Thursday, June 23, 2011

The Practice of Chanting in Buddhism

by Bhikkhu Dhammasami
Chanting is very common to any religion. Buddhism is no exception in this regard. However, the aim and purpose of chanting is different from one religion to another. Buddhism is unique in that it does not consider chanting to be prayer.

The Buddha in many ways has shown us to have confidence in our own action and its results, and thereby encouraged us to depend on no one but ourselves. This in fact is the sum and substance of His last message in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta.
One of the passage in this discourse reads: "Ananda, be dependent on yourself, take refuge in yourself and not in others, by this mean be dependent on the Dhamma, go for refuge to the Dhamma -- the righteous principles".

When a Buddhist does chanting, he is not asking some one to save him from evil nor is he hoping to be given a place in heaven as a result after he dies. Instead, through chanting he may be learning, teaching, philosophising or re-memorising the discourse.
 Actually, in the Anguttara Nikaya there are some discourses dealing with chanting like Dhammavihari Sutta. It mentions five categories of people who make use of the discourses.

The first one studies it just for the sake of study without putting it into practice or explaining it to others. He even does not reflect deeply on what he has studied. He is known as 'Pariyatti-bahulo' who is keen on studying it alone.

The second one preaches or teaches what he has learnt from the discourses but does not follow it himself. He is 'Pannyatti-bahulo' who is keen only on teaching.

The third one does chanting. He philosophises about the discourses, trying all the time to satisfy his philosophical thirst. He forgets to make use of as mode or life. He is called 'Vitakka-bahulo' who is eager only to indulge in philosophical aspects of the Suttas (Discourses).

The fourth one is the one who chants the discourses to make them last for a long time in his memory. He memorises and re-memorises. Nevertheless, he does not go further to follow it in daily life. He is 'Sajjhayaka-bahulo' who is enthusiastic only in memorising or chanting the teachings of the Buddha, He may even expect some magical power from chanting.

 The fifth and last one is who studies the discourses, teaches them to others, reflects on their philosophical points, chants them regularly and above all actually practices it in daily life. He is the one the Buddha praises to be 'Dhammavihari' -- a practitioner of the Dhamma, which he has learnt from the discourses.
 Having reflected on this Sutta, it is left to us to judge ourselves to which category we belong and why we study or chant the discourses.

 I would like to dwell a bit more on chanting in general. This is, after all, an All-night Chanting ceremony. It is nothing but right for us to be fully convinced of what we are doing. Initially I did mention that Buddhism is unique because it does not consider chanting to be a form of prayer.

 Then why do we, Buddhists, chant?

 In the olden days, before there were sufficient support materials for study like books, translations and computers we had to memorise to learn a discourse. After we had learnt it, we still had to chant regularly to protect it and hand it down to future generations. If we did not recite it daily we might forget it and omit some part of it.
The Anguttara Nikaya says that if the discourses are poorly maintained this will lead to the disappearance of the Sasana.[1] It was so important those days to memorise and chant it regularly. This must have definitely contributed in developing chanting practice. Chanting meant almost for the survival of the Dhamma itself.
 Now we have sufficient support materials, why we should then be still chanting? Is there any more reason to do this?
 There are some reasons sufficient to continue chanting practice. Regular chanting gives us confidence, joy and satisfaction, and increases devotion within us. This devotion is really a power. It is called the Power of Devotion (Saddhabala). It energises our life in general. I do not know about the others. For me I often have a joyous feeling when the chanting goes right. I become more confident of myself. I see it as a part of developing devotion.

 In Buddhist monastic education tradition, chanting and learning by heart still forms a part of it. We study some of the Theravada Abhidhamma texts -- the highest teachings of the Buddha which deal with the ultimate nature of things -- in that way in Burma. We are explained the meaning and how the logic develops in the Abhidhamma.
In the night we try to chant without having learnt it by heart. We could do it because of the technique. It is known as evening-class (nya-war) over there. It means a certain technique of studying the Abhidhamma and some of the Suttas. It is very helpful as it helps you to reflect very quickly.

 When we examine the nature of the discourses, the reasons for chanting will become clearer to us than ever.

 A Sutta (Discourse) like Mangala Sutta was an answer to the Deva who asked the Lord Buddha about the real progress in social, economic and spiritual life. It is the vision of the Buddha on those issues as much as his advice to all of us who genuinely want those progresses in social and spiritual life.
It is some thing that we should follow throughout our life starting from childhood to the day we take our last breath. Most of the Suttas are of this nature. They are descriptions as well as prescriptions for the common diseases like Lobha, Dosa and Moha (Greed, Hatred and Delusion).
 Another nature of the discourses is protection or healing. Ratana Sutta is one of the best-known examples here. It was first taught to Venerable Ananda who in turn chanted in Vaisali to ward off all the evils and famine the people were then facing. Angulimala Sutta also falls into this category as it relieves the pains and trouble of a would-be mother.
Mahasamaya Sutta and Atanatiya Sutta come under the same category because they emphasise much on protection and healing. Remember that Venerable Ananda and Venerable Angulimala did cultivate love and compassion before they chanted the discourse for this particular kind of blessing.

 The three Bojjhanga Suttas [2] (Maha Kassapa/Moggallana/Cunda) [3] have been in common use to help relieve the suffering of a patient. This is the third nature of the discourses I am trying to understand and reflect.

 Even the Buddha asked Venerable Cunda to chant this Bojjhanga Sutta when He was ill. He himself did the chanting of the Bojjhanga Sutta when his senior disciples, Venerable Maha Kassapa and Venerable Maha Moggallana, were sick.
These are the kind of Suttas that have both instructions for meditation practice and healing power. Karaniyametta Sutta has these same natures: instruction for daily practice to develop our spiritual benefit and to ward off the evils.

 In other words, Buddhist chanting serves as a reminder of the practice we need to follow in daily life. If we understand and learn how to do it properly, it is another type of meditation in itself. It is also at the same time a healing or blessing service.
 The last benefit we may get from chanting discourses is meditative one. When we chant if we try to concentrate well on the chanting, our mind becomes contemplative, not wandering, not engaging in unwholesome thoughts. The late Venerable Dr. H. Saddhatissa Mahanayaka Thero, the founder of SIBC [4], has rightly remarked in his work [5] that almost all Buddhist practices are nothing else but some form of meditation./.
Bhikkhu Dhammasami, 1999

[1] "Dve 'me bhikkhave dhamma saddhammassa sammosaya antaradhanaya samvattanti. Katame dve. Dunnkikkhittam ca pada-byancanam attho ca dunnito."

[2] Samyutta Nikaya, In the Mahakassapa Sutta, the Buddha chanted the Sutta to ailing Venerable Maha Kassapa while the second to another patient, Venerable Maha Moggallana, His own chief disciple. In the Mahacunda-bojjhanga Sutta, Venerable Cunda was asked by the Buddha who was then ill to chant (expound) the Bojjhanga. All were reported to have recovered at the end of the Sutta.

[3] Also Girimananda Sutta, Anguttara Nikaya; Girimananda bhikkhu was ill. That was reported to the Buddha by Venerable Ananda who was then taught this Sutta and asked to go back to Girimananda for expounding, reminding him of ten factors. At the end, he got recovered.

[4] Saddhatissa International Buddhist Centre. London

[5] Facets of Buddhism by Venerable H. Saddhatissa; World Buddhist Foundation, London, 1991; p. 267.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Guide To the Bodhisattva Way Of Life - Chapter Ten

Author: Shantideva Bodhisattva
 (* Shantideva Bodhisattva is known as a direct disciple of Manjusri Bodhisattva)

 The Key of becoming a Bodhisattva:

One who wishes to protect oneself and others quickly, should practice exchanging oneself for others, which is a great mystery.

 All those who are unhappy in the world are so as a result of their desire for their own happiness.

 All those who are happy in the world are so as a result of their desire for the happiness of others.

 Enough of such talk!

 Note the difference between the fool who seeks his own benefit, and the sage who works for the benefit of others.

 One, who does not exchange his own happiness for the suffering of others, surely does not achieve Buddhahood. How could one find happiness even in the cycle of existence?

 Therefore, in order to alleviate my own suffering and to alleviate the suffering of others, I give myself up to others, and I accept others as my own self.


Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10

 [In copying this ancient manuscript we discovered various translations from different traditions. The reader can be comforted to know that they all agreed with one another in substance, however, some were easier to understand in places then others. In making this text available we worked hard to ensure that it would be comprehensible. In every case we selected the verse that we felt was easiest to understand. BIONA ED.]


Chapter Ten

1. May all sentient beings be graced with the bodhisattva way of life by the virtue I have obtained while reflecting on the "A Guide To The Bodhisattva Way of Life."

 2. Through my merit, may all those in all directions who are afflicted by bodily and mental sufferings, obtain oceans of joy and contentment.

 3. As long as the cycle of existence lasts, may their happiness never decline. May the world attain the constant joy of the Bodhisattvas.

 4. As many hells as there are in the world, may beings in them delight in the joys of contentment in Sukhavati.

 5. May those afflicted with cold, find warmth. May those oppressed by heat be cooled by oceans of water springing from the great clouds of the Bodhisattvas.

 6. May the forest of sword leaves become for them the splendor of a pleasure grove; and may the sword-like Salmali trees grow as wish-fulfilling trees.

 7. May the regions of hell become vast ponds of delight, fragrant with lotuses, beautiful and pleasing with the cries of white geese, wild ducks, ruddy geese, and swans.

 8. May the heap of burning coal become a mound of jewels. May the burning ground become a crystal marble floor; and may the mountains of "The Crushing Hell" become temples of worship filled with Sugatas.

 9. May the rain of burning coal, lava, and daggers from now on become a rain of flowers; and may mutual battling with weapons now become a playful flower fight.

 10. By the power of my virtue, may those whose flesh has completely fallen off, whose skeletons are of the color of a white jasmine flower, and who are immersed in the river Vaitarani whose water is like fire, attain celestial bodies and dwell with goddesses by the river Manakini.

 11. May the horrifying agents of Yama, crows, and vultures suddenly watch here in fear. Those looking upward behold blazing Vajrapani in the sky wonder: "Whose is this brilliant light that dispels darkness all around and generates the joy of contentment?" May they depart together with him, freed of vice through the power of their joy.

 12. A rain of Lotuses falls mixed with fragrant waters. It is seen to extinguish the unceasing fires of the hells. May the beings of the hells, suddenly refreshed with joy, wonder, "What is this?" and may they see Padmapani.

 13. Friends, come quickly! Cast away fear! We are alive! A radiant vanquisher of fear, a certain prince in a monastic robe, has come to us. By his power every adversity is removed, streams of delight flow, the Spirit of Awakening is born, as is compassion, the mother of protection of all beings.

 14. Behold him whose Lotus-Feet are worshipped with tiaras of hundreds of gods, whose eyes are moist with compassion, on whose head a stream of diverse flowers rains down, with his delightful summer palaces celebrated by thousands of goddesses singing hymns of praise. Upon seeing Manjughosa before them, may the beings of the hells immediately cheer.

 15. Through my virtues, may the beings of the hells rejoice upon seeing the un-obscured clouds of Bodhisattvas, headed by Samantabhadra and bearing pleasant, cool, and fragrant rains and breezes.

 16. May the intense pains and fears of the beings of the hells be pacified. May the inhabitants of all miserable states of existence be liberated from their woeful states.

 17. May the animal's risk of being eaten by each other disappear! May the Pretas be as happy as the people in Uttarakura!

 18. May the Pretas always be satiated, bathed, and refreshed by streams of milk pouring from the hand of noble Avalokiteshvara.

 19. May the blind always see forms, and may the deaf hear. May pregnant women give birth without pains, as did Mayadevi.

 20. May they acquire everything that is beneficial and desired by the mind: clothing, food, drink, flower garlands, sandalwood-paste, and ornaments.

 21. May the fearful become fearless and those struck with grief find joy. May the despondent become resolute and free of trepidation.

 22. May the ill have good health. May they be freed from every bondage. May the weak become strong and have affectionate hearts for one another.

 23. May all regions be advantageous to all those who travel on roads. May the purpose for which they set out be expediently accomplished.

 24. May those who journey by boat succeed, as they desire. May they safely reach the shore and rejoice with their relatives.

 25. May those who find themselves on wrong paths in dreary forests come upon the company of fellow travelers; and without fatigue, may they journey without fear of bandits, tigers, and the like.

 26. May deities protect the dull, the insane, the deranged, the helpless, the young, and the elderly, and those in danger from sickness, the wilderness, and so on.

 27. May they be free from all lack of leisure; may they be endowed with faith, wisdom, and compassion; may they be possessed of stature and good conduct; and may they always remember their former lives.

 28. May they be inexhaustible treasuries just like Sky Treasure. Free of conflict or irritation, may they have an independent way of life.

29. May beings who have little splendor be endowed with great magnificence. May unattractive wretched be endowed with great beauty.

 30. May the women in the world become men. May the lowly obtain grandeur and yet be free of arrogance.

 31. Through this merit of mine, may all beings without exception abstain from every vice and always engage in virtue.

 32. Not lacking the Spirit of Awakening, devoted to the Bodhisattva way of life, embraced by the Buddhas, and free of the deeds of Maras,

 33. May all beings have immeasurable life spans. May they always live happily, and may even the word death disappear.

 34. May all quarters of the world be delightful with gardens of wish fulfilling trees, filled with the Buddhas and the Children of the Buddhas, and be enchanting with the sound of Dharma.

 35. May the ground everywhere be free from stones and rocks, smooth like the palm of the hand, soft, and made of Lapis Lazuli.

 36. May the great assemblages of Bodhisattvas sit on all sides. May they beautify the earth with their own resplendence.

 37. May all beings unceasingly hear the sound of Dharma from the birds, from every tree, from the rays of light, and from the sky.

 38. May they always encounter the Buddhas and the Children of the Buddhas. May they worship the Spiritual Mentor of the world with endless clouds of offerings.

 39. May a god send rain in time, and may there be an abundance of crops. May the populace be prosperous, and may the king be righteous.

 40. May medicines be effective, and may the mantras of those who recite them be successful. May Dakinis, Rakasas, and other ghouls be filled with compassion.

 41. May no sentient being be unhappy, sinful, ill, neglected, or despised; and may no one be despondent.

 42. May monasteries be well established, full of chanting and study. May there always be harmony among the Sangha, and may the purpose of the Sangha be accomplished.

 43. May monks who wish to practice find solitude. May they meditate with their minds agile and free of all distractions.

 44. May nuns receive provisions and be free of quarrels and troubles. May all renunciations be of untarnished ethical discipline.

 45. May those who are of poor ethical discipline be disgusted and become constantly intent on the extinction of their vices. May they reach a fortunate state of existence, and may their vows remain unbroken there.

 46. May they be learned and cultured, receive alms, and have provisions. May their mind streams be pure and their fame be proclaimed in every direction.

 47. Without experiencing the suffering of the miserable states of existence and without arduous practice, may the world attain Buddhahood in a single divine body.

 48. May all sentient beings worship all the Buddhas in many ways. May they be exceedingly joyful with the inconceivable bliss of the Buddhas.

 49. May the Bodhisattvas' wishes for the welfare of the world be fulfilled; and whatever the protectors intend for sentient beings, may that be accomplished.

 50. May the Pratyekabuddhas and Sravakas be happy, always worshipped by the lofty gods, asuras, and humans.

 51. Through the grace of Manjughosa, may I always achieve ordination and the recollection of the past lives until I reach the Joyous Ground.

 52. May I live endowed with strength in whatever posture I am. In all my lives may I find plentiful places of solitude.

 53. When I wish to see or ask something, may I see the Protector Manjunatha himself, without any impediment.

 54. May my way of life be life be like that of Manjusri, who lives to accomplish the benefit of all sentient beings throughout the ten directions.

 55. For as long as space endures and for as long as the world lasts, may I live dispelling the miseries of the world.

 56. Whatever suffering there is for the world, may it all ripen upon me. May the world find happiness through all the virtues of the Bodhisattvas.

 57. May teaching that is the sole medicine for the suffering of the world and the source of all prosperity and joy remain for a long time, accompanied by riches and honor!

 58. I bow to Manjughosa, through whose grace my mind turns to virtue. I salute my spiritual friend through whose kindness it becomes stronger.

[End of Text]

Saturday, June 11, 2011

A Guide To the Bodhisattva Way Of Life - Chapter Nine

Author: Shantideva Bodhisattva  (* Shantideva Bodhisattva is known as a direct disciple of Manjusri Bodhisattva)

The Key of becoming a Bodhisattva:

One who wishes to protect oneself and others quickly, should practice exchanging oneself for others, which is a great mystery.

All those who are unhappy in the world are so as a result of their desire for their own happiness.

All those who are happy in the world are so as a result of their desire for the happiness of others.

Enough of such talk!

Note the difference between the fool who seeks his own benefit, and the sage who works for the benefit of others.

One, who does not exchange his own happiness for the suffering of others, surely does not achieve Buddhahood. How could one find happiness even in the cycle of existence?

Therefore, in order to alleviate my own suffering and to alleviate the suffering of others, I give myself up to others, and I accept others as my own self.
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9

 [In copying this ancient manuscript we discovered various translations from different traditions. The reader can be comforted to know that they all agreed with one another in substance, however, some were easier to understand in places then others. In making this text available we worked hard to ensure that it would be comprehensible. In every case we selected the verse that we felt was easiest to understand. BIONA ED.]

Chapter Nine
Affection of Wisdom

1. The Sage taught this entire system for the sake of wisdom. Therefore, with the desire to ward off suffering, one should develop this wisdom.

2. This truth is recognized as being of two kinds: conventional and ultimate. Ultimate reality is beyond the scope of the intellect. The intellect is called conventional reality.

3. In the light of this, people are seen to be of two types: the contemplative and the ordinary person; the ordinary folks are superseded by the contemplatives. [The contemplative perceives the ordinary, worldly persons viewpoint to be incorrect. (Ed.)]

4. Due to the difference in their intelligence, even contemplatives are refuted by successfully higher ones by means of analogies accepted by both parties, regardless of what they aim to prove.

5. Ordinary people see and imagine things as real and not illusory. It is in this respect that there is disagreement between the contemplatives and the ordinary people.

6. Even the objects of direct perception, such as form and the like, are established by consensus and not by verifying cognition. That consensus is false, as is the general agreement that pure things are impure, for example.

7. The Protector taught things in order to bring people to understanding. Qualm: If these things are not ultimately, but only conventionally, momentary, this is inconsistent.

8. Madhyamika: There is no fault in the conventional truth of the contemplatives. In contrast to ordinary people, they see reality. Otherwise, ordinary people would invalidate the perception of women as impure.

9. Qualm: How can there possibly be merit due to the Jina who is like an illusion, as is the case if he is truly existent? If a sentient being is like an illusion, why is he reborn again after he dies?

10. Madhyamika: Even an illusion lasts for as long as the collection of its conditions. Why should a sentient being truly exist merely because its continuum lasts a long time?

11. Yogacarin: If consciousness does not exist, then there is no sin in killing an illusionary person. Madhyamika: On the contrary, when one is endowed with the illusion of consciousness, vice and merit do arise.

12. Yogacarin: an illusionary mind is not possible, since mantras and the like are unable to produce it. Madhyamika: Diverse illusions originate on account of diverse conditions. Nowhere does a single condition have the ability to produce everything.

13. Yogacarin: If one could be ultimately emancipated, and yet transmigrate conventionally, then even the Buddha would transmigrate. So what would be the point of the Bodhisattva way of life?

14. Madhyamika: When its conditions are not destroyed, an illusion does not cease either. Due to a discontinuity of its conditions, it does not originate even conventionally.

15. Yogacarin: When even a mistaken cognition does not exist, by what is an illusion ascertained?

16. Madhyamika: If, for you an illusion itself does not exist, what is apprehended? Even if it is an aspect of the mind itself, in reality it exists as something different.

17. Yogacarin: If the mind itself is an illusion, then what is perceived by what? Madhyamika: The Protector of the World stated that the mind does not perceive the mind. Just as a sword cannot cut itself, so it is with the mind.

18. Yogacarin: It illuminates itself, as does a lamp. Madhyamika: A lamp does not illuminate itself, for it is not concealed by darkness.

19. Yogacarin: A blue object does not require something else for its blueness, as does a crystal. So something may or may not occur in dependence on something else.

20. Madhyamika: As is the case of non-blueness, blue is not regarded as its own cause. What blue by itself could make itself blue?

21. Yogacarin: It is said; that a lamp illuminates once this is cognized with awareness. The mind is said to illuminate once this is cognized with what?

22. Madhyamika: If no one perceives whether the mind is luminous or not, then there is no point in discussing it, like the beauty of a barren woman's daughter.

23. Yogacarin: If self-cognizing awareness does not exist, how is consciousness recalled? Madhyamika: Recollection comes from its relation to something else that was experienced, like a rats poison.

24. Yogacarin: It illuminates itself, because the mind, endowed with other conditions, perceives. Madhyamika: A Jar seen due to the application of a magical ointment is not the ointment itself.

25. The Manner in which something is seen, heard, or cognized is not what is refuted here, but the conceptualization of its true appearance, which is the cause of suffering, is rejected here.

26. If you fancy that an illusion is neither different from the mind, nor non different, then if it is a really existing thing, how can it not be different? If it is not different, then it does not really exist.

27. Just as an illusion can be seen even though it does truly exist, so it is with the observer, the mind. Yogacarin: The cycle of existence has its basis in reality or else it would be like space.

28. Madhyamika: How can something that does not exist have any efficacy by being based on something real? You have approached the mind as being an isolated unity.

29. If the mind were free from any apprehended object, then all beings would be Tath¨¢gatas. Thus, what good is gained by speculating that only the mind exists?

30. Yogacarin: Even when the similarity to illusion is recognized, how does a mental affliction cease, since lust for an illusory woman arises even in the mind of the one who created her?

31. Madhyamika: Because her creator's imprints of mental afflictions toward objects of knowledge have not been eliminated, when seeing her, his imprint of emptiness is weak.

32. By building up the imprints of emptiness, the imprint of existence is diminished; and after accustoming oneself to the fact that nothing truly exists, even that diminishes.

33. Yogacarin: If it is conceived that a phenomenon that does not really exist cannot be perceived, then how can a non-entity, which is without basis, stand before the mind?

34. Madhyamika: When neither an entity nor a non-entity remains before the mind, then since there is no other possibility, having no objects, it becomes calm.

35. Just as a wish fulfilling gem, or a wish granting tree satisfies desires, so the image of the Jina is seen, because of his vow and his disciples.

36. When a charmer against poison dies, after completing a pillar, that pillar neutralizes poisons and the like, even for a long time after his death.

37. Likewise, the pillar of the Jina, completed with accordance with the Bodhisattva way of life, accomplishes all tasks, even when the bodhisattva has passed into Nirvana.

38. Hinayananist: How could worship offered to something that has no consciousness be fruitful? Madhyamika: Because it is taught that it is the same whether he is present or has passed into Nirvana.

39. According to the scriptures, effects of worship do exist, whether conventionally or ultimately, in the same way that worship offered to the true Buddha is said to be fruitful.

40. Hinayananist: Liberation comes from understanding the four noble truths, so what is the point of perceiving emptiness? Madhyamika: Because the scripture states that there is no awakening without this path.

41. Hinayananist: The Mahayana is certainly not authenticated. Madhyamika: How is your scripture authenticated? Hinayananist: Because it is authenticated by both of us. Madhyamika: Then it is not authenticated by you from the beginning.

42. Apply the same faith and respect to the Mahayana as you do to it. If something is true because it is accepted by two different parties, then the Vedas and the like would also be true.

43. If you object that the Mahayana is controversial, then reject your own scripture because it is contested by heterodox groups and because parts of your scriptures are contested by your own people and others.

44. The teaching has its root in the monk-hood and the monk-hood is not on a firm footing. For those whose minds are subject to grasping, Nirvana is not on a firm footing either.

45. If your objection is that liberation is due to the elimination of mental afflictions, then it should occur immediately afterward. Yet one can see the power of Karma over those people, even though they had no mental afflictions.

46. If you think that as long as there is no craving there is no grasping onto rebirth, why could their craving, even though free of mental afflictions, not exist as delusion?

47. Craving has its cause in feeling, and they have feeling. The mind that has mental objects has to dwell on one thing or another.

48. Without emptiness the mind is constrained and arises again, as in non-cognitive meditative equipoise. Therefore, one should meditate on emptiness.

49. If you acknowledge the utterances that correspond to the sutras as the words of the Buddha, why do you not respect the Mahayana, which for the most part is similar to your sutras?

50. If the whole is faulty because one part is not acceptable, why not consider the whole as taught by the Jina because one part is similar to the Sutras?

51. Who will not accept the teachings not fathomed by leaders such as Maha- Kassapa just because you failed to understand them?

52. Remaining in the cycle of existence for the sake of those suffering due to delusion is achieved through freedom from attachment and fear. That is a fruit of emptiness.

53. Thus, no refutation is possible with regard to emptiness, so one should meditate on emptiness without hesitation.

54. Since emptiness is the antidote to the darkness of afflictive and cognitive obstructions, how is it that one desiring omniscience does not promptly meditate on it?

55. Let fear arise towards something that produces suffering. Emptiness pacifies suffering. So why does fear of it arise?

56. If there were something called "I," fear could come from anywhere. If there is no "I," whose fear would there be?

57. Teeth, hair, and nails are not "I," nor am I bone, blood, mucus, phlegm, puss, or lymph.

58. Bodily oil is not I, nor are sweat, fat, or entrails, the cavity of the entrails is not "I," nor is excrement or urine.

59. Flesh is not "I," nor are sinews, heat, or wind. Bodily apertures are not "I," nor, in any way, are the six consciousnesses.

60. If the awareness of sound were "I," then sound would always be apprehended. But without an object of awareness, what does it cognize on account of which is called awareness?

61. If that which is not cognizant were awareness, a piece of wood would be awareness. Therefore, it is certain there is no awareness in the absence of its object.

62. Why does that which cognizes form not hear it as well? Samkhya: Because of the absence of sound, there is no awareness of it.

63. Madhyamika: How can something that is of the nature of the apprehension of sound be the apprehension of form? One person may be considered as a father and a son, but not in terms of ultimate reality,

64. Since Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas are neither a father nor a son. Moreover its nature is not seen as related to the apprehension of sound.

65. If it is the same thing taking another guise, like an actor, he too is not permanent. If he has different natures, then this unity of his is unprecedented.

66. If another guise is not the true one, then describe its natural appearance. If it were the nature of awareness, then it would follow that all people would be identical.

67. That which has volition and that which has no volition would be identical because their existence would be the same. If difference were false, then what would be the basis for similarity?

68. That which is not conscious is not "I", because it lacks consciousness, like a cloth and the like. If it were consciousness because it has consciousness, than it would follow that when it stops being conscious of anything, it would vanish.

69. If the self is not subject to change, what is the use of its consciousness? Thus, this implies that space, which lacks consciousness and activity, has a self.

70. Objection: Without the self, the relationship between an action and its result is not possible, for if the agent of an action has perished, who will have the result?

71. Madhyamika: When both of us have agreed that an action and its result have different bases and that the self has no influence in this matter, then there is no point in arguing about this.

72. One who has the cause cannot possibly be seen as being endowed with the result. It is pointed out that the existence of the agent and the experiencer (sic) of the consequences depends upon the unity of their continuum of consciousness.

73. The past or future mind is not "I", since it does not exist. If the mind were "I", then when it had vanished, the "I" would not exist anymore.

74. Just as the trunk of a plantain tree is nothing when cut into pieces, in the same way, the "I" is non-existence when sought analytically.

75. Qualm: If no sentient being exists, for whom is there compassion? Madhyamika: For one who is imagined through delusion, which is accepted for the sake of the task.

76. Qualm: If there is no sentient being, whose is the task? Madhyamika: True. The effort, too, is due to delusion. Nevertheless, in order to alleviate suffering, delusion with regard to one's task is not averted.

77. However, grasping onto the "I", which is a cause of suffering, increases because of the delusion with regard to the self. If this is the unavoidable result of that, meditation on identity-less-ness is the best.

78. The body is not the feet, the calves, nor the thighs. Nor is the body the hips, the abdomen. The back, the chest, or the arms.

79. It is not the hands, the sides of the torso, or the armpits, nor is it characterized by the shoulders. Nor is the body the neck or the head. Then what here is the body?

80. If this body partially exists in all of these, and its parts exist in their parts, where does it stand by itself?

81. If the body were located in its entirety in the hands and other limbs, there would be just as many bodies as there are hands and so forth.

82. The body is neither inside nor outside. How can the body be in the hands and other limbs? It is not separate from the hands and the like. How, then, can it be found at all?

83. Thus, the body does not exist. However, on account of delusion, there is the impression of the body with regard to the hands and the like, because of their specific configuration, just as there is the impression of a person with regard to a pillar.

84. As long as a collection of conditions lasts, the body appears like a person. Likewise, as long as it lasts with regard to the hands and the like, the body continues to be seen in them.

85. In the same way, since it is an assemblage of toes, which one would be a foot? The same applies to a toe, since it is an assemblage of joints, and to a joint as well, because of its division into its own parts.

86. Even the parts can be divided into atoms, and an atom itself can be divided according to its cardinal directions. The section of a cardinal direction is space, because it is without parts. Therefore, an atom does not exist.

87. What discerning person would be attached to form, which is just like a dream? Since the body does not exist, then who is a woman and who is a man?

88. If suffering truly exists, why does it not oppress the joyful? If delicacies and the like are a pleasure, why do they not please someone struck by grief and so forth?

89. If it is not experienced because it is overpowered by something more intense, how can that which is not of the nature of experience be a feeling?

90. Objection: Surely there is suffering in its subtle state while its gross state is removed. Madhyamika: If it is simply another pleasure, then that subtle state is a subtle state of pleasure.

91. If suffering does not arise when the conditions for its opposite have arisen, does it not follow that a "feeling" is a false notion created by conceptual fabrication?

92. Therefore, this analysis is created as an antidote to that false notion. For the meditative stabilizations that arise from the field of investigations are the food of contemplatives.

93. If there is an interval between a sense faculty and its object, where is the contact between the two? If there is no interval, they would be identical. In that case, what would be in contact with what?

94. One Atom cannot penetrate another, because it is without empty space and is of the same size as the other. When there is no penetration, there is no mingling there is no contact.

95. How, indeed, can there be contact with something that has no parts? If part-less-ness can be observed when there is contact, demonstrate this.

96. It is impossible for consciousness, which has no form, to have contact; nor is it possible for a composite, because it is not a truly existent thing, as investigated earlier.

97. Thus, when there is no contact, how can feeling arise? What is the reason for this exertion? Who can be harmed by what?

98. If there is no one to experience feeling and if feeling does not exist, then after understanding this situation, why, oh craving, are you not shattered?

99. The mind that has a dream-like and illusion-like nature sees and touches. Since feeling arises together with the mind, it is not perceived by the mind.

100. What happen earlier is remembered but not experienced by what arises later. It does not experience itself, nor is it experienced by something else.

101. There is no one who experiences feeling. Hence, in reality, there is no feeling. Thus, in this identity-less bundle, who can be hurt by it?

102. The mind is not located in the sense facilities, or in form and other sense-objects, or in between them. The mind is also not found inside, or outside, or anywhere else.

103. That which is not in the body nor anywhere else, neither intermingled nor somewhere separate, is nothing. Therefore, sentient beings are by nature liberated.

104. If cognition is prior to the object of cognition, in dependence on what does it arise? If cognition is simultaneous with the object of cognition, in dependence on what does it arise?

105. If it arises after the object of cognition, from what would cognition arise? In this way it is ascertained that no phenomenon comes into existence.

106. Objection: If conventional truth does not exist, how can there be the two truths? If it does exist due to another conventional truth, how can there be a liberated sentient being?

107. Madhyamika: One is an ideation of someone else's mind, and one does not exist by one's own conventional truth. After something has been ascertained, it exists; if not, it does not exist as a conventional reality either.

108. The two, conception and the conceived, are mutually dependent; just as every analysis is expressed by referring to what is commonly known.

109. Objection: But if one analyzes by means of analysis which itself is analyzed, then there is an infinite regress, because that analysis can also be analyzed.

110. Madhyamika: When the object of analysis is analyzed, no basis for analysis is left. Since there is no basis, it does not arise, and that is called "nirvana."

111. A person for whom these two are truly existent is in an extremely shaky position. If an object exists because of the power of cognition, how does one arrive at the true existence of cognition?

112. If cognition exists because of the power of the object of cognition, how does one arrive at the true existence of cognition? If their existence is due to their mutual power, neither can exist.

113. Objection: If there is no father without a son, how can there be a son? Madhyamika: Just as in the absence of a son there is no father, in the same way these two do not exist.

114. Objection: A sprout arises from a seed. The seed is indicated by that sprout. Why does cognition that arises from the object of cognition not ascertain the true existence of that object of cognition?

115. Madhyamika: It is ascertained that a seed exists owing to a cognition that is not the same as a sprout. How is the existence of a cognition cognized, since the object of cognition is ascertained by that cognition?

116. People observe every cause through direct perception, since the components of a lotus, such as the stalk and so forth, are produced by a variety of causes.

117. Qualm: What makes the variety of causes? Madhyamika: a preceding variety of causes. Qualm: How can a cause give an effect? Madhyamika: Because of the power of the preceding causes.

118. Nyaya-Vaisesika: Isvara is the cause of the world. Madhyamika: Then explain who Isvara is. If he is the elements, so be it; but then why tussle over a mere name?

119. Moreover, the earth and other elements are not one; they are impermanent, inactive, and not divine. They can be stepped on and are impure. That is not Isvara.

120. Space is not the Lord because it is inactive. Nor is it the Self, because that has been refuted. How can the inconceivable creatorship of the Inconceivable One be describes?

121. What does he desire to create? If he desires to create a self, are not that self, the nature of the earth and other elements, and Isvara eternal? Cognition is due to the object of cognition and is without beginning.

122. Happiness and suffering are the result of action. Say then, what did he create? If the cause has no beginning, how can its effect have a beginning?

123. If he does not depend on anything else, why does he not always create? There is nothing whatsoever that is not created by him. So on what would he depend?

124. If Isvara depends on a collection of conditions, then again, he is not the cause. He cannot refrain from creating when there is a collection of conditions, nor can he create in their absence.

125. If Isvara creates without desiring to do so, it would follow that he is dependent on something other than himself. Even if he desires to create, he is dependent on that desire. Whence is the supremacy of the creator?

126. Those who claim the atoms are permanent have been refuted earlier. The Samkhyas consider a primal substance as the permanent cause of the world.

127. The universal constituents-sattva, rajas, and tamas-remaining in equilibrium, are called the primal substance. The universe is explained by their dis-equilibrium.

128. It is implausible that a single thing has three natures, so it does not exist. Likewise, he universal constituents do not exist, since they would each be comprised of three constituents.

129. In the absence of the three universal constituents, the existence of sound and other sense objects is far fetched. There is also no possibility of pleasure and the like in unconscious things such as cloth and so on.

130. If you argue that things have the nature of causes, have things not been analyzed away? For you, pleasure and the like are the cause, but cloth and the like are not the result of that cause.

131. Happiness and other feelings may be due to things such as a cloth, but in their absence, there would be no happiness and so on. The permanence of happiness and other feelings is never ascertained.

132. If the manifestation of happiness truly exists, why is the feeling not apprehended? If you see that it becomes subtle, how can it be gross and subtle?

133. Objection: It is subtle upon leaving its gross state. Its grossness and subtlety are impermanent. Madhyamika: Why do you not consider everything impermanent in that way?

134. If its gross state is not different from happiness, then the impermanence of happiness is obvious. If you think that something non-existent does not arise, because it has no existence whatsoever, then you have accepted, even against your will, the origination of something manifest that was non-existent.

135. If you accept that the effect is present in the cause, then one who eats food would be eating excrements, and a cotton tree seed would be bought at the price of a cloth and worn as a garment.

136. If you argue that ordinary people do not see this because of delusion, this is the case even for one who knows reality.

137. Even ordinary people know that. Why do they not see it? If you argue that ordinary people have no verifying cognition, then even their perception of something manifest is false.

138. Samkhya: If verifying cognition is not verifying cognition, then what is not verified falsely? In reality, the emptiness of phenomena is not ascertained through that verifying cognition.

139. Madhyamika: Without detecting an imagined thing, its non-existence is not apprehended. Therefore, if a thing is false, its non-existence is clearly false.

140. Thus, when in a dream a son has died, the thought 'he does not exist' prevents the arising of the thought of his existence; and that too is false.

141. Therefore, with this analysis, nothing exists without a cause, nor is it contained in its individual, or combined causal conditions.

142. Nothing comes from something else, nothing remains, and nothing departs. What is the difference between an illusion and that which is considered by fools as real?

143. Examine this: As for that which is created by illusion and that which is created by causes, where do they come from and where do they go?

144. How can there be true existence in something artificial, like a reflection, which is perceived only in conjunction with something else, and not in its absence?

145. For something that already exists, what need is there for a cause? If something does not exist, what is the need for a cause?

146. Something that does not exist will not be subject to change, even with millions of causes. How can something in that state be existent. What else can come into existence?

147. If there is no existent thing at the time of non-existent, when will an existent thing come into existence? For that non-existent thing will not disappear as long as the existent thing is not produced.

148. When a non-existent thing has not disappeared, there is no opportunity for the existent thing. An existent thing does not does not become non-existent; since it would follow that it would be of two natures.

149. Thus, there is neither cessation nor coming into existence at any time. Therefore, this entire world does not arise or cease.

150. States of existence are like dreams; upon analysis, they are similar to plantain trees. In reality, there is no difference between those who have attained Nirvana and those who have not.

151. When all phenomena are empty in this way, what can be gained and what can be lost? Who will be honored or despised by whom?

152. Whence comes happiness or suffering? What is pleasant and what is unpleasant? When investigated in its own nature, what is craving and for what is craving?

153. Upon investigation what is the world of living beings, and who will really die here? Who will come into existence, and who has come into existence, who is a relative, and who is a friend of whom?

154. May those who are like me apprehend everything as being like space. They rage and rejoice by means of dispute and jubilation.

155. Seeking their own happiness with evil deeds they live miserably with grief, troubles, despair, and cutting and stabbing each other.

156. After repeatedly entering the fortunate states of existence and becoming accustomed to pleasure again and again, they die and fall into the miserable states of existence in which there is long and intense anguish.

157. There are many pitfalls in mundane existence, but there is not this truth here. There is mutual incompatibility. Reality could not be like this.

158. There are incomparable, violent, boundless oceans of suffering. Strength is scanty there; and the life span is short there as well.

159. There, too, in practices for long life and health, in hunger, fatigue, and weariness, in sleep and calamities, and in unprofitable associations with fools,

160. Life passes by swiftly and in vain. Discrimination is difficult to obtain there. How could there be a way to prevent habitual distractions?

161. There, too, Mara tries to throw them into very wretched states. There, because of the abundance of wrong paths, doubt is difficult to overcome.

162. And leisure is hard to obtain again. The appearance of a Buddha is extremely rare. The flood of mental afflictions is difficult to impede. Alas, what a succession of suffering!

163. Ah, there should be a great pity for those adrift in the flood of suffering, who, although miserable in this way, do not recognize their wretched situation.

164. Just like one who repeatedly immerses himself in water but must enter fire again and again, so they consider themselves fortunate, although they are extremely miserable.

165. As they live like this, pretending that they are not subject to aging and death, terrible calamities come, with death the foremost of them.

166. Thus, when might I bring relief to those tormented by the fire of suffering, with the requisites of happiness springing forth from the clouds of my merit?

167. When shall I respectfully teach emptiness and the accumulation of merit-in terms of conventional truth and without reification-to those whose views are reified?

Continue to Chapter Ten (Dedication)

Saturday, June 4, 2011

A Guide To the Bodhisattva Way Of Life - Chapter Eight

Author: Shantideva Bodhisattva
 (* Shantideva Bodhisattva is known as a direct disciple of Manjusri Bodhisattva)

 The Key of becoming a Bodhisattva:

One who wishes to protect oneself and others quickly, should practice exchanging oneself for others, which is a great mystery.

 All those who are unhappy in the world are so as a result of their desire for their own happiness.

 All those who are happy in the world are so as a result of their desire for the happiness of others.

Enough of such talk!

Note the difference between the fool who seeks his own benefit, and the sage who works for the benefit of others.

One, who does not exchange his own happiness for the suffering of others, surely does not achieve Buddhahood. How could one find happiness even in the cycle of existence?

Therefore, in order to alleviate my own suffering and to alleviate the suffering of others, I give myself up to others, and I accept others as my own self.


Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9

[In copying this ancient manuscript we discovered various translations from different traditions. The reader can be comforted to know that they all agreed with one another in substance, however, some were easier to understand in places then others. In making this text available we worked hard to ensure that it would be comprehensible. In every case we selected the verse that we felt was easiest to understand. BIONA ED.]


Chapter Eight
The Perfection of Meditation

1. Upon developing zeal in that way, one should stabilize the mind in meditative concentration, since a person whose mind is distracted lives between the fangs of mental afflictions.

2. With bodily and mental seclusion, distraction does not arise. Therefore, upon renouncing the world, one should renounce discursive thoughts.

3. On account of attachment and craving for gain and the like, one does not renounce the world. Thus, upon forsaking them, the wise should contemplate in this way.

4. Realizing that one who is well endowed with insight through quiescence eradicates mental afflictions one should first seek quiescence. Quiescence is due to detachment toward the world and due to joy.

5. For what impermanent person, who will not see his loved ones again in thousands of births, is it appropriate to be attached to impermanent things?

6. Failing to see them, one does not find joy nor does one abide in meditative concentration. Even upon seeing them, one does not become satisfied but is tormented by strong desire, just as before.

7. One does not perceive reality and loses disillusionment with the cycle of existence. One is consumed by that grief-desire for the company of the beloved.

8. Because of thinking of that person, life ever so swiftly passes in vain. Due to a transient entity, the eternal Dharma is lost.

9. One who acts in the same manner as foolish people definitely goes to a miserable state of existence. They do like someone who is different. What is gained from association with fools?

10. One moment they are friends, and the next moment they are enemies. On an occasion for being pleased, they become angry. Ordinary people are difficult to gratify.

11. When given good advice, they become angry; and they turn me away from good advice. If they are not listened to, they become angry and go to a miserable state of existence.

12. They feel envy toward a superior, competitiveness with a peer, arrogance toward one who is inferior, conceit due to praise, and anger due to reproach. When could there be any benefit from a fool?

13. Between one fool and another, something non-virtuous is inevitable, such as glorification of one's own self, speaking ill of others, and conversation about the pleasures of the cycle of existence.

14. Thus, on account of one's association with someone else, one encounters adversity. I shall happily live alone with a non-afflicted mind.

15. One should flee far from a fool. One should gratify the encountered person with pleasantries, not with the intention of intimacy but in the manner of a kind and impartial person.

16. Taking only what benefits Dharma, like a bee taking nectar from a flower, I shall live everywhere without acquaintance, as if I had not existed before.

17. A mortal who thinks, "I am rich and respected, and many like me," experiences fear of approaching death.

18. Wherever the mind, infatuated by pleasures, finds enjoyment, there a thousand-fold suffering arises and falls to one's share.

19. Hence, the wise should not desire it. Fear arises from desire, yet it passes away by itself. Generate fortitude and look at it with indifference.

20. Many have become wealthy and many have become famous, but no one knows where they have gone with their wealth and fame.

21. If others despise me, why should I rejoice when praised? If others praise me, why should I be despondent when reviled?

22. If sentient beings of different dispositions have not been satisfied by the Jinas themselves, then how could they be like an ignorant person like myself? So, what is the point of attending to the world?

23. They revile a person without acquisitions, and despise a person with acquisitions. How can those whose company is by nature suffering bring forth joy?

24. The Tath¨¢gatas have said that a fool is no ones friend, because the affection of a fool does not arise without self-interest.

25. Love due to self-interest is love for one's own sake, just as distress at the loss of possessions is occasioned by the loss of pleasures.

26. Trees do not revile nor can they be pleased with effort. When might I dwell with those whose company is a delight?

27. When shall I dwell in a cave, an empty temple, or at the foot of a tree, without looking back, and without attachment?

28. When shall I dwell, living freely and without attachment, in unclaimed and naturally spacious regions?

29. When shall I dwell with a paltry alms bowl and so on in clothing wanted by no one, living fearlessly, even without concealing my body?

30. When shall I go to the local charnel grounds and compare my own body, which has the nature of decay, with other corpses?

31. For this body of mine will also become so putrid that even the jackals will not come near it because of the stench.

32. If the flesh and bone that have arisen together with this body will deteriorate and disperse, how much more is this the case for other friends?

33. A person is born alone and also dies alone. No one else has a share in one's agony. What is the use of loved ones who create hindrances?

34. Just as one who has undertaken a journey takes lodging, so does one who travels in the cycle of existence take lodging in a rebirth.

35. Until one his hoisted by four men and mourned by the world, one should retire to the forest.

36. Without intimacy and without conflict, one dwells in physical solitude, and when one is counted as if already dead no one grieves when one actually dies.

37. There is on one to inflict grief and harm, nor is there any one to distract one from the recollection of the Buddha and so forth.

38. Thus, I shall always dwell alone in the delightful forest, which creates few problems, good cheer, and the pacification of all distraction.

39. Free from all other concerns and having a single-pointed mind, I shall apply myself to meditative concentration and to the subjugation of the mind.

40. Casting off all other concerns, and with a single pointed mind, I shall strive to balance and subdue my mind. In this world and the next, sensuous desires create troubles, such as murder, imprisonment, and dismemberment in this life, and hell and so forth in the next.

41. She for whom you have supplicated male and female messengers many times and for whose sake you have not considered the cost of either vice nor disgrace,

42. Throwing yourself into danger and wasting your health, embracing her with the greatest pleasure-

43. She is nothing but bones, indifferent and impersonal. Why do you not resort to emancipation, fully embracing it to your hearts content?

44. Either you have seen that bashfully lowered face before as being lifted up with effort, or you have not seen it as it was covered by a veil.

45. Just as that face that torments you is perceived now, so you will see it unveiled by vultures. Why does it make you flee now?

46. Since you guarded her face from the gaze of others, why do you, O avaricious one, not guard it as it is being eaten?

47. Seeing this mass of flesh being eaten by vultures and others, should you worship others food with wreaths of flowers, sandalwood paste, and ornaments?

48. You fear a skeleton that has been seen like this, even though it does not move. Why do you fear it when it moves, as if set in motion like some ghost?

49. Their saliva and excrement arise from the same food. Why then do you dislike excrement, and like sucking saliva?

50. Taking no delight in cotton pillows that are soft to the touch, the lustful, who are deluded with respect to filth, say the body does not emit a foul odor?

51. The lustful, degraded, and deluded have distain for soft cotton, saying, "It can't engage in intercourse."

52. If you say 'I do not lust after filth,' why do you embrace on your lap something else that is a skeleton tied together with sinews, and plastered over with a mire of flesh?

53. You have plenty of filth yourself, and you always have the use of it, yet out of craving, you desire the filth in another sack of muck.

54. Casting aside a fresh lotus opening, under the rays of the cloudless sun, why do you, with your filth-craving mind, take delight in a container of muck?

55. The mind that you desire cannot be seen or touched; and that which can be is not conscious. Why do you embrace in vain?

56. It is not surprising that you do not look at another persons body as composed of filth, but it is astonishing that you do not perceive your own body as composed of filth.

57. Thinking, "I like its flesh," you wish to touch it and look at it. Why do you not desire the flesh of a dead body, which, by nature, is not sentient?

58. If you do not desire to touch soil and the like because it is smeared with excrement, how can you wish to touch the body out of which it is excreted?

59. If you do not have passion for what is impure, why do you embrace someone else, who is a seed or arisen from a field of filth and nourished by it?

60. You do not desire a dirty worm originating from filth because it is small, but you desire a body that consists of much filth and also born from filth.

61. Not only do you not abhor your own filth, out of craving, you desire other filthy sacks of excrement.

62. Even the ground is considered impure when savory foods, such as camphor or boiled rice and condiments, are spat out or vomited from the mouth.

63. If you do not trust that this is filth even though it is obvious, look at other bodies too, repugnant and discarded in the charnel ground.

64. Knowing that great fear arises when the skin is torn off, how can you have attraction to that same thing again?

65. Although applied to the body, this fragrance is from sandalwood and not from anything else. Why are you attracted to someone by the fragrance that belongs to something else?

66. If attraction does not arise due to a naturally foul smell, is that not good? Why do people take pleasure in what is worthless and anoint it with fragrance?

67. If it is sandalwood that is sweet smelling, did it come from the body? Why is someone attracted to someone because of a fragrance that belongs to something else?

68. If the naked body, containing the slime of filth, is frightening in its natural condition, with its long hair and nails and stained yellowish teeth,

69. Why do you meticulously polish it like a weapon for suicide? This earth is crowded with the insane, so diligent in deluding themselves!

70. If you are repelled upon seeing just skeletons in a charnel ground, are you attracted to a village, which is a charnel ground crowded with animated skeletons?

71. Thus, that filth is not gained without a price. Due to accomplishing that end, one is afflicted with fatigue and tormented in hells.

72. A child cannot increase its wealth, so with what is one happy when one is a youth? When ones life is spent accumulating wealth, what good is sensual gratification once one is old?

73. Some debased sensualists exhaust themselves with work throughout the day; then upon coming home, their depleted bodies fall asleep like the dead.

74. Others are afflicted by traveling abroad and suffer as they are far from home; and though they long for their wives and children, they do not see them for years on end.

75. Deluded by sensual desires, they sell themselves for that which they never acquire. Instead, their life is uselessly spent in labor for others.

76. The wives of those who have sold themselves and who always carry out commissions give birth at the feet of trees in the jungles and other inappropriate places.

77. In order to make a livelihood they enter war that endangers their lives, and they become servants for the sake of their self-respect. They are fools ridiculed for their sensual desires.

78. Some other sensualists are mutilated, fixed on a stake. They are seen being burned, and slain with daggers.

79. Consider wealth as an unending misfortune because of the troubles of acquiring, protecting, and losing it. Those who are distracted by attachment to wealth have no opportunity for liberation from the suffering of mundane existence.

80. Thus, sensualists have much distress and little enjoyment, like a beast that has hold of a bit of grass while pulling a wagon.

81. For the sake of that bit of enjoyment, which is easily obtainable even for an animal, an ill-fated one has destroyed this leisure and endowment, which is very difficult to find.

82. Sensual gratification is definitely transient and it casts one down to hell and so forth, and for no great end, one is constantly weary.

83. With even a billionth part of that diligence, there can be Buddhahood. Sensualists have suffering greater than the suffering of the Path, but they have no Awakening.

84. If one considers the suffering of the hells and so on, weapons, poison, fire, precipices, and enemies do not compare to sensual desires.

85. Becoming disillusioned with sensual desires in that way, generate delight in solitude in the peaceful forest, devoid of strive and annoyances.

86. The fortunate, pondering on how to benefit others, roam about, caressed by silent, gentle forest breezes, and cooled by the sandalwood rays of the moon on the lovely mansions of vast boulders.

87. In an empty hut, at the foot of a tree, or in a cave, one remains as long as one desires, and casting off the suffering of guarding ones possessions, one lives light heartedly, without a care.

88. Living freely, without attachment, and not tied by anyone, one savors the joy of contentment that is difficult even for a king to find.

89. After meditating on the advantages of solitude in this and other ways, having one's discursive thoughts calmed, one should cultivate the spirit of awakening.

90. One should first earnestly meditate on the equality of oneself and others in this way: "All equally experience suffering and happiness, and I must protect them as I do myself."

91. Although it has many divisions, such as arms and so one, the body is protected as a whole. Likewise, different beings, with their joys and sorrows, are all equal, like my self, in their yearning for happiness.

92. Even though my agony does not hurt anyone else's body, that suffering of mine is unbearable because I cling to it as mine.

93. Likewise, although others' suffering does not descend upon me, that suffering of theirs is difficult to bear because they cling to it as 'theirs.'

94. I should eliminate the suffering of others because it is suffering, just like my own suffering. I should take care of others, just as I am a sentient being.

95. When happiness is equally dear to others and myself, then what is so special about me that I strive after happiness for myself alone?

96. When fear and suffering are equally abhorrent to others and myself, then what is so special about me that I protect myself but not others

97. If I do not protect them because I am not afflicted by their suffering, why do I protect my body from the suffering of a future body, which is not my pain?

98. The notion that I will experience that is mistaken, for the one who has died is born elsewhere and is someone else.

99. If one thinks a person's suffering should be warded off by himself, since pain of the foot is not of the hand, why should the one take care of the other?

100. If one argues that even though it is inappropriate, it happens because of a grasping onto a self, our response is: with all ones might, one should avoid that which is inappropriate, whether it belongs to oneself, or to another.

101. The continuum of consciousness, like a series, and the aggregation of constituents, like an army and such, are unreal. Since one who experiences suffering does not exist, to whom will that suffering belong?

102. All sufferings are without an owner, because they are not different, they should be warded off, simply because they are suffering. Why is any restriction made in this case?

103. Why should suffering be prevented? Because everyone agrees. If it must be warded off, then all of it must be warded off; and if not, then this goes for oneself as it does for everyone else.

104. Qualm: much suffering arises from compassion, so why should one force it to arise? Response: After seeing the suffering of the world, how can this suffering from compassion be considered great?

105. If the suffering of many disappears because of the suffering of one, then a compassionate person should induce that suffering for his own sake and for the sake of others.

106. Therefore, Supuspacandra, although knowing the king's animosity, did not avoid his own suffering as a sacrifice for many people in misery.

107. Thus, one whose mind stream is accustomed to meditation and who delights in calming the suffering of others enters into Avichi Hell like a swan into a pool of Lotuses.

108. When sentient beings are liberated, they have oceans of joy. Is that not enough? What is the point of desiring ones own liberation?

109. Thus, although working for the benefit of others, there is neither conceit nor dismay; and on account of the thirst for the single goal of benefiting others, there is no desire for the result of the maturation of ones Karma.

110. Therefore, to the extent that I protect myself from disparagement, so shall I generate a spirit of protection and a spirit of compassion toward others!

111. Due to habituation, there is a sense that "I" exists in the drops of blood and semen that belongs to others, even though the being in question does not exist.

112. Why do I not also consider another's body as myself in the same way, the otherness if my own body is not difficult to determine?

113. Acknowledging oneself as fault-ridden and others as oceans of virtues, one should contemplate renouncing one's self-identity and accepting others.

114. Just as the hands and the like are cherished because they are members of the body, why are the embodied beings not cherished in the same way, for they are the members of the world?

115. Just as the notion of a self with regard to one's own body, which has no personal existence, is due to habitation, will the identity of one's self with others not arise in the same way?

116. Although working for the benefit of others in this way, there is neither conceit nor dismay. Even upon feeding oneself, expectation of a reward does not arise.

117. Therefore, just as you protect yourself from even minor disparagement, cultivate a spirit of protection and a spirit of compassion toward the world.

118. Hence, out of great compassion Lord Avalokita (Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara) blessed his own name to dispel even the anxiety of being in a crowd.

119. One should not turn away from difficulty, since owing to the power of habituation, one may have no pleasure in the absence of something that one previously feared to hear mentioned.

120. One who wishes to protect oneself and others quickly should practice exchanging oneself for others, which is a great mystery.

121. If even at a small danger fear arises on account of great attachment to oneself, why should one not abhor that self like a terrifying enemy?

122. One who kills birds, fish, and deer, and sets up an ambush with the desire to quell illness, thirst, and hunger,

123. One, who kills one's parents and steals the property of The Three Jewels for the sake of profit and respect, will become fuel in the Avichi Hell.

124. What wise person would desire, protect, and venerate such a self? Who would not see it as an enemy, and who would respect it?

125. If, out of concern for oneself, one thinks: "if I give it away, what shall I enjoy?" This is a fiendish state. If out of concern for others one thinks: "if I enjoy it, what shall I give away?" This is a divine state.

126. Upon harming another for one's own sake, one is burnt in hells and the like; but upon afflicting oneself for the sake of others, one has success in everything.

127. The desire for self-aggrandizement leads to a miserable state of existence, low status, and stupidity. By transferring that same desire to someone else, one obtains a fortunate state of existence, respect, and wisdom.

128. By ordering another around for ones own sake, one experiences the position of a servant and the like; but by ordering oneself around for the sake of others, one experiences the position of a master and the like.

129. All those who are unhappy in the world are so as a result of their desire for their own happiness. All those who are happy in the world are so as a result of their desire for the happiness of others.

130. Enough of such talk! Note the difference between the fool who seeks his own benefit, and the sage who works for the benefit of others.

131. One, who does not exchange his own happiness for the suffering of others, surely does not achieve Buddhahood. How could one find happiness even in the cycle of existence?

132. Not to mention the next life, even in this life, a desired goal of a servant who does not do his work, and of a master who does not pay out the wages, cannot be accomplished.

133. Forsaking the generation of mutual happiness and the felicity of present and future happiness, deluded people take on tremendous suffering because of harming one another.

134. If all the harm, fear, and suffering in the world occur due to grasping onto the self, what use is that great demon to me?

135. Without forsaking one's own self, one cannot avoid suffering, just as without avoiding the fire one cannot avoid being burned.

136. Therefore, in order to alleviate my own suffering and to alleviate the suffering of others, I give myself up to others, and I accept others as my own self.

137. O mind, make this resolve: "I am bound to others." From now on you must not be concerned with anything but the welfare of all sentient beings.

138. It is inappropriate to seek one's own welfare with the eyes and so on that are dedicated to others. It is inappropriate to pour one's own benefit with hands that are dedicated to others.

139. Therefore, becoming subservient to sentient beings, and snatching away whatever you see on this body, use it for the well being of others.

140. Placing your own identity in inferior ones and placing the identity of others in your own self, cultivate envy and pride with the mind free of discursive thoughts.

141. He is respected, not I. I am not wealthy, as he is. He is praised, while I am despised. I am unhappy, while he is happy.

142. I do chores while he lives at ease. It seems he is great in the world, while I am debased, lacking in good qualities.

143. What can one do without good qualities? Every person is endowed with good qualities. There are those with regard to whom I am inferior, and there are those with regard to whom I am superior.

144. The degeneration of my ethical discipline, views, and so on is due to the power of mental afflictions and not my own free will. You must heal me as well as you can, and I shall accept the pain.

145. If he cannot cure me, why does he disdain me? What use are his good qualities to me when he is the one who has good qualities?

146. He has no compassion for beings who dwell in the jaws of the beast of prey of miserable states of existence. Moreover, out of pride in his qualities, he desires to surpass the wise.

147. Seeing himself as being equal to others in order to enhance his own superiority, he will obtain wealth and respect for himself even by means of discord.

148. Were my good qualities to become apparent to everyone in the world, then no one would ever even hear of his good qualities.

149. Were not my faults to be concealed, there would be honor for me and not for him. Today, I have easily acquired possessions. I am honored while he is not.

150. Delighted, we shall watch him, as he is finally being ill treated, ridiculed and reviled from all sides.

151. Also, it seems this wretched one is competing with me does he have this much learning, wisdom, beauty, noble ancestry, and wealth?

152. Hearing my own good qualities being praised everywhere in this way, thrilled, with my hair standing on end, I shall enjoy the delight of happiness.

153. Even though this one has possessions, they are to be taken over with my strength; and if he works for me, I will give him just enough to survive.

154. We should deprive him of happiness and always yoke him to our anguish. We all have been afflicted in the cycle of existence hundreds of times by him.

155. O mind, countless eons have passed as you have yearned to accomplish your own self-interest, but with such great toil you have gained only suffering.

156. Thus, definitely apply yourself in this way right now without hesitation. Later you will see the advantages of this, for the words of the Sage are true.

157. If you had carried out this task earlier, this state deprived of the perfection and bliss of the Buddha would not have occurred.

158. Therefore, just as you formed a sense of self-identity, with regard to the drops of blood and semen of others, contemplate others in the same way.

159. Living as one who belongs to others and snatching away whatever you see on this body, practice what is beneficial to others.

160. Arouse envy towards your own self in this way: I am well while the other is miserable; the other is lowly while I am exalted; the other works while I do not.

161. Deprive yourself of happiness and expose yourself to the suffering of others. Examine your own faults with the consideration, "what have I done, at what time?"

162. Take the mistake made by another on your head, and disclose even a trivial mistake of yours to the Great Sage.

163. Let your own reputation be outshone by exalting the reputation of others, and like the least of servants, commit yourself to everyone's welfare.

164. This one of defective nature should not be praised for adventitious good qualities. Act so that no one may know of this one's good qualities.

165. In brief, whatever offense you have committed toward others for your own benefit, let it descend on yourself for the benefit of sentient beings.

166. This one should not be encouraged to be abusive, but should be established in the behavior of a young bride, modest, meek, and restrained.

167. Act in this way! Remain in this way! You should not do this! You should be subjugated and subdued in this way if you disobey.

168. O mind, if you do not do this even when you are being told, then I shall subjugate you alone, for all faults dwell in you.

169. Where will you go? I can see you, and I shall annihilate all your vanities. That was another, earlier time when I was ruined by you.

170. Now give up this hope: "Still, I have my own self interest!" Unconcerned as you are with much distress, I have sold you to others.

171. If I do not joyfully offer you to sentient beings, you will undoubtedly deliver me to the guardians of hell.

172. Handing me over in that way many times, you have tormented me for a long time. Remembering those grudges, I shall destroy you, the servant of your own self interest.

173. If you are pleased with yourself, you should take no pleasure in yourself. If you need protection, it is inappropriate to protect yourself.

174. The more this body is pampered, the more fragile it becomes, and the more it degenerates.

175. When it has degenerated in this way, not even this earth can completely fulfill its desire. Who then will satisfy its desire?

176. For one who desires the impossible, mental affliction and disappointment arise; but for one who is free of expectations there is unblemished prosperity.

177. Therefore, free rein should not be given to the growth of bodily desires. It is truly good when one does not take something that ones wants.

178. This awful, impure form has its end in ashes and stillness, moved only by another. Why do I grasp onto it as mine?

179. Of what use is this contrivance to me, whether it is dead or alive? What difference is there between this and a clump of soil and the like? Alas, you are not eliminating the grasping onto the "I."

 180. By favoring the body, one uselessly accumulates suffering. Of what use is anger or love to something equal to a piece of wood?

 181. Whether it is nurtured by me, or eaten by vultures, it feels neither affection nor aversion, so why am I so fond of it?

 182. If the body, which has no anger due to abuse, or satisfaction due to praise, is unconscious, then for whom am I exerting myself?

 183. Those who like this body are said to be my friends. They all like their own bodies too, so why do I not like them?

 184. Therefore, with indifference I have given up my body for the benefit of the world. Hence, although it has many faults, I keep it as an instrument for that task.

 185. So enough of worldly conduct! Recalling the teaching on consciousness and warding off drowsiness and lethargy, I shall follow the wise.

 186. Therefore, withdrawing the mind from evil ways, I shall always concentrate it on its own meditative object to eliminate obscurations.


Continue to Chapter Nine - Affection of Wisdom