Attaining Nirvana Without Severing Afflictions
Affliction is the nature of ordinary beings, for, without it, they are no longer ordinary but transformed into sages. Therefore, we have afflictions as long as we are alive.
Even an ordinary person, full of afflictions, can be reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss, the realm of nirvana. How can this be? Master Tanluan said we can.
In his Commentary on the Treatise on Rebirth in the Pure Land, Master Tanluan said, “the karmic fetters of the three domains can no longer confine them.” Even though the evil karmas one has created over countless ages should bind him to the endless transmigration in the three-domains and six-realms samsara; nevertheless, none of these can prevent him from rebirth to the Land of Ultimate Bliss.
Master Tanluan explained that this is the result of “attaining nirvana without severing affliction,” which means that even though he has not been reborn in the Buddha-land and has not yet cut off afflictions in this life, he has already obtained the credit of nirvana.
“How Inconceivable!” exclaimed Master Tanluan.
What is so inconceivable? It is the power of Amitabha Buddha’s primal vows that emancipates afflicted ordinary beings from their karmic bondage in the three-domains and six-realms to become Buddhas. And that is indeed incredible; nothing else is comparable. Thus, Master Tan Luan praises the Buddha’s compassionate deliverance: “How inconceivable!”
(Translated and edited by the Pure Land School Translation Team)
Faith in, and acceptance of, Amitabha’s deliverance
Single-minded recitation of Amitabha’s name
Aspiration to rebirth in Amitabha’s Pure Land
Comprehensive deliverance of all sentient beings