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念佛四十八法 36) 即戒即佛持名 Precepts are Buddha
 
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36) 即戒即佛持名

Precepts are Buddha

To keep the precepts is to rein in the body; to recite the Buddha’s name is to rein in the mind. Keeping the precepts for an extended period of time rectifies the body; reciting the Buddha’s name for an extended period of time leads to an empty mind. The nature of the precepts and the nature of recitation are not two different things. Constantly keeping the precepts prevents transgressions and mistakes; constantly

reciting the Buddha’s name enables the cultivator to overcome “near-death karma”(20) and transcend the Triple Realm. If your precept-keeping has reached a

high level and you dedicate these virtues toward rebirth in the Pure Land, you are

bound to achieve rebirth in the middle Lotus Grades.(21) If, on the other hand, you cannot do both, then try to recite the Buddha’s name assiduously, as though you were extinguishing a fire burning on your head.

持佛戒以治身也,持佛名以治心也,持之久而心纯,持之久而心空,念性戒性,非有二也。板板持戒不得出头,板板念佛,则临命终时,打破鬼门关,跳出三界矣!若奉 戒已有工夫,即以此回向西方,必生中品,若未能兼顾者,且勤念佛,如救头燃。

Commentary

Precept-keeping aims ultimately at keeping the Self-Mind pure. As the practitioner does not commit transgressions, he does not develop guilt and remorse. Buddha Recitation also aims at purifying the Self-Mind. Therefore, to keep the precepts is to recite the Buddha’s name. However, Buddha Recitation is the more vital expedient when the cultivator is not yet keeping the precepts fully. It is thus urgent to recite the Buddha’s name, so that once the m ind is pure, the precepts naturally become pure as well.


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