At this time [in this] world, [one] only can personally guard oneself’s responsibilities.
[Note 1: One’s spiritual responsibilities are to learn and practise the Buddha’s teachings well, and ideally, to share them with those who are receptive whenever possible.]
[Of] those [who have] lost [their] minds [with the] sickness [of] madness, let them [do] what they do, absolutely not with them fighting one another, questioning one another.
[Note 2: For those who have seriously lost their rationality, it will be challenging to reason with them. Out of compassion, there might be need to attempt to reason a little at first, to know if they are beyond reasoning or not.]
With people [who] understand reason few, [and] confused people many, once having disputes, if demonic factions’ power [is] strong, [this] then instead increases their power.
[Note 3: This can increase their apparent power if they are motivated to rally together to fight prominently for their misguided causes.]
[Of] those [who] know good and bad, encourage [to] enable [them to] not enter [these demonic paths].
If [there are] those not knowing [the] evil [from the] right, [they] can only [be] given up.
[Note 4: They can be ‘given up’ for the time being, while awaiting to see if conditions change later, when they might be ready for reason.]
For example, like dogs eating excrement, with [it] as fragrant [and] delicious.
[Note 5: As the misguided are inverted, they see the impure as lovely, and might even see the pure as disgusting.]
If with [the] smelly [and] defiled, [but] obstructing [them, to] not eat [it, they] will conceive anger, calling [you to be] desiring [to] snatch their fine food.
[Note 6: Even if not assuming you to be desiring to rob of what they like, they can be enraged at you obstructing them to ingest the impure.]
Not only [is this] without benefit, perhaps attracting great disaster.
[Note 7: Disasters can arise from baseless slander, threats and physical harm, especially in this Dharma-Ending Age. To avoid letting these disasters happen is also practice of compassion, to not let the misguided create immense negative karma from slander of the right Dharma, its teachers and practitioners.]
[The] teachings of external paths, [are often] secret [and] not taught [openly].
[Note 8: These elements of secrecy in teaching enable them to spread discreetly yet quickly with less criticism by those who know better.]
Desiring [to] speak [about them], yet afraid [of] defiling my mouth. Desiring [to] write [about them], yet afraid [of] defiling my hands.
[Note 9: Unless able to successfully convince in detail about what is wrong with external paths, it is not worth defiling body, mind and speech with distracting actions, thoughts and words about them. One might as well spend more time learning, practising and sharing the right Dharma.]
Only with utmost sincere mindfulness [of] Buddha [and] mindfulness [of] Guānshìyīn [Bodhisattva], as [the] methods of transforming them.
[Note 10: For those difficult, if not impossible to reason with, use the power of mindfulness of Buddha (and/or Bodhisattva), to create and dedicate meritorious virtues to them, in hope that they can be assisted to awaken to their misguided ways.]
Even if not able [to] transform [them], how [can you], by them, [be] those transformed?
[Note 11: As with practice of mindfulness of Buddha (and/or Bodhisattva), there will be spiritual protection, that prevents being misguided by those of external paths.]
External paths that [are] able to everywhere [be] practised [in the] whole world, [are] with secret [teachings], and giving rise [to] evil curses [or wicked vows, with these] two kinds [of methods].
[Note 12: Wicked vows include swearing that if secret teachings are divulged by oneself, there will be horrible damnation. This is inducing of fear to control the misguided, to keep them in the ‘herd’.]
If [doing] away [with] these two kinds [of methods], then [will they like] ice melt [and] earthen pots disperse.
[Yìn]guāng originally desired [to] briefly speak [of this]. Apprehensive [of] those bringing disaster, provisionally speaking [of] them broadly only.
[Note 13: Although external paths should be carefully spoken of, to not incur the wrath of their ‘teachers’ and followers, they should still be spoken of appropriately to warn the misguided when possible. After all, if those more awakened do not awaken the more deluded, who will?]
Demonic disciples [are] flourishing extremely, without ways [that] can [be] imagined.
[Note 14: As this will be increasingly so as this Dharma-Ending Age progresses, the teachings above should be noted, to better protect oneself and to better help others.]
Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
Second Reply Letter [To] Layperson Gōng Zōngyuán
Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an