[0] Śūraṅgama Sūtra’s Section On Four Kinds Of Clear Instructions On Purity’s Preface《楞严经·四种清净明诲章》序

[The] Great Buddha’s Crown’s Śūraṅgama Sūtra’s Sixth Scroll: Section [On] Four Kinds [Of] Clear [And] Definitive Instructions [On] Purity’s Preface

[公元 705 年] 唐中天竺沙门般剌密帝译
[In 705 C.E. By] Táng [Dynasty’s] Central [North] India’s Śramaṇa Pāramiti Translated [To Chinese]

公元 2021 年释迦牟尼佛圣诞(农历四月初四)优婆塞沈时安译
[In] 2021 C.E. [On] Śākyamuni Buddha’s Sacred Birthday (4th Day Of 4th Lunar Month) [By] Upāsakā Shěn Shí’ān Translated [To English]

[For ease of detailed studying and editing, square brackets show necessary connective words used in translation, to be removed for final published version later. Suggestions are welcome for more precise choice of words. Námó Āmítuófó.]


Ānanda [1] tidied [his] robes [2], [and] within [the] great assembly [3], joined [his] palms [and] prostrated [4]. [His] mind’s traces [were] completely clear, [with] sorrow [and] joy mixed together [5]. Desiring [to] benefit all future sentient beings thus, [he] prostrated [and] spoke [to the] Buddha, ‘Great compassionate World-Honoured [One] [6], I [have] now already awakened [to the] Dharma Door [7] [for] accomplishing Buddhahood [8], [and on] this cultivation [of] practice within, attained [that] without doubts [and] confusion [9].


[I] often hear [the] Thus Come [One] [10] thus speak, [that] “Those [with] themselves yet [to] attain deliverance [11], [who] first deliver others, [are with] Bodhisattvas’ aspiration [12]. Those self-awakened already, [who are] able [to] perfectly awaken others, [are] Thus Come [Ones, who] manifest [in the] world.” I, although yet [to be] delivered, aspire [to] deliver all [of the Dharma-]Ending Age’s [13] sentient beings [14].


World-Honoured [One], all these sentient beings, [will] leave [the] Buddha [to] gradually [become] distant. Evil teachers [who] speak the [false] Dharma, [will be] like [the] Ganges River’s sands [15]. Desiring [to] gather their minds [to] enter Samādhi [16], how should they [be] enabled [to] peacefully establish places [to realise the] path, [to be] far [from] all demonic matters, [and] for [the] Bodhi Mind [17] attain non-retrogression [18] [19]?’


At that time, [the] World-Honoured [One], within [the] great assembly, praised Ānanda, ‘Excellent! Excellent! With regard to that you [have] asked, [on] peacefully establishing places [to realise the] path, [to] save [and] protect sentient beings [during the Dharma-]Ending Age [from] sinking [and] drowning [20], you [should] now attentively listen, [as I] will for you speak [about it].’


Ānanda [and the] great assembly promised [that they will] only reverently receive [the] teachings [21].

Glossary, Summaries And Notes:

[1] Ānanda (阿难): The Buddha’s personal attendant monk, here representing the audience, including us.

[2] Tidied his robes (整衣): by straightening them after rising from being seated.

[3] Great assembly (大众): of monks and nuns, laymen and laywomen.

[4] Joined his palms and prostrated (合掌顶礼): to express great reverence.

[5] With sorrow and joy mixed together (悲欣交集): With joy for his mind becoming clear now, but sorrow for sentient beings in the future, who might not have similar opportunities to clarify their minds through the Buddha’s teachings.

[6] World-Honoured One (世尊): Śākyamuni Buddha (释迦牟尼佛)

[7] Dharma Door (法门): Method of spiritual practice

[8] Accomplishing Buddhahood (成佛): Attain complete liberation (解脱) and awakening (觉悟); full enlightenment of Buddhahood (佛果).

[9] Summary (1): For the spiritual well-being of sentient beings in our time and beyond, Ānanda (阿难), with his mind clarified, reverently prepared to ask the Buddha about how we can be benefitted like him.

[10] Thus Come One (如来): The Buddha, who ‘as if came’ to be, from awakening of always present Buddha-nature (佛性); potential for Buddhahood.

[11] Deliverance (度): Liberation (解脱) from rebirth (轮回)

[12] Bodhisattvas’ aspiration (菩萨发心): Bodhi Mind (菩提心: Bodhicitta); the vow to guide one and all to Buddhahood (佛果).

[13] Dharma-Ending Age (末劫;末法时期): This current period of 10,000 years we are in, when the quality of the Right Dharma (正法) being taught, learnt, practised and realised is in general decline.

[14] Summary (2): Beginner Bodhisattvas (菩萨) aspire to deliver others while delivering themselves. On this path of practice, becoming advanced Bodhisattvas, they will be able to deliver themselves, while continuing to deliver others. Becoming Buddhas, who are perfected Bodhisattvas, and are completely liberated, they will be able to manifest in many places to perfectly deliver others.

[15] Ganges River’s sands (恒河沙): These fine sand grains are used to represent the innumerable.

[16] Samādhi (三摩地): Meditative concentration (禅定) for progress towards attainment of wisdom (智慧).

[17] Bodhi Mind (菩提心): Aspiration for guiding one and all to Budhahood (佛果).

[18] Non-retrogression (无退屈): Stage of not retreating from progress to Buddhahood (佛果).

[19] Summary (3): Sentient beings in this Dharma-Ending Age (末法时期) will be increasingly distant from the Buddha’s teachings, while evil teachers (邪师) who teach the Buddha’s teachings wrongly will proliferate greatly. Thus these will make it more difficult to encounter the Right Dharma (正法), to avoid demonic matters (魔事), and give rise to non-retrogressible (不退转) Bodhi Mind (菩提心).

[20] Sinking and drowning (沉溺): in the suffering ocean of birth and death (生死苦海): the vast cycle of rebirth with suffering due to repetitive birth, ageing, sickness and death.

[21] Summary (4): The Buddha will be teaching how to practise the Right Dharma to enter Samādhi (三摩地) for realising Buddhahood (佛果). With the following teachings, we will be able to protect ourselves from wrong teachings, and liberate from rebirth in this Dharma-Ending Age. Just as all in the assembly said they would attentively receive these teachings, so should we now.

Namo Amituofo : Translation, glossary, summaries and notes by Shen Shi’an

Next Precept:

[1] The First Heavy Precept

Complete Text:

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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