Having made vows in the past, he upheld the precepts rigorously.
Being the venerated one in the assembly, he was foremost in shila.
When the Precepts Pitaka was compiled, he served as the host of Vinaya.
He erected the banner high and reached the acme of achievements.
Having made vows in the past, he upheld the precepts rigorously: He had made vows in the past to uphold the precepts rigorously and to cultivate the Dharma of precepts.
Being the venerated one in the assembly, he was foremost in shila: He was an outstanding person in the monastic community. Therefore he was foremost in upholding the precepts.
When the Precepts Pitaka was compiled, he served as the host of Vinaya. He was in charge of the compilation of the Precepts Pitaka.
He erected the banner of precepts high and reached the acme of achievements: He was well versed in the precepts.
Another verse says:
The imoksha is the great teacher.
By upholding the teaching he cultivated dharani.
He constantly held the vajra precious pearl and protected the immaculate, beautiful jade.
He vigorously exerted himself in the source of all Buddhas, sincerely practiced and pondered the origin of Bodhisattvas.
In the Western Land and on the Southern Mountain, he was a model for everyone.
They are the standards for all monastics and the foundation stone for the assembly.
The pratimoksha is the great teacher: When the Buddha was about to enter Nirvana, Ananda asked the Buddha about four matters: One was, “When the Buddha dwells in the world, we regard the Buddha as our teacher; after the Buddha enters Nirvana, whom should we regard as our teacher?” The Buddha replied, telling his disciples, the Bhikshus, to “regard the precepts as their teacher”.
By upholding the teaching he cultivated dharani: To uphold the precepts according to the teaching is equivalent to cultivating dharani. Dharani, or literally, to gather in and maintain, means to gather in all Dharmas and maintain limitless meaning.
He constantly held the vajra precious pearl in his hand: This vajra precious pearl is the precepts. He constantly protected and upheld the precepts, just as one would hold a vajra precious pearl in his hand.
…and protected the immaculate, beautiful jade at all time: Beautiful jade is immaculate, that is, one has to protect and uphold the precepts the way one would protect a piece of beautiful jade—you simply cannot be sloppy and do as you please; if you don’t protect it, you will drop it and break it into pieces. One must constantly protect and uphold the precepts.
He vigorously exerted himself in the source of all Buddhas: What is the fundamental source of all Buddhas? The source of all Buddhas is simply the precepts. These precepts are the fountainhead of Buddhahood. If you don’t uphold the precepts, you cannot become a Buddha; you can become one only if you uphold the precepts. One must be vigorous and exert oneself to practice the precepts valiantly and vigorously in order to achieve Buddhahood.
…and sincerely practiced and pondered the origin of the Bodhisattvas: Precepts are also the origin of the Bodhisattvas. Therefore, you must cultivate very sincerely and decisively, contemplate and see things in their true light. You must do it in this way.
In the Western Land and on the Southern Mountain, he was a model for everyone: The Western Land means India; the Southern Mountain refers to Vinaya Master Daoxuan. Vinaya Master Daoxuan practiced the precepts rigorously and meticulously. Therefore he moved the heavenly being Lu Xuan Chang to offer him food. When it was time for him to eat, the heavenly being would offer him food. He could get such a response, therefore he was said to be a model for everyone. This “Vinaya of Southern Mountain” was very prevalent in China. They are the standards for all
Monastics, and the foundation stone of the assembly: Precepts are the best yardstick and the best rules and regulations for all monastics. Therefore they are the foundation of the assembly—a foundation that is as solid and firm as a rock. If one does not uphold the precepts after leaving the home life, then one will not have a foundation and in the future will certainly fall.
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