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 The Great Path is the Simplest

  

       There is a saying, “The great path is the simplest,” which one can say is the Pure Land path.

       What is the great path? It is the truth of life and the universe, the realm of Buddhas. It is what Pure Land Buddhism pursues and arrives at. The truly great path is the simplest, very concise, easy, and effortless.

       The Pure Land teachings are in line with “the great path is the easiest" because just by “reciting the name of and taking refuge [in Amitabha],” one will instantly “dwell in the assured state [of enlightenment].” It is extraordinary, quick, and effective.

       Nagarjuna Bodhisattva, in the chapter on “The Easy Path,” sets up the following verse as a basis to interpreting the 18th vow:

If one wishes to achieve the stage of non-retrogression[1] quickly,

He should recite the Buddha’s name wholeheartedly with reverence.

       “If one” implies anyone, good or evil, seasoned practitioners or novices, monastic or lay people.

       “He should recite the Buddha’s name with reverence” means reciting Amitabha’s name while submitting to and having  faith in his deliverance.

       These two verses concisely describe the central doctrine of Pure Land Buddhism, that is, the essentials of the 18th vow. Whoever holds on to Amitabha’s name is assured of attaining the stage of non-retrogression and being reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss in this lifetime.

 

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

 

[1] The state of non-retrogression is the 7th Ground, 47/52 bodhisattva stages, and above. The 52nd stage is Buddha.

 

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Master Huijing

Master Huijing

Master Jingzong

Master Jingzong

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