In the past,
in a sea of boundless great eons,
He cultivated the
paramita of pure precepts,
Thereby gaining a pure body
pervading the ten directions,
Which extinguishes all
grave sufferings in all worlds.
This four-line verse speaks of the paramita of holding
precepts, which is one of the six paramitas. Precepts serve
to stop evil and prevent wrongdoing. The precepts can be
summed up as follows: “Do no evil. Practice all good.” When
you do no evil, then the karma created by your body, mouth,
and mind are pure. You do not commit the three evils of the
body, the three evils of the mind, or the four evils of the
mouth. By refraining from the four evils of the mouth, you
are actually doing four good deeds. By refraining from the
three evils of the mind and the three of the body, you are
doing six good deeds.
In general, when you refrain from the ten evils, you are
practicing the ten good deeds. The three evils of the body
are killing, stealing, and sexual misconduct. The three
evils of the mind are greed, anger, and delusion. The four
evils of the mouth are indecent speech, lying, harsh speech,
and divisive speech. When you refrain from the ten evils,
thereby practicing the ten good deeds, then the karma of
your body, mouth, and mind is pure. That is to do no evil.
To practice all good means to carry out every act that is
beneficial to others. Practicing all good also means
diligently cultivating precepts, concentration, and wisdom.
Doing no evil means extinguishing greed, anger, and
delusion. The precepts protect you and keep you from
committing offenses, and they also encourage you to practice
In the past, in a sea of boundless great eons, uncountably
many eons resembling an ocean in their boundlessness, he
cultivated the paramita of pure Vajra bright, jeweled
precepts. There are the Five Precepts which prohibit
killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, and
intoxicants. There are also the Eight Precepts for
laypeople, the Ten Shramanera Precepts for novice monks and
nuns, the 250 Bhikshu Precepts, the 348 Bhikshuni Precepts,
and the Ten Major and Forty-eight Minor Bodhisattva
Precepts. If one can wholeheartedly uphold these pure
precepts, one will arrive at the other shore of purity and
Nirvana. Paramita means “to reach the other shore.”
The Buddha maintained all the precepts and cultivated all
kinds of skillful dharmas for teaching and transforming
living beings, thereby gaining a pure Dharma body pervading
the ten directions of the Dharma Realm, / Which extinguishes
all grave sufferings in all worlds so that all living beings
can experience happiness.
In the past
he cultivated the purity of patience.
His faith and
understanding were true and undiscriminating.
his features and characteristics are all perfect.
light shines universally in the ten directions.
In the past the Buddha also cultivated the dharma of
patience. The previous paramita of holding precepts prevents
us from bothering others. In cultivation, we should
constantly reflect upon ourselves to see if we have
afflicted or disturbed anyone. The dharma of patience
applies in a situation where we are disturbed, insulted, or
bullied by others. We have to endure what others cannot
endure. Even if we find it unbearable, we have to be
patient. Since we understand the Buddhadharma, we should
keep it in mind at all times, particularly the dharma of
patience under insult. If someone berates us, we endure it.
If someone beats us up, we can take it. Even if someone
kills us, we are not afraid and we endure it. This requires
the greatest patience.
When someone castigates us and we do not retaliate, not
even in our hearts, then we are being patient. If someone
hits us and we don’t strike back, we are also being patient.
If you can bear what most people cannot, then you will also
accrue merit which surpasses that of others.
I often tell you this verse:
Patience is a
That no one knows how to use.
were able to use it,
Everything would turn out well.
Patience is an invaluable treasure. It surpasses everything
in worth. Unfortunately, no one is able to practice it. If
you could practice it, things would all go smoothly and
there would never be any trouble. Maitreya Bodhisattva also
spoke a verse. I’ve often recited it to you, but you’ve
probably forgotten over time, so I’ll tell you again.
The Old Fool wears tattered robes
And fills his belly
with plain food,
Mends his clothes to fend off the cold,
Just taking things as they come.
SScolded, the Old Fool
beaten, he just lays down to sleep.
in his face, he lets it dry--
saving his energy, not
troubling a soul.
A jewel of jewels most rare--
the Old Fool’s paramita.
Having heard this story,
Why worry about not attaining
The old monk wears a robe of patched up rags. He fills
himself with simple food, to keep from going hungry. When
his robe gets ripped, he mends it with more patches to chase
off the cold. He lets all things, good and bad, take their
natural course, and does not become attached to them. He
takes everything in stride. If someone were to rebuke him,
he would say, “Fine! Okay!” Should someone beat the old man
up, he would simply fall to the ground and fall asleep. If
someone were to spit on his face, he wouldn’t even bother to
wipe it off, but would let it dry there. This paramita of
patience is the most wonderful treasure. If you know about
this, you need not fear that you will not attain the Way.
If any of you can cultivate the paramita of patience, your
belly will be huge. A verse in praise of Maitreya
His mouth is
open wide in laughter.
Seldom does he speak.
bag is not as large as his belly.
come his way,
For he is able to take everything in
There was a monk in China known as the Cloth Bag Monk, who
was recognized as an incarnation of Maitreya Bodhisattva. He
always carried a large cloth bag around, but it wasn’t as
big as his belly. He enjoyed plenty of blessings, because of
his ability to accept whatever came his way. He could hold
the myriad things in his belly. There is a saying, “The
prime minister’s belly can sail a ship.” The prime
minister’s tolerant, magnanimous heart is like a belly that
is large enough to sail a ship in. This is the opposite of
someone who is so oversensitive that he cannot withstand the
slightest criticism or adversity, and so petty-minded that
he is constantly calculating who did what to him. His
“belly” is so full of such petty thoughts that there is no
room for a ship to sail.
In the past he cultivated the purity of patience. The
Buddha formerly cultivated the pure Dharma door of patience
His faith and understanding were true and undiscriminating.
He regarded all living beings in the same way, as his
parents in past lives and as future Buddhas. Contemplating
them as his past-life parents, he could not be unfilial to
them. Seeing them as Buddhas-to-be, he could not be
disrespectful to them. Thus, he cultivated patience under
Therefore his features and characteristics are all perfect.
The Buddha had flawless features and a handsome appearance.
His body had the thirty-two hallmarks and eighty subtle
characteristics. Having cultivated patience, his light
shines universally in the ten directions, enabling living
beings who are able to cultivate patience to quickly realize
To be continued