[8] Eighth Essay On Practices’ Dharma Door: Completely Upholding The Purification Precepts… 修持法门八:全持斋戒…

[8] Eighth [Essay On] Practices’ Dharma Door

[Completely Upholding (The) Purification Precepts…]


[If] completely upholding [the] Purification Precepts, also prostrating [to the] Buddha [and] reciting [the] Buddha’s [name], studying [and] reciting [the] Great Vehicle’s sūtras, [and] understanding [the] supreme truth, with these dedicating [with] Aspiration [to be] born [in the] Western [Pure Land, this] definitely [attains the] High Grade’s High Birth.

[Note 1: The (Eight) Purification Precepts can be seen at The criteria for High Grade’s High Birth can be seen at]


[On] that so-called ‘purification’, what [is it? It is to] not eat meat, not drink alcohol, not [have] sexual misconduct, [and] not eat [the] five pungent [roots].

[Note 2: The morally purest form of eating and drinking, with the rationale for avoiding the five pungent roots, as taught by the Buddha, can be seen at]


[On] those so-called ‘precepts’, what [are they]? Killing lives, stealing [and] sexual misconduct are as [the] body’s three [evil] karmas. False speech, frivolous speech, double-tongue[d] speech [and] harsh speech are as [the] mouth’s four [evil] karmas. Greedy desires, anger [and] evil views are as [the] mind’s three [evil] karmas. [In] total, [with abstaining from them, these are] as [the] Ten Precepts.


[If] able [to] uphold and not violate [them, these] are as [the] Ten Goodnesses. If violating and not upholding [them, these] are as [the] Ten Evils. [If] completely upholding [the] Ten Precepts, then [is there] birth [in a] heaven above.

[Note 3: Birth in a heaven is still inadequate for liberation, as one is still trapped in rebirth, although with a longer life (and possibly more spiritual distractions), with eventual fall later, if there is no further transcendental practice in time. Thus, it is ideal to reach Pure Land directly by the end of this life.]


[If] upholding [the] prior Four Precepts [i.e. of not killing, stealing, having sexual misconduct and lying (or false speech)], [in] addition with not drinking alcohol, [these] are as [the] Five Precepts. [Those] able [to] uphold these Five Precepts, [will] constantly not lose [the] human body.


If [there are] those cultivating [to reach] Pure Land, [they are] not limited to this. If completely upholding [the] Ten Precepts, [in] addition with [that] like [the] text above, those said meritorious virtues, [they will] certainly [have] High Grade’s High Births. If stopping [at] upholding [the] Five Precepts and cultivating [to reach] Pure Land, also not losing Middle Grade’s High Births or High Grade’s Low Births too.

[Note 4: The criteria for Middle Grade’s High Birth can be seen at The criteria for High Grade’s Low Birth can be seen at]


If also not able [to] uphold [the] Five Precepts, how can [there] not [be] abstaining [from] killing lives? [Not] killing lives [is] as [the] first of [the] Five Precepts, likewise as [the] first of [the] Ten Precepts, likewise as [the] first of Bhikṣus’ Two Hundred [And] Fifty Precepts. [These] are [with] not killing, then as great good, [and with] killing, then as great evil.


Thus saying, ‘All those desiring [to] kill lives, [they] only should look [at] themselves. [With] one’s body [that] cannot [be] killed, animals’ lives [are] without two kinds.’


Therefore, not killing attains long life’s reward, [and] killing then [attains] short life’s retribution. About speaking [of] oneself desiring this life [to be] long, animals also desire their lives [to be] long. Then killing animals’ lives, yet desiring one’s life [to be] long, how [can this] have reason? Thus, killing lives cannot [be] not abstained [from].


All killing [of] lives [is] for serving ‘desire of food’, however ‘desire of food’ [has] what [to] dislike? After placing [down] chopsticks, [with its] taste already emptied, yet killing’s karma [still] entirely exists.

[Note 5: Even if one’s food with meat and animal produce is not from personal killing of lives, if it does arrive through personal demand, by continual or occasional choice, of purchase or consumption, one is still connected to someone else’s evil karma created by personally killing for oneself, although less directly.]


If [with] killing lives for receiving guests, however with ordinary days not killing [to do so], people [are] also without that [much to] say [i.e. complain]. Moreover, [of] those transgressions [of killing, they are by] oneself personally bearing them.


[A] sūtra says, ‘[When] coming then alone [by] oneself coming, [when] going then alone [by] oneself going, rebirth [is] alone [by] oneself travelling, [and its] retribution [and rewards are] alone [by] oneself received.’ Contemplating this, then how can [there be] as humans, yet killing lives too?


If [with] killing lives for offerings [to] ancestors, how [can they be] without veg[etari]an food [that is] clean [and] wonderful? Kǒngzǐ [i.e. Confucius] said, ‘Although [with] veg[etari]an food, vegetable broth [and] melons offering, [this is] certainly equally appropriate too.’ Thus, how is [this] not possible! If burning incense [and] reciting sūtras, relying [on the] Buddha’s power, with [it] for offering [of] pulling up, definitely thereupon transcending birth [and death, this is] thus all without having killing [of] lives too.

[Note 6: In fact, according to the Buddha’s teachings, such as those in the Kṣitigarbha Sūtra《地藏经》, offering of animal products is not appropriate at all, while only veg[etari]an food is appropriate, as offering the latter, especially vegan food, does not create evil karma in the name of the deceased, which can negatively affect the person to some extent, leading to a less fortunate rebirth, if not yet reborn.]


If only able [to] uphold this one precept of not killing, with cultivation [to reach] Pure Land, [this is] already not [with birth] in [a] Low Grade’s Birth [i.e. as it will be higher].

[Note 7: The criteria for Low Grade’s High Birth can be seen at The criteria for Low Grade’s Middle Birth can be seen at The criteria for Low Grade’s Low Birth can be seen at]


Sòng [Dynasty’s] Wáng Rìxiū
Lóngshū’s Pure Land Text:
Fourth Scroll: Fifteen Essays [On] Practices’ Dharma Doors

Namo Amituofo : Translation by Shen Shi’an

Related Articles:

Previous Essay:

[7] Seventh Essay On Practices’ Dharma Door: [The Buddha Asked Ānanda…]

Next Essay:

[9] Ninth, [10] Tenth, [11] Eleventh Essay On Practices’ Dharma Door

Fifteen Essays:

Lóngshū’s Pure Land Text:
[4] Fourth Scroll: Fifteen Essays On Practices’ Dharma Doors

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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