In the past, Bái Jūyì asked Chán Master Niǎokē, ‘What is [the] Buddha’s teachings’ main idea [or essence]?’
Niǎokē said, ‘[Of] all evils not do [them, of] all good accordingly practise [them’, (to) self-purify your mind, these are all Buddhas’ teachings]. [Note: This is a verse from the Dharmapada spoken by the Buddha.]
Bái said, ‘[Of] these two lines’ words, [a] three year-old child also knows such, [as] said.’
Kē said, ‘[A] three year-old child, although [is] able [to] say [this, even an] eighty [year-old] grandfather [might] not [be] able [to] practise [this].’
[It] must [be] known [that] these words, [are] indeed, [of] all people [who] learn [the] Buddha’s teachings, [their] chief concerns’ essential words.
[Of not doing of] all evils [and of doing of] all good, all must [be] at [the] mind ground above [be] regarded, not focusing [on] referring to matters of practice [in word and deed] only.
[With the] mind ground above not giving rise [to] evil, [and with its] entire essence being good.
[Of] those mindful [of] Buddha, [the] meritorious virtues surpass [that] of ordinary persons [by] hundreds [of] thousands [of] ten thousand times.
Desiring [to] attain [the] mind ground [to] only [have] good without evil, [there] should [be], at all times [and] places, managing [with] reverence [and] maintaining sincerity. Like facing [the] Buddhas [and] heavenly [beings], then can [there be] hope to reach [this purification of the mind].
[With the] mind once unrestrained, all thoughts not according [to the] Dharma, accordingly then [will habitually] arise.
Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
(First Reply Letter To Layperson Mǎ Qìxī)
Namo Amituofo : Translation and note by Shen Shi’an
How To Avoid Evil & Practise Good?