Translations

Those With Demonic Ghosts’ Possession, Who Go Mad And Cannot Be Healed 魔鬼附体与发狂不愈者 

以彼心存速证,故得魔鬼附体。

[He], with his mind deliberately [wanting to have] quick realisation, thus attained demonic ghosts’ possession [of his] body.

[Note 1: Although the Great Master is explaining a specific case, what he teaches applies in principle to all similar cases. If not mindful and not ethical, whatever initial ‘spiritual motivation’ for swift enlightenment present might transform to become worldly greed for high status and fame. With such strong (Three Poisons of) greed, (hatred and delusion), one becomes spiritually weaker instead of stronger. One will then be more easily possessed, tricked and sabotaged by malevolent ghostly karmic creditors, creating the illusion that the possessed one is enlightened. This can happen as such ghosts are also with much of the Three Poisons, thus attracting them.]   

从兹妄造谣言,未得谓得,未证谓证。

From this, falsely creating rumours, yet to [have] attained [the path, but] saying [he has] attained [it], yet [to] realise, [but] saying [he has] realised [it].

[Note 2: Even though unenlightened, as ghosts naturally have some basic supernormal powers, such as being able to read minds, they can fool those they possess, into thinking they themselves have such powers, thus making them assume they are already enlightened. While the completely enlightened definitely have full and great supernormal powers, having some minor and limited powers does not mean one is enlightened at all. Spreading rumours of being enlightened is to have great false speech (大妄语), which breaks the Fourth Precept against lying very seriously, and can karmically lead to rebirth in the hells.]     

彼之学者,皆以彼为活佛,故彼有百日成佛之说。

Of those learning [from him], all [are] with him [called] as [a] ‘living Buddha’, thus [does] he have [the] saying of [‘in a] hundred days accomplishing [as a] Buddha’.

[Note 3: The misguided who learn from such false teachers, being uninformed of the right Dharma and severely deluded themselves, mistake these teachers to have been completely enlightened very quickly, even thinking they can also lead them to complete enlightenment quickly. Riding upon such misconceptions, these teachers thrive, thus attracting more of the misguided.]   

凡去见者,有时预知其心,有时面受人欺。

[Of] all those [who] go [to] see [him, he] sometimes in advance knows their minds, [but he] sometimes face [to face] receive people’s deception.

[Note 4: Knowing what is on others’ minds in advance arises from the ability to read their minds before they speak about what they are thinking about. This knowing of what is truly on another’s mind should not be mistaken as realising of all spiritual truths, as the unenlightened mostly think of thoughts based on the Three Poisons only. Being able to have one’s thoughts spoken by another is actually gathering of useless information, since one already knows what oneself is thinking of, in terms of one’s past and present. However, the foolish are easily impressed by this, and see this as ample ‘reason’ to believe and follow whatever ‘advice’ and future ‘predictions’ given. The possessed are also further deceived by the possessing ghosts, who sometimes depart, to let them be deceived by their ‘devotees’ with their own unfounded over-confidence.]

足知彼之神通,乃魔鬼作用。

[With this, it is] enough [to] know [that] of his supernormal [powers, they] thus [are] demonic ghosts’ activities.

鬼来则有,鬼去则无。

[When the] ghosts come, then having [these powers. When the] ghosts go, then without [them].

凡亲近彼者,有得心地清净者。

[Of] all those [who] get close [to] him, [there] are those [who have] attained [their] mind grounds’ purity.

[Note 5: These are the very rare ones, who happened to not heed the wrong teachings, while already heeding some of the right Dharma from elsewhere. With further guidance, observation and reflection, they should realise their false teachers as who they really are.]

有未得谓得,妄自称尊者。

[And there] are those yet [to have] attained [the path, but] saying [they have] attained [it], falsely self-calling [themselves as] honoured ones.

[Note 6: These are the much more common ones, who like their false teachers, are ‘inspired’ to heave great false speech too.]   

亦有发狂不能令愈者。

Likewise having those [who] go mad, [who can]not [be] enabled [to be] healed.

[Note 7: These are the ones who are so seriously disturbed, confused and/or terrified by the ghosts, that they become mentally deranged, even possibly being beyond cure in this lifetime.]   

世之矜奇好异者多,故彼得售其技。

Of [the] world, those showing off [the new and] odd, [and those] fond [of the] different [are] many, thus [do] they attain selling [of] their ‘skills’.

[Note 8: Many of the ignorant are those attracted by the ‘special’, even if they misrepresent the Dharma. Knowing this, false teachers and their disciples market their false skills and teachings by appearing to be ‘unique’.]    

使一切人皆能恪守本分,则彼之巧技无得而施。

If all people [are] all able [to] strictly guard [their] personal responsibilities, then [will] their cheating ‘skills’ not attain [opportunity to] then [be] applied.

[Note 9: The personal spiritual responsibilities of all are to learn and practise the Buddha’s teachings well, and ideally, to share them with those who are receptive whenever possible, guiding those who are misguided too.]

现已往北平去,闻其蚁聚乌合之势,不亚沪地。

[They are] now already going to Běipíng, hearing [that] they [are like the] appearance of ants assembling [and] birds gathering, not less than [those in the] Shànghǎi region.

[Note 10: In past times, when this letter was written, and even more so in present times deeper into this Dharma-Ending Age, external paths are rapidly spreading worldwide.]

光于彼亦不赞叹,亦不立说破斥。

[Yìn]guāng, of them likewise [do] not praise, likewise [do] not establish arguments [to] destroy [and] reproach.  

[Note 11: The blameworthy are surely not the praiseworthy. Unless oneself is powerful enough in the spiritual and worldly sense, there has to be careful consideration before reproaching the blameworthy, especially openly, lest one gets ‘destroyed’ instead. We should protect the Dharma, but the right Dharma can only be protected when there are those learning, practising and sharing it exist.]        

以光系哑羊僧,不足以启人信而折人疑。

With [Yìn]guāng being [a] monastic without knowing, awakening [and] understanding, [I am] inadequate to be able to inspire people’s faith, and [to] refute people’s doubts.

[Note 12: This is the Great Master being humble, when the opposite is true, that he continues to inspire people’s faith with his teachings today, and to resolve doubts about the right Dharma.]

只好彼行彼法,吾守吾道。

[I] can only [let] them practise their ‘Dharma’, [with] myself guarding my path.

[Note 13: After doing what we can reasonably do out of compassion to guide the misguided, and to prevent being misguided, we can only let things be… for now, unless conditions change later, when the misguided might be more receptive to guidance.]   

净土宗十三祖印光大师
Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng   
复某居士书
Letter [To A] Certain Layperson

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

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Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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