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SPECIAL SECTION/THE PURE LAND DHARMA-DOOR

萬緣放下,誠心念佛
PUT DOWN ALL AFFINITIES AND RECITE SINCERELY

魏可正   &nbs 文     by Wei Kezheng

阿彌陀佛甘露王 功德願力難量 聖德洪名消災障 化火宅為清涼 菩薩道上接佛光 信願行三資糧

淨土法門乃三根普被,四眾齊 收,由佛不問而自說的殊勝法門 ,《佛說阿彌陀經》裡說:「眾 生聞者,應當發願,願生彼國。 」又說:「執持名號,若一日, 若二日,若三日……若七日,一 心不亂,其人臨命終時,阿彌陀 佛與諸聖眾,現在其前。」由此 可知,發願往生與執持名號是往 生淨土的兩個必要條件。

若只發願,而不持名,則往生 淨土,實不可得,因只有蓮華, 而華不開;但若只持名,而不發 願,則只得人天福報,七寶池裡,卻無你 的蓮華,往生淨土,亦是不可得。所以此 二條件,缺一不可。

雖說二個條件,但基本上,你對諸佛所 說,及諸佛所護念的法門,若沒有足夠的 深信,則所發的願,也是不夠誠心,所持 名號,也是夾帶妄想,只求消災消病,祈 福延壽。真的發願,願生彼國嗎?真的執 持名號,一心不亂嗎?若真具足了,則必 為諸佛之所讚歎,也為諸佛之所護念,於 彼國土,必定若已生,若今生,若當生。 所以信願行,古之大德們稱為「淨土三資 糧」。

在信願行裡,世人最不易做好的,就是 行之不得力。所以古來高僧大德,對於念 佛法門講得很多,有實相念佛、觀像念佛 、觀想念佛、持名念佛,今只專提持名念 佛。

世人持名念佛,容易思想不集中,一句 佛號念得模模糊糊,自己都聽得不清楚, 古德說:「己尚不聞佛豈聞?」要不就妄 想太多,念佛念得口不應心,或者雜念紛 飛,念佛一百,真正一心清淨,落在佛字 上,不過二三聲而已,如是念佛,當然行 之不力,也就難談得上有什麼念力了。

所以當痛下決心改正過來,如何改呢? 先要有出離心,若心還眷戀世間,又如何 往生?也因為眷戀,世間妄想除之不去, 所以出離心是對治妄想的根本,而且念佛 時,佛號要念得清清楚楚,出於口,人於 耳,歸於心,念念相續,聲聲相應,循環 不已。這念佛聲音,就是除雜念、去妄想 的法寶,也是淨土法門之鑰。這樣,想的 是佛號,聽的是佛號,念的是佛號,加上 手持念珠,眼看佛像,鼻聞供佛香,這便 是與大勢至菩薩的「都攝六根,淨念相繼 」相應了。

念佛人也要有善因來做往生的助緣,所 以守五戒、行十善,拜懺禮佛,作諸功德 等,都是日常生活中,所應盡力去做的。

以前曾向上人請示念佛法門,上人說: 「萬緣放下,誠心念佛。」此句如雷貫耳 ,發我省思,願和大家共勉之。

Amitabha Buddha is the King of Sweet Dew; His merit and virtue and vow power are immeasurable. The holy virtue of his great name dispels disasters And turns a burning house into a cool place. To receive the Buddha's light on the Bodhisattva path, One must be replete with the provisions of faith, vows, and practice.

The Pure Land Dharma-door is a supreme Dharma-door which widely covers people of different roots, takes in all the fourfold assemblies, and was spoken by the Buddha without request. The Buddha Speaks of Amitabha Sutra says, "...those living beings who hear should vow, 'I wish to be born in that country."' It also says that if a person "holds the name, whether for one day, two days, three days,...or seven days, with one mind unconfused, then when he approaches the end of life, before him will appear Amitabha and all the assembly of holy ones." From these passages, we know that vowing to be reborn in the Pure Land and holding the name of Amitabha Buddha are the two requirements for rebirth in the Pure Land.

If a person makes the vow but does not hold the Buddha's name, then it is impossible for him to be reborn in the Pure Land. There would be a lotus bud, but it would not bloom. If he holds the holy name but does not make the vow, he will only attain the blessings of rebirth in either the human or heavenly realms. However, there will be no lotus flower in the pool of seven treasures for this person. Again, he cannot attain rebirth in the Pure Land. Therefore, one must fulfill both conditions in order to attain rebirth in the Pure Land.

Although two conditions are mentioned, basically, if you lack sufficient faith in the Dharma-door which all Buddhas speak and which they all mindfully protect, then your vow will not be sincere enough, and your holding of the holy name will be mixed with false thoughts. You will only be seeking to quell disasters and dispel sicknesses, and praying for blessings and longevity. Have you really made a vow to be reborn in the Pure Land? Have you actually recited the name with one mind unconfused? If so, then all Buddhas will praise you, protect you, and be mindful of you. You either already have been reborn, are presently being reborn, or will be reborn in the land of Amitabha Buddha. Therefore, the ancient cultivators of great virtue called faith, vows, and practice "the three provisions for the Pure Land."

Among the requirements of faith, vows, and practice, the most difficult one for people to achieve is to practice with vigor. That is why the virtuous monks of old expended much effort in explaining the Dharma door of Buddha-recitation, which includes Real Mark Buddha-recitation, Contemplating an Image Buddha-recitation, Contemplating and Thinking Buddha-recitation, and Holding the Name Buddha-recitation. Here, we will only discuss Holding the Name Buddha-recitation.

When people practice Holding the Name Buddha-recitation, it is not easy for their minds to concentrate. They mumble the Buddha's name so softly that they cannot even hear it clearly themselves. The virtuous ones of old said, "If you cannot hear the recitation yourself, how do you expect the Buddha to hear it?" Such people are either indulging in too many random thoughts, so that their minds are not focused upon what their mouths are reciting, or else they are indulging in too many scattered thoughts, so that in a hundred recitations of the Buddha's name, only two or three are done single-mindedly with a pure, concentrated mind. This kind of practice is, of course, less effective. One could hardly say that there is any strength in such recitation.

Therefore, we should resolve to correct this. How? First of all, we must have the wish to transcend the world. If our mind is still attached to this world, how can we obtain rebirth? It is because of our attachment that we cannot get rid of our worldly false thoughts. The wish to transcend the world is the fundamental cure for false thoughts. Further, when we recite the Buddha's name, we must recite it with clarity, so that our ears can hear it clearly. We recite the name with our mouth, hear it with our ears, and let it come to rest in our hearts. One recitation follows another, the sounds mingle together, and it continues without stop. The sounds of recitation is a Dharma treasure which enables us to eliminate scattered thoughts and false thoughts. It is also the key to the Pure Land Dharma-door. In this way, as our minds think of the Buddha's name, our mouths recite the Buddha's name, our hands hold the recitation beads, our eyes gaze at the Buddha image, and our noses smell the incense offered to the Buddha, we mesh with Great Strength Bodhisattva's state in which: "The six sense organs are gathered in, and pure thoughts continue in succession."

Those who practice Buddha-recitation also need to create wholesome causes to help them obtain rebirth. Therefore, in daily life, we should try our best to uphold the five precepts, practice the ten good deeds, bow in repentance, bow to the Buddha, and perform merit and virtue.

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