The ‘Human’ Word’s Hidden & Profound Meaning Elucidated《人字发隐》

[The] ‘Human’ Word’s Hidden [And Profound Meaning] Elucidated

(People’s Republic’s 27th Year*, For One Disciple** Said)

序分 Preface


Humans [are] as ‘uncovered worms’*** of birth, [with] bodies not more [than] several feet, [with] lifespans not more [than] several decades, yet with [the] high [and] thick, long-standing [and] unfathomable heaven [and] earth, together [are] named [as the] three powers. [Of] their meanings, what [do they] have?

正宗分 Main Teachings   


[It] must [be] known [that] these powers, [are] names of virtuous abilities. 


Heaven [is] with universal coverage [of the] ten thousand things, [with] producing [and] nourishing as [its] virtuous abilities.


The earth [is] with universal carrying [of the] ten thousand things, [with] encompassing [and] nurturing as [its] virtuous abilities. 

[1] 人之德能 Virtuous Abilities Of Humans  

[i] 赞天地之化育 Praising Of Heaven’s [And] Earth’s Nourishment 
[ii] 继往圣 Succeeding [Of] Past Sages
[iii] 开来学 Opening [Up To] Future Learning  


Humans [are] with praising of heaven’s [and] earth’s nourishment, succeeding [of] past sages’ [path, and] opening [up of paths to] future learning as [their] virtuous abilities.


If without virtuous abilities of humans, thus [will] virtuous abilities of heaven [and] earth still have that regretful [of].


Due [to] attaining [of] humans’ virtuous abilities [of] praising [and] supporting, succeeding [and] opening, [they] enable [the] virtuous abilities of heaven [and] earth, [to be] complete [and] adequate, vertically exhausting [the] three periods****, [and] horizontally pervading [the] ten directions.*****   


[Of] humans, heaven and earth together named [as the] three powers, [is with] this [so].

[2] 人德四义 Human Virtues’ Four Righteous [Practices]       


Of humans’ virtuous abilities, [there] are four great matters. 

[i] 仁也 Benevolence   


Those human, [have] benevolence.

[a] 仁慈 Benevolent Loving-Kindness
[b] 恻隐 Empathetic Compassion
[c] 自利 Self-Benefitting
[d] 利他 Benefitting Others  


[With] benevolent loving-kindness [and] empathetic compassion, self-benefitting [and] benefitting others, thus named as humans.

[ii] 忍也 Endurance  


Those human, [have] patience.

[a] 忍劳 Endurance [Of] Toil    
[b] 忍苦 Endurance [Of] Suffering 
[c] 担当大事 Taking Upon Themselves Great Matters   


[With] endurance [of] toil and endurance [of] suffering, taking upon themselves matters [of] supporting [the] earth [and] propping up [heaven], thus named as humans.

[iii] 任也 Responsibility  


Those human, [have] responsibility.

[a] 孝 Filial Piety
[b] 悌 Sibling Piety [Or Brotherliness; Fraternal Duty]
[c] 忠 Loyalty
[d] 信 Trustworthiness
[e] 礼 Propriety [Or Courtesy]
[f] 义 Righteousness
[g] 廉 Integrity [Or Incorruptibility; Honesty; Frugality]
[h] 耻 [Moral] Shame 


Striving [to bear] responsibility, [for the] eight virtues of filial piety, sibling piety, loyalty, trustworthiness, propriety, righteousness, integrity [and] shame, enabling [them to be] without that lacking, thus named as humans.


[These eight matters, (are that) ordinary men (and) ordinary women all (are) capable of.


This indeed (is to) praise, support (and) nourish, (to) succeed (the) past (and) open up (to the) future, (undertaking the) great matter of supporting (and) propping up heaven (and) earth.     


If (with) one neglected, or (with the) deaths (of) one (or) two, or (with the) eight words together dead, thus becomes (the) assuming (of) another name, of (being) as fake (or hypocritical) humans, not with heaven (and) earth together named (as the) three powers’ true humans. 


If able (to) reason accordingly, thus emulating sages (and) emulating (the) virtuous, learning (to be) Buddhas (and) learning (to be) Patriarchs, (they will) have abundance.]

[iv] 尽也 [With] Utmost [Done]  


Those human, [are with the] utmost [done].

[a] 尽儒道以敦伦 Utmost [Of The] Confucian Path With Harmonious Personal Relations [Walked]  
[b] 尽佛道以证心 Utmost [Of The] Buddhist Path With Realisation [Of] Mind [Walked] 


[With] utmost [of the] path of Confucian teachings [on] proper humans relations with harmonious personal relations [walked, and] utmost [of the] path of [the] Buddhist teachings [on] mind-nature with realisation [of the] mind [walked], thus named as humans.


Of humans’ righteous [practices, they are] great indeed.

流通分 Conclusion

[i] 普愿同伦担荷人之四义 Universally Wishing Similar Peers [To] Shoulder Responsibility [For] Humans’ Four Righteous [Practices]    


[I] Wish all similar peers, each and every one, [to] shoulder responsibility [for these] four righteous [practices] of humans. How can this be only [for the good] fortune of our nation, [when it is] truly [for the] profound [good] fortune of ten thousand nations? 

[ii] 回复诘难: 幸勿因人废言 Reply [To] Cross-Examination: Please [Do] Not, Because [Of One’s] Personality, Discard [One’s] Words


Perhaps said, ‘You [having] made this statements, [are] you [are] able [to be, of] one by one [listed, be] without regrets or not?’


[In] reply. ‘Of birds going to die, their singing [is] also mournful. 


Of humans about to die, their speech [is] also good.


I lament of mine [listed, being] one by one with regrets, hoping [that] all similar peers [be with] one by one without regrets, so as not to, [of] each and every one [of] similar peers, when approaching life’s end, similarly have boundless deep sorrow like me. 


[Have] you not seen [the] “Sūtra [On] Yet-To-Have Causes [And] Conditions” [i.e. Adbhutadharmparyāya Sūtra]? [When a] jackal****** spoke [the] Dharma, [even the] heavenly emperor Śakra prostrated [and] listened.


Even if all [of the] great earth’s humans, all became heavenly emperor Śakras, [they] also [will] not [go] so far, [as to] not allow [the] jackal [to] open [his] mouth. Why [do] you [then], have to [be] stubbornly [attached to] personalities’ forms and blame me?  


I, knowing [my] faults already, later [will] no longer speak [on this].’

Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng


*1938 C.E., when the Master was 78 years old at Líng Yán Shān Monastery (灵岩山寺), 2 years before his rebirth in Pure Land.
** Péng Mèng’ān’s (彭孟庵) son Péng Zhàonóng (彭兆农), with Dharma name (法名) of Kāiběn (开本), who took refuge through the Master.
*** Sentient beings without bodies with feathers, fur, scales or shells (身无羽毛鳞甲的’动物’).  
**** Of the past, present and future.
***** Of the four cardinal, four intermediate, below and above directions.
****** The future Śākyamuni Buddha, when reborn as a lowly animal in a previous life, which spoke the Dharma for Śakra and many other gods. 

Related Sūtra:

Sūtra [On] Yet-To-Have Causes [And] Conditions
(Adbhutadharmparyāya Sūtra)

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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