Attached Śūraṅgama Sūtra’s Four Kinds Of Clear Instructions On Purity’s Postscript 附《楞严经·四种清净明诲》跋

Attached Śūraṅgama Sūtra’s Four Kinds [Of] Clear Instructions [On] Purity’s Postscript


[Of] precepts, concentration [and] wisdom, [these] Threefold Learnings, [are the] roots for learning Buddhism, and [for] those cultivating pure karma, and [the] precepts [are] especially essential. Thus [did the] Sūtra [On] Contemplation [Of] Immeasurable Life Buddha, teach [on] pure karma’s Three Blessings.


[The] first criteria, [is to have] filial support [of] fathers [and] mothers, attend [to] teachers [and] seniors, [with] loving-kindness’ mind not kill, [and] cultivate [the] Ten Good Karmas.


[The] second criteria, [is to] accept [and] uphold [the] Threefold Refuge, [be] complete [with] all precepts, [and] not violate majestic conduct.


[The] third criteria, [is to] give rise [to the] Bodhi Mind, [have] profound faith [in] cause [and] effect, study [and] recite [the] Great Vehicle’s [sūtras, and] encourage progress [of] practitioners.


[The] first two [criteria] mostly belong to Precepts’ Learning, [and with the] third criteria [are the] Threefold Learnings all complete. Complete [with] these Three Blessings, then [is] pure karma greatly accomplished, [to be] reborn [in the] High Grade.


Thus at [the] Pure Land [Tradition’s] Five Sūtras behind, attaching [the] Flower Adornment Sūtra’s Pure Practices Chapter and [the] Śūraṅgama Sūtra’s [Section On] Four Kinds [Of] Clear Instructions [On] Purity. With hope [for] pure karma’s practitioners, to [be with] Disciplinary [And] Ceremonial Precepts that [are] upheld [by the] body [with] non-doing, progressing then [to] attain Concentration’s Common Precepts that [have] restraint’s mind [with] non-arising, and [the] Path’s Common Precepts that transcend attachments [and] depart [from] thoughts, [to] sever confusions [and] realise [the] true.

[Note 1: With non-doing and non-arising in terms of the precepts is to be so at one with them, that there is no need to have deliberate upholding and restraint. This does not mean to not have upholding of the precepts, or to not have restraint with the precepts; but to naturally be with them.

Note 2: The Disciplinary And Ceremonial Precepts are for beginners to uphold with the body to practise avoiding of evil deeds. This is Precepts’ Learning, the first aspect of the Threefold Learnings.

Note 3: The Concentration’s Common Precepts are for the intermediate to uphold with the mind to practise restraining from evil thoughts (that might give rise to evil words and deeds). This is Concentration’s Learning, the second aspect of the Threefold Learnings.

Note 4: The Path’s Common Precepts are for the advanced to uphold to practise renouncing of attachments and delusions, to realise liberation and wisdom. This is Wisdom’s Learning, the third aspect of the Threefold Learnings. (The above show how the Threefold Learnings are connected to the Precepts.)]


Even if attaining Concentration’s [and the] Path’s Common [Precepts’] two kinds [of] true benefits, [there] still should [be] cautiousness [and] conscientiousness, [to] firmly uphold [the] Disciplinary [And] Ceremonial Precepts, with [this] for self-benefiting [and] benefitting [of] others, [and for] maintaining [the] standards of [the] Dharma’s path. Then [are] emptiness ‘liberated’ persons, without reason [to] use [the] Great Vehicle [as an] excuse, and for this ‘reason’ destroy [and] confuse [the] Buddha’s Dharma, [with] doubts [that] mislead sentient beings.

[Note 5: Unless already as highly accomplished Bodhisattvas manifesting otherwise skilfully, the Disciplinary And Ceremonial Precepts should still be mindfully and strictly adhered to. If not, there will be self-harm and harming of others, that destroys expected standards for Dharma practitioners, by becoming bad examples instead. This also prevents deluded ones attached to emptiness, who imagine they have attained liberation, to claim that they are using the Great Vehicle’s skilful means (that seem to break precepts) to benefit others, when they are just going against the Dharma, corrupting it, and confusing others on how to practise it properly, with the wrong becoming ‘right’, and the right becoming ‘wrong’.]

[In the] People’s Republic [of China’s] 25th year [i.e. 1936 C.E.], [in] Bǐngzǐ year’s second month of spring, [by] Shì Yìnguāng respectfully postscripted.

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

Related Commentary:

The Contemplation Sūtra’s Three Blessings

Related Sūtras:

‘The Pure Land Tradition’s Five Sūtras’ As Checked By The Chinese Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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