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念佛四十八法 48) 发愿忏悔持名 Vows, Repentance and Buddha Recitation
 
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48) 发愿忏悔持名

Vows, Repentance and Buddha Recitation

Alas! There are countless people who are unaware of Buddha Recitation. There are those who think Buddha recitation is akin to superstition and refuse to recite. There are monks and nuns who recite the Buddha’s name as a matter of routine without knowing the true reason why. There are persons with “deluded wisdom” who believe in the Buddha yet refuse to recite. There are ignorant persons who do not know about the Buddha and therefore do not recite. These are but a few examples. In addition, there are ordinary people who, upon learning about cause and effect, recite the Buddha’s name. However, they do so with the expectation of receiving merits and blessings in future life-times. Thus, they, too, cannot escape the seeds of Birth and Death.

It is truly difficult to find anyone who recites the Buddha’s name for the sake of transcending Birth and Death – perhaps one or two out of a hundred! We should realize that to recite the Buddha’s name is to be in unison with the compassionate M ind of the Buddha – it is to make the great vow of rescuing all sentient beings [Bodhi Mind].(27)

“All offenses and past wrongs done to others, I now repent; all virtues and good roots, large and sma l, I now dedicate to rebirth in the Pure Land.”

This is the principal cause (motive) of Buddha Recitation.

呜呼!世之不知念佛者众矣!儒中人摈佛为异端而不肯念,出家人以念佛为故套而不 知所以念,狂慧者知有佛而不屑念,愚痴者不知佛而不能念,此大较也。即间有村愚 夫妇,闻说因果,亦知念佛,而又希求来生得受福报,依旧为轮迥种子,求一为了生 死而念佛者,百中少有一二也。须知人既念佛,即当念佛慈心,行佛悲行,发广大 愿,济度众生,一切众垢冤缠,普为忏悔,一切巨细功德,迥向西方,如此乃为念佛 之正因也。

Commentary

Whatever we do should have a goal that leads naturally to a result. Buddha Recitation for the sake of transcending Birth and Death and achieving rebirth in the

Pure Land – the goal and the result – is truly sublime, yet practical. This is something that cannot be derided.

If we realize this point, our efforts are not wasted. If we truly recite the Buddha’s name seeking escape from Birth and Death, there is no point in seeking mundane merits and blessings. How can the myriad phenomena of this world, fleeting, impermanent as they are, be the place where we entrust our true selves, inherently perm-anent and everlasting? It is only because of evil karma, heavy obstructions and limited wisdom that we must resign ourselves to an unfortunate destiny.

Therefore, once we clearly understand this and decide to recite the Buddha’s name, we should strive to repent in all sincerity, so that our mind may be serene and pure, free of afflictions and illusions. Only then can we hope to realize our vow of rebirth in the Pure Land of Amitabha Buddha for the ultimate benefit of all sentient beings.(28)

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