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Sūtra 31 (posted 07/2011, updated 12/2011)  Book information on Home page

菩薩戒本
The Book of Bodhisattva Precepts

Translated from Sanskrit into Chinese in the Northern Liang Dynasty
by
The Tripiṭaka Master Dharmakṣema from India


I take refuge in Rocana Buddha1
And Buddhas, who are indestructible like vajra, [in worlds] in the ten directions.
I also make obeisance to the author of the source treatise,2
The honored Maitreya Bodhisattva, the next Buddha to come.
Bodhisattvas, hear me recite the Bodhisattva precepts3 in the three clusters.
The precepts are like a huge bright lamp,
Which can dispel the darkness of the long night.
The precepts are like the precious true mirror,
Which reflects all without omission.
The precepts are like the wish-fulfilling jewel,
Which rains down things to relieve the poor.
This is the foremost dharma for one to
Transcend the world and to become a Buddha.
Therefore, Bodhisattvas should diligently protect and uphold it.

The Four Major Precepts

Great Ones, the following four parājikas [grave sins] are in the mātṛkā [collection of treatises] written by Bodhisattvas.

1. Praising Oneself and Criticizing Others
    If a Bodhisattva, out of his greed for benefits, praises his own virtues and criticizes others, it is called the first parājika.

2. Begrudging Possessions or the Dharma
    Suppose a Bodhisattva is well-to-do but stingy by nature. If he fails to invoke compassion and give poor people—who have nothing to depend on—the things they ask for, or refuses to teach them when they ask to hear the Dharma, it is called the second parājika.

3. Refusing to Accept Repentance
    If a Bodhisattva, out of harming and terrifying anger, refuses to accept his offender’s repentance, uses abusive speech and, not feeling satisfied, hits him with hands, clubs, or stones, it is called the third parājika.

4. Maligning or Adulterating the True Dharma
    If a Bodhisattva maligns Bodhisattva teachings, or pronounces supposedly similar dharmas and pretentiously establishes himself on such dharmas, which come from his own or someone else’s understanding, it is called the fourth parājika.

Great Ones, I have recited these four parājikas. If a Bodhisattva, overcome by his afflictions, commits any of them and loses a corresponding Bodhisattva precept, he must receive it again [after earnest repentance]. Now I ask you Great Ones, “Are you pure with respect to these parājikas?” (Ask three times.) Great Ones, because you are silent, you must be pure. In this way you should observe the precepts against these parājikas.

The Forty-one Minor Precepts

Great Ones, the following numerous duṣkṛtas [wrongdoings] of a Bodhisattva are in the mātṛkā [collection of treatises] written by Bodhisattvas.

1. Failing to Make Offerings to the Three Jewels
    Suppose a Bodhisattva observes the restraints. If, in one day and one night, he fails to present offerings, large or small, make one obeisance, praise the virtues of the
Three Jewels with one stanza, or even think one pure thought, as homage to a living Buddha, a Buddha’s memorial pagoda, the Dharma in the store of sūtras and the store of mātṛkās, the Saṅgha, or great Bodhisattvas in worlds in the ten directions, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas. If the reason is disrespect, indolence, or negligence, the transgression arises from affliction taint. If the reason is forgetfulness, the transgression does not arise from affliction taint.
    However, it is not a transgression for Bodhisattvas on the Ground of the Pure Mind and bhikṣus with indestructible purity,4 because they always make Dharma offerings to the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Saṅgha.

2. Coveting Material Things
    If a Bodhisattva, out of greed and discontent, covets material things, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint. However, it is not a transgression if one seeks to use skillful means to remedy one’s greed, even as one’s intense afflictions arise time and again.

3. Disrespecting a Peer in the Dharma
    Suppose a Bodhisattva sees someone worthy of respect, who has seniority or distinctive virtue or is a peer in the Dharma. If, out of arrogance or anger, the Bodhisattva fails to rise to show respect, offer his seat, or respond to that person’s greeting or request for the Dharma, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint. If the reason is indolence, negligence, absentmindedness, or forgetfulness, the transgression does not arise from affliction taint.
    However, it is not a transgression if one does not respond to any greeting or request for the Dharma because one is gravely ill, mentally disturbed, or asleep, but thought to be awake. Moreover, it is not a transgression if, in the midst of a Dharma assembly or discussion group, one does not stop to pay respects to another because one is expounding the Dharma, listening to the Dharma, or engaging in discussions, or because a speaker is expounding the Dharma or engaging in discussions. Moreover, it is not a transgression if one’s lack of response is to protect the speaker’s state of mind, to tame the greeter so that he will leave the evil for the good, to honor the system of the Saṅgha, or to avoid the misunderstanding of the group.

4. Refusing to Accept an Invitation
    If a Bodhisattva, out of anger or arrogance, refuses to accept the invitation of an almsgiver to visit his home, a temple, or someplace else, to receive various offerings, such as clothing and food, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint.
    However, it is not a transgression if it is to honor the system of the Saṅgha; if one is ill, weak, insane, or lives too far away, or would have to travel terrifying roads; if one knows that one’s refusal can tame the inviter so that he will leave the evil for the good; if one has accepted another invitation; if one chooses not to interrupt one’s practice of good dharmas; if one has made plans to hear teachings never heard before, to hear a beneficial thesis, or to attend a scheduled discussion; if one knows that the invitation is intended to abuse one; or if one wants to prevent others’ resentment.

5. Refusing to Accept Alms
    Suppose an almsgiver offers various kinds of treasures, such as gold, silver, pearls, jewels, and aquamarine, to a Bodhisattva. If, out of anger, arrogance, or defiance, the Bodhisattva refuses to accept anything, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas. His transgression arises from affliction taint, because he abandons people. If the reason is indolence or negligence, the transgression does not arise from affliction taint.
    However, it is not a transgression if one is insane; if one knows that one’s acceptance would induce one’s greed; if one knows that the almsgiver would regret one’s acceptance; if one knows that one’s acceptance would fuel the almsgiver’s afflictions; if one knows that the almsgiver would suffer poverty because of one’s acceptance; if one knows that the things offered to one have been promised to the Three Jewels; if one knows that one’s acceptance would lead to tribulations, such as bondage, banishment, punishment, rebuke, or being killed or robbed.

6. Failing to Give the Dharma as Alms
    Suppose someone goes to a Bodhisattva, wishing to hear the Dharma. If, out of anger, stinginess, or jealousy, the Bodhisattva refuses to pronounce the Dharma, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint. If the reason is indolence or negligence, the transgression does not arise from affliction taint.
    However, it is not a transgression if one is insane or gravely ill; if one knows that one is not proficient in the Dharma requested; if one knows that the asker is a non-Buddhist seeking to find fault; if one knows that the asker cannot be respectful and well-mannered; if one knows that one’s refusal can tame him; if one knows that he is of inferior capacity and will have fear upon hearing the wondrous Dharma; if one knows that he will embrace the wrong views after hearing the Dharma; if one knows that he will criticize or feel disheartened after hearing the Dharma; if one knows that he, after hearing the Dharma, will incite the evil ones to destroy the true Dharma.

7. Failing to Teach a Sinner to Repent
    If a Bodhisattva, out of anger, abandons an evil person who has transgressed a precept, failing to teach and transform him, and incites others to do the same, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint. If the reason is indolence, negligence, or forgetfulness, the transgression does not arise from affliction taint. Why? Because a Bodhisattva’s lovingkindness and compassion go deeper for an evil person than for a good person.
    However, it is not a transgression if it is to honor the
system of the Saṅgha;5 if it is to protect others from misunderstanding; if it is to tame that person; or if one is insane.

8. Observing Voice-Hearer Precepts with Little Benefit
    Among the
prātimokṣa precepts in the Vinaya, there are precepts against sins by decree,6 to protect people, to make nonbelievers believe, and to make believers believe even more. A Bodhisattva should learn such precepts as voice-hearers should. Why? Because if voice-hearers, who mainly deliver themselves, learn these precepts to protect others, to make nonbelievers believe, and to make believers believe even more, Bodhisattvas, who deliver themselves and others in accord with the highest truth, should learn these precepts as well.
    However, the World-Honored One has also instituted for voice-hearers precepts against certain sins by decree, precepts with little work, little skillfulness, and little benefit to others. Bodhisattvas should not learn these precepts as voice-hearers should. Why not? Because voice-hearers mainly deliver themselves and abandon others, so they should abide by precepts with little work, little skillfulness, and little benefit to others. Bodhisattvas deliver themselves and others, so they should not abide by such precepts.
    To benefit people, a Bodhisattva may ask for clothing from a Brahmin or a layperson, who is neither a relative nor a neighbor. He may accept offerings, such as clothing or a begging bowl, according to the almsgiver’s financial ability. When he begs for clothing, he may ask a weaver who is neither a relative nor a neighbor to weave cloth and make clothes for him. To benefit people, he may keep bedding and seat-spreads made of raw silk, or even accept gold or silver. Although there are precepts that prohibit voice-hearers from doing things decreed as sins, Bodhisattvas should not observe them.7 Bodhisattvas should observe the precepts for benefiting people.
    If a Bodhisattva, out of resentment, observes voice-hearer precepts with little work, little skillfulness, and little benefit to others, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint. If the reason is indolence or neglect, the transgression does not arise from affliction taint.

9. Remaining in an Evil Livelihood
    If a Bodhisattva, with a sycophantic mouth and body, seeks benefits through an evil livelihood, acting or criticizing with no sense of shame or dishonor, and is unable to quit, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint. However, it is not a transgression if one seeks to use skill means to end [such a way of life], even as one’s severe afflictions arise time and again.

10. Clowning to Entertain
    Suppose a Bodhisattva does not delight in serenity and is restless. If he raucously clowns to entertain others, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint. If the reason is forgetfulness, the transgression does not arise from affliction taint.
    However, it is not a transgression if one seeks to use skillful means to remedy one’s behavior; if one seeks to change others’ resentment; if one seeks to relieve others’ anxiety; if one seeks to draw in those who delight in frolics, in order to transform them and protect them; if one jokes and laughs to show one’s friendliness and remove others’ suspicion of one’s resentment or antagonism.

11. Perverting the Bodhisattva Dharma
    Suppose a Bodhisattva states his view: “Bodhisattvas should not delight in nirvāṇa, and should turn away from nirvāṇa. They should neither fear their afflictions nor seek to eradicate them. Why not? Because Bodhisattvas should seek the great bodhi through birth and death for three asaṁkhyeya kalpas.” Making such a statement is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint.
    Why? Because how much voice-hearers deeply delight in nirvāṇa and fear their afflictions is a billion times less than how much Bodhisattvas deeply delight in nirvāṇa and fear their afflictions. While voice-hearers seek self-benefit, Bodhisattvas seek benefits for all sentient beings. How they train to realize the untainted mind surpasses how Arhats have trained, and they remain untainted in the midst of their afflictions.

12. Failing to Guard against Criticism
    Suppose a Bodhisattva fails to guard against, or clear himself of, criticism or slander,
ignoring its severity.8 If it is because he has faults and fails to correct them, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint. If it is because he has no fault, the transgression does not arise from affliction taint.
    However, it is not a transgression if the criticism or slander comes from a non-Buddhist, an evil one, or someone who is insane or angry, or targets a Bodhisattva because he begs for food as a way to produce good causes and conditions.

13. Failing to Subdue Certain People
    Suppose a Bodhisattva perceives that certain people should be subdued with strong words. If, out of fear of causing them distress, he fails to do so, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint.
    However, it is not a transgression if one perceives that not subduing them will bring them benefit rather than distress.

14. Requiting Anger with Anger
    If a Bodhisattva requites anger with anger, scolding with scolding, beating with beating, or slander with slander, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint.

15. Failing to Apologize in Accordance with the Dharma
    If a Bodhisattva offends someone or is suspected of offense, he should apologize. If, out of resentment or arrogance, he fails to apologize in accordance with the Dharma, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint. If the reason is indolence or negligence, the transgression does not arise from affliction taint.
    However, it is not a transgression if it is a skillful means to tame that person; if one knows that he would accept one’s apology only for an impure offense; if one knows that he, antagonistic by nature, would be angered by one’s apology; or if one’s knows that he, gentle and loving, would be embarrassed by one’s apology.

16. Refusing to Accept an Apology
    Suppose someone apologizes for his offense to a Bodhisattva in accordance with the Dharma. If, out of resentment, the Bodhisattva refuses to accept the offender's apology in order to distress him, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint. If the Bodhisattva has no resentment and is used to not accepting apologies, the transgression does not arise from affliction taint.
    However, it is not a transgression if it is a skillful means to tame that person, or if his apology is not in accordance with the Dharma because his mind is not at peace.

17. Resenting Someone
    If a Bodhisattva resents someone and persists in his resentment, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint. However, it is not a transgression if one seeks to use skillful means to end one’s resentment, even as one cannot help feeling resentful, time and again.

18. Raising Retinues out of Greed
    If a Bodhisattva raises retinues out of his greed for their service, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint. However, it is not a transgression if one has no greed for their service.

19. Greedy for Sleep
    If a Bodhisattva, indolent and negligent, enjoys sleeping at the wrong time or does not know the right duration, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint.
    However, it is not a transgression if one is ill, weak, or tired from long travel; or if one seeks to use skillful means to change one’s sleep habits, even as one cannot help sleeping in habitual ways, time and again.

20. Discussing Worldly Affairs for a Long Time
    If a Bodhisattva, with an affliction-tainted mind, discusses worldly affairs for a long time, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint. If he simply loses track of time, the transgression does not arise from affliction taint.
    However, it is not a transgression if one, to protect the state of mind of someone in conversation with others, listens to them for a short while; or if one gives a short answer to someone asking about things unknown to him.

21. Rejecting a Teacher’s Instruction
    Suppose a Bodhisattva seeks to achieve meditative concentration. If, out of resentment or arrogance, he rejects his teacher’s instruction, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint. If the reason is indolence or negligence, the transgression does not arise from affliction taint.
    However, it is not a transgression if one is ill or weak; if one knows that the instruction is incorrect; if one is too advanced [for that instruction]; or if one has already received that instruction.

22. Unaware of the Five Coverings
    If a Bodhisattva is unaware that his mind is captured by the five coverings—greed, anger, torpor, restlessness, and doubt—it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint. However, it is not a transgression if one seeks to use skillful means to end one’s lack of awareness, even as one remains unaware, time and again.

23. Captivated by Worldly Meditation
    If a Bodhisattva considers being captivated by the taste of worldly meditation to be a merit, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint. However, it is not a transgression if one seeks to use skillful means to end one’s captivation, even as one is captivated time and again.

24. Maligning the Voice-Hearer Dharma
    Suppose a Bodhisattva states his view: “Bodhisattvas should not hear the Dharma in voice-hearer sūtras. They should not accept it or learn it. Bodhisattvas have no use for the Dharma given to voice-hearers.” Making such a statement is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint. Why? Because Bodhisattvas should even hear non-Buddhist statements, much more the Buddha’s words.
    However, it is not a transgression if one is too engrossed in Bodhisattva teachings to cover [other areas].

25. Turning Away from the Mahāyāna to the Hīnayāna
    If a Bodhisattva abandons Bodhisattva teachings, failing to learn them by skillful means, and instead always collects and learns the Dharma in voice-hearer sūtras, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, but the transgression does not arise from affliction taint.

26. Refusing to Learn the Buddha’s Teachings
    If a Bodhisattva abandons the Buddha’s teachings, refusing to learn them, and instead studies worldly texts or non-Buddhist doctrines, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint.
    However, it is not a transgression if one is exceptionally intelligent and can learn anything quickly [and return to the Buddha Dharma]; if one has long learned [the Buddha Dharma], not forgetting it; if one ponders and understands the meaning [of the Buddha Dharma]; if one has penetrated the Buddha Dharma and acquired unwavering wisdom-knowledge; or if every day one spends two thirds of one’s time on studying Buddhist texts and one third on studying other texts.
    Suppose a Bodhisattva is versed in worldly texts or non-Buddhist doctrines. If he enjoys them, is attached to them, and does not regard them as poison, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint.

27. Disbelieving in the Profound Dharma
    Suppose a Bodhisattva denies the infinite spiritual power of Buddhas and holy Bodhisattvas, and rejects and maligns the profound true meaning contained in Bodhisattva teachings, claiming that these teachings are not given by the Tathāgata, and that they do not benefit people and cannot give them peace or joy. It is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint.
    Such a Bodhisattva maligns the Dharma because he does not think straight, blindly follows others, or has no understanding of the highest meaning of the Dharma that he has heard. He should elicit faith, invoke a straight mind, and reprove himself in this way: “I am very wrong and blind, lacking the wisdom-eye. The Tathāgata, who has the wisdom-eye, gives people provisional teachings [or definitive teachings] according to their capacities. How could I malign His words?” This Bodhisattva is ignorant. He should correctly observe and act in accordance with the Dharma that the Tathāgata sees and knows. Having no understanding of the Dharma, he should not malign it.

28. Praising Oneself or Criticizing Others
    If a Bodhisattva, out of greed or anger, praises his own virtues or criticizes others, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint. However, it is not a transgression if it is a skillful means to conquer others; if one mildly criticizes non-Buddhists as one promotes the Buddha Dharma; or if one enables nonbelievers to believe and believers to believe even more.

29. Refusing to Hear the Dharma out of Arrogance
    Suppose a Bodhisattva hears of a scheduled Dharma presentation or Dharma discussion. If he, out of arrogance or anger, refuses to go to hear it, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint. If the reason is indolence or negligence, the transgression does not arise from affliction taint.
    However, it is not a transgression if one would not understand the teachings; if one is ill or weak; if the speaker would expound the Dharma incorrectly; if one wants to protect the speaker’s state of mind; if one has heard the teachings several times, knows their meaning, and is upholding them; if one is knowledgeable, or is upholding or carrying out such teachings as given; if one is unwilling to interrupt one’s practice of meditation; or if one is of inferior capacity and knows that it would be hard for one to understand, accept, or uphold the teachings.

30. Disdaining a Dharma Teacher
    If a Bodhisattva, out of disdain and disrespect for a Dharma speaker, mocks and criticizes him based on his words, not their true meanings, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint.

31. Refusing to Collaborate with Others
    Suppose a Bodhisattva observes the restraints. If, out of anger, he refuses to collaborate with others on what they do, whether to make plans, to take a walk, to launch a lawful profit-seeking enterprise, such as farming or raising dairy cows, to serve as an arbitrator to resolve their disputes, to organize an auspicious party, or to do meritorious karmas, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint. If the reason is indolence or negligence, the transgression does not arise from affliction taint.
    However, it is not a transgression if it is to honor the system of the Saṅgha; if it is out of respect for the opinion of the majority; if it is a skillful means to conquer others; if one is ill or weak; if one is dense by nature; if one is unwilling to interrupt one’s practice of good karmas; if one promises to help others later; if others can complete their work by themselves; if they have many friends to help; if their enterprise is wicked or not upright; or if they bear a grudge against one.

32. Failing to Visit the Ill
    Suppose a Bodhisattva knows someone who is ill and weak. If, out of anger, the Bodhisattva fails to visit him, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint. If the reason is indolence or negligence, the transgression does not arise from affliction taint.
    However, it is not a transgression if one does not want to interrupt one’s practice of excellent karmas; if, because of a dense mind, one is occupied with trainings that are hard to understand, accept, hold in mind, and meditate on; or if one has to visit another patient; if one is ill or weak; if one asks a strong person to visit the ill person; if one knows that he has family and relatives to help; if he is able to manage by himself; if his illness often flares up; or if his illness is longstanding. These rules also apply to visiting someone in poverty or tribulation.

33. Failing to Admonish an Evildoer
    Suppose a Bodhisattva sees someone do evil karmas in this life with a view to receiving benefits in the next life. If, out of anger, the Bodhisattva fails to give him the right advice, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint.
    However, it is not a transgression if it is a skillful means to tame that person; if one is weak; if one does not have the wisdom-knowledge to teach him; if one asks a strong person to explain to him; if he is strong enough [to learn later]; if he has beneficent learned friends [to help]; if, upon hearing the right explanations, he would hate one, use abusive speech, do the opposite, or show disrespect; or if he is obstinate and explosive by nature.

34. Failing to Requite Kindness
    Suppose a Bodhisattva has received benefits from another. If, out of resentment, the Bodhisattva fails to requite him with something equal or greater in value, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint.
    However, it is not a transgression if it is a skillful means to tame that person; if one offers to requite his kindness but is declined; or if one is unable to find means to requite.

35. Failing to Comfort Someone in Anxiety
    Suppose a Bodhisattva sees someone who is anxious about his relatives or his lack of material goods. If, out of resentment, the Bodhisattva fails to relieve his anxiety, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint. If the reason is indolence or negligence, the transgression does not arise from affliction taint.
    The exceptions are the same as for Precept 31, “Refusing to Collaborate with Others.”

36. Failing to Give Material Goods as Alms
    Suppose someone asks a Bodhisattva for food, drink, or clothing. If, out of anger, the Bodhisattva refuses, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint. If the reason is indolence or negligence, the transgression does not arise from affliction taint.
    However, it is not a transgression if it is to honor the system of the Saṅgha; if it is a skillful means to tame that person; if one does not have the things requested; if the things requested are illegal; if the things requested do not benefit the requester; or if he has broken the law, and one has to honor the legal system.

37. Treating Students Improperly
    If a Bodhisattva accepts students and, out of anger, fails to teach them in accordance with the Dharma, and to provide for them regularly by asking Brahmins or laypeople for food and drink, bedding, medicine, and housing, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint. If the reason is indolence, negligence, or distraction, the transgression does not arise from affliction taint.
    However, it is not a transgression if it is to honor the system of the Saṅgha; if it is a skillful means to tame the students; if one is ill or weak; if one asks an able person to teach instead; if the students are strong, knowledgeable, and virtuous, who can acquire what they need; or if they are non-Buddhists who intend to steal the Dharma and cannot be tamed.

38. Refusing to Support Others
    If a Bodhisattva, out of resentment, refuses to support others, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint. If the reason is indolence or negligence, the transgression does not arise from affliction taint.
    However, it is not a transgression if it is to honor the system of the Saṅgha; if it is a skillful means to tame others; if it is to subdue non-Buddhists; if one is ill or weak; if one knows that others intend to break the law; or if their actions, though legal, may induce others to do illegal things.

39. Refusing to Express Sympathetic Joy
    Suppose a Bodhisattva knows someone’s merits. If, out of resentment, he neither praises those merits nor tells others about them, or if he fails to say “very good” in his praises, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint. If the reason is indolence, negligence, or distraction, the transgression does not arise from affliction taint.
    However, it is not a transgression if it is to honor the system of the Saṅgha; if it is a skillful means to tame that person; if it is out of respect for his modesty; if it is to avoid causing him trouble, such as vexation, ecstasy, arrogance, or unscrupulous acts; if his merits actually are not merits, but only resemble merits; if his statement actually is not a good statement, but only resembles a good statement; if he has not finished his statement; or if it is to subdue non-Buddhists and destroy their wrong views.

40. Failing to Censure Someone
    Suppose a Bodhisattva sees someone who should be rebuked, censured, or conquered. If, with an affliction-tainted mind, the Bodhisattva fails to rebuke, censure, or conquer him, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression arising from affliction taint. If the reason is indolence, negligence, or distraction, the transgression does not arise from affliction taint.
    However, it is not a transgression if one’s censure would cause Saṅgha members to quarrel; if one’s censure would damage the Saṅgha; if one is awaiting the right time; if that person, with a sense of shame and an upright mind, would gradually reform himself; if one fears that he would be provoked to fight or sue; or if, with much resentment, he cannot be spoken to, be taught, or be reformed.

41. Failing to Display Transcendental Powers
    If a Bodhisattva has acquired various kinds of transcendental powers, he should use them to intimidate those who should be intimidated and receive those who should be received. If, hoping to avoid others’ worship and offerings, he fails to display his powers to intimidate some and receive others, it is called a transgression of the precepts against duṣkṛtas, a transgression not arising from affliction taint.
    However, it is not a transgression if one’s display can cause people to be captivated, to form the wrong views, to go insane or suffer, or cause non-Buddhists to slander the holy ones.

Great Ones, I have recited numerous duṣkṛtas. If a Bodhisattva has violated the precept against a duṣkṛta, he should repent of his duṣkṛta. If he does not repent, his transgression becomes a hindrance to observing the Bodhisattva precepts.
    Now I ask you Great Ones, “Are you pure with respect to these duṣkṛtas?” (Ask three times.) Great Ones, because you are silent, you must be pure. In this way you should uphold the precepts against these duṣkṛtas.

Great Ones, I have recited the four parājikas [grave sins] and numerous duṣkṛtas [wrongdoings]. These Bodhisattva precepts [in the three clusters]—the restraining precepts, the precepts for doing good dharmas, and the precepts for drawing in sentient beings—are pronounced together by Maitreya Bodhisattva in the mātṛkā [collection of treatises]. They enable one to take the Bodhisattva actions and complete the Bodhisattva Way.
    Great Ones, if you have activated the anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi mind, you should fully observe these precepts. Those who observe these precepts do not think that the Dharma has reached the Dharma-likeness age or the Dharma-ending age.9 They can kindle its true meaning even at its Dharma-likeness age, and they can enable the Dharma never to end. Their minds truly abide in the Buddha Dharma, and they teach and transform sentient beings, never tiring. They will complete all good karmas and quickly attain Buddha bodhi.

The Book of Bodhisattva Precepts
Translated from the digital Chinese Canon (T24n1500)


Notes

    1. See “three bodies of a Buddha” in the glossary. (Return to text)
    2. This text 1500 (T24n1500) is excerpted from text 1581 (T30n1581) in 10 fascicles, which is the Chinese version of the Sūtra of the Bodhisattva Ground (Bodhisattva-bhūmi-sūtra), translated from Sanskrit by Dharmakṣema (曇無讖, 385–433). Therefore, text 1581 is the source of text 1500. However, these opening verses are not in text 1581, but were later added to text 1500 to make it a stand-alone text for recitation. Moreover, text 1581 is not a sūtra, but a treatise closely matching a chapter in text 1579 (T30n1579) in 100 fascicles, which is the Chinese version of the Treatise on the Yoga Teacher Ground (Yogācārya-bhūmi-śāstra). The latter treatise is a major work of Asaṅga (無著, 4th century), but is reputed to have been imparted to him by Maitreya Bodhisattva, the next Buddha to come. Therefore, Maitreya is recognized as the author of both treatises. (Return to text)
    3. See the terms “poṣadha” and “Bodhisattva precepts” in the glossary. (Return to text)
    4. Bodhisattvas on the Ground of the Pure Mind are on the First Ground or above; bhikṣus with indestructible purity have achieved any of the four voice-hearer fruits. (Return to text)
    5. For example, if a monk does not reform after repentance, other monks are forbidden to associate with him until he has reformed. (Return to text)
    6. See “two classes of sin” in the glossary. (Return to text)
    7. After a monk’s repeated begging of laypeople for cotton, silk cocoons, and threads to make a seat-spread had caused much criticism and resentment, the Buddha instituted a precept against using a new silk seat-spread (T23n1435, 0047c10–0048a2). However, Bodhisattvas should give others the opportunity to cultivate generosity by giving alms and service. (Return to text)
    8. The phrase in text 1500 states “buhu buxin ziyan” 不護不信之言 [failing to guard against words of disbelief], and the corresponding phrase in text 1501 (T24n1501) states “buxin zhongyan” 不信重言 [disbelieving severe words]. Here, “ignoring its severity” is based on the phrase in text 1501’s translation. (Return to text)
    9. See “three ages of the Dharma” in the glossary. (Return to text)

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