I’m delighted to hear that my Dharma friends
Are vigorously cultivating precepts, samadhi, and wisdom,
Urging each other on in the monastery.
Holding the precepts strictly, their features are adorned;
And they are pure in body, mouth, and mind.
Before one has awakened to one’s basic nature,
One must rely on a vajra resolve in one’s practice.
Holding to it with constancy is the Middle Way.
With vigorous perseverance, Prajna can come forth.
With the six perfections and myriad practices of the Bodhisattva Way,
Vastly take across the multitudes by relying on the Buddha’s vows.
Revere the Triple Jewel; the Dharma relies on the Sangha to transmit it.
Constantly and ceaselessly, cross over living beings.
Space has a boundary, but our vows have no end.
Let us together ascend the lotus dais and then return to the Saha.
Entering the fog of the hazy past,
I remember that there was a lady in the world
Who was excellent and refined in her ways.
With the impurity of the sense objects and consciousnesses,
The multi-layered sea of karma surges with afflictions and desires.
When karmic obstructions arise, it’s hard to pass the test.
Burning her feminine clothing and adornments,
She sought to achieve peace and tranquility of mind.
False thoughts are demons coming to test us.
The sea of afflictions and desires is created by ourselves.
We deserve the consequences for being swayed by states.
Flunking the test, we are filled with shame.
We have to start all over again.
Thankfully, a Bodhisattva came in a dream to save me.
And a kind teacher also bestowed instruction.
With a mind as calm and clear as a placid lake,
I pick up the Sutra text with increased vigor.
Not wishing to let down the Bodhisattvas and Patriarchs,
I shall steadfastly walk the Middle Way to take myself across.
What need is there to say thanks when I am disappointed with myself?
Human life, fleeting as it is, is difficult to encounter.
I pick up my pen three or four times, trying to write.
When states appear, I am impeded by ignorance.
If ignorance is not removed, the mind cannot be still.
How could I disturb my teacher’s diligent cultivation?
The six organs, six dusts, and six consciousnesses
All at once come to test my resolve.
Desires for wealth, form, fame, and sleep－especially form－
Cause shame and remorse as I break out in a sweat.
Who thinks that cultivation is easy?
Every hurdle we fail to cross becomes an obstacle.
There is no other way but to subdue the demons of our mind.
We must subdue the mind until it is mild and gentle.
One day upon returning home after work,
I suddenly realize I have thrown my time away.
Birth after birth, death after death,
I have not known to escape the six paths of transmigration.
Sweeping away deluded thoughts and attachments,
I repent and weep bitterly in front of the Buddhas.
In gratitude to my kind and compassionate father,
I write these lines of verse.
My Teacher asks me what I have been doing recently.
Just going to work and keeping busy with worldly matters,
Running about here and there, from nine until five each day.
When night falls I sincerely come to repent.
I shall crush my bad habits and imperfections;
I shall not lose my temper or give rise to anger or stupidity.
One day, I reflect upon myself and again repent.
Crying, I tell my Teacher that the Way was difficult to practice.
My weaknesses appear clearly in my mind’s eye.
Causing me to shudder with fright.
Seeing how terrible I really am,
My hairs all stand on end.
Worried and afraid of falling into the hells,
I beseech my Teacher to show me the way out.
My Teacher’s reply:
It is indeed easy to fall into the three evil paths.
You should learn to practice the Bodhisattva Way.
It’s not that I want to fall into the three evil paths,
But the Bodhisattva Way is so hard to practice.
Alas! While the path of cultivation is difficult to walk,
Human life is nothing but a sea of suffering!
Taking a look at myself, weighed down with karma,
I wonder when I shall ever get rid of all that filth.
I’m ashamed that I don’t match up to others.
If I don’t save myself, how can it be called the Way?
Re-reading the diary of the bowing monks,
I am moved to tears by the Bodhisattva’s intent in
the Flower Adornment Sutra.
Layer upon layer, the seas of worlds are endless.
Yet the basic nature of True Suchness is but a single thought.
I seem to have read this Sutra somewhere before.
It prevents me from caring only about my own salvation.
Striving vigorously to remember my intent in past lives,
I must say that it is intangible and vague.
In the past I was a Buddhist cultivator;
What a pity I am now a worldly person.
My Teacher says:
The World Honored One cultivated for tens of thousands of eons,
Practicing without cease in eon after eon.
You ought to advance and not give up on yourself.
Sweep away your false thoughts and don’t get attached.
Change your faults, go towards goodness, and learn from sages.
Smash through barriers and be ever more vigorous.
Read the Platform Sutra: it says you must enlighten yourself.
Vajra Prajna Paramita!
Written at Wanlu in January 1994