Translations

What The World’s People Should Know About Karma 世人该知之因果

世间愚人,不知因果。

[The] world’s foolish people, [do] not know [about karmic] cause [and] effect.

见为善而得祸,便谓善不可为。

Seeing [those] doing good yet attaining misfortune, then saying good should not [be] done.

见作恶而得福,便谓恶不可戒。

Seeing [those] acting evil yet attaining good fortune, then saying evil should not [be] prohibited.

不知祸福之来,有近有远,迟早不定。

Not knowing [that the] coming of misfortune [and] good fortune, have [that] near [and] have [that] far, [with] later [and] sooner not definite.

近则人俱得见。

[That] near [is] then [with] people together attaining sight [of them].

远则或隔生隔若干生,非具宿命通者,不能悉知。

[That] far [is] then perhaps [in a] separate life [or] a certain number [of] lives [later. If] not those having [supernormal] power [of knowing] past lives, [they are] not able [to] know [them] all.

今设一喻,以期易知。

Now giving an analogy, with hope [for] easy understanding.

作善作恶,如种谷然。

Acting good [and] acting evil, [are] like planting grain thus.

其人虽善,以前生所作不能无过,故今日所受不能无逆。

Those people, although good, with past lives’ [deeds], that acted not able [to be] without faults, thus today, that received [is] not able [to be] without adversities.

今生之身,名为报身。

[The] body of this life, [is] named as [a] retribution body.

以今生之为男为女,或好或丑,以及寿,夭,贫,富,智,愚,康,病等,乃前生之所作所为所感之报,故名此身为报身。

With this life as male [or] as female, perhaps beautiful, perhaps ugly, as well as [having] longevity [or] premature death, poverty [or] wealth, wisdom [or] foolishness, health [or] sickness [and] others, [these are] thus [due to] those actions [and] those deeds [in] past lives, those responding [rewards and] retribution, thus naming this body as [a] retribution body.

谓其为前世所作之果报之身,以前世之因,为今生之果。

Speaking [of] this as [the] body of [the] fruit [of] retribution, [from] past lives that acted, [it is] with [the] cause of past lives, as [the] fruit [i.e. effect] of this life.

今生虽善,前世之业重,不能即得其为善之报,而先得其前世之恶报。

This life, although good, [due to the] heavy [negative] karma of past lives, [they are] not able [to] immediately attain their rewards of doing good, and first attain their evil retribution of past lives.

如人去年未种谷,今年虽勤劳耕种于未收获之前,亦不免于无粮。

Like people [in the] last year, [who have] yet [to] plant grain, this year, although diligently cultivating [the land], for [that] yet [to be] harvested before, [they] likewise cannot avoid [being] without grain [first].

此无粮,非因今年之勤劳而无也。

This [being] without grain, [is] not due [to] this year’s diligence, yet [being] without [grain].

今年之无粮,乃去年不下种所致。

This year [being] without grain, [is] thus that caused by last year not planting.

今年既勤耕种,则收获后及明年则有粮矣。

This year, since [with] diligent cultivating [of the land, they will] then, harvesting later, and [in the] next year, then have grain.

为恶之人,尚未受祸,以有余福未尽。

Of people doing evil, still yet [to] receive misfortune, [they are] with remaining good fortune yet [to be] exhausted.

如人去年勤耕种,今年不耕种,而仍不至饥饿,乃去年之所余。

Like people [in the] last year, [having] diligently cultivated [the land, in] this year not cultivating, then still not going as far [as to be] hungry, [this is] therefore [due to] those remaining [grain] of last year.

吃完,则今年未种,将无所食矣。

[If] eaten completely, then [with] this year’s [grain] yet planted, [they] will [be] without that [to] eat.

须知善人得恶报,使不为善,其恶报当更甚。

[It] must [be] known [that] good people attaining evil retribution, if not doing good, their evil retribution will [be] even [more] extreme.

由作善,而恶报随之减轻。

Due to acting good, then will evil retribution accordingly reduce [to be] lighter.

恶人得善报,使不为恶,其善果当更大。

Evil people attaining good rewards, if not doing evil, their good fruits will [be] even greater.

由作恶,善报亦随之减轻。

Due to acting evil, good rewards likewise [will] accordingly reduce [to be] lighter.

净土宗十三祖印光大师
Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
《复杨宗慎居士书》
(Reply Letter [To] Layperson Yáng Zōngshèn)

Namo Amituofo : Translation by Shen Shi’an

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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