Essence of the Infinite Life Sutra – Excerpt Fifty-Nine

There are beings who plant good roots and create immense fields of good fortune. But they hold on to form, discriminate, and have a deep and strong attachment to feelings. They seek to transcend samsara but ultimately will be unable to do so.

The previous excerpt talks about people who “are unable to detach from form. They do not seek the Buddha’s wisdom.” This excerpt talks about those who “hold on to form, discriminate, and have a deep and strong attachment to feelings.” This is a criterion for cultivation—if one commits all these, one will not be able to transcend the Three Realms. At most, one will only enjoy imperfect good fortune in the Three Realms. In this world, one who has great wealth or prestige is one who cultivated in past lifetimes but was unable to eliminate attachment to feelings. Consequently, one obtains their good fortune in the human and heavenly paths.

Therefore, if one truly learns and practices Buddhism and wants to transcend samsara, one must correct one’s past wrongs and cultivate good karma for one’s future, and cleanse one’s mind and change one’s behavior. Whether one does a good deed, great or small, one absolutely should not hold on to form, discriminate, or even be attached to it. One should always maintain a pure mind, always be mindful of Amitabha Buddha, and seek rebirth in the Pure Land—everything else should be cleansed.

In “create immense fields of good fortune,” “create” is more wondrous than “plant.” “Plant” means that one plants the field alone. “Create” means that one allows all beings to come and plant.

For example, giving wealth and possessions and making offerings to the Three Jewels are fields of good fortune. If we build a cultivation center, we “create immense fields of good fortune,” as we allow many beings to come and plant good fortune The larger the cultivation center, the greater the field of good fortune.

Another example is being filial and providing for parents—this is a field of good fortune. If we run a retirement home, this is also to “create immense fields of good fortune.”

Charitable undertakings like these are great fields of good fortune. We should sincerely and wholeheartedly engage in these undertakings, but we should not “hold on to form, discriminate.” Otherwise, we will not be able to handle things fairly and our minds will not be pure.

Having impure minds and handling things unfairly—doing good deeds this way, ultimately, we will not be able to succeed in seeking to transcend samsara.