Translations

[235] Reasons For Abstaining From Killing And For Liberating Lives 戒杀放生之所以

戒杀放生之所以
[235] Reasons [For] Abstaining [From] Killing [And For] Liberating Lives

或曰:鳏寡孤独,贫穷患难,所在皆有,何不周济?而乃汲汲于不相关涉之异类。其缓急轻重,不亦倒置乎哉?

Perhaps asking, ‘[As] widowers, widows, orphans, [the] childless [and] poor [with] suffering [and] difficulties are everywhere, why not help [these] needy [ones? To] then [do] so eagerly for [other] different kinds of unrelated [sentient beings, is] this [with the] non-urgent [and] urgent, light [and] heavy, not also inverted?’

答曰:子未知如来教人戒杀放生之所以也。夫人物虽异,佛性原同。彼以恶业沦于异类,我以善业幸得人身。

Replying, ‘You [have] yet [to] know [the] reason why [the] Thus Come [One] taught humans [to] abstain [from] killing, [and to] liberate lives. Those humans [and other] sentient beings, although [are] different, [their] Buddha-nature [is] originally [the] same. They [are] with evil karma sunken [to] be [as] different kinds, [while] we [are] with good karma [to] fortunately attain [these] human bodies.

[Note 1: All human and non-human sentient beings (有情众生) such as animals (畜生;动物) have Buddha-nature (佛性), the potential to attain Buddhahood (佛果).]

若不加悯恤,恣情食啖,一旦我福或尽,彼罪或毕,难免从头偿还,充彼口腹。

If not [with] additional sympathy, indulging [in] eating [them], once our blessings perhaps exhaust, [and with] their transgressive [karma] perhaps completed, [it is] difficult [to] avoid from [the] beginning repaying, [to] fill their mouths [and] stomachs.

[Note 2: From the beginning repaying means to possibly switch places, with the animals once eaten reborn as humans, who then eat their eaters, now reborn as animals.]

须知刀兵大劫,皆宿世之杀业所感。若无杀业,纵身遇贼寇,当起善心,不加诛戮。

[It] should [be] known [that] wars’ great disasters, [are] all [with] that killing karma of past lives connected. If without killing’s karma, even if personally meeting bandits, [we] should give rise [to] good minds, without putting [them to] death.

[Note 3: The continual mass-killing of animals is a major cause for the continual mass-killing of humans in wars. Groups of humans killing one another could have killed one another in their past lives too, as humans and/or animals.]

又况瘟疫水火诸灾横事,戒杀放生者绝少遭逢。是知护生,原属护自。戒杀可免天杀、鬼神杀、盗贼杀、未来怨怨相报杀。

Also, moreover, [of] epidemics, floods, fires [and] all disasters’ accidental deaths, those [who] abstain [from] killing lives, [and] liberate lives [are with] extremely few encountering [them. With] this, know [that] protecting lives, originally belongs [to] protecting oneself. [Those who] abstain [from] killing can avoid [being by the] heavens killed, ghosts [and] gods killed, [and] robbers killed, [in the] future [with] resentment [after] resentment repaying one another [with] killing.

[Note 4: Those who abstain from killing intentionally will not create the causes to be killed intentionally or accidentally.]

鳏寡孤独,贫穷患难,亦当随分随力以行周济。岂戒杀放生之人,绝不作此项功德乎?

[Of] widowers, widows, orphans, [the] childless, [and] poor [with] suffering [and] difficulties, [we] also should according [to one’s] part [and] according [to one’s] ability, [be] with [the] practice [of] helping [these] needy [ones]. How [can] those humans [who] abstain [from] killing, [and] liberate lives, absolutely not do these things [for] meritorious virtues?

[Note 5: It is a common false dichotomy to think that to help animals means to not help humans, when both can be helped at opportune times.]

然鳏寡等虽深可矜悯,尚未至于死地。物则不行救赎,立见登鼎俎以充口腹矣。

However, widowers [and] widows, although [are] deeply pitiable, [have] still yet to reach death’s ground. Sentient beings, [if] then not practising saving [and] redeeming [of them, will] immediately ascend cauldrons [and] chopping boards, for filling mouths [and] stomachs.’

[Note 6: When liberating lives, it is an important practice to recite the name of Āmítuófó (阿弥陀佛) to the animals, to create indestructible affinity between them and the Buddha’s name, so that they can easier further learn and practise mindfulness of Buddha (念佛) to reach his Pure Land (净土), where the swiftest liberation (解脱) from rebirth (轮回) is guaranteed.]

又曰:物类无尽,能放几何?

Also asking, ‘[As] sentient beings’ kinds [are] inexhaustible, [we are] able [to] liberate how many?’

答曰:须知放生一事,实为发起同人普护物命之最胜善心。企其体贴放之之意,中心恻然,不忍食啖。既不食啖,则捕者便息。

Replying, ‘[It] should [be] known [that of] liberating lives, [this] one matter, [it is] truly for giving rise [to the] most supreme good mind of fellow humans, [to] universally protect sentient beings’ lives. Hoping they [will] ponder [the] meaning of liberating them, within [their] minds feeling compassion, not bearing [to] eat [them]. Since not eating, thus [will] that catching [of them] then cease.

[Note 7: Liberating animals from being killed should lead to liberating them from the dining table. Abstaining from killing (戒杀) with eating as veg(etari)ans (吃素) is to practise compassion more passively, while liberating lives (放生) is to practise compassion more actively. When there is less demand for meat, there will be less supply of meat from killing of animals. When there is no demand for meat, there will be no supply of meat from killing of animals.]

庶水陆空行一切物类,自在飞走游泳于自所行境,则成不放之普放。非所谓以天下而为池乎?

[With] various [in the] water, [on the] land [and in the] sky moving, all sentient beings’ kinds, [with] ease flying, walking, swimming in that [of their] own environments, [this] then becomes [the] universal liberating of not liberating. [Is this] not so-called with [the] heavens below then as [a life liberation] pond?

[Note 8: The world with all sentient beings being free, without the need to be liberated would be ideal, although technically not possible in a defiled land (秽土), the opposite of a Pure Land.]

纵不能人各如是,而一人不忍食肉,则无量水陆生命,得免杀戮,况不止一人乎?

Even if not able [to be with] each person [doing] thus, yet [with just] one person not bearing [to] eat meat, then [will] immeasurable water [and] land lives, attain avoidance [of] slaughter, moreover [when it is] not only [with] one person?

[Note 9: For those who assume one veg(etari)an cannot make a difference, it is useful to know that there are about 79 million vegans in the world currently.]

又为现在未来一切同人,断鳏寡孤独、贫穷患难之因,作长寿无病、富贵安乐、父子团、夫妻偕老之缘。

Furthermore, [this is] for all present [and] future fellow humans, [to] sever [the] causes of [becoming] widowers, widows, orphans, childless [and] poor [with] suffering [and] difficulties, [and to] create [the] conditions of long life without sicknesses, [with] wealth, honour, peace, bliss, reunions [of] fathers [and] sons, [with] husbands [and] wives growing old together.

[Note 10: To abstain from killing, and to liberate lives, is to not create the evil karmic causes of separating sentient beings’ families, and to not shorten their lives, condition their sicknesses and such, thus having the good effects above.]

正所以预行周济,令未来生生世世,永不遭鳏寡等苦,长享受寿富等乐。非所谓罄域中而蒙福乎?何可漠然置之?子审思之,戒杀放生,毕竟是汲汲为人,抑止汲汲为物,而缓急轻重倒置乎?

[This is] precisely, therefore, in advance practice [of] helping [the] needy, enabling [them in] future life [after] life, [to] forever not encounter [becoming] widowers [and] widows, [with] other sufferings, [to] long enjoy [and] receive longevity, wealth [and] other joys. [Is this] not so-called [with] entire regions receiving blessings? How can [this be with] indifference set aside? Carefully examine [and] contemplate this. Are abstaining [from] killing, [and] liberating lives, after all, eagerly [done] for humans, [or are they] restrained [to being] eagerly [done] for [other] sentient beings [only? Is this] then [with the] non-urgent [and] urgent, light [and] heavy inverted?’

净土宗十三祖印光大师
Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng
《印光法师文钞》(正编):极乐寺放生池疏;
Dharma Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings (First Compilation): Ultimate Bliss Monastery’s Life Liberation Pond’s Commentary;
印光大师文钞菁华录(第两百三十五则):六、劝注重因果:乙、示戒杀之要(第三则)
Record [Of] Great Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings’ Essence (235th Short Section): 6th [Chapter]: Encouragement [To] Pay Attention [To] Cause [And] Effect: Second, Guidance [On] Essentials Of Abstinence [From] Killing (3rd Short Section)
[Ref: #235 / 6.2.3]

Namo Amituofo : Translation by Shen Shi’an

相关典籍
Related Text:

《印光大师文钞菁华录》
Record Of Great Master Yìnguāng’s Collected Writings’ Essence
https://purelanders.com/jinghualu

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