Translations

Those Good At Using Their Minds Are With Suffering As Joy And Disasters As Blessings 善用心者,以苦为乐,以祸为福

观蔡君之境遇,可谓苦荼之极。  

[It has been] observed [that the] circumstances met [by] respected [Madam] Cài, can [be] called [the] extreme of bitter dishes [i.e. suffering].

[Note 1: As the daughter-in-law of the letter’s recipient, she was recently bereaved of her husband and child.]

然苦乐祸福,本无一定。

However, suffering [and] joy, disasters [and] blessings, [are] originally without [being] certain.

[Note 2: This is so as being conditioned to change without any fixed nature, suffering does not always lead to more suffering, joy does not always lead to more joy, disasters do not always lead to more disasters, and blessings do not always lead to more blessings.]

善用心者,即可以苦为乐,以祸为福。

Those good [at] using [their] minds, then can [be] with suffering as joy, with disasters as blessings.

[Note 3: Those skilful can use suffering to motivate practice towards lasting joy, and use disasters to motivate cultivation of lasting blessings. Although the ways of this world are impermanent, with practice for birth in Pure Land, the joy and blessings there are permanent.]  

不善用心者,固多由乐得苦,由福得祸。

Those not good [at] using [their] minds, certainly [will have] many, due [to] joy attain suffering, due [to] blessings attain disasters.

[Note 4: Those unskilful will exhaust their joy from blessings, to experience suffering from disasters, due to complacence about the limits of their good karma, not mindful of how much evil karma can manifest next.]

宇青既知世相无常,急欲皈依三宝,以修持净业,而求仗佛慈力了生脱死。

[Madam Cài] Yǔqīng, since knowing [that the] world’s forms [are] impermanent, urgently desired [to] take refuge [in the] Triple Gem, with cultivating [and] upholding [of] pure karma [for birth in Pure Land], and seeking [to] rely [upon the] Buddha’s power [of] loving-kindness [to be] liberated [from the cycle of] birth [and] death.

[Note 5: Deaths and impending death should always be seen as grave reminders of our lives being limited, thus with the urgency to start and progress our spiritual lives in time, before our short worldly lives end – again.]

则此之所云苦者,乃玉成彼了脱生死之大善根也。

Then [are] those [with] this said of suffering, [who] thus completely accomplish their great good roots of liberation [from the cycle of] birth [and] death.

[Note 6: The ultimate thought transformation is to transform great worldly suffering to be motivation for cultivating great spiritual bliss for the sake of one and all.]  

否则子孙满堂,家室雍睦,只知眼前愉乐,谁计身后归趣。

Otherwise, [even if] children [and] grandchildren fill [the] hall, [and the] family [is] harmonious, only knowing [this] happiness before [the] eyes, who [can] calculate [the] realms [all will] return [to] after death?

[Note 7: Not regarding this seriously is why we will continue to bob up and down in the sea of suffering within the cycle of birth and death.]  

复龚宗元居士书三
Third Reply Letter [To] Layperson Gōng Zōngyuán
净土宗十三祖印光大师
Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng  

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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