Home » Features » The (Mind-Only) Verses By Forest Of Awakening Bodhisattva 觉林菩萨偈

心如工画师,
造种种五阴,
一切世间中,
无法而不造。

– 如来林菩萨
《华严经》夜摩宮菩萨说偈品第十六:唯心偈 [1]

[The] mind [is] like [a] painter,
[who] creates various kinds [of] Five Aggregates,
[of] all within [the] world,
without dharmas yet not created.

– Forest [Of] Thus Come [One] Bodhisattva
(Avataṃsaka Sūtra: Chapter 16
[On] Verses Spoken [By] Bodhisattvas [In] Yama Palace:
Verses [On] Mind-Only [1])

尔时,觉林菩萨,承佛威力,遍观十方,而说颂言:

At that time, Forest [Of] Awakening Bodhisattva, receiving [Śākyamuni] Buddha’s mighty [supernormal] power, contemplated everywhere [in the] ten directions, and spoke [these] verses:

譬如工画师,
分布诸彩色,
虚妄取异相,
大种无差别。

For example, [a] painter,
distributing many colours,
[with] delusion grasps [at their] different characteristics,
[although the] great seeds [i.e. Four Elements
of earth, water, fire and wind within are] without differences.

[Note 1: Various forms of the Four Elements (四大: 地水火风) are essentially without differences, as they are equally empty (空) of fixed characteristics in (i) time and (ii) space. They are (i) impermanent (无常) due to constant change, and thus (ii) unsubstantial (or without self-nature; 无我).]

大种中无色,
色中无大种,
亦不离大种,
而有色可得。

[The] great seeds within [are] without forms,
forms within [are] without [the] great seeds,
likewise not apart [from the] great seeds,
are [there] yet forms [that] can [be] attained.

[Note 2: Due to the same impermanence and unsubstantiality, within the Four Elements are no fixed forms (or colours), just as within forms are no fixed Four Elements. As the forms are of the Four Elements, not being separate, they are experienced together as one. This is so as ‘form is emptiness; emptiness is form.’ (色即是空;空即是色)]

心中无彩画,
彩画中无心,
然不离于心,
有彩画可得。

[The] mind within [is] without [the] coloured painting,
[the] coloured painting within [is] without [the] mind,
however, not apart from [the] mind,
is [there the] coloured painting [that] can [be] attained.

[Note 3: Within the mind are no permanent or substantial forms, just as within forms is no permanent or substantial mind. As the forms are mind-made, not being separate from the mind, they are experienced only by the mind.]

彼心恒不住,
无量难思议,
示现一切色,
各各不相知。

That mind eternally [does] nor abide [anywhere],
[with] immeasurable difficulty [to] conceive,
manifesting all forms,
[with] each not knowing one another.

[Note 4: As the mind is always functioning with change, it is able to create various forms experienced, even if without their interconnected nature known.]

譬如工画师,
不能知自心,
而由心故画,
诸法性如是。

For example, [like a] painter,
not able [to] know [one’s] own mind,
yet from [the] mind thus painting,
all dharmas’ [i.e. phenomena of mind and matter] nature [is] thus.

[Note 5: The mind of the deluded is still able to create and perceive everything with delusion.]

心如工画师,
能画诸世间,
五蕴悉从生,
无法而不造。

[The] mind [is] like [a] painter,
able [to] paint all worlds,
[the] Five Aggregates [of form, feeling, perception,
mental formation and consciousness] all from [it] arise,
without dharmas yet not created.

[Note 6: All mind and matter of unenlightened realms are thus created and sustained by the deluded mind.]

如心佛亦尔,
如佛众生然,
应知佛与心,
体性皆无尽。

[As] like [the] mind, [the] Buddhas [are] likewise thus,
[and] like [the] Buddhas, sentient beings [are] like them,
[it] should [be] known [that of the] Buddhas [and] minds,
[their] essential nature [are] all inexhaustible.

[Note 7: The essential nature of minds, Buddhas and sentient beings are without differences (心佛众生,三无差别) – as the True Mind (真心) or Buddha-nature (佛性) is that which Buddhas have realised, which sentient beings have too, but have yet to realise. This True Mind should not be confused with the deluded mind.]

若人知心行,
普造诸世间,
是人则见佛,
了佛真实性。

If [a] person knows [the] mind’s mental formations,
universally create everything [in the] world,
this person thus sees [the] Buddha,
[and] understands [the] Buddha’s True Nature.

[Note 8: Upon realisation of how the mind creates all, one will realise how the mind works fully, thus attaining Buddhahood, seeing what the Buddhas see. This is awakening to one’s True Mind.]

心不住于身,
身亦不住心,
而能作佛事,
自在未曾有。

[With the] mind not abiding upon [the] body,
[and the] body likewise not abiding [upon the] mind,
then [is a person] able [to] do [the] Buddhas’ practices,
[with] ease yet [to] have [i.e. unprecedented].

[Note 9: With realisation of one’s True Nature, there will be no abiding of the mind upon any one body, or of any one body upon the mind. Unconstrained by each other (i.e. mind and matter), thus able to accomplish what the Buddhas do, manifesting with great ease as needed in various manners to expound the Dharma, to deliver sentient beings.]

若人欲了知,
三世一切佛,
应观法界性,
一切唯心造。

If [a] person desires [to] understand fully,
[the] three periods’ [i.e. past, present and future (teachings of)] every Buddha,
[one] should contemplate [the] Dharma realm’s [i.e. universe] nature,
[to realise that] everything [is] only [by the] mind created.

[Note 10: The complete realisation of how all phenomena is created, sustained and transformed by the mind is the total comprehension of the essence of all Buddhas’ teachings. This last verse is also named the ‘Verse [For] Breaking [Free From] Hell’《破地狱偈》, as when hell-beings understand it, they are able to realise their great suffering to be mind-made, and with their minds repent sincerely, to depart from it. This set of verses are traditionally recited as the preamble (导言) of the Kṣitigarbha Sutra《地藏经》too, due to this association to him and liberation from hell.]

如心佛亦尔,
如佛众生然,
心佛及众生,
是三无差别。

– 如来林菩萨
《华严经》夜摩宮菩萨说偈品第十六:唯心偈 [2]

Like [the] mind, Buddhas [are] likewise thus,
like Buddhas, sentient beings [are] like them,
[as of the] mind, Buddhas and sentient beings,
these three [are] without differences [essentially].

– Forest [Of] Thus Come [One] Bodhisattva
(Avataṃsaka Sūtra: Chapter 16
[On] Verses Spoken [By] Bodhisattvas [In] Yama Palace:
Verses [On] Mind-Only [2])

觉林菩萨
Forest Of Awakening Bodhisattva
《华严经》夜摩宮中偈赞品第二十

(Avataṃsaka Sūtra: Chapter 20 [On] Verses [Of] Praise Within Yama Palace)

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