Essence of the Infinite Life Sutra – Excerpt Sixty

Be filial to the Buddha and be constantly mindful of the teachers’ kindness. Let this teaching stay in this world for the longest time and do not let it die out. Firmly uphold it and do not let it be destroyed or lost.

“Be filial to the Buddha.” What do we do to be filial to the Buddha? We follow his teachings and practice accordingly. If our minds, vows, understanding, practices, and virtues are the same as those of the Buddha and we become one with him, this is being filial to the Buddha.

The Avatamsaka Sutra says: “Sentient and nonsentient beings all have the same Buddha-wisdom.” This is the showing of filial piety being practiced to perfection. In this sutra, filial piety is an impartial mind and an awakened mind. When one has discriminations and attachments, one is not impartial. When one is free of all discriminations and attachments, the entire Dharma Realm will be one entity. At that time, the pure Dharma Body will manifest. Filial piety arises therefrom. Phenomenally, filial piety is an impartial, greatly compassionate mind. Great wisdom and great compassion are filial piety at work.

One should “be constantly mindful of the teachers’ kindness.” “Teachers” refers to good teachers. After the Buddha entered parinirvana, the past patriarchs and eminent masters passed down the Buddha’s teachings. Thus, we are able to hear the Dharma. Therefore, we should be constantly mindful of the kindness of the Buddha and the past great teachers who passed down the Dharma.

How do we repay their kindness? By practicing the teachers’ teachings and propagating them extensively! This is repaying the teachers’ kindness.

The Buddha’s original vow teaches us “to provide all manner of sentient beings the benefit of escaping the long night and not let them fall into the five paths of rebirth and undergo sufferings.”
We should wholeheartedly and diligently put in
our utmost effort to fulfill this.

“Let this teaching stay in this world for the longest time and do not let it die out” This action truly fulfills filial piety to the Buddha and mindfulness of the teachers’ kindness. “Let this teaching stay in this world for the longest time and do not let it die out” also refers specifically to the Dharma door of mindfully chanting the Buddha-name and seeking rebirth in the Western Pure Land as taught in this sutra. We should diligently practice it and do our best to propagate it so that it will not die out.

“Firmly uphold it.” We should firmly hold on to our belief and vow and diligently propagate the Buddha’s teachings.

There are two ways to look at “not let it be destroyed or lost.” The first: we misunderstand the teachings, so our learning and practice do not accord with the teachings. The teachings are thus destroyed and lost.

The second is that we use our worldly intelligence and do not propagate the teachings according to the true Dharma. As a result, the people who listen misunderstand the teachings, and they cannot attain rebirth in the Western Pure Land. This is also destroying and losing the teachings.

Therefore, we should learn and practice according to the Buddha’s teachings. We should also propagate the Dharma in accordance with how the Buddha taught us. In this way, we will not cause the Buddhas’ and patriarchs’ teachings to be destroyed or lost by us.

This Dharma assembly comes to a perfect completion now.