Translations

Not With Those Who Have Lost Their Minds With The Sickness Of Madness Fighting One Another 不与丧心病狂者相争

当此时世,只可自守本分。

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.]

其丧心病狂者,任彼所为,绝不与彼相争相诘。

[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.]

以明理人少,糊涂人多,一有争端,若魔党势重,则反增彼势。

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.]

知好歹者,勉令勿入。

[Of] those [who] know good and bad, encourage [to] enable [them to] not enter [these demonic paths].

若不知邪正者,只可放弃。

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.]

譬如狗子吃屎,以为香美。

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.]

若以臭秽阻令勿吃,必怀瞋恚,谓欲夺彼佳肴。

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.]   

不唯无益,或招大祸。

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.]

外道之法,秘而不传。

[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.]   

欲说而恐污我口,欲书而恐污我手。

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.]   

但以至诚念佛念观世音,为转彼之法。

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.]

即不能转,岂为彼所转乎?

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.]

外道之得以遍行全世界者,以秘密及发恶咒二种。

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’.]   

使去此二种,则冰消瓦散矣。

If [doing] away [with] these two kinds [of methods], then [will they like] ice melt [and] earthen pots disperse.

光本欲略说,恐忌者降祸,姑说其大略而已。

[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?]  

魔徒炽甚,无法可设。

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.]

净土宗十三祖印光大师
Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng 
文钞三编·复龚宗元居士书二
Second Reply Letter [To] Layperson Gōng Zōngyuán

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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