Are We In The ‘Beginning’ Pure, Impure… Or Both?

譬如销金矿, 金非销故有, 
虽复本来金, 终以销成就,
一成真金体, 不复重为矿。

— 释迦牟尼佛

For example, like smelting gold ore, the gold does not, with smelting thus exists. Although again with the original gold, in the end, it is with smelting accomplished. Once becoming true gold’s essence, not again becoming ore.

— Śākyamuni Buddha
(Complete Awakening Sūtra)

If we were already perfect in the beginning,
why are we this imperfect now?
With ‘original purity’,
how did we fall later?

If we were already imperfect in the beginning,
how can we become perfect later?
With ‘original impurities’,
how can we rise later?

If we are all along like gold ore in nature,
like pure gold but mixed with impurities,
‘originally pure’ yet mixed with the impure,
we can surely refine ourselves to attain purity.

We are with the beginningless ore of impurities
of greed, hatred and delusion,
but also with the beginningless pure gold of Buddha-nature,
the endless potential to realise our true nature with Buddhahood.


— 净土宗十三祖印光大师

For example, like ore and gold mixed, it is not in the beginning with all purely gold, later then giving rise to the ore. It must be known that although the gold is within the ore, the gold is still not the ore. With smelting of the ore to extract the gold, the ore will not be mixed with the gold.

— Pure Land Tradition’s 13th Patriarch Great Master Yìnguāng (Reply Letter To Xiāngyīn’s Layperson Huáng Sòngpíng’s Question)

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How Did We Fall?

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