Nāgārjuna: The Treatise on the Provisions Essential to Enlightenment

The Treatise on the Provisions Essential to Enlightenment

The Bodhisambhāra Shāstra
By Ārya Nāgārjuna
001 Now, in the presence of all the Buddhas,
With palms pressed together, I bow down my head in reverence.I shall, in accordance with the teachings, explain
The provisions essential for the bodhi of the Buddhas.
002 How would one be able to describe without omission
All of the provisions for the realization of bodhi?
This could only be accomplished by the Buddhas themselves,
For they, exclusively, have realized the boundless enlightenment.
As for the boundless meritorious qualities of a buddha’s body,
The provisions for enlightenment constitute their very root.
Therefore the provisions for enlightenment
Themselves have no bounds.
I shall then explain but a lesser portion of them.
I respectfully offer reverence to the Buddhas and the Bodhisattvas.
All such bodhisattvas as these—
They, after the Buddhas, should be given one’s offerings.
Since it is the mother of the Bodhisattvas,
It is also the mother of the Buddhas:
The Prajñā-pāramitā
Is the foremost among the provisions for enlightenment.
Giving, moral virtue, patience, vigor, and meditative discipline
As well as that which extends beyond these five—
In every case, because they arise from the perfection of wisdom,
They are subsumed within this pāramitā.
These six pāramitās
Encompass the provisions for bodhi,
They are comparable in this to empty space,
Which entirely envelopes all things.
There is in addition the opinion of another master
That, as for the provisions for enlightenment,
Truth, relinquishment , quiescent cessation, and wisdom—
These four bases subsume them all.
The great compassion penetrates even the marrow of one’s bones.
Thus one becomes for all beings one on whom they can rely.
One’s regard for them is like that of a father towards his only son.
Thus loving-kindness then extends to everyone.

If one brings to mind the meritorious qualities of a buddha
Or hears of a buddha’s spiritual transformations,
One may be purified through one’s affection and joyfulness.
This is what qualifies as the great sympathetic joy.
As regards his relations with beings, the bodhisattva
Should not, on realizing equanimity, simply forsake them.
In accordance with whatever abilities his powers enable,
He should always strive to draw them in.
The bodhisattva, even from that time when his efforts begin,
Should, as befits the power of his abilities,
Employ skillful means to transform beings,
Thus causing them to enter the Great Vehicle.
If one transformed through teachings a Ganges’ sands of beings,
Causing them all to gain the fruit of arhatship,
Still, transforming a single person so he enters the Great Vehicle—
The merit from this is superior to the former.
Instructing through resort to the Hearer Vehicle
Or through resort to the Pratyekabuddha Vehicle
Is undertaken where, on account of lesser abilities,
Beings are unable to accept instruction in the Great Vehicle.
Where, even by utilizing the Hearer and Pratyekabuddha Vehicles
In addition to drawing on the Great Vehicle,
There are those who still cannot accept transformative teaching—
One should establish them in merit-creating circumstances.
If there be persons who are unable to accept
Transformative teachings conducing to the heavens or liberation,
One should employ the means of bestowing present-life benefits
And, as one’s powers dictate, one should draw them in.
Where a bodhisattva with respect to particular beings
Has no basis through which to teach and transform them,
He should raise forth great loving-kindness and compassion
And should not then simply cast them aside and forsake them.
Drawing in through giving, or through explaining Dharma,
Or through listening in return to others speaking about Dharma,
Or also through endeavors beneficial to them—
These are skillful means by which one may draw them in.
In that which is done for the benefit of beings,
One should not become either weary or negligent.
One should bring forth vows for the sake of bodhi.
Benefiting the world is just benefiting oneself.
Entering the extremely profound state of the Dharma realm,
One extinguishes and abandons discriminations.
They all become devoid of any useful function.
Thus, in every circumstance, one naturally abides in equanimity.
Personal gain, reputation, praise, and happiness—
In every case, one refrains from attachment to these four points.
Moreover, even their opposites present no obstacle.
Conduct of this sort constitutes the practice of equanimity.
In the bodhisattva’s striving for bodhi,
So long as he has not yet gained irreversibility,
He acts as urgently as the person whose turban has caught fire.
Thus one should take up just such intensely diligent practice.
Thus it is that those bodhisattvas,
When striving for the realization of bodhi,
Should not rest in their practice of vigor,
For they have shouldered such a heavy burden.
So long as he has not generated great compassion or the patiences,
Even though he may have gained an irreversibility,
The bodhisattva is still subject to a form of “dying”
Which occurs through allowing negligence to arise.
The grounds of the Hearers or the Pratyekabuddhas
If entered, become for him the same as dying.
Because he would thereby sever the bodhisattva’s
Roots of understanding and awareness.
Even at the prospect of falling into the hell-realms,
The bodhisattva would not be struck with fright.
The grounds of the Hearers and the Pratyekabuddhas, however,
Do provoke a great terror in him.
It is not the case that falling into the hell realms
Would bring about an ultimate obstacle to his bodhi.
The grounds of the Hearers and the Pratyekabuddhas, however,
Do create just such an ultimate obstacle.
Just as is said of he who loves long life,
That he becomes fearful at the prospect of his own beheading,
So, too, the grounds of the Hearers and Pratyekabuddhas
Should bring about a fearfulness of just this sort.
Not produced and not destroyed—
Neither unproduced nor undestroyed—
Nor is it the case that one posits “both” or “neither”—
As for “emptiness” and “non-emptiness”—it is the same for them.
No matter which among all dharmas one encounters,
In their midst, one remains unmoving in one’s contemplation.
Those who achieve this abide in the unproduced-dharmas patience
On account of having cut off all forms of discrimination.
Once one has succeeded in gaining this patience,
One immediately receives the prediction:
“You will definitely become a buddha.”
It is then that one succeeds in achieving irreversibility.
Those bodhisattvas already dwelling at the stage of immovability
Have gained irreversible knowledge of dharmas as they really are.
Their knowledge is invincible to those of the Two Vehicles.
Hence this stage alone is designated “irreversible.”
Up until the bodhisattva has gained
The ground of all Buddhas’ present manifestation
Along with its durably-solid samādhis,
He should not allow any negligence to arise.
The ground of all buddhas’ present manifestation
With its durably-solid samādhis—
This constitutes the bodhisattva’s father
While the great compassion and the patiences serve as his mother.
As for the perfection of wisdom serving as his mother
And skillful means serving as his father,
It is on account of the one’s giving birth and the other’s support.
Thus those are also claimed as the bodhisattva’s father and mother.
With but a lesser accumulation of merit
One remains unable to realize bodhi.
Merit the measure of a hundred Mount Sumerus—
Only an accumulation exceeding that would enable its realization.
Although one may perform but a minor meritorious deed,
Even in this, one possesses a skillful means:
Taking all beings as the object of this act,
One in all cases brings about transformation of the conditions.
As for he who reflects, “Whatever actions I undertake,
They will always be for the sake of benefiting beings”—
With a mind which courses on in this way—
Who could be able to measure his merit?
When he is not cherishing of even his relatives, his retinue,
Or of his own body, life, or wealth—
When he does not covet the “sovereign-independence” happiness,
The Brahma-world heavens, or any other heavens—
When he does not covet even nirvāna,
This because his actions are undertaken for the sake of beings—
When in this way, he bears in mind only other beings—
Who could be able to measure his merit?
When for those of the world without refuge or protection,
He rescues and protects them from their bitter afflictions—
When he raises forth such thought and actions as these—
Who could be able to measure his merit?
If he were to act in accord with the perfection of wisdom
Only for the moment of tugging cow’s milk, it would then be so.
If he did so for a month or for many more months—
Who could be able to measure his merit?
When, taking up those profound sutras praised by buddhas,
One recites them to himself, teaches them to others,
Or provides analysis and explanation for their sakes—
It is this which generates the accumulation of merit.
When one causes countless beings
To generate the mind resolved on bodhi,
That treasury of merit becomes even more supreme.
One thus becomes bound to gain the ground of immovability.
When one follows along in turning what the Buddha turned,
The wheel of the most supreme Dharma,
Bringing to quiescent cessation all of the evil piercings—
It is this which establishes the bodhisattva’s treasury of merit.
For the sake of bringing benefit and happiness to beings,
One would endure even the great sufferings of the hells,
How much the more so the other lesser sufferings.
In such a case, bodhi resides in one’s own right hand.
When in initiating actions, it is not for one’s own sake,
But rather solely to bring benefit and happiness to beings—
Because in all cases this arises from the great compassion,
Bodhi resides in one’s own right hand.
When one’s wisdom abandons frivolous discourse—
When one’s vigor abandons indolence—
When one’s giving abandons miserliness—
Bodhi resides in one’s own right hand.
When meditative concentration is free of dependence or ideation—
When moral precepts are perfectly fulfilled and unadulterated—
When one has gained the unproduced-dharmas patience—
Bodhi resides in one’s own right hand.
Those now abiding in the ten directions—
All of those who have gained the right enlightenment—
I, in the presence of them all, directly before them,
Lay forth and describe those unwholesome deeds I have done.
In those realms throughout the ten directions,
If there be buddhas who have gained realization of bodhi
And yet have not proclaimed and expounded the Dharma—
I request of them that they turn the wheel of Dharma.
In the present era, throughout the ten-directions’ realms,
Among all those possessed of the right enlightenment—
If there be those about to relinquish their lives and practices,
I prostrate in reverence, exhorting and requesting them to remain.
Wherever there are any beings who,
By their physical, verbal, or mental deeds,
Generate merit through giving, moral virtue,
And so forth, on through to the cultivation of meditation—
Whether it be that of āryas or common persons,
And whether it be created in the past, present, or future—
All of their accumulated merit—
In every case, I am moved to accord with and rejoice in it.
If all of the merit which I have created
Could be formed into a single ball,
I would bestow it on all beings through transference
For the sake of causing them to realize the right enlightenment.
My acting in this manner in repentance of transgressions,
Exhortation, requesting, accordant rejoicing in others’ merit,
And the transference through dedication to bodhi—
One should realize these accord with the acts of all Buddhas.
That confession and repentance of the evils of my karmic offenses,
The requesting of the Buddha, the accordant rejoicing in merit,
And the transference through dedication to bodhi—
These accord with the instructions of the most supreme ones.
Kneeling down with the right knee touching the ground,
And the upper robe arranged, baring the one shoulder—
Three times each day and three times each night,
One places the palms together and proceeds in this manner.
The merit created in even a single instance of this,
If it were allowed to manifest in material form,
Even a Ganges’ sands number of great chiliocosms
Could not be able to contain it.
After the initial generation of resolve,
In relating to bodhisattvas of lesser standing,
One should bring forth for them a veneration and cherishing
Comparable to that reserved for one’s own guru and parents.
Although a bodhisattva may have committed transgressions,
Even so, one still should not speak about them.
How much the less might one do so where no actual case exists.
One should then engage only in praises which accord with truth.
In an instance where a person has vowed to become a buddha
And one wishes to influence him to achieve irreversibility,
Make matters manifestly apparent, cause him to blaze full of fire,
And also inspire in him the happiness of sympathetic joy.
When one has not yet understood extremely profound scriptures,
One must not claim they were not spoken by a buddha.
If one makes statements of this sort,
One undergoes the most intense suffering in retribution for evil.
As for karmic offenses generating “nonintermittent” retributions—
If one were to form them all into a single ball
And compare them to the two karmic offenses described above,
They would not amount even to the smallest fraction thereof.
As regards the three gates to liberation,
One should skillfully cultivate them:
The first is emptiness, the next is signlessness,
And the third is wishlessness.
Because they have no self-existent nature, phenomena are empty.
If already empty, how could one establish any characteristic signs?
Since all characteristic signs abide in a state of quiescent cessation,
What could there be that the wise might wish for?
When cultivating and bearing these in mind,
One goes toward and draws close to the nirvāna path.
Do not bear in mind anything not resulting in a buddha’s body
And, in that matter, one must not allow any negligence.
“In this matter of nirvāna, I
Should not immediately bring about its realization.”
One ought to generate a resolve of this sort,
And then should bring to ripeness the perfection of wisdom.
Just as an archer might shoot his arrows upwards,
Causing each in succession to strike the one before,
Each holding up the other so none are allowed to fall—
Just so it is with the great bodhisattva.
Into the emptiness of the gates to liberation,
He skillfully releases the arrows of the mind.
Through artful skillful means, arrows are continuously held aloft,
So none are allowed to fall back down into nirvāna.
“I refuse to forsake beings
And so continue on for the sake of benefiting beings.”
One first brings forth just such resolve as this,
And thence, forever after, one’s practice accords with that.
There are those who’ve attached to existence of beings and the like
Throughout time’s long night and in present actions as well.
They retain inverted views regarding characteristic signs.
This is due in every case to confusion wrought by delusion.
For those attached to marks who retain inverted views,
One resolves to proclaim Dharma that they might be severed.
One first generates just such a mind as this.
And thence, forever after, one’s practice accords with that.
The bodhisattva strives on for the benefit of beings
And yet does not perceive the existence of any being.
This in itself is the most difficult among endeavors
And is such a rarity, it transcends one’s powers of conception.
Although one may have entered “the right and definite position,”
And one’s practice may accord with the gates to liberation,
Because one has not yet fulfilled one’s original vows,
One refrains from proceeding to the realization of nirvāna.
Where one has not yet reached the “definite” position,
One holds oneself back through the power of skillful means.
Because one has not yet fulfilled one’s original vows,
In this case, too, one refrains from opting for realization of nirvāna.
Equipped with the most ultimate renunciation of cyclic existence,
One nonetheless still confronts cyclic existence directly.
While maintaining faith and happiness in nirvāna,
One still turns one’s back on taking up the realization of nirvāna.
Although one should maintain a dread of afflictions,
One still should not bring afflictions to their final end.
One should proceed to accumulate the many forms of goodness,
Employing blocking techniques to block off the afflictions.
For the bodhisattva, afflictions fit with his very nature.
He is not one for whom nirvāna is the basis of his very nature.
It is not the case that the burning up of the afflictions
Can bring about the generation of the bodhi seed.
As for the predictions accorded to those other beings,
These predictions involved their own causes and conditions.
They were only a function of the Buddha’s excellent skillfulness,
And were expedient means to facilitate reaching the far shore.
The comparisons involve “empty space,” “lotus flowers,”
“Precipitous cliffs,” and “a deep abyss.”
Just so, their realms. Analogies cite “non-virility” and “kācamani,”
With an additional comparison made to “seeds which are burned.”
All of the treatises as well as artisan’s skills,
The esoteric skills of higher clarity, all of the sorts of livelihoods—
Because they bring benefit to the world,
One brings them forth and establishes them.
Adapting to beings amenable to transformative teaching,
To their realms, paths, and birth circumstances,
As befits one’s reflections, one proceeds forthwith to them,
And, through power of vows, takes birth among them.
In the midst of all sorts of circumstances rife with evil
And in the midst of beings prone to guileful flattery and deceit,
One should put to use one’s sturdy armor
And so must not yield to loathing and must not become fearful.
One equips oneself with the supremely pure mind,
Does not resort to guileful flattery or deception,
Reveals all of the evils of one’s karmic offenses,
And keeps concealed his many good deeds.
One purifies the karma of body and mouth
And also purifies the karma of the mind,
Cultivating observance of all passages in the moral-code training.
One must not allow any omissions or diminishment in this.
One establishes himself in right mindfulness,
Focuses on objective conditions, and meditates in solitary silence.
Having put mindfulness to use to serve as a guard,
The mind becomes free of any obstructive thoughts.
When bringing forth discriminations,
One should realize which are good and which are not.
One should forsake any which are not good
And extensively cultivate those which are good.
If the mind trained on the objective sphere becomes scattered,
One should focus one’s mindful awareness,
Return it to that objective sphere,
And, whenever movement occurs, immediately cause it to halt.
One should not indulge any laxness, any grasping at what is bad,
Nor any intense cultivation of such things.
Since one is prevented thereby from maintaining concentration,
One should therefore constantly cultivate accordingly.
Even if one were to take up the vehicle of the Hearers
Or the vehicle of the Pratyekabuddhas,
And hence practiced solely for one’s own self benefit,
Still, one would not relinquish the enduring practice of vigor.
How much the less could it be that a great man,
One committed to liberate himself and liberate others,
Might somehow not generate
A measure of vigor a thousand kotīs times greater?
It may be that one tries to carry on a separate practice half the time,
Thus practicing some other path of cultivation simultaneously.
In cultivating meditative concentration, one should not do this.
One should rather focus only on a single objective phenomenon.
One must not indulge any covetousness regarding the body
And must not cherish even one’s very life.
Even if one allowed a protectiveness towards this body,
In the end, it is but a dharma bound to rot and destruction.
Offerings, reverence from others, or fame—
One must never develop a covetous attachment to them.
In the manner of one whose turban has caught fire, one should
Act with diligence, striving to accomplish what one has vowed.
Acting resolutely and immediately, pull forth the supreme benefit.
In this, one cannot wait for tomorrow.
Tomorrow is too distant a time,
For how can one ensure survival even for the blink of an eye?
Establishing oneself in right mindfulness,
When eating, it is as if consuming the flesh of one’s cherished son.
With respect to that food which one takes to eat,
One must not indulge affection for it or disapproval of it.
For what purpose has one left the home life?
Have I finished what is to be done or not?
Reflect now on whether or not one is accomplishing the endeavor,
Doing so as described in the Ten Dharmas Sutra.
One should contemplate conditioned things as impermanent
As devoid of self, and as devoid of anything belonging to a self.
As for all forms of demonic karmic actions—
One should become aware of them and abandon them.
The roots, powers, limbs of enlightenment,
Bases of spiritual powers, right efforts and severances, the Path,
As well as the four stations of mindfulness—
One generates energetic diligence for the sake of cultivating these.
In beneficial and happiness-creating acts of goodness, the mind
Serves as the source for their continuously-repeated generation.
It also acts as the root of all manner of evil and turbidity.
One should make it the focus of skillful analytic contemplation.
“In my relationship to good dharmas—
What sort of daily increase is occurring in them?
And, again, what sort of reduction?”
Those should be the contemplations of utmost concern.
When one observes another gain increasing measure
Of offerings, of reverences, and of fame,
Even the most subtle thoughts of stinginess and jealously
Are in all cases not to be indulged.
One should not cherish any aspect of the objective realms,
But rather should act as if dull-witted, blind, mute, and deaf.
Still, when timely, one should respond by roaring “the lion’s roar,”
Frightening off the non-Buddhist “deer.”
In welcoming them on arrival and escorting them off as they go,
One should be reverential towards those worthy of veneration.
In all endeavors associated with the Dharma,
One should follow along, participate and contribute assistance.
One rescues and liberates beings bound to be killed,
Naturally increasing and never decreasing such works.
One cultivates well those karmic deeds requiring clarity and skill,
Training in them oneself while also teaching them to others.
Regarding all of the supremely good dharmas,
One adopts them through enduring and solid practice.
One cultivates the four means of attraction,
Making gifts of clothing as well as food and drink.
One does not turn away from those who beg for alms,
Brings together in harmony all who are related,
Does not allow his retinue to drift into estrangement,
And provides them with dwellings as well as material wealth.
As for one’s father, mother, relatives, and friends,
One provides circumstances for them befitting their station
And, wherever they are provided such fitting circumstances,
One treats them as supreme and independent sovereigns.
Although there are yet others who act as one’s servants,
One speaks to them with goodness and also, in effect, adopts them.
One should accord them the highest esteem,
Providing them with medicines and treatment for any illnesses.
Being the first to act, one becomes foremost in good karmic deeds,
Speaks with smooth and marvelously sublime words,
Is skillful in discourse guided by right intention,
And has none above or below to whom he does not proffer gifts.
One avoids any harm to the retinue of another,
Regards beings with the eye of loving-kindness,
Does not course in disapproving thoughts,
And treats all as one would close relatives or friends.
One should accord with the words he speaks,
Immediately following them with concordant actions.
If one immediately acts in accordance with his words,
Other people will then be caused to develop faith.
One should support and protect the Dharma,
Being aware of and looking into instances of neglectfulness,
Going so far as to create even a canopy of gold and jewels
Which spreads over and covers a caitya.
For those who wish to find a maiden mate,
Once adorned, one may see to her presentation,
And also discourse to them on Buddha’s meritorious qualities,
Presenting them with prayer beads gleaming in varying hues.
One creates images of the Buddha
Which sit upright on supreme lotus blossoms.
And, in the six dharmas of monastic harmony,
One cultivates them, thus creating common delight and happiness.
Of those who may be given offerings, none are not given offerings.
Even for the sake of preserving one’s life, one still does not slander
The Dharma spoken by the Buddha
Or the person who expounds the Dharma.
Gold and jewels are distributed among teaching masters
And also among the caityas of teaching masters.
If there are those who forget what is to be recited,
One assists their remembrance, enabling them to stay free of error.
When one has not yet reflected on what should be done,
One must not be impulsive and must not simply emulate others.
As for the non-Buddhists, gods, dragons, and spirits—
In every case, one must not invest one’s faith in them.
One’s mind should be like vajra,
Able to penetrate all dharmas.
One’s mind should also be like a mountain,
Remaining unmoved by any circumstance.
One finds delight and happiness in world-transcending discourse,
But must not derive pleasure from words based on the worldly.
Having adopted all manner of meritorious qualities oneself,
One should influence others to adopt them as well.
One cultivates the five bases of liberation,
And also cultivates the ten reflections on impurity.
The eight realizations of the great men
Should also be the focus of analytic contemplation and cultivation.
The heavenly ear, the heavenly eye,
The bases of spiritual powers, the cognition of others’ thoughts,
And the cognition of past lives and abodes—
One should cultivate purification of these five spiritual abilities.
The four bases of spiritual powers constitute the root.
They are zeal, vigor, mental focus, and contemplative reflection.
The four immeasurables control and sustain them.
They are kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity.
The four elements are like poisonous serpents,
The six sense faculties are like an empty village
The five aggregates are like assassins.
One should contemplate them in this way.
One esteems the Dharma as well as the masters of Dharma
And also relinquishes any stinginess with the Dharma.
The instructing masters must not be tight-fisted or secretive
And those listening must not be mentally scattered or confused.
Free of arrogance and free of any particular hopes,
One resorts only to the mind motivated by compassion and pity.
With intentions imbued with veneration and reverence,
One expounds the Dharma for the sake of the assembly.
In learning, one never becomes weary or sated,
And having heard, in every case, one then recites and retains it.
One does not deceive any among the venerable fields of merit,
And, additionally, causes the teacher to be delighted.

One should not pay visits to the houses of others,
With a mind cherishing hopes for reverence or offerings.
One must not, for the sake of debating challenging topics,
Take up study and recitation of worldly texts.
One must not, on account of hatefulness or anger,
Defame anyone who is a bodhisattva.
With respect to dharmas not yet received or learned,
In those cases, too, one must not initiate slanders.
In order to cut off and get rid of arrogance and pride,
One should abide in the four lineage bases of the ārya.
One must not course in disapproval of others
And must not allow oneself to become conceited.
Whether someone has actually committed a transgression or not,
One must not bring their cases to the attention of others.
Do not seek out the errors and faults of anyone else.
As for one’s own errors, one should become aware of them.
As for the Buddha and the Dharma of all Buddhas,
One should not course in discriminations and doubts about them.
Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe,
One should still maintain one’s faith in it.
Even though one might be put to death for speaking the truth
Or be forced to abdicate the throne of wheel-turning king,
Or even that of a king of the gods,
One should still engage only in truthful speech.
Even if beaten, cursed, terrorized, slain, or bound up,
One must never subject others to enmity or castigation.
Think, “This is all the product of my own karmic offenses.
It is on account of karmic retribution that this has manifested.”
One should, with the most ultimate respect and affection,
Provide offerings in support of one’s father and mother,
Also supplying the needs of and serving the upādhyāyas,
While extending one’s reverence to the ācāryas as well.
When, for the sake of those who believe in the Hearer Vehicle
Or those who resort to the Pratyekabuddha Vehicle,
One discourses on the most profound of dharmas,
This, for a bodhisattva, is an error.
When, for believers in the profound Great-Vehicle teachings,
One discourses to those beings
On the Hearer or Pratyekabuddha vehicles,
This, too, is an error for him.
So, too, where some eminent personage comes seeking the Dharma
And one delays this, thus failing to speak Dharma for him,
And then, on the contrary, one draws in and accepts what is evil—
So, too, if one appoints the unfaithful to positions of responsibility.
One should depart far from the errors herein described.
As for such herein-described meritorious practices as the dhūtas,
One should bear them in mind, come to know them,
And also draw close to them all in one’s practice.
Regard all equally in one’s thoughts, speak equally to all,
Be uniformly equal in skillfully establishing others,
And also in influencing others to accord with what is right.
Thus, in relating to beings, one remains free of discrimination.
One acts for the sake of Dharma and not for the sake of benefit,
Acts for the sake of what is meritorious, not for the sake of fame.
One aspires to liberate beings from suffering,
And does not wish simply to bring about one’s own happiness.
With purposes kept to oneself, one seeks fruition in one’s works.
When the results of one’s merit-generating endeavors come forth,
Even then, one applies them to the ripening of the many.
Thus, in this, one relinquishes and abandons one’s own concerns.
One should grow close to good spiritual friends (kalyānamitra).
This refers to the masters of Dharma, to the Buddhas,
To those who encourage one to leave the home life,
And to that class of persons which comes begging for alms.
Those who ground themselves in worldly treatises,
Those who exclusively seek worldly wealth,
Those with faith and awareness in the Pratyekabuddha Vehicle,
And those who are devoted to the Hearer Vehicle—
As for these four types of unwholesome spiritual friends,
The bodhisattva should be aware of them.
There are moreover those things which one should strive to gain.
This refers specifically to four great treasuries:
The emergence of Buddhas; hearing the perfections explained;
Being able where a Dharma master dwells,
To behold him with unobstructed mind;
And being able to abide happily in a place of solitude.
Earth, water, fire, wind, empty space—
One should abide in a manner comparable to them.
In all places, one should remain uniformly equal to all
And bestow one’s benefit to all beings.
One should skillfully reflect upon the meanings
And should be diligent in generation of the dhāraṇīs.
In relating to those who listen to Dharma, one must not
Manifest any sort of obstruction of them.
In the midst of afflictions, one should be able to overcome them.
In minor matters, one is able to relinquish them without a trace.
In the eight circumstances involving indolence,
One should also in all cases cast it aside and cut it off.
One must not engage in covetousness for what is not one’s lot,
Unprincipled covetousness will not bring satisfaction.
The estranged should be influenced to come together
Regardless of whether or not they are one’s relations.
As for trying to get at emptiness itself in what is empty,
Those who are wise must not base their practice on that.
In the case of one determined to get at emptiness itself,
That wrong is even more extreme than viewing the body as a self.
From sweeping and maintaining floors to setting up adornments—
This as well as providing many sorts of drums and music—
Offering fragrances, flower garlands, and other sorts of offerings—
One should bestow all such sorts of offerings on the caityas.

One should create all sorts of lantern wheels
To make as offerings to the caityas and their buildings.
Provide then canopies as well as sandals,
Horse-drawn carriages, sedan chairs, and the like.
One should especially find delight and happiness in the Dharma
And be happy realizing what is gained through faith in Buddha.
One finds delight and enjoyment supplying and serving Sangha,
While also being pleased by listening to right Dharma.
They do not arise in the past.
They do not abide in the present.
They do not extend forward, thus arriving into the future.
One should contemplate dharmas in this way.
As for those things which are fine, one bestows them on beings
And does not seek that they will proffer fine rewards in return.
One should act so that only oneself is bound to endure suffering
And not favor oneself in the partaking of happiness.
Although one has become complete in rewards from great merit,
One’s mind is not raised up by it nor should one feel delighted.
Although one may be as poverty-stricken as a hungry ghost,
Still, one does not become dejected or overcome with distress.
If there be one already accomplished in study,
One should accord him the most ultimate honorific esteem.
Those who’ve not yet studied, one should cause to take up study.
One should not generate towards them any slighting or disdain.
To those perfect in moral prohibitions, one should be reverential.
Those who break precepts, one should cause to adopt precepts.
To those equipped with wisdom, one should draw close.
Those who act foolishly, one should influence to abide in wisdom.
The sufferings of cyclic existence are of many kinds,
Involving birth, aging, death, and the wretched destinies.
One should not be frightened by their fearsomeness,
But rather should overcome demons and knowledge rooted in evil.
In the lands of all the Buddhas,
One amasses every form of merit.
So that all will reach one of them for themselves,
One generates vows and proceeds with vigor.
In the midst of all dharmas, one is constant
In not seizing on them, thus coursing along in equanimity.
Proceeding in this manner, for the sake of all beings,
One accepts the burden, wishing to carry it on forth.

One abides in the right contemplation of all dharmas
Wherein there is no self and nothing belonging to a self.
Even so, one must not relinquish the great compassion
And must also avail oneself of the great loving-kindness.
As for that which is superior even to using every sort of gift
In making offerings to the Buddha, the World Honored One,
What sort of action might that be?
This refers specifically to making offerings of Dharma.
If one upholds the Bodhisattva Canon,
Even to the point of gaining realization of the dhāranīs—
If one enters into and reaches the bottom of Dharma’s source—
This is what constitutes the offering of Dharma.
One should rely upon the meaning.
One must not cherish only the various flavors.
In the Path of the profound Dharma
One enters skillfully and does not fall prey to negligence.
It is in this manner that one cultivates these provisions
Across the course of kalpas as numerous as the Ganges’ sands,
Doing so as a monastic as well as in the role of a householder,
Thus becoming bound to gain fulfillment of right enlightenment.
Translated into Chinese by the Great Sui Dynasty’s South Indian Tripitaka Master Dharmagupta (550?–619 ce). English Translation by Bhikshu Dharmamitra.
www.kalavinka.org ,
http://www.kalavinka.org/book_excerpts/Bsam-Vas_excerpts/Bsam-vas_X-102_Text-excerpt.pdf , http://www.fodian.net/world/1660.html