1. The children of the conqueror who thus have firmly grasped this bodhicitta, should never turn aside from it, but always strive to keep its disciplines.
2. Whatever was begun without due heed, and all that was not properly conceived, although a promise and a pledge were given, It is right to hesitate – to press on or draw back.
3. Yet all the buddhas and their heirs have thought of this in their great wisdom, I myself have weighed and pondered it, so why should I now doubt and hesitate?
4. For if I blind myself with promises, but fail to carry out my words in deed, then every being will have been betrayed, what destiny must lie in store for me?
5. If in the teachings it is said that one who in his thought intends to give away a little thing but then draws back, will take rebirth among the hungry ghosts.
6. How can I expect a happy destiny, if from my heart I summon, wandering beings to the highest bliss, but then deceive and let them down?
7. And as for those who, losing bodhicitta – nonetheless attain to liberation. this is through the inconceivable effect of karma, only understood by the Omniscient.
8. This failure is indeed the gravest of all bodhicitta downfalls. For should it ever come to pass, the good of every being is cast down.
9. And anyone who, for a single instant, halts the merit of a bodhisattva will wanner endlessly in states of misery. Because the welfare of all beings is brought low.
10. Destroy a single being’s joy. And you will work the ruin of yourself. But if the happiness of all is brought to nothing…. what need is there to speak of this?
11. And one who wanders in samsara, who time and time again embraces bodhicitta, only to destroy it through his faults, will long be barred from bodhisattva grounds.
12. Therefore I will act devotedly, according to the promise I have made. For if I fail thus to apply myself, I’ll fall from low to even lower states.
13. Striving for the benefit of all that lives, unnumbered buddhas have already lived and passed. But I, by virtue of my sins, have failed to come within the compass of their healing works.
14. And this will always be my lot if I continue to behave like this, and I will suffer pains and bondage, wounds and laceration in the lower realms.
15. The appearance of the buddhas in the world, true faith and the attainment of the human form, an aptitude for good: all these are rare. And when will all this come to me again?
16. Today, indeed, I’m hale and hearty, have enough to eat, and am without affliction, and yet this life is fleeting and deceptive. This body is but briefly lent to me.
17. And yet the way I act is such, that I shall not regain a human life! And losing this, my precious human form, my evils will be many, virtues none.
18. Here is now the chance for wholesome deeds, but if I fail now to accomplish virtue, what will be my lot, what shall I do, when trapped in lower realms, enmeshed in misery?
19. Never, there, performing any virtue, only ever perpetrating evil, Thus for a hundred million aeons, happy states will never come to me.
20. This is why Lord Buddha has declared that like a turtle that perchance can place. Its head within a yoke adrift upon a shoreless sea, this human birth is difficult to find!
21. If evil acts of but a single instant, lead to deepest hell for many ages, the evils I have done from time without beginning – no need to say that they will keep me from the states of bliss!
22. And mere expérience of such pain, does not result in being freed from it. For in the very suffering of such states, more evil will occur, and then in great abundance.
23. Thus, having found reprieve from all these things, if I now fail to train myself in virtue, what greater folly could there ever be? How more could I betray myself?
24. And though all this I understand, but later waste my time in foolish idleness, then when my time to die comes round, my sorrows will be black indeed.
25. And when my body burns so long, in fires of hell so unendurable, my mind likewise will also be tormented, burned in flames of infinite regret.
26. For it’s as if by chance that I have gained, this state so hard to find, wherein to help myself. And now, when freedom – power of choice – is mine, if once again I’m led away to hell.
27. I am as if benumbed by sorcery, my mind reduced to total impotence. With no perception of the madness overwhelming me. O what is it that has me in its grip?
28. Anger, lust – these enemies of mine – are limbless and devoid of faculties. They have no bravery, no cleverness; how then have they reduced me to such slavery?
29. I it is who welcome them within my heart, allowing them to harm me at their pleasure! I who suffer all without resentment – thus my abject patience, all displaced!
30. If all the gods and demigods besides, together came against me as my foes, their mighty strength – all this would not avail, to fling me in the fires of deepest hell.
31. And yet, the mighty fiend of my afflictions, flings me in an instant headlong down. To where the mighty lord of mountains would be burned, its very ashes all consumed.
32. No other enemy indeed has lived so long as my defiled emotions – O my enemy, afflictive passion, endless and beginning less companion!
33. All other foes that I appease and wait upon will show me favors, give me every aid, but should I serve my dark defiled emotions, they will only harm me, draw me down to grief.
34. Therefore, if these long-lived, ancient enemies of mine, the wellspring only of increasing woe, can find their lodging safe within my heart, what joy or peace in this world can be found?
35. And if the jail guards of the prisons of samsara, the butchers and tormentors of internal realms, all lurk within me in the web of craving, what joy can ever be my destiny?
36. I will not leave the flight until, before my eyes, these enemies of mine are all destroyed. For if, aroused to fury by the merest slight, incapable of sleep until the scores are settled.
37. Foolish rivals, both to suffer when they die, will draw the battle lines and do their best to win, and careless of the pain of cut and thrust, will stand their ground, refusing to give away.
38. No need to say that I will not lose heart, regardless of the hardships of the fray. These natural foes today I’ll strive to crush – these enemies, the source of all my pain.
39. The wounds inflicted by the enemy in futile wars are flaunted by the soldier as a trophy. So in the high endeavor for so great a prize, why should hurt and injure dismay me?
40. When fishers, butchers, farmers and the like, intending just to gain their livelihood, will suffer all the miseries of heat and cold, how can I not bear the same to gain the happiness of beings?
41. When I pledged myself to free from their affliction, beings who abide in every region, stretching to the limits of the sky, I myself was subject to the same afflictions.
42. Thus I did not have the measure of my strength – to speak like this was clear insanity. More reason, then, for never drawing back, abandoning the fight against defiled confusion.
43. This shall be my all – consuming passion, filled with rancor I will wage my war! Though this emotion seems to be defiled, it halts defilement and shall not be spurned.
44. Better if I perish in the fire, better that my head be severed from my body than ever I should serve or reverence, my mortal foes, defiled emotions.
45. Common enemies, when driven from the state, retreat and base themselves in other lands, and muster all their strength the better to return, but our afflictions are without such stategems.
46. Defiled defilements, scattered by the eye of wisdom! Where will you now run, when driven from my mind? Whence would you return to do me harm? But oh – my mind is feeble. I am indolent!
47. And the defilements are not in the object, nor yet within the faculties, nor somewhere in between. And if not elsewhere, where is their abode, whence they might wreak their havoc on the world? They are simple mirages, and so – take heart! Banish all your fear and strive to know their nature. Why suffer needlessly the pains of hell?
48. This is how I should reflect and labor, taking up the precepts just set forth. What invalid in need of medicine, ignored his doctor’s words and gained his health?
~ The Way of the Bodhisattva ~