[222] How To Handle Sūtras And Images Not Able To Be Read And Offered 如何处理不能读供之经像

[222] How To Handle Sūtras [And] Images Not Able [To Be] Read [And] Offered


Of those sūtras [and] images not able [to be] read [and] offered, [there] certainly should [be] burning of [them].

[Note 1: Images include damaged or deteriorated Buddhist pictures and statues, such as those of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Burning is for returning them to the elements properly and completely, instead of leaving incomplete sūtras and images around, which might be misunderstood and disrespected. However, to prevent wastage, sūtras and images that still can be repaired well should be repaired, for further use or circulation.]


However, [they] must not [be] as ordinary papers [with] words burnt, [and there] must [be] another burning vessel set up, strictly with preventing [and] guarding, [to] not cause [their] ashes [to] fly [to] other places.

[Note 2: To express reverence, there should be a clean and dedicated container used, also for ensuring that the ashes do not fly to dirty elsewhere, perhaps with incomplete burning too. Ideally, there is reciting of the Buddha’s name (Āmítuófó: 阿弥陀佛) while burning too.]


With their ashes obtained and filled within [an] extremely closely spaced cloth bag, also add with clean sand or clean stones, so that [when] entering water then sinking, not leading [to it] drifting towards [the] two shores.

[Note 3: The adding of only clean sand or stones is to express respect. Putting the bag of ashes in open waters is to place them out of sight, while offering blessings, to be carried by the flow of the waters.]


[If there] are those crossing [the] ocean, reaching [its] deep parts, throwing them within [the] ocean, or [in] great rivers’ deep parts, then can [this be done].

[Note 4: This is to ensure that they will be out of reach to most, to not be accidentally uncovered and disturbed. Relevant existing laws, if any, should be followed to prevent environmental problems. In these days, due to the worsening climate crisis, might the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas prefer there to be respectful recycling, perhaps after wrapping up the items tidily?]


[In] small drains [and] small brooks, [they] absolutely must not [be] thrown.

[Note 5: This is to prevent choking them, perhaps leading to bursting and polluting too.]

Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
Dharma Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings (Third Compilation): Reply Letter [To] Dharma Master Rúcén’s Question On Behalf [Of A] Friend;
Record [Of] Great Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings’ Essence (222nd Short Section): 5th [Chapter]: Encouragement [Of The] Mind [To] Dwell [In] Sincerity [And] Reverence (17th Short Section)

[Ref: #222 / 5.17]

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

Related Text:
Record Of Great Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings’ Essence

Please be mindful of your speech, Amituofo!

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