贫穷布施难。 豪贵学道难。
 弃命必死难。 得覩佛经难。
 生值佛世难。 忍色忍欲难。
 见好不求难。 被辱不瞋难。
 有势不临难。 触事无心难。
 广学博究难。 除灭我慢难。
 不轻未学难。 心行平等难。
 不说是非难。 会善知识难。
 见性学道难。 随化度人难。
 覩境不动难。 善解方便难。』」
‘The Buddha Speaks Of The Sūtra With 42 Sections’ 12th Section: Raising Of Difficulties For Diligent Cultivation:
‘The Buddha said, “Humans have 20 difficulties.
 To be poor yet generous is difficult.
 To be rich, powerful and honoured yet learn the path is difficult.
 To relinquish life with definite death is difficult.
 To attain sight of Buddhist sūtras is difficult.
 To in one’s lifetime meet a Buddha in the world is difficult.
 To endure lust and endure desires is difficult.
 To see that liked yet not seek it is difficult.
 To be insulted yet not angry is difficult.
 To have power yet not look down upon others is difficult.
 To be in contact with matters yet indifferent is difficult.
 To broadly learn and deeply study is difficult.
 To eradicate conceit is difficult.
 To not slight those yet to learn is difficult.
 To have mental activities impartial is difficult.
 To not speak of rights and wrongs is difficult.
 To meet good-knowing advisors is difficult.
 To see one’s nature and learn the path is difficult.
 To accordingly transform and deliver people is difficult.
 To see situations yet be unmoved is difficult.
 To have good understanding of skilful means is difficult.”‘
[Note: With mindfulness of Buddha for birth in Pure Land, thus be without these difficulties.]
The Pure Land Tradition’s 9th Patriarch Great Master Ǒuyì’s ‘Explanation For Understanding The Buddha Speaks Of The Sūtra With 42 Sections’:
‘This 12th section, briefly raises 20 difficult matters to use as exhortations. With agreeable sentiments, they are thus easy. With opposite sentiments, they are thus difficult. However, if able to deeply give rise to the willing mind, thus although difficult, they are yet easy. Those perhaps only following prevalent worldliness, thus although easy, they will also be difficult.
 Those poor are thus with generosity as a difficulty. Thus, although with a little of giving, as this attains blessings that are extremely much, it should not not be encouraged. However, now seen are those poor yet able to give. Therefore, rich people instead are not willing to give. Thus miserly and contemptuous, this is why they are so.
 For the rich, powerful and honoured to learn the path, of the precedent on generosity, it should be known.
 That humans value most is their lives. If able to relinquish life, thus of what other matters cannot be done? However, yet to hear of are people who wish to save their lives with fear of death, resulting in ability to have long lives and not die. Thus of what other matters will they also greedily cherish?
 The Buddhist sūtras are difficult to see. Now fortunately seeing the Buddhist sūtras, yet not studying their essence, utmost contemplating them, thus with not seeing, what difference is there?
 The Buddha in the world is difficult to meet. Now fortunately meeting the Buddha in this world, yet not without delay diligently cultivating, thus with not meeting, what difference is there?
 Lustful desires although frequently felt as that good, however perhaps examining them, of their flavour being little and with bitterness much, perhaps contemplating them to be like illusions and like shadows, thus with what difficulty are they endured and controlled?
 If when seeing that liked, knowing that it may not be demanded, thus is the greedy mind self-extinguished.
 If when insulted, only with the feeling of forgiveness and with reason dispatched, thus is the angry mind naturally at peace.
 Seeing the rich and honoured to be like grass heads’ dewdrops, how can there be capacity to, with power look down upon people?
 Contemplating matters’ situations to be similar to those conditions of dreams, why worry about handling them?
 With broad learning yet not deeply studying, is like entering the ocean without a south-pointing needle. How can there be understanding of the principles?
 Relying upon learning yet giving rise to conceit, is like fertile soil with growth of grass and weeds, which instead harm the good grains.
 The Buddha already said that there are four kinds of things who should not be overlooked. First, fire although tiny should not be overlooked. Second, dragons although small should not be overlooked. Third, princes although young should not be overlooked. Fourth, śramaṇas although junior should not be overlooked. Now having those yet to learn, and those yet to know, they should not be overlooked thus.
 With the mind impartial, thus with generosity’s difficulty surpassing giving to the Thus Come One, with giving to the most lowly beggar, this has meritorious virtues without difference.
 Eliminating rights and wrongs, thus are all dharmas, without that which is not with the Buddha’s Dharma.
 With rights’ and wrongs’ sentiments and views yet to be forgotten, one definitely is not able to see the Dharma realm’s true good-knowing advisors.
 Not seeing the true nature of the presently manifested one thought, one definitely cannot learn the unsurpassable path.
 Not learning the path of matching nature’s expedients and the ultimately true, thus not able to accordingly transform and deliver people.
 Yet to attain accordingly transforming and delivering people’s skilful means, how can there be sight of the ten dharma realms’ situations, yet be single-minded and unmoving?
 If not able to, of each and every one dharma realm within, completely see all the dharma realm’s phenomena and principles, what cause is there for good understanding of one unified body’s skilful means?
Thus know that of these 20 matters, those listed after are more difficult than those listed before.’
Namo Amituofo : Translation and note by Shen Shi’an