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 You Are Not a Sage, But Merely an Ordinary Being

  

You pass through the Saha World,
A life waiting in samsara,
Blossoming and withering,
Just like a lotus flower.

Had the World-Honored One never appeared in this world,
And the gate of your homeland never opened,
Your heart would have been like a dark night that grew longer,
Just as the flow of ignorance in the three domains.

If Master Shandao did not arrive,
And the primal vow were not revealed,
Your heart would walk the long and winding road of self-cultivation,
And your contemplations would be only beautiful illusions.

You are not a sage, but merely an ordinary being.
However many envy your diligent practice,
However many admire your independent and transcendental demeanor,
Your steadfast practice and hope of deliverance are to attain enlightenment in the future.

Who can understand the helplessness deep in your heart?
Who can understand the sorrow behind your dedication?
Your diligent practice and fear within,
Will slowly reveal a pale appearance.

You strenuously pursue purity,
But are tossed about by vexations and karma.
You foolishly pursue merit and virtue,
Only to learn that it was a sham, a wild goose chase.
You then realize that practice was a futile effort.

If you stop now and reflect,
Letting go of all things in the past,
You see that Amitabha has been waiting for you all this time.
The Saha World is just a temporary abode,
Whereas the Land of Ultimate Bliss is your true home.
Cultivation is just an illusion, like moonlight reflected in water,
But reciting Amitabha’s name is the only hope of liberation for us ordinary beings.

Namo Amitabha Buddha!

 

 (Translated and edited by the Pure Land School Translation Team)

 

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Characteristics

  • Recitation of Amitabha’s name, relying on his Fundamental Vow (the 18th)
  • Rebirth of ordinary beings in the Pure Land’s Realm of Rewards
  • Rebirth assured in the present lifetime
  • Non-retrogression achieved in this lifetime

Amitabha Buddhas

The 18th Vow of Amitabha Buddha

If, when I achieve Buddhahood, sentient beings of the ten directions who sincerely and joyfully entrust themselves to me, wish to be reborn in my land and recite my name, even ten times, should fail to be born there, may I not attain perfect enlightenment. Excepted are those who commit the five gravest transgressions or slander the correct Dharma.

Guiding Principles

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