Chinese Buddhist
Texts in Translation

These samples of my translation work are drafts. If you see something that could be improved, please contact me.

Translation by Robban Toleno (May 2017)
(From Fo Guang Shan’s recording of the music from the Fang yankou 放焰又 /Yankou fahui 焰又法會 ritual)

The Buddha’s countenance is like a pure full moon, like a brightness shining forth from a thousand suns. His halo shines everywhere in the ten directions, complete with joyful renunciation and compassion. 佛面猶如淨滿月,亦如千日放光明。圓光普照於十方,喜舍慈悲皆具足。

With conviction we pay homage to [You], Buddha, Most Honored Among Two-Legged Creatures! [Your] three types of enlightenment are perfected, [Your] myriad virtues are complete. O Teacher harmonizing humans and heaven! Oṃ a hūṃ! Ordinary man and Sage, father of great compassion! Following the [way of] Truth, [You] pledge to soar in response [to the needs of sentient beings]. [Your] compassion transforming all, [You] uplift the poor in all three [Indian] seasons, traversing all places of the ten directions, booming forth the Dharma thunder and sounding the Dharma drum. [You] preach broadly [both] expedient and true teachings, Oṃ a hūṃ! [You] open up the expedient path! Those who take refuge can destroy the sufferings of hell! 志心信禮,佛陀耶兩足尊。三覺圓,萬德具。天人調禦師,唵啞吽,凡聖大慈父。從真 界,騰應質。悲化普,豎窮三際時,橫遍十方處,震法雷鳴法鼓。廣演權實教,唵啞吽。 大開方便路,若皈依能消滅消滅地獄苦。

With conviction we pay homage to the Dharma (i.e., Teachings), the excellence that transcends worldly desire! [It was] collected into a jeweled treasury (i.e., the Buddhist canon) of jade- encased scrolls. Formed and gathered in the Western Regions, oṃ a hūṃ!, [it was] translated and transmitted to Eastern Lands. The patriarchs propagated [it], wise people distinguished it. Becoming texts and commentaries, the Three Vehicles (of śrāvaka, pratyekabuddha, andbodhisattva) are divided by sudden and gradual [methods]; the Five Teachings establish [a hierarchy of] doctrinal tenets. [It is] revered by ghosts and spirits, protected by dragon kings and devas! As a guide out of confusion, it points a finger to the moon, oṃ a hūṃ! The true ambrosia that removes burning! Those who take refuge can extinguish the suffering of hungry ghosts! 志心信禮,達摩耶離欲尊。寶藏收,玉函軸。結集於西域,唵啞吽,翻譯傳東土。祖師 弘,賢哲判。成章疏,三乘分頓漸,五教定宗趣,鬼神欽龍天護。導迷標月指,唵啞吽。 除熱真甘露,若皈依能消滅消滅餓鬼苦。

With conviction we pay homage to the Sangha (i.e., Community of Monks and Nuns), the most venerable of communities! Teachers of the Five Virtues, companions in the six ways to harmonize [among each other as monastics]! Taking the benefit of sentient beings as their work––oṃ a hūṃ!––spreading the Dharma is their family duty! Avoiding the clamor and pollution [of the profane world], they regularly sit in meditation. In tranquil places they cover their bodies with down-wadded garments and meet the needs of their bellies by collecting firewood and wild vegetables, their begging bowls subduing dragons, their monk’s staves scattering tigers! Dharma lamps always illuminating everywhere, oṃ a hūṃ! They transmit, generation to generation, the imprint of the patriarchs! Those who take refuge can end the suffering of animals! 志心信禮,僧伽耶眾中尊。五德師,六和侶。利生為事業,唵啞吽,弘法是家務。避囂 塵,常宴坐。寂靜處,遮身服毳衣,充腹採薪薇,缽降龍錫解虎。法燈常偏照,唵啞吽。 祖印相傳付,若皈依能消滅消滅傍生苦。

No. 87 [No. 26(202), Nos. 88, 89]

Translation to English by Robban Toleno March 2018

佛說齋經

吳月氏國居士支謙譯
The Sūtra on Fasting Spoken by the Buddha
Translated by Yuezhi layman Zhi Qian (fl. 223-253) of the Wu Kingdom

[0910c29] 聞如是: Thus have I heard:

[0910c29] 一時,佛在舍衛城東丞相家殿。丞相母名維耶,早起沐浴著綵衣,與諸子婦俱出,稽 首佛足,一面坐。佛問維耶:「沐浴何早?」對曰:「欲與諸婦俱受齋戒。」佛言:「齋有三 輩,樂何等齋?」維耶長跪言:「願聞何謂三齋。」

Once the Buddha was in the east of the capital of Śrāvastī at the family palace of the prime minister. The prime minister’s mother, named Viśākhā, got up early to bathe and put on clothing with patterning. She went out together with all her sons and their wives, kowtowing at the Buddha’s feet and taking a seat in one corner. The Buddha asked Viśākhā, “Why do you bathe early?” She replied, “I want to take the precepts of abstinence along with my daughters-in-law.” The Buddha said, “Purifying fasts have three classifications. What kind of fast would please you?” Viśākhā knelt down and said, “We would like to hear what these three fasts are.”

[0911a04] 佛言:「一為牧牛齋,二為尼犍齋,三為佛法齋。牧牛齋者,如牧牛人求善水草飲飼 其牛,暮歸思念何野有豐饒,須天明當復往。若族姓男女已受齋戒,意在家居利欲產業,及念 美飲食育養身者,是為如彼牧牛人意,不得大福、非大明。

The Buddha said, “The first is the fast of the cowherd. The second is the fast of Nirgrantha [aka Mahāvīra, founder of the Jain school]. The third is the fast of the Buddha-dharma. The fast of the cowherd is like when a cowherd seeks good water and grass for feeding his cows, at nightfall returning and thinking about which fields have abundant fodder, to which he must return upon the dawning of the new day. If the sons and daughters of good families have already received precepts of abstinence, and their thoughts are on benefitting their homes and wanting to be productive, and they furthermore think of delicious food and drink and the cultivation of their bodies, this is like the thoughts of the cowherd and will not achieve great merit; it is not great wisdom.”

[0911a10] 「尼犍齋者,當月十五日齋之時,伏地受齋戒,為十由延內諸神拜言:『我今日齋, 不敢為惡;不名有家,彼我無親,妻子奴婢非是我有,我非其主。』然其學,貴文賤質無有正

心,至到明日相,名有如故。事齋如彼者,不得大福、非大明。
“The fast of Nirgrantha is when at the time of the fast on the fifteenth of the month one lies prostrate on

the ground to receive the precepts of abstinence and ??? worships to all the gods saying, ‘I am fasting today and dare not do evil. This is not called having a household; I and they are of no relation; wife and slaves are not my possession; I am not their master.’ In this way, his learning, with its grand words of humility, does not have a correct mindset, being an appearance lasting until the next day, a name (i.e., a nominal affectation) is like how things were [before]. To make an affair of fasting is much like the other: it will not achieve great merit and is not great wisdom.”

[0911a15] 「佛法齋者,道弟子月六齋之日受八戒。何謂八?
“For the fast of the Buddha-dharma, disciples of the Path receive eight precepts on the six fasting days of each month. What are the eight?”

[0911a17] 「第一戒者,盡一日一夜持,心如真人,無有殺意、慈念眾生,不得賊害蠕動之類, 不加刀杖,念欲安利莫復為殺,如清淨戒以一心習。
“The first precept, to be maintained for one day and one night, is for one’s mind to be like that of the True Man (a Daoist sage who is free of artifice), without any thoughts of killing, thinking compassionately of sentient beings, not cruelly killing insects, not increasing knives and staves; thoughts wanting peace and benefits and no return to killing; practicing this as a pure precept, with a focused mind.”

[0911a21] 「第二戒者,盡一日一夜持,心如真人,無貪取意、思念布施,當歡喜與、自手與、 潔淨與、恭敬與、不望與,却慳貪意,如清淨戒以一心習。
“The second precept, to be maintained for one day and one night, is for one’s mind to be like that of the True Man, to be without the intention to greedily take [from others], to think of giving, to delight in giving, to give with one’s own hands, to give purely, to give respectfully, to give impartially, to be rid of covetous thoughts, practicing this as a pure precept, with a focused mind.”

[0911a24] 「第三戒者,一日一夜持,心如真人,無婬意、不念房室,修治梵行,不為邪欲、心 不貪色,如清淨戒以一心習。
“The third precept, to be maintained for one day and one night, is for one’s mind to be like that of the True Man, to be without the intention to lust, to not think of the bedchamber, to be pure in practice (i.e., celibate), to not have evil desires, for one’s mind to not crave sex, practicing this as a pure precept, with a focused mind.”

[0911a27] 「第四戒者,一日一夜持,心如真人,無妄語意,思念至誠、安定徐言,不為偽詐、 心又相應,如清淨戒以一心習。
“The fourth precept, to be maintained for one day and one night, is for one’s mind to be like that of the True Man, without the intention of false speech, thinking thoughts of the utmost sincerity, speaking slowly and deliberately, not being fake or deceitful, one’s mind and mouth mutually responsive, practicing this as a pure precept, with a focused mind.”

[0911b01] 「第五戒者,一日一夜持,心如真人,不飲酒、不醉、不迷亂、不失志,去放逸意, 如清淨戒以一心習。
“The fifth precept, to be maintained for one day and one night, is for one’s mind to be like that of the True Man, not partaking of alcohol, not getting drunk, not confused, not absent-minded, ridding oneself of unconstrained thinking, practicing this as a pure precept, with a focused mind.”

[0911b04] 「第六戒者,一日一夜持,心如真人,無求安意,不著華香、不傅脂粉、不為歌舞倡 樂,如清淨戒以一心習。
“The sixth precept, to be maintained for one day and one night, is for one’s mind to be like that of the True Man, to be without the intention to seek ease, to not wear flower fragrances, to not apply cosmetics, to not put on song and dance or professional entertainments, practicing this as a pure precept, with a focused mind.”

[0911b07] 「第七戒者,一日一夜持,心如真人,無求安意,不臥好床,卑床草席,捐除睡臥, 思念經道,如清淨戒以一心習。
“The seventh precept, to be maintained for one day and one night, is for one’s mind to be like that of the True Man, to be without the intention to seek ease, to not sleep in a good bed, but a humble bed with a straw mat, to eliminate slumber and think about the doctrine of the sutras, practicing this as a pure precept, with a focused mind.”

[0911b10] 「第八戒者,一日一夜持,心如真人,奉法時食,食少節身,過日中後不復食,如清 淨戒以一心習。」
“The eighth precept, to be maintained for one day and one night, is for one’s mind to be like that of the True Man, to receive the Dharma and eat at proper times, to eat little and be moderate with one’s body, to not eat again after midday, practicing this as a pure precept, with a focused mind.”

[0911b13] 佛告維耶:「受齋之日當習五念。何謂五?
The Buddha told [Weiye], “On the day of the fast one recites five thoughts. What are these five?”

[0911b14] 「一當念佛。佛為如來,為至真,為等正覺,為明行足,為善逝、世間父、無上士、 經法御、天人師,號曰佛。是念佛者,愚癡惡意怒習悉除,善心自生思樂佛業。譬如以麻油澡 豆沐頭,垢濁得除。齋念佛者,其淨如是,眾人見之莫不好信。

“The first is to think of a buddha: A buddha as thus-come, as perfect truth, as perfect supreme enlightenment, as perfection of wisdom and action, as well departed, as Father of the World, as the unsurpassed person, as administer of the doctrines of the scriptures, as teacher of gods and men––these are the epithets of a buddha. Thinking of a buddha, remove all ignorance, bad intentions, and habitual temper, allowing a wholesome mind to arise and think joyfully of a buddha’s deeds. It is like shampooing one’s head with sesame oil and soap bean [*a precursor to the soap of today] and removing stains. The purification from the fast of thinking of a buddha is like this. When the multitudes see it, there will be none who is not believing.”

[0911b20] 「二當念法。佛所說法三十七品,具足不毀思念勿忘,當知此法為世間明。是念法 者,愚癡惡意怒習悉除,善心自生用樂法業。譬如以麻油澡豆浴身,垢濁得除。齋念法者,其 淨如是,眾人見之莫不好信。

“The second is to think of the Dharma. Not forgetting that the thirty-seven factors of enlightenment spoken by the buddhas are endowed with thoughts that cannot be destroyed, know that this Dharma makes the world brighter. This thinking of the Dharma removes all ignorance, bad intentions, and habitual temper, allowing a wholesome mind to arise and use it to delight in the workings of the Dharma. It is like washing one’s body with sesame oil and soap bean, and removing stains. The purification from the fast of thinking of the Dharma is like this. When the multitudes see it, there will be none who is not believing.”

[0911b25] 「三當念眾。恭敬親附依受慧教,佛弟子眾,有得溝港受、溝港證者,有得頻來受、 頻來證者,有得不還受、不還證者,有得應真受、應真證者,是為四雙之八輩丈夫,皆為戒 成、定成、慧成、解成、度知見成,為聖德、為行具,當為叉手天上天下尊者福田。是念眾, 愚癡惡意怒習悉除,喜心自生樂眾之業。譬如以淳灰浣衣,垢污得除。齋念眾者,其德如是, 眾人見之莫不好信。

“The third is to think of the multitude. Respectfully cozying up to and relying on the wise teachings, the multitude of the Buddha’s disciples have among them those who have the sensation of entering the stream [*] and those who are confirmed stream enterers, those who have the sensation of being a once- returner, and those who are confirmed once-returners, those who have the sensation of being a nonreturner, and those who are confirmed nonreturners, those who have the sensation of being an arhat, and those who are confirmed arhats. These are the four pairs of eight classes of disciples [* “man,” but connoting a great disciple], all formed by precepts, by concentration, by wisdom, by understanding, by awareness of the state of liberation; meritorious in their holiness, in practice complete, serving with hands folded as the merit fields of all worthies in heaven and below. This thinking of the multitude removes all ignorance, bad intentions, and habitual temper, allowing a joyful mind to arise and take delight in the deeds of the multitude. It is like washing clothing with lye and removing stains. The merits from the fast of thinking of the multitude are like this. When the multitudes see it, there will be none who is not believing.”

[0911c05] 「四者念戒。身受佛戒一心奉持,不虧不犯、不動不忘、善立慎護、為慧者舉、後無 所悔、不以有望、能等教人。是念戒者,愚癡惡意怒習悉除,喜心自生樂戒統業。如鏡之磨, 垢除盛明。齋念戒者,其淨如是,眾人見之莫不好信。

“The fourth is to think of the precepts. The body receives the Buddhist precepts and with a singular mind upholds them, not decreasing them, not violating them, immovable [by temptation] and not forgetting, skillfully establishing them and carefully guarding them, lifted up as a wise person, having no regrets, holding no expectations, making the grade for teaching people. This thinking of the precepts removes all ignorance, bad intentions, and habitual temper, allowing a joyful mind to arise and take delight in all the workings of the precepts. It is like the polishing of a mirror: its stains removed, it is exceedingly bright. The purification from the fast of thinking of the precepts is like this. When the multitudes see it, there will be none who is not believing.”

[0911c09] 「五當念天。第一四天王,第二忉利天,鹽天,兜術天,不憍樂天,化應聲天,當自 念:『我以有信、有戒、有聞、有施、有智,至身死時精神上天,願不失信戒聞施智。』是念 天者,愚癡惡意怒習悉除,喜心自生樂天統業。譬如寶珠,常治清明。齋念天者,其淨如是。

“The fifth is to think of the heavens. First are the Four Heavenly Kings, second the thirty-three gods [*gods dwelling at the top of Mt. Sumeru in the second heaven of the desire realm], Yāma, theNirmāṇarati heaven, and the sixth heaven (Skt. Paranirmata-vaśavartin). One thinks to oneself, ‘By means of my having faith, having precepts, having [hearing?information from hearsay?], having charity, having wisdom, when my body dies my spirit will rise up to the heavens. I vow to not lose my faith, precepts, learning, charity, and wisdom.’ This thinking of the heavens removes all ignorance, bad intentions, and habitual temper, allowing a joyful mind to arise and take delight in all the workings of the heavens. It is like a precious jewel, always maintaining purity and brightness. Purification from the fast of thinking of the heavens is like this.”

[0911c15] 「奉持八戒,習五思念,為佛法齋,與天參德,滅惡興善,後生天上,終得泥洹。是 以智者自力行,出心作福。
“Upholding the eight precepts, reciting the five thoughts, fasting for the Buddha-dharma, participating in the merit of the heavens, destroying evil and causing the good to flourish, one will eventually be born up in the heavens and will finally obtain nirvana. For this the wise make efforts, [?being mindful] and creating merit.”

[0911c18] 「如是,維耶!齋之福祐明譽廣遠,譬是天下十六大國,是十六國滿中眾寶不可稱 數,不如一日受佛法齋。如比其福者,則十六國為一豆耳。天上廣遠不可稱說,當今人間五十 歲,為第一天上一日一夜,第一四天上壽五百歲,彼當人間九百萬歲。佛法齋者,得生此天 上。人間百歲為忉利天上一日一夜,忉利天壽千歲,當人間三千六百萬歲。人間二百歲為鹽天 上一日一夜,鹽天壽二千歲,當人間一億五千二百萬歲。人間四百歲為兜術天上一日一夜,兜 術天壽四千歲,當人間六億八百萬歲。人間八百歲為不驕樂天上一日一夜,不驕樂天壽八千 歲,當人間二十三億四千萬歲。人間千六百歲為化應聲天上一日一夜,化應聲天壽萬六千歲, 當人間九十二億一千六百萬歲。若人有信、有戒、有聞、有施、有智奉佛法齋,當命盡時,其 人精神,皆生此六天上,安隱快樂。猗善眾多我少說耳,凡人行善,魂神上天受福無量。」

“It is like this, Viśākhā! The merit from fasting brightens one’s reputation far and wide. For example, the sixteen great countries below heaven and the innumerable treasures of the multitudes filling these sixteen countries are not equal to one day of receiving the fast of the Buddha-dharma. If we compare their merits, then the sixteen countries are only one bean! The broad expanse of the heavens is unspeakable. Fifty years in the current human realm is one day and one night in the first heaven, and a lifespan of five-hundred years in the fourteenth heaven would be nine million years in the human realm. The fast of the Buddha-dharma obtains rebirth in these heavens. One hundred years of life in the human realm is one day and one night in the Heaven of the Thirty-Three Gods, and a thousand-year lifespan in the Heaven of the Thirty-Three Gods is thirty-six million years in the human realm. Two- hundred years in the human realm is a day and a night in the Yāma Heaven, and a two-thousand year lifespan in the Yāma Heaven is a hundred-fifty-two million years in the human realm. Four-hundred years in the human realm is a day and a night in the Tuṣita Heaven, and a four-thousand year lifespan in the Tuṣita Heaven is six-hundred-eight million years in the human realm. Eight-hundred years in the human realm is one day and one night in the Nirmāṇarati Heaven, and an eight-thousand year lifespan in the Nirmāṇarati Heaven is two-billion three-hundred-forty-thousand years in the human realm. One- thousand six-hundred years in the human realm is one day and one night in the sixth heaven (Skt.Paranirmata-vaśavartin), and a lifespan of sixteen-thousand years in the sixth heaven is nine-billion two-hundred-sixteen-million years in the human realm. If people have faith, have precepts, have hearing, have charity, and have wisdom, and uphold the Buddha-dharma fast, when their lives end, the spirits of these people will all be reborn in these six heavens, [obtaining] ease and joy. As there are many assembled in this good company, I will limit my comments. [May] ordinary people do good, their spirits rising to the heavens and receiving immeasurable blessings.”

[0912a07] 維耶聞佛語,歡喜言:「善哉善哉!世尊!齋之福德甚快無量,願受佛戒。從今已後 月月六齋,竭力作福至死。」
Viśākhā, listening to the Buddha’s words, was delighted and said, “Wonderful! Wonderful! World- honored One! As the merit from fasting is boundless enjoyment, I vow to receive the Buddha’s precepts. From now on I will fast six times each month, making merit to the limit of my strength until I die.”

[0912a10] 佛說經已,皆歡喜受教。
The Buddha having finished the sūtra, everyone received the teaching joyfully.

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