Summary of ‘Practices With Ten Great Obstacles’《十大碍行》纲要


— 净土宗九祖蕅益大师

Of Buddhas, Patriarchs, noble and virtuous ones, there are yet to be with those who did not practise with opposing situations as great furnaces and hearths.

— Pure Land Tradition’s 9th Patriarch Great Master Ǒuyì’ (Afterword On ‘Practices With Ten Great Obstacles’)

The following is a powerful set of teachings on thought transformation (转念) by Chán Master Miàoyè (妙叶禅师).

[1] First, being mindful of the body, not seeking to be without sickness… If the body is without sickness, thus will greedy desires then arise… If greedy desires arise, definitely will they lead to breaking of precepts and retrogression on the path… Recognising sicknesses’ causes and conditions, knowing that sicknesses are of the nature of emptiness, sicknesses will not be able to give rise to afflictions… With suffering of sickness, regard it as good medicine. (一、念身不求无病。… 身无病,则贪欲乃生。… 贪欲生,必破戒退道。… 识病因缘,知病性空,病不能恼。… 以病苦为良药。)

[2] Second, conducting oneself in society, not seeking to be without difficulties… If life is without difficulties, thus will arrogance and extravagance definitely arise… If arrogance and extravagance arise, one will definitely push around all others… Clearly understanding difficult situations, observing and experiencing difficulties to fundamentally be illusory, how are these difficulties also able to harm?… With misfortune and difficulties, regard them as liberation. (二、处世不求无难。… 世无难,则骄奢必起。… 骄奢起,必欺压一切。… 了难境界,体难本妄,难亦奚伤。… 以患难为解脱。)

[3] Third, examining the mind, not seeking to be without obstacles… If the mind is without obstacles, thus will that learnt skip necessary steps… If that learnt skipped necessary steps, definitely will that yet attained be said as attained… Understanding obstacles to be without roots, immediately will obstacles self-extinguish, with obstacles not experienced as obstacles… With obstacles, regard them as freedom without fetters. (三、究心不求无障。… 心无障,则所学躐等。… 学躐等,必未得谓得。… 解障无根,即障自寂,障不为碍。… 以障碍为逍遥。)

[4] Fourth, establishing practices, not seeking to be without the demonic… If practice is without demonic difficulties, thus will vows not be resolute… If vows are not resolute, definitely will that yet realised be said as realised… Realising demons are illusory, examining demons to be without roots, how are demons able to disturb?… With demonic hordes, regard them as Dharma companions. (四、立行不求无魔。… 行无魔,则誓愿不坚。… 愿不坚,必未证谓证。… 达魔妄有,究魔无根,魔何能娆。… 以群魔为法侣。)

[5] Fifth, planning matters, not seeking them to be easily accomplished… If matters are easily accomplished, thus will aspiration become slighting of others… If with aspiration that slights others, definitely will there be praise of oneself to possess capabilities… Considering matters that follow one’s wishes, as accomplishing of these matters accord with karma, these matters are not due to one’s capabilities alone… With matters’ difficulties, regard them as peace and bliss. (五、谋事不求易成。… 事易成,则志成轻慢。… 志轻慢,必称我有能。… 量事从心,成事随业,事不由能。… 以事难为安乐。)

[6] Sixth, in friendly relationships, not seeking to benefit oneself… If relationships benefit me, thus will there be loss of righteousness and justice… If losing righteousness and justice, definitely will there be seeing of others’ wrongs… Examining relationships to have causes, of relationships, they are difficult to forcibly seek, as relationships still rely upon conditions… With disadvantageous relationships, regard them as provisions. (六、交情不求益我。… 情益我,则亏失道义。… 亏道义,必见人之非。… 察情有因,于情难强,情乃依缘。… 以弊交为资粮。)

[7] Seventh, of people, not seeking the agreeable… If people are agreeable, thus will the mind within have self-boasting… If self-boasting, definitely will there be attachment to one’s ‘rightness’… Realise that of people conducting themselves in society, contemplate these people to be with illusory [good and bad] behaviour, that people are only for repayment [of their (past and present) kindness]… With opposing people, regard them as gardens [for planting seeds of meritorious virtues, by practising patience, understanding, forgiveness and such]. (七、于人不求顺适。… 人顺适,则内心自矜。… 内自矜,必执我之是。… 悟人处世,观人妄为,人但酬报。… 以逆人为园林。)

[8] Eighth, practising the virtue of generosity, not seeking or hoping for repayment… If with virtues, hoping for repayment, thus will the mind have that schemed after… If the mind has scheming, definitely will there be one’s ‘illustrious’ name desired to be praised… Clearly knowing that virtues are without self-nature, reflect that as virtues are not permanent, virtues are also not real… With the marketplace’s ‘virtues’ [for worldly benefits], regard them as thrown away shoes. (八、施德不求望报。… 德望报,则意有所图。… 意有图,必华名欲扬。… 明德无性,照德非常,德亦非实。… 以市德为弃屣。)

[9] Ninth, seeing benefits, not seeking receiving of them in part… If with benefits received in part, thus will the deluded mind definitely be moved… If the deluded mind moves, definitely will greed for evil benefits destroy oneself… Knowing worldly benefits are fundamentally empty, with desires for worldly benefits giving rise to afflictions, of these benefits, do not inappropriately seek them… With distancing from benefits, regard this as wealth and honour. (九、见利不求沾分。… 利沾分,则痴心必动。… 痴心动,必恶利毁己。… 世利本空,欲利生恼,利莫妄求。… 以疏远利为富贵。)

[10] Tenth, being hindered, not seeking to declare so… If hindered and declaring so, thus are others and self yet to be forgotten… If harbouring the mind of others and self, definitely will grudges and hatred breed… Receiving hindrances and able to endure them, with enduring of hindrances as humility, how can these hindrances harm me?… With receiving of hindrances, regard them as doors of practice. (十、被抑不求申明。… 抑申明,则人我未忘。… 存人我,必怨恨滋生。… 受抑能忍,忍抑为谦,抑何伤我。… 以受抑为行门。)


— 净土宗九祖蕅益大师

In the Buddha’s teachings on the Four Noble Truths, the truth of suffering is positioned first. Also called are the Eight Sufferings as our eight teachers.

— Pure Land Tradition’s 9th Patriarch Great Master Ǒuyì’ (Afterword On ‘Practices With Ten Great Obstacles’)

Related Article:

Complete Chinese-English Version With Notes

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