Karmic Offenses, However Much, Do Not Obstruct Deliverance by the Buddha
The Saha world is also called “the evil world of the five turbidities.” Sentient beings in this evil world are full of karmic seeds of avarice, anger, ignorance, pride, and distrust. Some have committed more good than evil deeds, some more evil than good deeds, and some so evil that they have never done any good; however, none have done no evil and only good. That is the common karma and nature of sentient beings born in the Saha world.
Therefore, those who study Buddhism, especially the practitioners of Pure Land, should be aware that we are nefarious beings, like large stones, who must board the ship of Amitabha’s primal vow to cross the karmic sea of the six-realms to the shore of nirvana.
Anyone practicing the Dharma who does not rely on the Buddha’s vow power will sink to the bottom of the bitter sea, forever trapped in samsara. So how do we depend on Amitabha Buddha’s primal vow? We must genuinely wish to be reborn in the Land of Ultimate Bliss and recite Namo Amituofo wholeheartedly. This way, we are already onboard the ship of Amitabha Buddha’s primal vow. No matter how heavy our worries, how deep our karmic offenses, nor how numerous our delusive thoughts, our rebirth is guaranteed because of the power of Amitabha’s vow.
If one thinks that, although he chants Amitabha’s name but still has distracting thoughts and worries, his rebirth by the Buddha’s deliverance is uncertain, then, in such cases, he has doubts about the power of Amitabha’s primal vow and, therefore, he is not a true practitioner of our Pure Land way. The same goes for one who thinks that his own mind is strong and his method of cultivation high-level, and that doing good deeds and practicing various merits and virtues is the more reliable way to rebirth.
A true believer of Amitabha’s deliverance will think: even if I have committed karmic offenses, it will not obstruct my deliverance by Amitabha Buddha, nor will it help if I have cultivated merits (Having said that, “‘Do no evil, cultivate all good’ is what every Buddhist should abide by''). From time to time, we have studied Buddhism, as well as done good deeds and accumulated merits and virtues. But, because we have not put confident trust in the power of the Buddha, we have tumbled into the cycle of birth and death and continue to this day.
Therefore, as far as our Dharma way is concerned, true good is having faith in the deliverance of Amitabha Buddha, and true evil is doubting it.
(Translated by Chih-Yi Gabriela Lin; edited by the Pure Land School Translation Team)
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