The Conviction Behind Master Purna’s Preaching
Among the ten distinguished disciples of the World-Honoured One, Venerable Purna, who was famed for his exceptional ability to preach the Dharma, stood out. He was a passionate Dharma speaker and noted for his eloquence and adroit use of apt analogies.
One day, Purna requested the Buddha’s permission to spread the Dharma in the western country of Suruna. This was a small, frontier country devoid of Buddhist teachings. The people there were known to be fierce, uncouth, and brutish.
Worried, the World-Honoured One asked, “Purna! What will you do if the people there insult and humiliate you?”
“Without hesitation, Purna replied, “I would think: ‘The people of Suruna are quite good, they haven’t physically harmed me.’ ”
“When the Buddha further asked, "What if they beat you?"
Purna replied: “World Honoured One! Regardless of whether they hit me with their fists, rocks or sticks, I would think: ‘The people of Suruna are not that bad; they haven’t killed me with a knife’.”
“What if they kill you?” asked the compassionate Buddha, his concern for his disciple palpable in his question.
Purna responded cheerfully, “There are countless ways to die - old age, illness, drowning, burning, accidents. Death is inevitable. If my death enables one more person to understand the true Dharma, to eliminate their afflictions and attain Nirvana, I could wish for nothing more.”
The World Honoured One then smiled and granted his request.
Venerable Purna set off, accepting alms along his journey until he reached Suruna. There, he continued to diligently study and spread the Dharma, leading many locals to embrace the Buddha’s teachings. By the time the rainy season arrived the following year, he had attracted 500 lay followers and had established a centre that could accommodate them to practise the Dharma.
In fact, without a blazing conviction, akin to a fire that could burn one’s life without regrets, it would be impossible to disseminate the true Dharma.
As the saying goes, “Wealth is the treasure of one generation, but the Dharma is the treasure of countless generations.” The expression “countless generations” refers to the infinite number of lifetimes to come. Money may bring happiness, but only a transient and relative happiness in this life, not absolute happiness. The salvation offered by Amituofo’s vow not only allows one to attain peace and happiness in this life, it also assures rebirth in the Land of Ultimate Bliss when this life ends, granting us peace and joy for eternity.
In the dance of decades, lost in five desires’ trance,
When life’s breath ceases, what can one still cling to in advance?
Descending alone to depths of hell, unspeakable pain,
Beyond mortal grasp, suffering’s unending rain.
Without a mentor’s guiding hand, how to break the chain,
Of birth and death, this cyclical, eternal refrain?
Master Shandao said, “Only when a person suffers in hell does he recall the wise mentor from his human life.
For us Amitabha-reciters, as long as we have the will, we can become the wise mentors for all sentient beings.
(Translated by the Pure Land School Translation Team;
edited by Householder Fojin)
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