Personal Growth

(Blogger’s note: Please see “Blogger’s note” on my post dated 4 January.)

Chapter II.  On Prajna

(Translated from Chinese original of 六祖壇經 by Justin Lam)

On the next day, Prefect Wei requested the Master to give a Dharma lecture so as to benefit the crowd.  In response, the Master mounted the pulpit and told crowd, “Let’s all purify our minds and concentrate on mahāprajnāpāramitā (the Great Perfection of Wisdom).

Then the Master said again, “Learned Audience, everyone in the world already has this wisdom of bodhi prajnā.  It is just because their minds are deluded that they cannot attain enlightenment on their own, and have to rely on great spiritual teachers to show and guide them in order to see the nature.  You should know that the Buddha nature of the foolish and that of the wise are originally of no difference.  It’s just that people’s extent of being deluded varies, and so some become foolish and some become wise.  “Now I’ll explain to you the teaching of mahāprajnāpāramitā, so that you will all attain wisdom.  Listen well to what I’ll be saying to you.

“Learned Audience, people of this world keep reciting prajnā, and yet they don’t understand the prajnā of self-nature.  This is like talking about eating without satisfying hunger.  (more…)


(Blogger’s note: Among Buddhist scriptures originally written in the Chinese language, the Platform Sutra no doubt enjoys especially high regard among the Chinese for various reasons.  The blogger likes reading it for its succinctness in expounding some of the very profound Buddhist concepts, and for its practicality for laymen as well as members of the Buddhist sangha with respect to putting such concepts into practice.  Nowadays, readers of its Chinese original have easy access to quite a number of versions of it in form of either hard copies or texts on the Internet.  There are also a few versions of its English translations, but they do not appear to be really good translations both languagewise and contentwise speaking.  Therefore, the blogger has chosen to translate into English a few chapters that he particularly enjoys reading based on his understanding of the Chinese original, so that those who are interested in knowing what the Platform Sutra is about yet cannot read Chinese and who happen to be visitors of this blog find one more channel to encounter the thoughts of Hui Neng via reading the blogger’s translation of the Platform Sutra.  This and probably the next few posts will be the English translation of selected chapters of the Platform Sutra.  This post does not pretend to be a commentary on the chapter being translated.  Readers are welcome to interpret what Hui Neng said on the basis of their own understanding of the text they are going to read.  For Chinese readers’ reference, the Chinese original based on which the translation was done is provided at the end of the English translation.  The punctuation marks in the Chinese text are provided by the blogger, based on his understanding of the text, which, taken from an Internet site, was originally punctuated with only full-stops at phrase boundaries as understood by the provider of the text, whose identity the blogger has had no time to find out.)

Chapter III.  Questions and Answers (Translated from Chinese original of 六祖壇經 by Justin Lam)

One day, Prefect Wei (Translator’s note: “Wei” is a Chinese surname.  “Prefect” is the title of a local official.) organised a vegetarian meal gathering for the Master.  When the meal was over, Prefect Wei requested the Master to mount the pulpit, and he, together with the officials, scholars, and commoners, bowed reverently to the Master again.

“I have heard the profound Dharma preaching of your Holiness.  Now there are a few doubts in me that I hope your Holiness would exercise your great compassion to clear them up for me.”  Prefect Wei asked the Master.

“Feel free to voice any doubts.  I’ll explain them to you,” the Master said.

“Isn’t what your Holiness preached also principles taught by Master Bodhidharma?”  Mr Wei said.

“Yes,” replied the Master.

“I’ve heard that when Bodhidharma first met the Wu Emperor of Liang, the Emperor asked him, ‘For all my life I’ve built temples, allowed new monks to be ordained, given alms, and organized meals for monks.  So what merits and virtues have I accumulated?’ and Bodhidharma replied, ‘No merit or virtue at all.’ I cannot understand the reason behind such an answer.  Hope that your Holiness could explain it for me.” said Prefect Wei.

“Indeed there was no merit or virtue,” (more…)

(Blogger’s note: Please see “Blogger’s note” on my post Chapter III of Platform Sutra: Questions and Answers.)

Chapter VI:  On Repentance and Remorse

(Translated from Chinese original of 六祖壇經 by Justin Lam)

Once the Master saw that many gentry scholars and commoners from the Guangzhou and Shaozhou areas had gathered at the monastery to hear the Dharma, so he ascended the pulpit and said to the crowd, “Come, Learned Audience.  It all begins with our self-nature.  It won’t be a waste for you to come here, if at all times and at every moment of thought you purify your mind, cultivate and practice for yourselves,  see your own dharmakāya, see the buddha within your mind, attain your own salvation and take your own precepts by ourselves.  That we’re all interconnected can be seen from the fact that we all gather here from afar.  Now everyone may sit in the Indian fashion (Translator’s note: right knee on the ground, left knee up), and I’ll transmit to you first the Five Dharmakāya Incenses of the self-nature, and then the Formless Repentance and Remorse.”

The crowd all sat down.

The master said, “First is the Precepts Incense.  It means (more…)



15、 以怨報怨,最終只會使全世界的人有眼不能視物。 (An eye for eye only ends up making the whole world blind.)


然則若不該以怨報怨,則別人做了傷害自己的事時,該怎麼回應?《道德經》上說「以德報怨」;孔子主張「以直報怨」;佛家則是主張「修道人若受苦時,當自念言:我往昔無數劫中,棄本從末,流浪諸有,多起冤憎,違害無限,今雖無犯,是我宿殃惡業果熟,非天非人所能見與,甘心甘受,都無冤訴。」(見老側帖文 Bodhidharma’s “Four Essential Practices”)也就是說,不作任何回應,更不要說報復。三者對「怨」的受害者要求不同,但都不容易辦得到。 (more…)



7、將來如何,視乎你今天做了什麼。  (The future depends on what you do today.)

老側點評:此條的理念基礎,是佛家說的因果問題。甘地不是佛教徒,信的是印度教,但印度教也強調因果報應和與此相連的輪迴業報。「種瓜得瓜、種豆得豆」,很多中國人也相信。即便沒有宗教信仰的,也會相信「一分耕耘、一分收穫」這樣的話。漢語裡其他理念相似的話,包括:「早起的鳥兒有蟲吃」、「刀快不怕脖子粗」、「要想燈不滅,需要常添油」等。 (more…)


以下 20 則甘地人生哲學,其英文原文見諸互聯網上某勵志兼娛樂網站。老側不在此說明網站名稱,因對網站部分內容不甚苟同,不想代其宣傳。此 20 條人生哲學,老側並未考證是否真屬甘地所說,但覺得乃大智之言,屬於提供正能量之精神食糧,故不管是否甘地之言,亦不妨推介之。早前老側將其出現在該網站上的英語原文稍作簡化,用以給老側的英語補習學生作閱讀材料,其後想起老側部落標榜「外視不忘內省」,故覺得有責任在此部落介紹此 20 條給粉絲們,供大家飽餐物質食糧後,以此精神食糧作甜品,思考一下甘地所言。然為免一時間甜份過多,導致粉絲們消化不良,故分三帖以每帖六、八、六則奉上。 (more…)

(老側譯者語:此翻譯文章的英文原文見於佛教網站 Buddistdoor Global 2016 年 11 月 25 日的社論,題目為「How to Be Happily Unhappy」。有意閱讀原文者可點擊這題目。)

根據劇作家 Alan Bennett 的同名舞台劇改編而成的傑出電影 The History Boys (2006) 的結尾既有深意又帶點憂鬱。這電影具創意地融合了當下和將來。在這結尾中,歷史科老師 Lintott 太太問她的學生成年後成為了怎樣的人。英俊迷人的 Dakin 當了稅制律師,別扭但富同情心的英格蘭聖公會信徒 Scripps 成為了記者。主角人物 Posner 給 Lintott 太太的回答最令人感動。他當了老師。他愛過 Dakin,並仍然是個同性戀者,卻基於不成文的世俗和職業理由(以及電影一直暗示的個人理由)而沒有將其同性戀慾望付諸行動。  (more…)

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