Translations

Record Of Bright Eyes’ Mindfulness Of Buddha To Save Her Mother And Giving Rise Of The Bodhi Mind 光目念佛救母发菩提心记

http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/49112

《地藏经》阎浮众生业感品第四 (摘录)
Kṣitigarbha Sūtra’s Chapter Four: Jambudvīpa’s Sentient Beings’ Karmic Connections (Excerpt)

【释迦牟尼佛】:「复于过去,无量阿僧祇劫,有佛出世,名清净莲华目如来,其佛寿命四十劫。像法之中,有一罗汉,福度众生。因次教化,遇一女人,字曰光目,设食供养。

[Śākyamuni Buddha]: ‘Again, in past immeasurable asaṃkhyeya kalpas [ago, there] was [a] Buddha [who] arose [in the] world, named Pure Lotus Flower Eyes Thus Come [One]. That Buddha’s lifespan [was] forty kalpas. Within [the] Dharma Resemblance [Age, there] was an Arhat, [with] blessings delivering sentient beings. Due [to him] arriving [to] teach [and] transform, [he] met a woman, [whose] name [was] Bright Eyes, [who] arranged food [to] make offerings.

[Note 1: The Arhat delivered sentient beings by offering blessings and wisdom (福慧) to them, while letting them create blessings by making offerings to him.]

罗汉问之:『欲愿何等? 』

[The] Arhat asked her, “What [do you] desire [and] wish [for]?”

光目答言:『我以母亡之日,资福救拔,未知我母生处何趣? 』

Bright Eyes replied, “I, with [my] mother’s day of death, [with the] provision [of] blessings [made offerings, for] saving [her]. Yet [to] know [is that] my mother’s birthplace [is in] which realm.”

[Note 2: As she already knew her mother had great evil karma (恶业), she created blessings to alleviate her suffering in her next life.]

罗汉愍之,为入定观,见光目女母堕在恶趣,受极大苦。罗汉问光目言:『汝母在生,作何行业?今在恶趣,受极大苦。 』

[The] Arhat, sympathising [with] her, for [her] entered concentration [to] contemplate, [and] saw [that the] woman Bright Eyes’ mother [had] fallen in [an] evil realm, [to] receive extremely great suffering. [The] Arhat asked Bright Eyes, saying, “Your mother when living, created [and] practised what karma? [She is] now in [an] evil realm, receiving extremely great suffering.”

光目答言:『我母所习,唯好食啖鱼鳖之属。所食鱼鳖多食其子,或炒或煮,恣情食啖。计其命数,千万复倍。尊者慈愍,如何哀救? 』

Bright Eyes replied, ‘My mother [had] that habit, [of] only [being] fond [of] eating those belonging [to] fish [and] soft-shelled turtles. That eating [of] fish [and] soft-shelled turtles [was with] much eating [of] their eggs, perhaps [with] frying or boiling, indulging [in] eating [them]. Calculating those lives’ numbers, [they are by] ten million repeatedly multiplied. [May the] Honoured One [with] compassion sympathise. How [should I with] pity save [her]?”

[Note 3: With greed and perhaps much hatred too, her mother had created incalculable great evil karma by killing many sentient beings great and small.]

罗汉愍之,为作方便,劝光目言:『汝可志诚念清净莲华目如来,兼塑画形像,存亡获报。 』

[The] Arhat, sympathising [with] her, for [her] created [a] skilful means, encouraging Bright Eyes, [by] saying, “You can, [with] sincerity [and] single-mindedness, [be] mindful [of] Pure Lotus Flower Eyes Thus Come [One], simultaneously sculpting [and] painting [his] form’s image, [for the] living [and] deceased [to] obtain rewards.”

[Note 4: The primary practice is wholehearted mindfulness of the Buddha’s name (持名念佛) and/or form (观像念佛) in her time, with which the Buddha can be connected to for advice, beyond the question of the whereabouts of the deceased. As it was already in the Dharma Resemblance Age (像法时期), the Buddha was not physically present to be directly consulted in person then.]

光目闻已,即舍所爱,寻画佛像,而供养之。复恭敬心,悲泣瞻礼。忽于夜后,梦见佛身,金色晃耀,如须弥山,放大光明,而告光目:『汝母不久,当生汝家,才觉饥寒,即当言说。』

Bright Eyes, hearing [this] already, immediately gave up those loved, sought [to have] painting [of the] Buddha’s image, and made offerings [to] it. Again [with the] reverent mind, grievously weeping, looking up [and] prostrating. Suddenly, in [the] night later, [she] dreamt [and] saw [the] Buddha’s body, [whose] golden form glittered like Mount Sumeru. Emitting great bright light, [he] then told Bright Eyes, “Your mother, not long [later], will [be] born [in] your family. Just [when] feeling hunger [and] cold, [he] will immediately speak.”

其后家内,婢生一子,未满三日,而乃言说,稽首悲泣,告于光目:『生死业缘,果报自受。吾是汝母,久处暗冥,自别汝来,累堕大地狱。蒙汝福力,方得受生。为下贱人,又复短命,寿年十三,更落恶道。汝有何计,令吾脱免?』

Later, within [her] family, [a] servant gave birth [to] a son. Yet [to be] fully three days, then thus speaking, prostrating [and] grievously weeping, [he] told Bright Eyes, ‘Births’ [and] deaths’ karmic conditions, [are with the] fruits [of] retribution personally received. I am your mother, [who was for] long [in a] place wrapped [in] darkness, since departure [till] you came, [I] repeatedly fell [into] great hells. Receiving your blessings’ power, then attaining receiving [of] birth [here]. As [a] lowly person, also again [with a] short life, [after a] lifespan [with the] age [of] thirteen, [I will] again fall [into a] evil path. What plan [do] you have, [to] enable me [to be] liberated, [to] avoid [this]?’

[Note 5: This is proof that meritorious virtues (功德) created for the deceased can alleviate their suffering and expedite better rebirths.]

光目闻说,知母无疑,哽咽悲啼,而白婢子:『既是我母,合知本罪,作何行业,堕于恶道?』

Bright Eyes, hearing [this] said, knew [that he was her] mother without doubt. Choking [and] sobbing, grievously wailing, [she] then said [to the] servant’s son, “Since [you] are my mother, [you] should know [your] original transgressions, [having] created what actions’ karmas, [to] fall in [an] evil path.”

婢子答言:『以杀害毁骂二业受报。若非蒙福,救拔吾难,以是业故,未合解脱。』

[The] servant’s son replied, “With killing [and] harming, slandering [and] scolding, [these] two karmas, [I] received retribution. If not receiving [your] blessings, saving [me from] my difficulties, with these karmas thus, [I] should not [be] liberated.”

光目问言:『地狱罪报,其事云何?』

Bright Eyes asked, ‘[Of] hell’s transgressive retribution, what [are] those matters?”

婢子答言:『罪苦之事,不忍称说,百千岁中,卒白难竟。』

[The] servant’s son replied, “Of matters [on] transgressive suffering, [I can]not bear [to] state [them, which with a] hundred thousand years within, [till] dying speaking, [they would be] difficult [to be] completed.”

[Note 6: Such suffering from retribution is so grave that merely to speak of them is unbearable.]

光目闻已,啼泪号泣,而白空界:『愿我之母,永脱地狱。毕十三岁,更无重罪,及历恶道。十方诸佛,慈哀愍我,听我为母所发广大誓愿:

Bright Eyes, [having] heard [this] already, weeping tears [and] wailing, then said [to the] realm [of] space, “May my this mother, forever [be] liberated [from] hell. Completing thirteen years, [be] again without heavy transgressions, and experience [of the] evil paths. [May the] ten directions’ all Buddhas, [have] compassionate sympathy [for] me, hear me, for [my] mother, that giving rise [of my] vast [and] great vow.

若得我母永离三涂,及斯下贱,乃至女人之身,永劫不受者,愿我自今日后,对清净莲华目如来像前,却后百千万亿劫中,应有世界,所有地狱,及三恶道,诸罪苦众生,誓愿救拔,令离地狱恶趣、畜生、饿鬼等。如是罪报等人,尽成佛竟,我然后方成正觉。』

If attaining my mother’s eternal departure [from the] three realms, and [from] this lowliness, and even [this] body of [a] woman, [in] eternal kalpas not receiving them, may I from now, [in the] days after, towards [and] before Pure Lotus Flower Eyes Thus Come [One’s] image, afterwards, within thousands [of] millions [of] koṭis [of] kalpas, respond [to] existing worlds, all hells, and three evil paths, all transgressive suffering sentient beings, vow [to] save [them, to] enable departure [from] hell’s evil realm, animals’, hungry ghosts’ [and] others’. [When] such [with] transgressive retribution [and] other persons, all accomplish Buddhahood completely, I [will] afterwards then accomplish Right Awakening.”

[Note 7: Initially for saving her mother from lower rebirths, empathising with all other beings too, her vow expanded to be for guiding all sentient beings to Buddhahood, thus giving rise to the Bodhi Mind (菩提心). As we have been reborn for countless times already, all sentient beings have been reborn as our mothers before. Thus, to give rise to the Bodhi Mind is to fulfil filial piety universally.]

发誓愿已,具闻清净莲华目如来而告之曰:『光目!汝大慈愍,善能为母发如是大愿。吾观汝母,十三岁毕,舍此报已,生为梵志,寿年百岁。过是报后,当生无忧国土,寿命不可计劫。后成佛果,广度人天,数如恒河沙。』」

[Having] made [her] vow already, completely heard [was] Pure Lotus Flower Eyes Thus Come [One, who] then told her, “Bright Eyes, [with] your great compassionate sympathy, [you are] well able [to], for [your] mother give rise [to] such [a] great vow. I contemplate [that] your mother, [with] thirteen years completed, [having] given up this retribution [body] already, [will be] born as [a] Brahmin, [with a] lifespan [with the] age [of a] hundred years. Passing this reward later, [she] will [be] born [in the] Land Without Worries, [with a] lifespan [that is] incalculable. Later accomplishing [the] Buddha fruit, [to] widely deliver human [and] heavenly [beings], numbering like [the] Ganges river’s sands.”‘

[Note 8: The Land Without Worries (无忧国) is a Pure Land (净土), thus having an incalculable lifespan there. This means that her mother would have eventually learnt and practised how to reach the Pure Land, through which Buddhahood is guaranteed. The primary means to reach Pure Lands is with sincere mindfulness of their Buddhas.]

佛告定自在王:「尔时罗汉福度光目者,即无尽意菩萨是。光目母者,即解脱菩萨是。光目女者,即地藏菩萨是。过去久远劫中,如是慈愍发恒河沙愿,广度众生。

[The] Buddha told Concentration Ease King, ‘At that time, that Arhat [with] blessings delivering Bright Eyes, then is Inexhaustible Intention Bodhisattva [now]. That Bright Eyes’ mother, then is Liberation Bodhisattva [now]. That Bright Eyes women, then is Earth Treasury Bodhisattva [now]. Within past long [and] distant kalpas, thus [with] compassionate sympathy giving rise [to] Ganges river’s sands [of] vows, [to] widely deliver sentient beings.

未来世中,若有男子女人,不行善者,行恶者,乃至不信因果者,邪淫妄语者,两舌恶口者,毁谤大乘者,如是诸业众生,必堕恶趣。

Within [the] future period, if [there] are men [and] women, those not practising good, those practising evil, and even those not believing [in] cause [and] effect, those [with] evil sexual [conduct and] false speech, those [with] double-tongued [and] harsh speech, those [who] slander [the] Great Vehicle, such all karmic sentient beings, [they will] definitely fall [into] evil realms.

[Note 9: Those who do not avoid evil, do good, and believe in the law of karma, who break precepts and slander the teachings that lead to Buddhahood will surely be reborn as hell-beings (地狱), hungry ghosts (饿鬼) and animals (畜生) in the three evil paths (三恶道) (if they do not repent in time).]

若遇善知识,劝令一弹指间归依地藏菩萨,是诸众生,即得解脱三恶道报。

If meeting good-knowing friends, encouraging [to] enable, within one snap [of the] fingers, [to] rely [on] Earth Treasury Bodhisattva, all these sentient beings, [will] immediately attain liberation [from the] three evil paths’ retribution.

[Note 10: The primary means is with sincere mindfulness of the Bodhisattva’s name – ‘(Homage to and) refuge for life in Earth Treasury Bodhisattva’ (南无地藏王菩萨). This works with the same principle as mindfulness of Buddha in terms of Āmítuófó (阿弥陀佛: Amitā[bha] Buddha). The Bodhisattva also guides beings mindful of this Buddha to Āmítuófó’s Pure Land.]

若能志心归敬,及瞻礼赞叹,香华衣服,种种珍宝,或复饮食,如是奉事者,未来百千万亿劫中,常在诸天受胜妙乐。

If able [to, with the] sincere mind take refuge reverently, and look up, prostrate, praise highly, [with] incenses, flowers, clothing, all kinds [of] precious treasures, or again [with] drinks [and] food, [with] those thus offering, [in] future thousands [of] millions [of] koṭis [of] kalpas within, [they will] constantly [be] in many heavens [to] receive wonderful joy.

若天福尽,下生人间,犹百千劫,常为帝王,能忆宿命因果本末。

If heavenly blessings [are] exhausted, descending [to be] born [in the] human world, still [for a] hundred thousand kalpas, constantly as emperors, [they will be] able [to] recollect past lives’ causes [and] effects, [from the] beginning [to the] end.

[Note 11: Having knowledge of past lives means past lessons learnt will be remembered, while past mistakes made will not be repeated. Thus will there be progress towards Buddhahood.]

[Note 12: Although the above advantages are great, the swiftest path to Buddhahood is by directly reaching Āmítuófó’s Pure Land at the end of this life, where the advantages will be immeasurably greater. While it is the easiest Pure Land to enter, through it, all other Pure Lands can be accessed. In Pure Lands, there will be direct access to the Buddhas’ teachings.]

定自在王,如是地藏菩萨,有如此不可思议大威神力,广利众生,汝等诸菩萨,当记是经,广宣流布。」

Concentration [With] Ease King, thus does Earth Treasury Bodhisattva, have these such inconceivable great majestic supernormal powers, [to] widely benefit sentient beings. You [and] other all Bodhisattvas, should remember this sūtra, [to] widely proclaim [and] propagate [it].’

定自在王白佛言:「世尊!愿不有虑。我等千万亿菩萨摩诃萨,必能承佛威神,广演是经于阎浮提,利益众生。」

Concentration [With] Ease King [to the] Buddha said, ‘World-Honoured [One], may [you] not have worries. I [and] other ten million koṭis [of] Bodhisattva Mahāsattvas, [will] definitely [be] able [to] receive [the] Buddha’s majestic supernormal [power, to] widely expound this sūtra in Jambudvīpa, [to] benefit sentient beings.’

[Note 13: The essence of the sūtra is the Dharma Door Of Mindfulness Of Buddha (念佛法门). Thus, to promote its teachings is to share on focusing upon the practice of mindfulness of Buddha. Some practitioners forget this and focus only on reciting the sūtra.]

定自在王菩萨白世尊已,合掌恭敬,作礼而退。

Concentration [With] Ease King Bodhisattva, [having] spoken [to the] World-Honoured [One] already, joined [his] palms reverently, made prostrations and retreated.

Namo Amituofo : Translation and notes by Shen Shi’an

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