The Record of Water and Mirror Turning Back Heaven


      We should have a sense of responsibility in everything we do. We should carry out our duties to the utmost. It is most important, neither to ignore responsibility, nor to conduct affairs in a slack or partial manner, nor to be remiss in fulfilling commitments.

Those who deal loyally with others will be dealt with loyally, whereas those who deal falsely with others will be dealt with falsely. The cheater cheats himself; he who does harm harms himself. If one sends out counterfeit money the same returns to him. How can we do anything but be careful?


      Faith is the foundation of cultivation of the Way and the mother of virtue because it is capable of nourishing wholesome roots. The Buddhadharma is like a vast sea; only by faith can it be entered. Therefore the single word, faith, is the essence of escaping from birth and death, and is the wonderful means for returning to the source. It is a precious raft in the stream of defilements, a torch in the dark cave of ignorance, and at the fork in the road, it is the road to be taken. It is a compass when foundering in the waves on the sea of affliction, and a wise guide on the way of the three paths and the eight difficulties. It is the origin of awakening for the four kinds of creatures born within the six paths. Faith cannot be ignored. An ancient author said, "If a man has no faith, I do not know what can be made of him."

Once two bhiksus were travelling to see Sakyamuni Buddha, the World Honored One. As they traveled they became extremely thirsty but could not find any water. As they walked they happened upon a human skull containing water in which some small bugs were swimming. Extremely joyful, one of the bhiksus picked up the water and offered some to his companion. The companion replied, "Although I may die of thirst, I cannot violate the precepts while I am alive." After this incident he died of thirst.

When the bhiksu who had drunk the water reached the place where the Buddha was residing, he bowed and said to the Lord, "Your disciple was travelling in the company of another bhiksu who perished of thirst on the road. I hope the Buddha will be compassionate and rescue him."

The Lord replied, "Because he Stringently maintained the precepts and was so firm in his faith that he would not violate them even in the face of death, he arrived here before you and received the awesome power of the Buddha."


      The word propriety is defined by a homonym in Chinese, which means "to set up" or "to stand." Therefore Confucius said, "If a man has no sense of propriety he has nothing to stand on." It is also said of one's parents, "Serving them with propriety while they are alive, burying them with propriety after death, and sacrificing to them with propriety is filial piety."

Confucius's disciple Tse Hsia asked about filial piety. The Master replied, "It consists of not getting angry."

When Tse Yu asked about filial piety the Master replied, "What people nowadays call filial piety is simply feeding the parents. But dogs and horses are capable of doing the same thing. If there is no respect involved, how do we differ from them?"

Yen Yuan asked about humaneness and the Master replied, "It consists of principled self-regulation." The disciple asked what was meant by principled self-regulation and the Master replied, "Look at nothing improper, listen to nothing improper, say nothing improper, and do nothing improper."



      Master Kuan's name was Yu and his Style name was Yun Ch'ang. He was an outstanding personage of the late Han and Three Kingdoms period, and the great hero of the Western Han. His entire life was noble and marked with an overwhelming air of righteousness, which no one could equal. He protected his imperial sister-in-law, holding a candle until dawn to resist the opportunity for misconduct offered by a darkened room. He galloped a thousand miles to rescue his brother. Granted gold and silver, he remained noble and did not lust after them, nor was he moved by poverty. He never lost his awesome martial virtue. Since ancient times there has never been anyone like him.


      In ancient times the Emperor Yao wished to abdicate, and sought a sage to whom to yield the empire. He had heard of two sages. Wo Fu and Hsu Yu, and humbly went in person to visit them. When he met Wo Fu he explained his intent to yield the empire to him. On hearing this. Wo Fu covered up his ears and ran off to wash them.

Hsu Yu, who happened to be at the riverbank watering his ox, was surprised by this strange behavior, and inquired about it. Wo Fu replied, "The Emperor Yao just offered the empire to me. Such words defiled my ears and so I am washing them."

Hsu Yu answered, "Washing your ears in this water pollutes it. How can I let my ox drink such defiled water." Thereupon he moved his ox upstream. Ah! How modest these two were!


      Pai Yi and Shu Chi were brothers who lived at the time of King Chou of Yin. When King Wu of Chou arose to avenge the people and punish the wrong doings (of King Chou of Yin), the two went out on horseback to remonstrate with him and say that a subject could not punish his sovereign and bring about confusion in the world.

King Wu replied, "King Chou is infatuated with his concubine; he has sliced open the wombs of pregnant women. His lust is unbridled and he robs the people. He is rejected by the gods and is nothing but a common fellow. I ride against a mere commoner. I have 'come to save the people who are as if trapped between water and fire. How is this creating confusion?"

After this he went on to destroy King Chou and change the name of the dynasty from Yin to Chou. Pai Yi and Shu Chi were ashamed to eat the grain of the state of Chou and retired to Shou Yang Mountain where they starved to death. To this day the are praised for their righteousness and sense of shame.

This completes the first book of the