Verses On Cinnabar And Ink
Those near ink are easily blackened,
departed from cinnabar, difficult to redden.
Born in the humanly and godly paths,
it is easy become good and evil.
Those near cinnabar are easily reddened,
departed from ink, without that black.
Born in the Land Of Peace And Bliss,
it is easy become pure.
Note: These verses take reference to the saying ‘近朱者赤；近墨者黑’, which means, ‘Those near cinnabar redden, while those near ink blacken’. This describes the truth that we are easily influenced by the good and bad environments we are in, with good and evil friends, for better or worse respectively.
Ink represents the defiled and that which defile, while blackening represents being defiled by the ‘ink’ in the dualistic cycle of good and evil in the paths of rebirth. Being parts of the cycle, even the humanly and godly paths are not spiritually safe.
Cinnabar represents the purified and that which purify, while reddening represents being purified by the ‘cinnabar’, by transcending good and evil. Striving towards purity in the paths of rebirth is thus the Difficult Path (难行道), while progress to it in Pure Land is the Easy Path (易行道).