Look around: the deluge has spread throughout the world. It's like this everywhere. The situation is like a huge ocean. Everyone is caught up in making a name for himself or getting a fortune. If anyone wants to leave home with me, it will not do for you to continue pursuing fame and profit. You must not follow the unwholesome trends of the world. In this Dharma Ending Age, we must certainly be true and genuine.
No one knows who the Buddha is. No one knows what the Buddha is all about, or what the Dharma is. The Dharma exhorts people to stop evil and practice good, to change their faults and renew themselves, and to understand things as they are. However, people fail to understand. The more they learn, the more confused they become. The more they study, the less they understand. Or what constitutes the Sangha. What ultimately is the Sangha? They don't understand the Triple Jewel-the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha~at all.
What is a Sangha? One individual cannot be called a Sangha. It takes four or more people to make a Sangha. Most people make the mistake of calling a single person a Sangha. The Sangha is a harmonious assembly. They dwell in six kinds of harmony. The decay has reached such a perilous point, where people don't even know what the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha are, that one can scarcely bear to speak of it. It's impossible for me to talk about it. Every time I consider it, my tears fall without my realizing it. Every time I think of this situation, my tears fall like rain. They well forth like a bubbling spring.
I am a disciple of the Buddha, a left-home person, yet I am unable to return the kindness that has been done to me. I have no way to requite the Buddha's kindness. I do not benefit myself; personally, I have not practiced well and so have not benefited myself. And as for the community at large, I cannot benefit others. While alive, I am of no benefit to the time I live in. My life has not benefited anyone in this day and age. After I die, I will be of no benefit to posterity. Although the heavens are high, they cannot cover me. There is no place between heaven and earth that will hold me. Although the earth is thick, it cannot bear me. I am not worthy of being an equal with heaven and earth. If my own offenses are not extremely grave, then whose are? Aside from myself, who has such great offenses?
My pain is therefore unbearable. I have no recourse but to immediately forget my baseness and quickly make the great resolve. Although I cannot reverse the fate of the Dharma's end in the present, I certainly must plan to protect and uphold the Proper Dharma in the future.
Therefore good friends, gather together at the Way-place, perform the repentance ritual, and establish Dharma assemblies. Make the forty-eight vows, each of which is for saving living beings. Make a deep resolve that will last for hundreds of thousands of eons; in thought after thought, resolve to be a Buddha.
From this day to the end of future time, vow to return to the peace of the Pure Land at the end of every life, ascend to the nine grades of lotuses, and then come back to the Saha World. Make the Buddhas' sun shine gloriously once more. Open the Dharma's gate again. Let the Sangha's ocean be clear and pure in this world. The people of the East will be taught and the age will be prolonged. The Proper Dharma will long continue. Such is my meager but genuine resolve that I strive to fulfill. This is the tenth cause and condition for resolving the mind upon Bodhi.
My pain is therefore unbearable. Even though I can bear most of what is unbearable, I can scarcely endure this pain. I have no recourse but to immediately forget my baseness. I must forget my own inferiority and unwholesomeness, and quickly make the great resolve. No! I must not continue to be a big offender! I must make a strong commitment to seek enlightenment. Although I cannot completely reverse the fate of the Dharma's end in the present by the mere strength of my commitment to Bodhi, I certainly must plan to protect and uphold the Proper Dharma in my lives in the future.
Let me tell you something. Why do you think I want to make the Proper Dharma prevail? It's because, in life after life, I made vows to protect and uphold the Proper Dharma. I am determined to practice the Proper Dharma. I have been making these vows for countless eons, which is why I insist on doing things right and maintaining the Proper Dharma wherever I go. No matter who gets jealous or tries to obstruct me, I will still uphold the Proper Dharma regardless. I absolutely will not relax my resolve! Therefore, all my many good friends, let us gather together at the Way-place. Let's all come to the City of Ten Thousand Buddhas and perform the Great Compassion repentance ritual.
To be continued