Bǎo Níngyǒng Chán Master’s Cautionary Text For Reading Sūtras 保宁勇禅师看经警文

Use the mind to see the sūtras.
To see the sūtras is to see the mind.

— Shilashanti

That method of reading sūtras, that younger students must know, is that they should purify their Three Karmas. If the Three Karmas are without deficiencies, then will the hundred blessings together be collected. Those Three Karmas, are of the body, speech and mind. (夫看经之法,后学须知,当净三业。若三业无亏,则百福俱集。三业者,身、口、意也。)

First, with the upright body rightly sitting, like facing the noble ones’ appearances, then is with body karma purified. Second, with speech without mixed words, severing all playing and laughing, then is with speech karma purified. Third, with the mind not scattered, restraining and ceasing the ten thousand conditions, then is with mind karma purified. (一、端身正坐,如对圣容,则身业净也。二、口无杂言,断诸嬉笑,则口业净也。三、意不散乱,屏息万缘,则意业净也。)

With the inner mind already tranquil, and the outer realm together renounced, then agreeing with and awakening to the true source, hopefully for complete study of the Dharma’s principles. This is so-called with the water clear is the gem bright, with the clouds dispersed is the moon bright. With the sūtras’ meanings’ ocean emerging from the bosom, and with wisdom’s summit congealing at the ears and eyes, for these to suddenly be so is not easy, truly not with small conditions. (内心既寂,外境俱捐,方契悟于真源,庶研穷于法理。可谓水澄珠莹,云散月明,义海涌于胸襟,智岳凝于耳目,辄莫容易,实非小缘。)

With the mind and realm both forgotten, oneself and others will together benefit. If able to do so, it is to truly repay the Buddha’s kindness. (心境双忘,自他俱利。若能如此,真报佛恩。)

Bǎo Níngyǒng Chán Master
(Buddhist Cautionary Teachings)
Translated by Shen Shi’an

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