheel of rebirth as its mark. After the three conditions combine, the wheel revolves without stopping, back and forth. This life you're named John and next life you're Lee; this life a Bhiksu, next life a Bhiksuni, Bhiksus become Bhiksunis and Bhiksunis turn into Bhiksus. Isn't this wonderful? It really is!
5. The life turbidity takes the reception of warmth as its substance. It takes the decline and extinction of the lifespan as its mark. From youth to middle age, to old age and death—this is the mark of life.
You should now know that in the midst of these five turbidities, Sakyamuni Buddha attains the Utmost Right and Perfect Enlightenment and then he speaks the Dharma which people find very difficult to believe.
"This Dharma is most difficult to believe, extremely difficult. Really hard," says Sakyamuni Buddha. Sakyamuni Buddha just said it's hard. It's not, really. All you need to do is recite, "Name Amitabha Buddha." Just go ahead and recite. Wouldn't you say that's easy? No trouble at all. It doesn't cost a thing and it takes no effort or time. It's an extremely easy Buddhadharma.
After the Buddha spoke this Amitabha Sutra, The Greatly Wise Sariputra and all the great Bhiksus, all the world with its men, as well as the eight classes of supernatural beings; gods, dragons, raksa ghosts, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kinnaras, and mahoragas, hearing what the Buddha had said, joyously welcomed, faithfully accepted, bowed, and withdrew.
They bowed reverently to Sakyamuni Buddha to thank him for lecturing the Amitabha Sutra and for teaching and transforming living beings. At that time all the great Arhats bowed to the Buddha out of gratitude for having heard this Dharma, so we, now, hearing this supreme, deep, subtle and wonderful Dharma, have certainly planted great good roots in ages past. Consequently we have great affinity with Amitabha Buddha and so have been fortunate enough to hear the Amitabha Sutra and to recite Amitabha Buddha's name. This is very rare.
End of the Buddha Speaks of Amitabha Sutra