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 INFINITE LIFE SUTRA COMMENTARY


EXCERPT TWENTY-FIVE

They travel to all the Buddha Lands. There is none that they like or dislike; and there is no thought of wanting or of not wanting. Neither do they have thoughts of “others” or of “I,” nor thoughts of dissatisfaction and enmity.



The bodhisattvas of the Western Pure Land go often to the Buddha Lands in the ten directions to teach and help all beings. Some Buddha Lands are magnificently adorned with seven jewels, but others are very polluted or unpleasant. When there is affinity, the bodhisattvas will go there, whether a situation is favourable or not. Moreover, they do not like or dislike any situation. In other words, they travel around all the Buddha Lands without feeling attachment or aversion. They do not give rise to any thought, discrimination, or attachment.

When we go abroad to visit other countries, if we feel like or dislike, then our minds are polluted. We should cultivate meditative concentration and wisdom during the trips. When we see and understand everything clearly, we have wisdom. When we do not have any like or dislike, we have meditative concentration. Therefore, when we visit other countries we should simultaneously cultivate meditative concentration and wisdom.

Furthermore, in daily life when we interact with people and engage in tasks, we should also cultivate meditative concentration and wisdom. For example, if someone tries to anger us and we are able to not give rise to any thought, we are cultivating One Mind Undisturbed. The person who tries to anger us is a good teacher for us. Without him or her, how can we achieve the paramita of patience?

These situations—someone says charming words to us but we do not attach to the words, or someone tries to stir up trouble but we feel no anger—help us to cultivate and attain meditative concentration and wisdom.

One Mind Undisturbed and the Buddha-name Chanting Samadhi taught in Pure Land Buddhism are both attained in this way. If one’s mind is perturbed by others gossiping or starting rumors about us, one should immediately feel remorse: “I am wrong again. I am affected by the external environment again.”

Daily, in every thought, stay awakened and do not be deluded when interacting with others and engaging in tasks. Any situation at any time is a good teacher for us.

“And there is no thought of wanting or of not wanting.” It is erroneous to wish for something. When one wishes for something, suffering follows. When one gains something, something will be lost. Both are painful.

It is also erroneous to [have thoughts of] not wishing for something, because one would reject all opportunities. [Thoughts of] wishing for something is seeking affinities. [Thoughts of] not wishing for something is also seeking affinities. Therefore, bodhisattvas practice the Middle Way: when they teach beings, they are according with conditions, not seeking affinities.

“Neither do they have thoughts of ‘others’ or of ‘I,’ nor thoughts of dissatisfaction and enmity.” The thoughts of “others” and “I” are in the four marks taught in the Diamond Sutra: the Mark of Self, the Mark of Others, the Mark of Being, and the Mark of Life Span. “Dissatisfaction and enmity” means that one bears resentment and hatred when others go against one’s wish, and one forms attachment when they go along with one’s wish.

Therefore, we should be impartial to all people in any situation, whether they are good or bad. An impartial mind will lead to a pure mind. Attachment as well as dissatisfaction and enmity are wandering thoughts. When one is free of all wandering thoughts, all discriminations, and all attachments, one will attain a pure and impartial mind. When the mind is pure and impartial, one will definitely be awakened, not deluded. One will then realize the goal of “purity, impartiality, and enlightenment.”





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