[What] Should [Be] Known [About] Wearing Clothes, Eating Meals [And] Letting Out Air
Of people learning Buddhism, [at] night time, [there] must not [be with their] bare bodies sleeping. [They] must wear shirts [and] pants, with [the] mind [of being] constantly like before [the] Buddha.
[Note 1: As all Buddhas are everywhere at all times in terms of their Dharma Body (法身), this aids in cultivating reverence (恭敬) to them everywhere at all times.]
Eating [of] meals must not [be] excessive. Even [when having a] better meal, [there] can only [be] eating [of] eight [to] nine measures. If eating ten measures, [this is] already not [for] nourishing [a] person. Eating more than ten measures, inner organs [will] definitely [be] injured. [If] often like this eating, [this will] definitely shorten lifespan.
[Note 2: To eat excessively is to eat with greed, which will be harmful, spiritually and physically. There can be drinking of some water or tea to aid digestion after eating not too fully.]
[With a] meal once eating [too] much, [the] mind [will be] drowsy [and the] body [will be] weary. [With the] action [of] digestion not moving [well], definitely [leading] to breaking [of] wind. [Of] breaking wind, [this] one matter, [it] is [the] most transgressive. [In] Buddha halls [and] monastic halls, [there] must [be] equal reverence.
[Note 3: When overeating, much energy will be expended for digestion, thus losing energy of the body and mind for other important matters, including spiritual practice.]
If burning incense, [as this] only expresses [one’s reverent] mind, [one need] not [be] particular [about] what [kind of] incense [used].
[Note 4: Likewise, with reverence being key, how much incense is offered is not the main focus. There can be the making of other simpler offerings too, such as plain water and fruits.]
If [after] eating much already breaking wind, [with] it [having] extreme foulness, with this foul stench, permeating [and] reaching [the] Triple Gem, [in the] future definitely becoming maggots within cesspits. Not eating in excess, [is] then without having [such] breaking [of] wind.
[Note 5: This karmic law applies especially to disrespectful people in places with representations of the Triple Gem (三宝) – the Buddhas, (Bodhisattvas, Arhats), Dharma and Saṃgha (佛法僧), in terms of images, texts and persons. These places include Buddhist temples and centres, and at Buddhist shrines at home. (To ‘offer’ breaking of foul wind irreverently is the opposite of offering fragrant incense reverently. The first creates evil karma while the latter creates meritorious virtues [功德].)]
If perhaps [having] received [a] cold, feeling not well, without [other] matters, then exit to [an] empty land [to] break it, waiting [till] that air [is] dissipated, then returning within [the] house. If having matters, not able [to] go out, constantly using strength [to] carry it, not [needing] one quarter [of an hour, it will] then within [the] stomach disperse. [There] are [some] saying [that not breaking [wind will] then become sickness. [As] these words compared [with] breaking wind, [are] even more transgressive, [they] absolutely must not [be] listened [to].
[Note 6: To ‘carry it’ is to hold it in. Where there are no representations of the Triple Gem near, it is alright to break wind. If there is a home shrine, this can be done further away, perhaps in a closed toilet or room.]
[As] we [are] karma-powered ordinary beings, [if] within Buddha halls [of the] noble [one] of noble [ones, the heavenly one] of [heavenly ones, on] grounds complete [with the] Triple Gem, going as far, daring [to be] not [with] additional restraint holding back, at will breaking wind, of this transgression, [it is] extremely great without compare.
[Note 7: Just as we should not and would not rudely break wind before the actual Triple Gem in person, to cultivate reverence in the actual Triple Gem’s ‘absence’, we should not do so before its representations too. It could be karmically due to lack of reverence in our past lives that we are in this present life unable to encounter the actual Triple Gem in person. If so, we should not perpetuate such evil karma with irreverence now.]
Many people, because [with] not much seeing [of] ancient virtuous [ones’] writings, [are with this] taken as [the] ancient virtuous not [having] spoken [on it]. Not knowing [that] ancient virtuous [ones] spoke [of it] skilfully, saying [it is] ‘letting out lower air’. They, also not paying attention to what [these] words [mean], still [do] not mind [this].
[Yìn]guāng, forty years ago, often spoke [on] this matter. [When] later trying [to] ask [about it], people [still do] not know what matter [this] is. Therefore, [I] can only directly speak [of] ‘breaking wind’. [When] singing opera, scolding people [being] impudent, [it] is precisely [with this] said, ‘Your speaking [of] words are [like] breaking [of] wind.’
[Note 8: Breaking wind thus expresses impudence, impoliteness (and absurdity).]
[If] all have that [to] fear, [with foul] air, all not daring [to have] big emissions, from who can [there be such] breaking [of] wind? Due [to] those [who are] impudent without misgivings [and] fear, purposely then having [such] wind. You [should] not say [these] words ‘breaking wind’, as not [being] elegant [to] hear, [as] I truly want [to] save people from becoming [the] maggots of cesspits before only.
Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
Dharma Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings (Second Compilation): Letter [Of] Admonishment [For] Those [With] Initial Determination Learning Buddhism;
Record [Of] Great Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings’ Essence (219th Short Section): 5th [Chapter]: Encouragement [Of The] Mind [To] Dwell [In] Sincerity [And] Reverence (14th Short Section)
[Ref: #219 / 5.14]
Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an
Record Of Great Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings’ Essence