Translations

Go Veg(etari)an For Less Sicknesses, More Strength & Health 吃素少病多强健

所言吃素,原为悯彼痛苦,养我仁慈,油与肉,有何分别。

[As] that said [about] eating [as] veg[etari]ans, originally [is] with sympathy [for] that pain and suffering [of animals, to] nurture our benevolence, [of consuming their] oils and meat, what difference is [there in being unbenevolent, as demand feeds supply]?

肉汤亦当不食。

[Thus], meat soups likewise should not [be] eaten.

然众生根性不一,能常素,则令其常素。

However, [as] sentient beings’ root natures [are] not one, [if] able [to be] constant veg[etari]ans, thus [should you] enable them [to be] constant veg[etari]ans.

否则,令持十斋,六斋,食肉边菜耳。

Otherwise, enable [them to] uphold [the] Ten Purification [Days], Six Purification [Days, and/or to] eat vegetables beside meat [if found together].

[Note 1: The Ten Purification Days (十斋日) are every lunar month’s 1st, 8th, 14th, 15th, 18th, 23rd, 24th, 28th, 29th and 30th days (每月初一、初八、十四、十五、十八、廿三、廿四、廿八、廿九、三十), when the Eight Retreat Purification Precepts (八关斋戒) with veg(etari)anism are observed. In the teaching above, the Master was probably only referring to being veg(etari)an on these days, if addressing beginners.]

[Note 2: The Six Purification Days (六斋日) are every lunar month’s 8th, 14th, 15th, 23rd, 29th and 30th days, with the last 2 days changed to the 28th and 29th days for shorter months (每个月初八、十四、十五、二十三、二十九、三十;小月:二十八、二十九).]

[Note 3: Although still commendable, the popular Chinese practice of being veg(etari)an only on the 1st and 15th days is not an actual Buddhist practice, with the above being the actual practices. All these practices are meant to be skilful means to eventually wean people off non-veg(etari)an food totally. Thus, if with choice, yet not consuming less non-veg(etari)an food over the years, one’s compassion for suffering animals is probably not growing much.]

此乃为不能吃常素之方便法,非实义也。

These thus [are] skilful methods for [those] not able [to] eat [as] constant veg[etari]ans, not [the] true meaning [of the practice, which is to always practise compassion for all beings, with everything eaten and drunk].

汝既以病苦之故,愍念众生之苦,当吃净素,勿以口腹,为心性累。

You, since with [the] cause of [having] sickness and suffering, [with] sympathy mindful [of the] suffering of [other] sentient beings [too], should eat [as a] pure veg[etari]an, [and] not [be] with eating and drinking, as [your body’s and] mind-nature’s burdens.

凡属有知觉者,皆不宜食。

All [flesh] belonging [to] those with consciousness, [are] all not suitable [to be] eaten.

虽无知觉,然有生机,如各种蛋,亦不宜食。…

Although without consciousness, however, having hope for life, like all kinds [of] eggs, [they are] also not suitable [to be] eaten…

[Note 4: There is the phenomenon of parthenogenesis, which is how some unfertilised (chicken, turkey…) eggs can nevertheless develop embryos.]

何苦用钱买祸(以食肉欠杀债,故云买祸),而求补益耶。

Why [with] suffering use money [to] ‘buy misfortune’, yet seeking [to be] nourished [and] benefitted? [With eating meat [is] owing (of karmic) killing debts, thus (is it) called ‘buying misfortune’.]

吃荤之人,若肯吃素,定规会少病强健。…

Of people [who] eat meat, if willing [to] eat [as] veg[etari]ans, [as a] definite [natural] law, [they] will [have] less sicknesses, [and be] stronger [and] healthier…

汝既吃素,纵不能令全家吃素,当令少吃。

You, since eating [as a] veg[etari]an, even if not able [to] enable [your] whole family [to] eat [as] veg[etari]ans, [they] should [be] enabled [to] eat less [meat, by buying and preparing more veg(etari)an food].

不可买活物到家中杀,家中日日杀生,便成杀场,大不吉祥。

[There] must not [be] buying [of] living animals to [your] home within [to be] killed, [for if your] home within [has] killing [of] lives every day, [it will] then become [an] execution ground, [which is] greatly inauspicious.

[Note 5: Direct killing of sentient beings creates among the strongest negative karma, and can create direct karmic creditors. This does not mean it is totally blameless to purchase pre-killed animals, as this is paying others to kill, which still funds slaughterhouses to remain as execution grounds.]

净土宗十三祖印光大师
(复鲍衡士居士书)

Pure Land Tradition’s 13 Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
(Reply Letter [To] Layperson Bào Héngshì)

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an  

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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