[236] Killing Lives Is Not Different From Killing Buddhas And Family Members 杀生不异杀佛杀家人

[236] Killing Lives [Is] Not Different [From] Killing Buddhas [And] Family Members


All sentient beings, from beginninglessness since, [have been] reborn [in the] six paths, [with] one another as [our] fathers, mothers, older [and] younger siblings, wives, children [and] family members, born [as] one another. [With] one another as enemies opposing, cyclically retaliating, [and] killing one another. [The] Buddhas, in many [of the] Great Vehicle’s sūtras within, frequently for [us] exhorted [on this], yet those seeing [and] hearing [them are] few. Even [if] attaining seeing [and] hearing [of them], yet those faithfully accepting [and] practising [them are] even fewer.

[Note 1: The six paths (六道) are (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). The Great Vehicle’s sūtras (大乘经) emphasise on practising great compassion for all beings.]


Thus, [the] Buddhas, with great compassion, appear [as] many different kinds [of beings], offered [to] humans, [to be] killed [and] eaten. Those already killed, later appear [with] many unusual signs, [to] cause all people, [to] know [that they] were Buddhas appearing, [with this] hoping to stop killing’s disaster, so as to [bring] peace [to] sentient beings. Like clams, oyster shells, cow waists, goat trotters, pig teeth, soft-shelled turtles’ stomachs, all have Buddhas roosting [within. With this] astonishing people’s ears [and] eyes, ceasing [the] world’s desires [to] kill, [of] those [in] books recorded, how [are they] able [to be] completely stated?

[Note 2: Buddhas roosting (佛栖) within refer to sentient beings’ Buddha-nature (佛性), the potential to be Buddhas, ‘hibernating’ within their bodies.]


Those yet [to be] killed, [are] all before, called [to] be animals. Those already killed, [are] later then, known [to] be Buddhas. [With] this, know [that] killing lives, [is] not different [from] killing Buddhas. Even without Buddhas appearing, [they are] also future Buddhas. [As] killing and eating them, [create] transgressions [that] exceed oceans [and] mountains, [there] should urgently [be] remorseful abstaining [from these, so that] hopefully, [there] can [be] liberation.

[Note 3: To kill animals and humans is to kill future Buddhas, as all sentient beings have Buddha-nature – even if they are not manifested Buddhas.]


[It] should [be] known [that] humans [and other] sentient beings, although different, [are with the] intelligent [and] foolish, [having] one another’s forms. Foolish humans [have] consciousnesses dark, [while other] intelligent sentient beings [have] wisdom bright. [Their] five relationships [and] eight virtues, [will] certainly not yield [to those of] humans. Their sincere aspects, compared [with] humans, [are] even [more] profound. [Who will] dare [to], with me [being] strong, [then] kill [and] eat their meat, causing [myself in the] future, [to] constantly suffer [from] humans eating [me]?

[Note 4: The five relationships (五伦) are (i) father and son (父子), (ii) elder and younger siblings (兄弟), (iii) husband and wife (夫妇), (iv) ruler and ministers (君臣), and (v) friend and friend (朋友). The eight virtues (八德) are (i) filial piety (孝), (ii) sibling piety (悌), (iii) loyalty (忠), (iv) trustworthiness (信), (v) propriety (礼), (vi) righteousness (义), (vii) integrity (廉) and (viii) shame (耻).]


Going through [and] looking at historical records, since ancient [times], reaching now, [of] all those [who] benefit humans [and] benefit [other] sentient beings, [their] children [and] grandchildren [will] definitely [be] virtuous, good [and] flourish. [Of] all those [who] harm humans [and] harm [other] sentient beings, [their] children [and] grandchildren [will] definitely [be] ordinary, inferior [and] die out.

Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
Dharma Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings (Second Compilation): Preface [Of] ‘Sentient Beings [Are] Similar Like This’;
Record [Of] Great Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings’ Essence (236th Short Section): 6th [Chapter]: Encouragement [To] Pay Attention [To] Cause [And] Effect: Second, Guidance [On] Essentials Of Abstinence [From] Killing (4th Short Section)
[Ref: #236 / 6.2.4]

Namo Amituofo : Translation 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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