[228] With The Six Roots’ Three Karmas, Cultivate Blessings And Create Meritorious Virtues 以六根三业,修福造功德

[228] With [The] Six Roots’ Three Karmas, Cultivate Blessings [And] Create Meritorious Virtues

人之修福造业,总不出六根、三业。六根,即 [i] 眼、[ii] 耳、[iii] 鼻、[iv] 舌、[v] 身、[vi] 意。前 [i]-[v] 五根属【一】身业,后 [vi] 意根属心,即【三】意业。

Cultivated blessings [and] created karma of people, invariably [do] not transcend [the] six roots [and the] three karmas. [The] six roots, [are] the same as [the] [i] eye, [ii] ear, [iii] nose, [iv] tongue, [v] body [and] [vi] mind. [The] previous [i]-[v] five roots belong [to] [1] physical karmas, [and the] later mind root belongs [to the] [vi] mind, [which is the] same as [3] mental karma.

[Note 1: With the six roots (六根) are the three karmas (三业) created, be they good karmas (善业) or evil karmas (恶业).]


Those three karmas [are]: [1] first, physical karmas. [There] are three, [which are] the same as (1) killing lives, (2) stealing [and] (3) sexual misconduct. These three kinds [of] matters, [are with] transgressive karmas extremely heavy.


 [On killing lives.] Of people learning Buddhism, [they] should eat [as] veg[etari]ans, [and] cherish lives. [As] all [who] are animals, all know pain, all crave [for] life [and] fear death, [they] must not [be] killed [and] harmed. If killing and eating them, then forms one killing karma, [in a] future life [or] later generation, definitely receive their killing.

[Note 2: Even if not always eating as veg(etari)ans, there should be doing so as much as possible. Based on the cycle of supply and demand, even if not personally killing animals (to eat them), continually buying meat ensures others will be continually killing animals on one’s behalf. In this way, meat-buying (and meat-eating) create indirect killing. Having created killing’s karma (杀业), one will suffer by being killed, or suffer the equivalent, through those killed, or those karmically connected. It is also possible to be karmically killed via an ‘accident’, by inanimate objects, such as a falling item.]


[On] stealing. All objects of other people, must not [be with them] not given yet taken. Stealing light objects, then loses one’s human character. Stealing heavy objects, then harms people, [their] bodies [and] lives. Stealing people’s objects, [is] similar [to] attaining unearned advantages, [which] breaks one’s blessings [and] lifespans. Those losing that [they] should attain within [their] lives, compared [with] those stolen [are] more [by] many times. If using schemes obtaining, if with power threatening obtaining, if as [other] persons’ managers creating fraud obtaining, all [these are] named [as] stealing. Of people stealing, [they will] definitely give birth [to] children of dissoluteness. Of honest persons, [they will] definitely give birth [to] children of virtuous good. These natural principles [are] of certain cause [and] effect.

[Note 3: With stealing, which is to attain improperly, instead of attaining what one should properly in this life, one will eventually lose much more. This is due to the magnifying effect of unrepented evil karma created. While the predisposed nature of one’s children is due to one’s karma, the nature of one’s children is also due to their own predispositions from past lives. These parents and children are naturally attracted to one another by the law of karma. However, these predispositions can change when in their conduct in this life change, which will also change their collective karma (共业).]


 [On] sexual misconduct. [With] all not [as] one’s wife, regardless [of the] good [or] lowly, all must not with them commit adultery. Those committing sexual misconduct, are [those] destroying [and] confusing human relations, the same as [those] with human bodies doing animal matters. [In this] present life already becoming animals, [in] future lives then becoming animals. [The] world’s people, [are] with women ‘stealing people’ [i.e. having sexual misconduct] as shameful, not knowing that men [with] sexual misconduct, [are] also with [these] women [the] same. Of people [with] sexual misconduct, [they will] definitely [give] birth [to] sons [and] daughters who [are] not chaste. Who [would] wish their sons [and] daughters [to be] not chaste? [As] oneself, since with this matter, [having] done it before, sons [and] daughters endowed [with the] manners of oneself, [are] certainly difficult [to be with] right [and] not evil [sexual conduct]. Not only [for] external sex must [there] not [be] adultery, even if husbands [and] wives [have] right sexual conduct, [they] also should have limits. Otherwise, [if] not dying young, then [will they] be handicapped. Those lusting [for] sexual intercourse, [will have] sons [and] daughters instead not easy [to be] born. Even [if] born, [they are] also difficult [to] become adults. Even [if] becoming adults, [they are] also weak [and] without that accomplished. [The] world’s people with committing adultery as joy, [do] not know [that for] joy only in one moment, suffering [is] directly until [the] end [of] life, with [that of] sons [and] daughters, and grandchildren’s generation [too. With] these three not done, then are physical karmas good. [If] done, then are physical karmas evil.

[Note 4: Animals lustfully have sex at will, and often confuse their relations when they have sex with their own close family members. The predispositions acquired in this life are likely to perpetuate in the next life, taking on forms accordingly. There should not be sexism when it comes to sexual misconduct, as anyone of any gender involved in sexual misconduct is just as guilty.]

[Note 5: Spouses can practise sexual restraint by observing the Six Purification Days (六斋日), Ten Purification Days (十斋日) and/or Three Purification Months (三斋月). The Six Purification Days are every lunar month’s 8th, 14th, 15th, 23rd, 29th and 30th day (or 28th day for minor months [小月] without the 30th day). The Ten Purification Days are every lunar month’s 1st, 8th, 14th, 15th, 18th, 23rd, 24th, 28th, 29th and 30th day. The Three Purification Months are the 1st, 5th and 9th lunar months. On these ‘days’ and in these months, for one day and night (一日一夜), there are practices of eating as veg(etari)ans (吃素), also observing the Eight Precepts (八戒) of abstaining from (i) killing lives (不杀生), (ii) stealing (不偷盗), (iii) sexual conduct (不淫), (iv) false speech (不妄语), (v) drinking alcohol (i.e. consuming intoxicants) (不饮酒), (vi) wearing perfumes, flowers and garlands, applying fragrant oils on the body (不着香花鬘,不香油涂身), (vii) siting (and lying) on high, broad and big (chairs and) beds (不坐高广大床), singing, dancing, having entertainment, going to see or hear such (不歌舞倡伎,不往观听), and (viii) untimely eating (不非时食).]

[Note 6: Excessive sex can cause premature death (夭折) and disabilities (残废) due to depletion of vital energy (元气) and injuries respectively. Although the suffering that one creates might seem to be ‘transferable’ to one’s family members, this is an illusion, as those suffering family members must have create similar karma to suffer accordingly too. As one is part of one’s family, when one changes one’s karma with repentance (忏悔) and creating of good karma, one’s family’s collective karma can change too. However, it is best that everyone changes their karma together, although this is seldom the case, as some in the family usually realise the need to change before others to.]

【二】、口业。有四:[i] 妄言、[ii] 绮语、[iii] 恶口、[iv] 两舌。[i] 妄言者,说话不真实。话既不真实,心亦不真实,其失人格也大矣。[ii] 绮语者,说风流邪僻之话,令人心念淫荡。无知少年听久,必至邪淫以丧人格,或手淫以戕身命。此人纵不邪淫,亦当堕大地狱。从地狱出,或作母猪、母狗。若生人中,当作娼妓。初则貌美年青,尚无大苦,久则梅毒一发,则苦不堪言。幸有此口,何苦为自他招祸殃,不为自他作幸福耶?[iii] 恶口者,说话凶暴,如刀如剑,令人难受。[iv] 两舌者,两头挑唆是非,小则误人,大则误国。此四不行,则为口业善,行则为口业恶。

 [On] verbal karmas. [There] are four: [which are] [i] false speech, [ii] frivolous speech, [iii] harsh speech [and] [iv] double-tongued [speech]. Those [with] [i] false speech, speak words [that are] not true. [With] words since not true, [their] minds [are] also not true, [and] their loss [of] human character [is thus] also great. Those [with] [ii] frivolous speech, speak words that [are] loose [and] improper, causing people [to have their] minds’ thoughts [that are] licentious. Ignorant youths listening long, [will] definitely [lead] to sexual misconduct, with [them] losing human character, perhaps [with] masturbation harming [their] bodies [and] lives. These persons [speaking], even if not [with] sexual misconduct, also will fall [into] great hells. From hells exiting, perhaps becoming mother pigs [i.e. sows] [and] mother dogs [i.e. bitches]. If born within humans, [they] will become prostitutes. [At] first, then [with] ‘good’ looks [and] youth, still without great suffering, older then [with] syphilis once arisen, then [with] suffering [that is] not able [to be] spoken. Fortunately having this mouth, why [seek] suffering, for oneself [and] others inviting disasters [and] misfortunes, not for oneself [and] others creating happiness? Those [with] [iii] harsh speech, [are with] speaking [of] words fierce [and] brutal, like knives [and] like swords, causing people [to] feel uncomfortable. Those [with] [iv] double-tongued [speech, are at] both ends inciting rights [and] wrongs [i.e. conflicts], [with the] minor then harming people, [with the] major then harming [the] country. [With] these four not done, then are verbal karmas good. [If] done, then are verbal karmas evil.

[Note 7: The loss of human character is great for those who tell lies, as there might be more evils that they also do, that they do not hesitate to deny. Frivolous speech (绮语) includes speaking that nonsensical and inconsequential, such as by joking too much, which waste others’ time and their efforts of listening to them. Frivolous speech also includes speaking that which spurs the three poisons (三毒) of greed, anger and delusion (or ignorance) (贪嗔痴), which are not only useless but also harmful. Harsh speech (恶口), even if with rational contents, since being delivered with anger, is as ‘good’ as being unreasonable emotionally. Double-tongued speech (两舌) can take the form of shifty speculative gossip, always speaking as if that spoken is definitely ‘true’.]

【三】、意业。有三:即 [i] 贪欲、[ii] 瞋恚、[iii] 愚痴。[i] 贪欲者,于钱财、田地、什物,总想通通归我,越多越嫌少。[ii] 瞋恚者,不论自己是非,若人不顺己意,便发盛怒,且不受人以理谕。[iii] 愚痴者,不是绝无所知。即读尽世间书,过目成诵,开口成章,不信三世因果,六道轮回,谓人死神灭,无有后世等,皆名愚痴。此三不行,则为意业善,行则为意业恶。

 [On] mental karmas. [There] are three, [which are] the same as [i] greedy desires, [ii] anger [and] [iii] ignorance. Those [with] [i] greedy desires, for wealth, fields [and] miscellaneous items, always think [that] all belong [to] me, [with the] more [there is] much, [the] more [there is] resentment [that it is] little. Those [with] [ii] anger, regardless [of] oneself [being] right [or] wrong, if people [do] not accord [with] one’s wishes, then give rise [to] raging anger, moreover [with] non-acceptance [of] people with reasonable explanations. Those [with] [iii] ignorance, [are] not [those] absolutely without that not known. Even [if] completely studying [the] world’s books, [with them] passing [the] eyes accomplishing reciting [from memory, with them] opening mouths accomplishing essays, [yet] not believing [in the] three periods’ causes [and] effects, [and the] six paths’ rebirths, saying [that when] people die, [their] consciousnesses cease, without having later lives [and] others, all [these are] named [as] ignorance. [With] these three not done, then are mental karmas good. [If] done, then are mental karmas evil.

[Note 8: The worst greed is like a pit of ‘always wanting more’, that cannot be filled because it is bottomless. The worst anger is so unreasonable, that it cannot accept reason when it is presented clearly. The worst ignorance is assumption that all is already known perfectly. Even with worldly knowledge known completely, as long as the teachings for Buddhahood (佛果) is not known, one is still to that extent, spiritually ignorant. Mere knowledge is thus different from spiritual wisdom.]

[Note 9: The three periods (三世) are the (i) past period (过去世), (ii) present period (现在世) and (iii) future period (未来世). The six paths (六道) are the (i) hell-beings’ path (地狱道), (ii) hungry ghosts’ path (饿鬼道), (iii) animals’ path (畜生道), (iv) human beings’ path (人道), (v) asuras’ path (阿修罗道) and (vi) heavenly beings’ path (天道).]


If those people [with the] three karmas physical, verbal [and] mental all good, recite sūtras [and are] mindful [of the] Buddha, compared [with] those people [with these] three karmas evil, [their] meritorious virtues [are] greater [by a] hundred thousand times.

[Note 10: To abstain from the mentioned three physical karmas, four verbal karmas and three mental karmas, is to practise the Ten Good Karmas (十善业), while avoiding the Ten Evil Karmas (十恶业). The more good (and pure) one’s three karmas are, the more meritorious will it be when one further practises the Dharma. The sooner those with evil karma repent, and create good karma instead, the sooner will they have substantial good karma, who can become meritorious too.]

[Note 11: The Five Precepts (五戒) are to abstain from (i) killing lives, (ii) stealing, (iii) sexual misconduct, (iv) false speech and (v) intoxicants (杀盗淫妄酒). To practise the Ten Good Karmas is to observe the (i) – (iv) first four precepts. To observe the (v) Fifth Precept is to preserve mindfulness, so as to not break the first four precepts due to loss of it.]

Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
Dharma Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings (Second Compilation): Letter [Of] Admonition [To] Those First Giving Rise [To The] Aspiration [To] Learn Buddhism;
Record [Of] Great Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings’ Essence (228th Short Section): 6th [Chapter]: Encouragement [To] Pay Attention [To] Cause [And] Effect: First, Understanding Principles Of Cause [And] Effect (6th Short Section)
[Ref: #228 / 6.1.6]

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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