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An Essay of Exhortation
to Bring Forth the Bodhi Resolve

古杭梵天寺 沙門實賢 撰 By Shramana Shixian of the Brahma Heaven Monastery in Ancient Hangzhou
宣公上人講 1985年1979年 合併版 Explained by the Venerable Master Hua in 1985 and 1979
國際譯經學院 記錄翻譯 Translated by the International Translation Institute


「 不知佛是何人」:不知道究竟佛是怎麼回事?「法是何義」:這個法是要人斷惡生善,改過自新,要人明白的。可是他不懂,他越學越糊塗,越學越不明白。「僧是何名」:究竟僧是什麼?這佛法僧是三寶,他不了解。   








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


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