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Four Clear Instructions on Purity

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Ananda straightened his robes and then bowed in the midst of the assembly and placed his palms together. The tracks of his mind were perfectly clear, and he felt a mixture of joy and sorrow. His intent was to benefit beings in the future as he made obeisance and said to the Buddha, “Greatly Compassionate World Honored One, I have already awakened and attained this Dharma-door for becoming a Buddha, and I can cultivate it without the slightest doubt. I have often heard the Thus Come One say, ‘Save others first then save yourself. That is the aspiration of a Bodhisattva. Once your own enlightenment is perfected, then you can enlighten others. That is the way the Thus Come One responds to the world.’ Although I am not yet saved, I vow to save all living beings in the Dharma-ending Age.
阿难整衣服。于大众中。合掌顶礼。心迹圆明。悲欣交集。欲益未来诸众生故。稽首白佛。大悲世尊。我今已悟。成佛法门。是中修行。得无疑惑。常闻如来说如是言。自未得度。先度人者。菩萨发心。自觉已圆。能觉他者。如来应世。我虽未度。愿度末劫。一切众生。

World Honored One, those living beings will gradually drift away from the Buddha, and there will be as many deviant teachers propounding their methods as there are sands in the Ganges. I want to enable those beings to collect their thoughts and enter samadhi. How can I cause them to reside peacefully in a bodhimanda, far from the exploits of demons, and be irreversible in their resolve for Bodhi?”
世尊。此诸众生。去佛渐远。邪师说法。如恒河沙。欲摄其心。入三摩地。云何令其安立道场。远诸魔事。于菩提心。得无退屈。

At that time, the World Honored One praised Ananda in front of the whole assembly, saying, “Good indeed! How good it is that you have asked how to establish a Bodhimanda and to rescue and protect living beings who are sunk in the morass of the final age. Listen well, now, and I will tell you.”
尔时世尊于大众中称赞阿难。善哉善哉。如汝所问安立道场。救护众生末劫沉溺。汝今谛听。当为汝说。

Ananda and the great assembly agreed to uphold the teaching.
阿难大众。唯然奉教。

The Buddha told Ananda, “You constantly hear me explain in the Vinaya that there are three unalterable aspects to cultivation. That is, collecting one’s thoughts constitutes the precepts; from the precepts comes samadhi; and out of samadhi arises wisdom. Samadhi arises from precepts, and wisdom is revealed out of samadhi. These are called the Three Non-Outflow Studies.”
佛告阿难:汝常闻我毗奈耶中,宣说修行三决定义。所谓摄心为戒,因戒生定,因定发慧,是则名为三无漏学。

Ananda, why do I call collecting one’s thoughts the precepts? If living beings in the six paths of any mundane world had no thoughts of lust, they would not have to follow a continual succession of births and deaths.
阿难,云何摄心,我名为戒?若诸世界六道众生,其心不淫,则不随其生死相续。

”Your basic purpose in cultivating is to transcend the wearisome defilements. But if you don’t renounce your lustful thoughts, you will not be able to get out of the dust.
汝修三昧,本出尘劳。淫心不除,尘不可出。

”Even though one may have some wisdom and the manifestation of Chan samadhi, one is certain to enter demonic paths if one does not cut off lust. At best, one will be a demon king; on the average, one will be in the retinue of demons; at the lowest level, one will be a female demon.
纵有多智禅定现前,如不断淫,必落魔道。上品魔王,中品魔民,下品魔女。

”These demons have their groups of disciples. Each says of himself that he has accomplished the Unsurpassed Way.
彼等诸魔,亦有徒众,各各自谓成无上道。

“After my extinction, in the Dharma-ending Age, these hordes of demons will abound, spreading like wildfire as they openly practice greed and lust. Claiming to be good knowing advisors, they will cause living beings to fall into the pit of love and views and lose the way to Bodhi.
我灭度后,末法之中,多此魔民炽盛世间。广行贪淫,为善知识,令诸众生,落爱见坑,失菩提路。

”When you teach people in the world to cultivate samadhi, they must first of all sever the mind of lust. This is the first clear and unalterable instruction on purity given by the Thus Come Ones and the Buddhas of the past, World Honored Ones.
汝教世人修三摩地,先断心淫,是名如来先佛世尊,第一决定清净明诲。

”Therefore, Ananda, if cultivators of Chan samadhi do not cut off lust, they will be like someone who cooks sand in the hope of getting rice. After hundreds of thousands of aeons, it will still be just hot sand. Why? It wasn’t rice to begin with; it was only sand.
是故阿难,若不断淫,修禅定者,如蒸沙石,欲其成饭,经百千劫,只名热沙。何以故?此非饭本,沙石成故。

”If you seek the Buddha’s wonderful fruition and still have physical lust, then even if you attain a wonderful awakening, it will be based in lust. With lust at the source, you will revolve in the three paths and not be able to get out. Which road will you take to cultivate and be certified to the Thus Come One’s Nirvana?
汝以淫身,求佛妙果,纵得妙悟,皆是淫根。根本成淫,轮转三途,必不能出。如来涅槃,何路修证?

”You must cut off the lust which is intrinsic in both body and mind. Then get rid of even the aspect of cutting it off. At that point you have some hope of attaining the Buddha’s Bodhi.
必使淫机,身心俱断,断性亦无,于佛菩提,斯可希冀。

”What I have said here is the Buddha’s teaching. Any explanation counter to it is the teaching of Papiyan.
如我此说,名为佛说。不如此说,即波旬说。

”Further, Ananda, if living beings in the six paths of any mundane world had no thoughts of killing, they would not have to follow a continual succession of births and deaths.
阿难,又诸世界六道众生,其心不杀,则不随其生死相续。

”Your basic purpose in cultivating samadhi is to transcend the wearisome defilements. But if you do not renounce your thoughts of killing, you will not be able to get out of the dust.
汝修三昧,本出尘劳。杀心不除,尘不可出。

”Even though one may have some wisdom and the manifestation of Chan samadhi, one is certain to enter the path of spirits if one does not cease killing. At best, a person will become a mighty ghost; on the average, one will become a flying yaksha, a ghost leader, or the like; at the lowest level, one will become an earth-bound rakshasa.
纵有多智禅定现前,如不断杀,必落神道。上品之人,为大力鬼;中品则为飞行夜叉、诸鬼帅等;下品当为地行罗刹。

”These ghosts and spirits have their groups of disciples. Each says of himself that he has accomplished the Unsurpassed Way.
彼诸鬼神,亦有徒众,各各自谓成无上道。

”After my extinction, in the Dharma-ending Age, these hordes of ghosts and spirits will abound, spreading like wildfire as they argue that eating meat will bring one to the Bodhi Way.
我灭度后,末法之中,多此鬼神炽盛世间。自言食肉,得菩提路。

Ananda, I permit the Bhikshus to eat five kinds of pure meat. This meat is actually a transformation brought into being by my spiritual powers. It basically has no life-force. You Brahmans live in a climate so hot and humid, and on such sandy and rocky land, that vegetables will not grow; therefore, I have had to assist you with spiritual powers and compassion. Because of the magnitude of this kindness and compassion, what you eat that tastes like meat is merely said to be meat; in fact, however, it is not. After my extinction, how can those who eat the flesh of living beings be called the disciples of Shakya?
阿难,我令比丘食五净肉,此肉皆我神力化生,本无命根。汝婆罗门,地多蒸湿,加以沙石,草菜不生。我以大悲神力所加,因大慈悲,假名为肉,汝得其味。奈何如来灭度之后,食众生肉,名为释子?

”You should know that these people who eat meat may gain some awareness and may seem to be in samadhi, but they are all great rakshasas. When their retribution ends, they are bound to sink into the bitter sea of birth and death. They are not disciples of the Buddha. Such people as these kill and eat one another in a never-ending cycle. How can such people transcend the Triple Realm?
汝等当知,是食肉人,纵得心开似三摩地,皆大罗刹,报终必沉生死苦海,非佛弟子。如是之人,相杀相吞,相食未已,云何是人得出三界?

”When you teach people in the world to cultivate samadhi, they must also cut off killing. This is the second clear and unalterable instruction on purity given by the Thus Come Ones and the Buddhas of the past, World Honored Ones.
汝教世人修三摩地,次断杀生,是名如来先佛世尊,第二决定清净明诲。

”Therefore, Ananda, if cultivators of Chan samadhi do not cut off killing, they are like one who stops up his ears and calls out in a loud voice, expecting no one to hear him. It is to wish to hide what is completely evident.
是故阿难,若不断杀,修禅定者,譬如有人自塞其耳,高声大叫,求人不闻,此等名为欲隐弥露。

Bodhisattvas and bhikshus who practice purity will not even step on grass in the pathway; even less will they pull it up with their hand. How can one with great compassion pick up the flesh and blood of living beings and proceed to eat his fill?
清净比丘,及诸菩萨,于歧路行,不蹋生草,况以手拔。云何大悲,取诸众生血肉充食?

Bhikshus who do not wear silk, leather boots, furs, or down from this country or consume milk, cream, or butter can truly transcend this world. When they have paid back their past debts, they will not have to re-enter the Triple Realm.
若诸比丘,不服东方丝绵绢帛,及是此土靴履裘毳、乳酪醍醐。如是比丘,于世真脱,酬还宿债,不游三界。

”Why? It is because when one wears something taken from a living creature, one creates conditions with it, just as when people eat the hundred grains, their feet cannot leave the earth. Both physically and mentally one must avoid the bodies and the by-products of living beings, by neither wearing them nor eating them. I say that such people have true liberation.
何以故?服其身分,皆为彼缘。如人食其地中百谷,足不离地。必使身心,于诸众生,若身、身分,身心二途,不服不食。我说是人,真解脱者。

”What I have said here is the Buddha’s teaching. Any explanation counter to it is the teaching of Papiyan.
如我此说,名为佛说。不如此说,即波旬说。

”Further, Ananda, if living beings in the six paths of any mundane world had no thoughts of stealing, they would not have to follow a continuous succession of births and deaths.
阿难,又复世界六道众生,其心不偷,则不随其生死相续。

”Your basic purpose in cultivating samadhi is to transcend the wearisome defilements. But if you do not renounce your thoughts of stealing, you will not be able to get out of the dust.
汝修三昧,本出尘劳。偷心不除,尘不可出。

Even though one may have some wisdom and the manifestation of Chan samadhi, one is certain to enter a devious path if one does not cease stealing. At best, one will be an apparition; on the average, one will become a phantom; at the lowest level, one will be a devious person who is possessed by a mei ghost.
纵有多智禅定现前,如不断偷,必落邪道。上品精灵;中品妖魅;下品邪人,诸魅所著。

”These devious hordes have their groups of disciples. Each says of himself that he has accomplished the Unsurpassed Way.
彼等群邪,亦有徒众,各各自谓成无上道。

”After my extinction, in the Dharma-ending Age, these phantoms and apparitions will abound, spreading like wildfire as they surreptitiously cheat others. Calling themselves good knowing advisors, they will each say that they have attained the superhuman dharmas. Enticing and deceiving the ignorant, or frightening them out of their wits, they disrupt and lay waste to households wherever they go.
我灭度后,末法之中,多此妖邪炽盛世间。潜匿奸欺,称善知识,各自谓己得上人法。詃惑无识,恐令失心。所过之处,其家耗散。

”I teach the bhikshus to beg for their food in an assigned place, in order to help them renounce greed and accomplish the Bodhi Way. The bhikshus do not prepare their own food, so that, at the end of this life of transitory existence in the triple realm, they can show themselves to be once-returners who go and do not come back.
我教比丘,循方乞食,令其舍贪,成菩提道。诸比丘等,不自熟食,寄于残生,旅泊三界,示一往还,去已无返。

”How can thieves put on my robes and sell the Thus Come One, saying that all manner of karma one creates is just the Buddhadharma? They slander those who have left the home-life and regard bhikshus who have taken complete precepts as belonging to the path of the Small Vehicle. Because of such doubts and misjudgments, limitless living beings fall into the Unintermittent Hell.
云何贼人,假我衣服,裨贩如来,造种种业,皆言佛法,却非出家具戒比丘为小乘道。由是疑误无量众生,堕无间狱。

”I say that bhikshus who after my extinction have decisive resolve to cultivate samadhi, and who before the images of Thus Come Ones can burn a candle on their bodies, or burn off a finger, or burn even one incense stick on their bodies, will, in that moment, repay their debts from beginningless time past. They can depart from the world and forever be free of outflows. Though they may not have instantly understood the Unsurpassed Enlightenment, they will already have firmly set their mind on it.
若我灭后,其有比丘,发心决定修三摩地,能于如来形像之前,身燃一灯,烧一指节,及于身上爇一香炷。我说是人,无始宿债,一时酬毕,长揖世间,永脱诸漏。虽未即明无上觉路,是人于法已决定心。

”If one does not practice any of these token renunciations of the body on the causal level, then even if one realizes the unconditioned, one will still have to come back as a person to repay one’s past debts exactly as I had to undergo the retribution of having to eat the grain meant for horses.
若不为此舍身微因,纵成无为,必还生人,酬其宿债。如我马麦,正等无异。

”When you teach people in the world to cultivate samadhi, they must also cease stealing. This is the third clear and unalterable instruction on purity given by the Thus Come One and the Buddhas of the past, World Honored Ones.
汝教世人修三摩地,后断偷盗,是名如来先佛世尊,第三决定清净明诲。

”Therefore, Ananda, if cultivators of Chan samadhi do not cease stealing, they are like someone who pours water into a leaking cup and hopes to fill it. He may continue for as many aeons as there are fine motes of dust, but it still will not be full in the end.
是故阿难,若不断偷,修禅定者,譬如有人,水灌漏卮,欲求其满,纵经尘劫,终无平复。

”If bhikshus do not store away anything but their robes and bowls; if they give what is left over from their food-offerings to hungry living beings; if they put their palms together and make obeisance to the entire great assembly; if when people scold them they can treat it as praise: if they can sacrifice their very bodies and minds, giving their flesh, bones, and blood to living creatures; and if they do not repeat the non-ultimate teachings of the Thus Come One as though they were their own explanations, misrepresenting them to those who have just begun to study, then the Buddha gives them his seal as having attained true samadhi.
若诸比丘,衣钵之余,分寸不畜。乞食余分,施饿众生。于大集会,合掌礼众。有人捶詈,同于称赞。必使身心二俱捐舍,身肉骨血,与众生共。不将如来不了义说,回为己解,以误初学。佛印是人,得真三昧。

”What I have said here is the Buddhasteaching. Any explanation counter to it is the teaching of Papiyan.
如我所说。名为佛说。不如此说,即波旬说。

Ananda, though living beings in the six paths of any mundane world may not kill, steal, or lust either physically or mentally, these three aspects of their conduct thus being perfect. Yet if they tell lies, the samadhi they attain will not be pure. They will become demons of love and views and will lose the seed of the Thus Come One.
阿难,如是世界六道众生,虽则身心无杀盗淫,三行已圆。若大妄语,即三摩地不得清净。成爱见魔,失如来种。

”They say that they have attained what they have not attained, and that they have been certified when they have not been certified. Perhaps they seek to be foremost in the world, the most venerated and superior person. To their audiences they say that they have attained the fruition of a Shrotaapanna, the fruition of a Sakridagamin, the fruition of an Anagamin, the fruition of Arhatship, the Pratyekabuddha vehicle, or the various levels of Bodhisattvahood up to and including the Ten Grounds. In order to be revered by others and because they are greedy for offerings.
所谓未得谓得,未证言证,或求世间尊胜第一。谓前人言:我今已得须陀洹果、斯陀含果、阿那含果、阿罗汉道、辟支佛乘、十地、地前诸位菩萨。求彼礼忏,贪其供养。

”These icchantikas destroy the seeds of Buddhahood just as surely as a tala tree is destroyed if it is chopped down. The Buddha predicts that such people sever their good roots forever and lose their knowledge and vision. Immersed in the sea of the Three Sufferings, they cannot attain samadhi.
是一颠迦,销灭佛种。如人以刀断多罗木。佛记是人,永殒善根,无复知见,沉三苦海,不成三昧。

”I command the Bodhisattvas and Arhats to appear after my extinction in response-bodies in the Dharma-ending Age, and to take various forms in order to rescue those in the cycle of rebirth.
我灭度后,敕诸菩萨及阿罗汉,应身生彼末法之中,作种种形,度诸轮转。

”They should either become Shramanas, white-robed laypeople, kings, ministers or officials, virgin youths or maidens, and so forth, even prostitutes, widows, profligates, thieves, butchers, or dealers in contraband, doing the same things as these kinds of people while they praise the Buddha vehicle and cause them to enter samadhi in body and mind.
或作沙门、白衣居士、人王宰官、童男童女,如是乃至淫女寡妇、奸偷屠贩,与其同事,称赞佛乘,令其身心入三摩地。

”But they should never say of themselves, ‘I am truly a Bodhisattva’; or ‘I am truly an Arhat,’ or let the Buddha’s secret cause leak out by speaking casually to those who have not yet studied.
终不自言我真菩萨、真阿罗汉,泄佛密因,轻言未学。

”How can people who make such claims, other than at the end of their lives and then only to those who inherit the teaching, be doing anything but deluding and confusing living beings and indulging in a gross false claim?
唯除命终,阴有遗付。云何是人,惑乱众生,成大妄语?

”When you teach people in the world to cultivate samadhi, they must also cease all lying. This is the fourth clear and unalterable instruction on purity given by the Thus Come Ones and the Buddhas of the past, World Honored Ones.
汝教世人修三摩地,后复断除诸大妄语,是名如来先佛世尊,第四决定清净明诲。

”Therefore, Ananda, one who does not cut off lying is like a person who carves a piece of human excrement to look like chandana, hoping to make it fragrant. He is attempting the impossible.
是故阿难,若不断其大妄语者,如刻人粪,为栴檀形,欲求香气,无有是处。

”I teach the bhikshus that the straight mind is the Bodhimanda and that they should practice the four awesome deportments in all their activities. Since they should be devoid of all falseness, how can they claim to have themselves attained the Dharmas of a superior person?
我教比丘,直心道场,于四威仪一切行中,尚无虚假,云何自称得上人法?

”That would be like a poor person falsely calling himself an emperor; for that, he would be taken and executed. Much less should one attempt to usurp the title of Dharma King. When the cause-ground is not true, the effects will be distorted. One who seeks the Buddha’s Bodhi in this way is like a person who tries to bite his own navel. Who could possibly succeed?
譬如穷人,妄号帝王,自取诛灭。况复法王,如何妄窃?因地不真,果招纡曲。求佛菩提,如噬脐人,欲谁成就?

”If bhikshusminds are as straight as lute strings, true and real in everything they do, then they can enter samadhi and never be involved in the deeds of demons. I certify that such people will accomplish the BodhisattvasUnsurpassed Knowledge and Enlightenment.
若诸比丘,心如直弦,一切真实,入三摩地,永无魔事。我印是人,成就菩萨无上知觉。

”What I have said here is the Buddha’s teaching. Any explanation counter to it is the teaching of Papiyan.
如我所说,名为佛说。不如此说,即波旬说。

Ananda, you asked about collecting one’s thoughts; I have now begun to explain the wonderful method of cultivation for entrance into samadhi. Those who seek the Bodhisattva Way must first be as pure as glistening frost in keeping these four rules of deportment. If one is able to never give rise to anything superfluous, then the three evils of the mind and the four of the mouth will have no cause to come forth.
阿难。汝问摄心。我今先说入三摩地修学妙门。求菩萨道。要先持此四种律仪。皎如冰霜。自不能生一切枝叶。心三口四。生必无因。

Ananda, if one does not neglect these four matters, and, further, if one does not pursue forms, fragrances, tastes, or objects of touch, then how can any demonic deeds arise?
阿难。如是四事。若不遗失。心尚不缘色香味触。一切魔事。云何发生。


However the Shurangama Sutra is a Chinese Mahayana-Only sutra that didn't appear until over 1000+ years after the Buddha's passing. I should add that I do not doubt that this is an authentic Mahayana Sutra in the same way I do not doubt that Lankavatara Sutra or Heart Sutra or Diamond Sutra is authentic - Shurangama Sutra is one of my favourites because there are some deep and profound meditative wisdom coming from direct insight, but it is not fair to judge others based on what is said above, simply because if this sutra only appeared 1000+ years after the Buddha's passing instead of being taught by the historical appearance of Buddha, then what about all the others who ate meat prior to that because this sutra did not appear yet? Then what about the non-Chinese-Mahayana schools who continue to eat meat and do not emphasize on vegetarianism? All Mahayana (along with Tibetan/Vajrayana) sutras and tantras (see Are Mahayana Sutras Taught by Buddha?), due to its length and style which are clearly not from the historical Buddha in the historical times (the Pali Canon), are clearly recorded as the visions of great masters of the Sambhogakaya manifestation of Buddha imparting them these Mahayana teachings hundreds of years after the passing of the historical Buddha. They only appear much later.They are revealed teachings at a latter time and arose in reaction to certain trends/situation. It may not apply to everyone. But of course those who did have the merits to read this sutra should follow their advice seriously.

Tibetans and Theravadins do not have this sutra and their monks continue eating meat. There is no rules in the precepts that forbid eating meat - and when Devadatta tried to introduce compulsory vegetarianism into Buddhism, the Lord Buddha himself outright rejected it. Therefore we must not force it on other Buddhists, lest we become Devadatta.

Even Dalai Lama eats meat. Many great and famous lamas and rinpoches still eat meat. Also, think of any great Theravada monks: Ven Mahasi Sayadaw, Ajahn Sumedho, Ajahn Chah, Ajahn Brahm, Ajahn Maha Boowa, and all the other sayadaws, ajahns, etc - they all eat meat based on alms. All these great masters are known to have entered true samadhi and awareness. We should not pre-judge these great masters (and create very bad karma for ourselves) simply based on things like vegetarianism: instead we must judge solely on the criteria of their wisdom and insights.

Therefore we must not judge a master by their eating/not-eating meat. But the sutra is good in encouraging people to take up vegetarianism. I think the basis we should take up vegetarian is to practice compassion and bodhicitta.

Not everyone can be a vegetarian. 五净肉 is still a good 方便法

Source

sgforums.com