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Sutra

Discussion in 'Habari na Hoja mchanganyiko' started by Andrew Nyerere, Jun 5, 2010.

  1. Andrew Nyerere

    Andrew Nyerere Verified User

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    THE SUTRA OF FORTY-TWO SECTIONS SPOKEN BY THE BUDDHA

    Jointly translated in the Later Han Dynasty by the monks
    Kasyapa Matanga and Gobharana from Central India.

    When the World Honored had become Enlightened, he
    reflected thus: "To abandon desire and rest in perfect
    quietude is the greatest of victories. To remain in a
    state of complete abstraction is to overcome the ways
    of all the evil ones." In the Royal Deer Park, he
    expounded the Doctrine of the Four Noble Truths, converting
    Kaundinya and four others, and thus manifesting the fruit
    of the Way. There were frequently monks who voiced their
    doubts and asked the Buddha to resolve them, so the World
    Honored taught and commanded them, until, one by one, they
    became Enlightened and, bringing their hands together in
    respectful agreement, prepared to follow the sacred commands.

    1. The Buddha said: "Those who, taking leave of their
    families and adopting the homeless life, know the nature
    of their minds and reach to what is fundamental, thus
    breaking away (from the phenomenal and attaining to)
    the unphenomenal, are called Sramanas. They constantly
    observe the two hundred and fifty precepts, entering into
    and abiding in perfect quietude. By working their way
    through the four stages of progress, they become Arhans, who
    possess the powers of levitation and transformation, as
    well as the ability to prolong their lives for many aeons
    and to reside or move about anywhere in heaven or earth.
    Below them come the Anagamins, who at the end of a long life,
    ascend in spirit to the nineteen heavens and become Arhats.
    Then come the Sakridagamins who must ascend one step and be
    reborn once more before becoming Arhans. There are also the
    Srota-apanas who cannot become Arhans until they have passed
    through nine more rounds of birth and death [original Chinese
    text states seven, not nine]. One who has put an end to his
    longings and desires is like a man who, having no further
    use for his limbs (literal: having cut off his limbs), never
    uses them again."

    2. The Sramana who, having left home, puts an end to his desires
    and drives away his longings, knowing the source of his own mind,
    penetrates to the profound principles of Buddhahood. He awakes
    to the non-phenomenal, clinging to nothing within and seeking
    for nothing from without. His mind is not shackled with dogmas,
    nor is he enmeshed by karma. Pondering nothing and doing nothing,
    practising nothing and manifesting nothing, without passing through
    all the successive stages, he (nevertheless) reaches the loftiest
    of all. This is what is meant by "The Way".

    3. The Buddha said: "He who has shorn his locks and beard to
    become a Sramana and has accepted the Doctrine of the Way,
    abandons everything of worldly value and is satisfied by the
    food he obtained by begging, eating but once a day. If there
    is a tree under which to rest, he desires nothing else.
    Longings and desires are what make men stupid and darken their
    minds.

    4. The Buddha said: "There are ten things by which beings do
    good and ten by which they do evil. What are they? Three are
    performed with the body, four with the mouth, and three with the
    mind. The (evils) performed with the body are killing, stealing
    and unchaste deeds; those with the mouth are duplicity,
    slandering, lying, and idle talk; those with the mind are
    covetousness, anger, and foolishness. These ten are not in
    keeping with the holy Way and are called the ten evil practices.
    Putting a stop to all of them is called performing the ten
    virtuous practices."

    5. The Buddha said: "If a man has all kinds of faults and does
    not regret them, in the space of a single heartbeat retribution
    will suddenly fall upon him and, as water returning to the sea,
    will gradually become deeper and wider. (But), if a man has
    faults and, becoming aware of them, changes for the better,
    retribution will melt away into nothingness of its own accord,
    as the danger of a fever gradually abates once perspiration
    has set in.

    6. The Buddha said: "If an evil man, on hearing of what is good,
    comes and creates a disturbance, you should hold your peace.
    You must not angrily unbraid him; then he who has come to curse
    you will merely harm himself."

    7. The Buddha said: "There was one who heard that I uphold the
    Way and practise great benevolence and compassion. On this account,
    he came to sold me, but I remained silent and did not retort.
    When he had finished scolding me, I said: "Sir, if you treat
    another with courtesy and he does not accept it, does not the
    courtesy and he does not accept it, does not the courtesy rebound
    to you?" He replied that it does and I continued: 'Now you have
    just cursed me and I did not accept your curses, so the evil
    which you yourself did has now returned and fallen upon you.
    For a sound accords with the noise that produced it and the
    reflection accords with the form. In the end there will be no
    escape, so take care lest you do what is evil."

    8. The Buddha said: "An evil man may wish to injure the
    Virtuous Ones and, raising his head, spit towards heaven, but
    the spittle, far from reaching heaven, will return and descend
    upon himself. An unruly wind may raise the dust, but the
    dust does not go elsewhere; it remains to contaminate the
    wind. Virtue cannot be destroyed, while evil inevitably
    destroys itself."

    9. The Buddha said: "Listen avidly to and cherish the Way. The
    Way will certainly be hard to reach. Maintain your desire to
    accept it humbly, for the Way is mighty indeed."

    10. The Buddha said: "Observe those who bestow (knowledge of)
    the Way. To help them is a great joy and many blessings can
    thus be obtained." A Sramana asked: "Is there any limit to such
    blessings?" The Buddha replied: "They are like the fire of a
    torch from which hundreds and thousands of people light their
    own torches. The (resulting) light eats up the darkness and that
    torch is the origin of it all. Such is the nature of those
    blessings."

    11. The Buddha said: "To bestow food on a hundred bad men is not
    equal to bestowing food on one good one. Bestowing food on a
    thousand good men is not equal to bestowing food on one who
    observes the five precepts. Bestowing food on ten thousand who
    observe the five precepts is not equal to bestowing food on
    one Srota-apana. Bestowing food on a million Srota-apanas is not
    equal to bestowing food on one Sakrdagamin. Bestowing food on
    ten million Sakrdagamins is not equal to bestowing food on one
    Anagamin. Bestowing food on a hundred million Anagamins is not
    equal to bestowing food on one Arhan. Bestowing food on a
    thousand million Arhans is not equal to bestowing food on one
    Pratyeka Buddha. Bestowing food on ten thousand million
    Pratyeka Buddhas is not equal to bestowing food on one of the
    Buddhas of the Triple World. Bestowing food on a hundred
    thousand million Buddhas of the Triple World is not equal to
    bestowing food on one who ponders nothing, does nothing,
    practices nothing, and manifest nothing."

    12. The Buddha said: "There are twenty things which are hard for
    human beings:
    "It is hard to practice charity when one is poor.
    "It is hard to study the Way when occupying a position of great
    authority.
    "It is hard to surrender life at the approach of inevitable death.
    "It is hard to get an opportunity of reading the sutras
    "It is hard to be born directly into Buddhist surroundings
    "It is hard to bear lust and desire (without yielding to them).
    "It is hard to see something attractive without desiring it.
    "It is hard to hard to bear insult without making an angry reply.
    "It is hard to have power and not to pay regard to it.
    "It is hard to come into contact with things and yet remain
    unaffected by them
    "It is hard to study widely and investigate everything thoroughly.
    "It is hard to overcome selfishness and sloth.
    "It is hard to avoid making light of not having studied (the Way)
    enough.
    "It is hard to keep the mind evenly balanced.
    "It is hard to refrain from defining things as being something or
    not being something.
    "It is hard to come into contact with clear perception (of the Way).
    "It is hard to perceive one's own nature and (through such perception)
    to study the Way.
    "It is hard to help others towards Enlightenment according to their
    various deeds.
    "It is hard to see the end (of the Way) without being moved.
    "It is hard to discard successfully (the shackles that bind us to
    the wheel of life and death) as opportunities present themselves.

    13. A Sramana asked the Buddha: "By what method can we attain the knowledge
    of how to put a stop to life (in the phenomental sphere) and come
    in contact with the Way?" The Buddha answered: "By purifying the mind
    preserving the will (to struggle onwards) you can come in contact
    with the Way just as, when a mirror is wiped, the dust falls off and
    the brightness remains. By eliminating desires and seeking for nothing
    (else) you should be able to put a stop to life (in the phenomenal
    sphere)".

    14. A Sramana asked the Buddha: "What is goodness and what is
    greatness?" The Buddha replied: "To follow the Way and hold to what
    is true is good. When the will is in conformity with the Way, that
    is greatness."

    15. A Sramana asked the Buddha: "What is great power and what is
    the acme of brilliance?" The Buddha answered: "To be able to bear
    insult (without retort) implies great power. He that does not cherish
    cause for resentment, but remains calm and firm equally (under all
    circumstances), and who bears all things without indulging in abuse
    will certainly be honored by men. The acme of brilliance is reached
    when the mind is utterly purged of impurities and nothing false or
    foul remains (to besmirch) its purity. When there is nothing, from
    before the formation of heaven and earth until now or in any of the
    ten quarters of the universe which you have not seen, heard and
    understood; when you have attained to a knowledge of everything, that
    may be called brilliance."

    16. Men who cherish longings and desires are those who have not
    perceived the Way. Just as, if clear water be stirred up with the
    hand, none of those looking into it will perceive their reflections,
    so men, in whose minds filth has been stirred up by longings and
    desires will not perceive the Way. You Sramanas must abandon
    longings and desires. When the filth of longing and desires has
    been entirely cleared away, then only will you be able to perceive
    the Way."

    17. The Buddha said: "With those who have perceived the Way, it is
    thus. Just as, when one enters a dark house with a torch, the
    darkness is dissipated and only light remains, so, by studing the
    Way and perceiving the truth, ignorance is dissipated and insight
    remains forever."

    18. The Buddha said: "My Doctrine implies thinking of that which
    is beyond thought, performing that which is beyond performance,
    speaking of that which is beyond words and practising that which
    is beyond practice. Those who can come up to this, progress, while
    the stupid regress. The way which can be express in words stops
    short; there is nothing which can be grasped. If you are wrong by
    so much as the thousandth part of a hair, you will lose (the Way)
    in a flash."

    19. The Buddha said: "Regard heaven and earth and consider their
    impermanence. Regard the world and consider its impermanence.
    Regard the spiritual awakening as Bodhi. This sort of knowledge
    leads to speedy Enlightenment."

    20. The Buddha said: "You should ponder on the fact that, though
    each of the four elements of which the body is made up has a name,
    none of them (constitute any part of) the real self. In fact, the
    self is non-existant, like a mirage."

    21. The Buddha said: "There are people who, following the dictates of
    their feelings and desires, seek to make a name or themselves, but,
    by the time that name resounds, they are already dead. Those who
    hunger for a name that shall long be remembered in the world and who
    do not study the Way strive vainly and struggle for empty forms.
    Just as burning incese, though others perceive its pleasant smell,
    is itself being burnt up, so (desires) bring the danger of fire which
    can burn up your bodies in their train.

    22. The Buddha said: "Wealth and beauty, to a man who will not relinquish
    them, are like a knife covered with honey which, even before he has
    had the pleasure of eating the honey, cuts the tongue of the child that
    licks it."

    23. The Buddha said: "People who are tied to their wives, children, and
    homes are worse off than prisoners. A prisoner will be released sooner
    or later, but wives and children have no thought of betaking themselves
    off. Why fear to rid yourselves immediately of the longing for
    physical beauty? (Otherwise,) you are tamely submitting to the jaws
    of a tiger and deliberately allowing yourselves to drown in the
    quicksand into which you have fallen, thus meriting the name of 'simple
    fellows'. If you can reach the point (of abandoning such things), you
    will rise from the dust and become Arhans.

    24. The Buddha said: "Of all longings and desires, there is none stronger
    than sex. Sex as a desire has no equal. Rely on the (universal) Oneness.
    No one under heaven is able to become a follower of the Way if he accepts
    dualism.

    25. The Buddha said: "Those who (permit themselves) longings and desires
    are like a man who walks in the teeth of the wind carrying a torch.
    Inevitably, his hands will be burnt.

    26. The gods bestowed the jade girl upon me, hoping to shake my
    determination. I said, 'O skin bag, full of every kind of filth!
    For what have you come here? Go! I do not need you.' Then the gods
    payed me profound reverence and, as they asked me to expound the Way,
    I enlightened them and they became Srota-apanas as a result."

    27. The Buddha said: "Those who follow the Way are like a piece of
    wood in the water, which floats along, touching neither bank, and
    which is neither picked up by men, intercepted by the gods, hindered
    by floating scum, nor rots upon the way. I am prepared to undertake
    that such a piece of wood will certainly reach the sea. If those
    who study the Way are not misled by their feelings and desires, not
    disburbed by any sort of depravity, and, if they earnestly advance
    towards the unphenomenal, I am prepared to undertake that they will
    certainly attain to the Way."

    28. The Buddha said: "Be careful not to depend on your own intelligence--
    it is not to be trusted. Take care not to come in contact with physical
    attractions-- such contacts result in calamities. Only when you have
    reached the stage of Arhan can you depend on your own intelligence."


    29. The Buddha said: "Take care to avoid looking on the beauty of women and
    do not converse with them. If you do (have occasion to) converse with
    them, control the thoughts which run through your minds. When I was a
    Sramana and came in contact with the impure world, I was like the lotus
    which remains unsullied by the mud (from which it grows). Think of old
    women as of you mothers, of those older than yourselves as of your elder
    sisters, of those younger than yourselves as of your younger sisters, and
    of very young ones as your daughters. Dwell on thoughts of Enlightenment
    and banish all evil ones."

    30. The Buddha said: "Those who follow the Way are like straw which must
    be perserved from fire. A follower of the Way who experience desire must
    put a distance between himself and (object of his) desire."

    31. The Buddha said: "There was one who indulged his sexual passions
    unceasingly but who wished, of his own accord, to put an end to his evil
    actions, I said to him: "To put a stop to these evil actions will not be
    so good as to put a stop to (the root of the evil) in your mind. The
    mind is like Kung Ts'ao. If Kung Ts'ao desists, his followers will stop
    also. If mental depravities continues, what is the use of putting an
    end to evil actions?' I then repeated this verse for him: 'Desire
    springs from your thoughts. Thought springs from discernment (of matter).
    When the two minds are both stilled, there is neither form nor action.'
    I added that this verse was first spoken by Kasyapa Buddha".

    32. The Buddha said: "The sorrows of men comes from their longings and
    desires. Fear comes from these sorrows. If freedom from desire is
    attained, what (cause for) grief and fear will remain?

    33. The Buddha said: "Those who follow the Way are like one who has to
    fight ten thousand and who, putting on his armor, steps out of the gate.
    His toughts may be timorous and his resolution weak, or he may (even) get
    halfway to the battle-ground and then turn around and flee. Again, he
    may join battle and be slain. On the other hand, he may gain the victory
    and return. The Sramana who studies the Way must have a resolute mind
    and zealously build up his courage, fearing nothing that lies before him
    and destroying all demons (of temptation that stand in his way), that he
    may obtain the fruit (of diligently studing) the Way."

    34. One night, a Sramana was intoning "The Sutra of Teachings Bequeathed
    by Kasyapa Buddha." The sound of his voice was mournful, for he though
    repentantly of his back-slidings, born of desire. The Buddha asked him:
    "What did you do before you became a monk?" "I used to like playing the
    lute," he replied. "What happened," said the Buddha, "when you loosened
    the strings?" "They made no sound." "And when you pulled them taut?"
    "The sounds were brief." "And how was it when they were neither taut
    nor loose?" "Then all the sounds were normal" replied the Sraman. To this
    the Buddha said, "It is the same with a Sraman studing the Way. If his
    mind is properly adjusted, he can attain to it, but if he forces himself
    towards it, his mind will become weary and, on account of the weariness
    of his mind, his thoughts will become irritable. With such irritable
    thoughts, his actions will retrogress and, with such retrogression, evil
    will enter his mind. But if he studies quietly and happily, he will not
    lose the Way."

    35. The Buddha said: "If a man smelts iron until all impurities have been
    eliminated (before proceeding to) make implements with it, the implements
    will be of fine quality. If one who studies the Way first purges his heart
    of all foul influences, his actions will then become pure."

    36. The Buddha said:
    "It is hard for one to leave the grosser forms of incarnation and be born
    a human being.
    "It is hard for such a one to escape being a woman and be born a man.
    "It is hard for such a one to be born with all his organs in perfect
    condition.
    "It is hard for such a one to be born in China.
    "It is hard for such a one to be born directly into Buddhist surroundings.
    "It is hard for such a one to come in contact with the Way.
    "It is hard for such a one to cultivate faith in his mind.
    "It is hard for such a one to attain to the Bodhi-heart.
    "it is hard for such a one to attain to (the state where) nothing is
    practised and nothing manifested."

    37. The Buddha said: "A desciple living thousands of miles away from me
    will, if he constantly cherishes and ponders on my precepts, attain the
    fruit (of studying) the Way: but one who is in immediate contact with me,
    though he sees me constantly, will ultimately fail to do so if he does not
    follow my precepts."

    38. The Buddha said to a Sramana: "How long is the span of a man's life?"
    "It is but a few days," was the answer. The Buddha said: "You have not
    understood," and asked another Sramana, who replied: "It is (like) the time
    taken to eat(a single meal.") To this the Buddha replied in the same way
    and asked a third: "How long is the span of a man's life?" "It is (like)
    the time taken by (single) breath," was the reply. "Excellent," said the
    Buddha, "You understand the Way."

    39. The Buddha said: "Those who study the Way of the Buddha should believe
    and follow all that is said by the Buddha. Just as, when you eat honey
    (you find that), every drop of it sweet, so it is with my words."

    40. The Buddha said: "A Sramana studying the Way should not be as an ox
    turning the millstone which though it performs the necessary actions with
    its body, does not concentrate on them with its mind. If the Way is followed
    in the mind, of what use are actions?"

    41. The Buddha said: "Those who follow the Way are like an ox bearing a
    heavy load and walking through deep mud. It feels so weary that it does
    not dare to look to left or right and, only on emerging from the mud, can it
    revive itself by resting. A Sramana should regard feelings and desires
    more seriously than (the ox regards) the mud. Only by controlling his
    mind and thinking of the Way can he avoid sorrow."

    42. The Buddha said: "I look upon the state of kings and princes as upon
    the dust which blows through a crack. I look upon ornaments of gold and
    jewels as upon rubble. I look upon garments of finest silk as upon worn-
    out rags. I look upon a major chiliocosm as upon a small nut. I look upon
    the Anavatapta as upon oil for smearing the feet. (On the other hand), I
    look upon expedient methods (leading to the truth) as upon spending heaps of
    jewels. I look upon the supreme vehicle as upon a dream of abundant wealth.
    I look upon the Buddha's Way as upon all the splendors which confront the
    eye. I look upon dhyana meditation as upon the pillar of Mount Sumeru. I
    look upon Nirvana as upon waking at daybreak from a night's sleep. I look
    upon heresy erected as upon six dragons dancing. I look upon the universal,
    impartial attitude (of a Buddha) as upon the Absolute Reality. I look upon
    conversion (to the Way) as upon the changes undergone by a tree (due to the
    action of the) four seasons."
     
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