Guide The Sutra of the Forty-Two Sections & The Lotus Sutra

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The link with the ancestors and the Awakened
  2. Sutra in Forty-two Sections--Contents
  3. The opening salutations: taking refuge
  4. Sutra of Forty-two Chapters

It is difficult to gain an insight into the nature of being and to practice the Way; It is difficult to follow the steps of a savior; It is difficult to be always the master of oneself; It is difficult to understand thoroughly the Ways of Buddha. A monk asked the Buddha: "Under what conditions is it possible to come to the knowledge of the past and to understand the most supreme Way?


It is like polishing a mirror, which becomes bright when the dust is removed. Remove your passions and have no hankering, and the past will be revealed unto you. A monk asked the Buddha, "What is good, and what is great? Great is the heart that is in accord with the Way. A monk asked the Buddha: "What is most powerful, and what is most illuminating? As it is free from evils, it is sure to be honored by all.

Sutra in Forty-two Sections--Contents

The Buddha said, "Those who have passions are never able to perceive the Way; for it is like stirring up clear water with hands; people may come there wishing to find a reflection of their faces, which, however, they will never see. A mind troubled and vexed with the passions is impure, and on that account it never sees the Way. O monks, do away with passions. When the dirt of passion is removed the Way will manifest itself.

The Buddha said: "Seeing the Way is like going into a dark room with a torch; the darkness instantly departs, while the light alone remains. When the Way is attained and the truth is seen, ignorance vanishes and enlightenment abides forever. The Buddha said, "My doctrine is to think the thought that is unthinkable, to practice the deed that is not-doing, to speak the speech that is inexpressible, and to be trained in the discipline that is beyond discipline.

Those who understand this are near, those who are confused are far. The way is beyond words and expressions, is bound by nothing earthly. Lose sight of it to an inch, or miss it for a moment, and we are away from it forevermore. The Buddha said: "Look up to heaven and down on earth, and they will remind you of their impermanency. Look about the world, and it will remind you of its impermanency. But when you gain spiritual enlightenment, you shall then find wisdom.

The knowledge thus attained leads you anon to the Way. The Buddha said, "You should think of the four elements of which the body is composed. Each of them has its own name, and there is no such thing there known as ego. As there is really no ego, it is like unto a mirage. The Buddha said: "Moved by their selfish desires, people seek after fame and glory. But when they have acquired it, they are already stricken in years. If you hanker after worldly fame and practice not the Way, your labors are wrongfully applied and your energy is wasted. It is like unto burning an incense stick.

The opening salutations: taking refuge

However much its pleasing odor be admired, the fire that consumes is steadily burning up the stick. The Buddha said: "People cleave to their worldly possessions and selfish passions so blindly as to sacrifice their own lives for them. They are like a child who tries to eat a little honey smeared on the edge of a knife. They amount is by no means sufficient to appease his appetite, but he runs the risk of wounding his tongue. The Buddha said: "Men are tied up to their families and possessions more helplessly than in a prison.

There is an occasion for the prisoner to be released, but householders entertain no desire to be relieved from the ties of family. Even into the maws of a tiger will he jump. Those who are drowned in the filth of passion are called ignorant. Those who overcome it are saintly Arhats. The Buddha said: "There is nothing like lust.

Lust may be said to be the most powerful passion. Fortunately, we have but one thing, which is more powerful. If the thirst for truth were weaker than passion, how many of us in the world would be able to follow the way of righteousness? The Buddha said: "Men who are addicted to the passions are like the torch-carrier running against the wind; his hands are sure to be burned.

The Lord of Heaven offered a beautiful fairy to the Buddha, desiring to tempt him to the evil path. But the Buddha said, "Be gone.

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What use have I for the leather bag filled with filth which you have brought to me? The Buddha said: "Those who are following the Way should behave like a piece of timber which is drifting along a stream. If the log is neither held by the banks, nor seized by men, nor obstructed by the gods, nor kept in the whirlpool, nor itself goes to decay, I assure you that this log will finally reach the ocean.

If monks walking on the Way are neither tempted by the passions, nor led astray by some evil influences, but steadily pursue their course for Nirvana, I assure you that these monks will finally attain enlightenment. The Buddha said: "Rely not upon you own will. Your own will is not trustworthy. Guard yourselves against sensualism, for it surely leads to the path of evil. Your own will becomes trustworthy only when you have attained Arhat-ship. The Buddha said: "O monks, you should not see women.

In the world of sin, I must behave myself like unto the lotus flower whose purity is not defiled by the mud. Old ones I will treat as my mother; elderly ones as elder sisters; younger ones as younger sisters; and little ones as daughters.

Sound Of Mystic Law: Lotus Sutra

The Buddha said: "Those who walk in the way should avoid sensualism as those who carry hay would avoid coming near the fire. The Buddha said: "There was once a man who, being in despair over his inability to control his passions, wished to mutilate himself. The mind is lord. When the lord himself is calmed the servants will of themselves be yielding.

If your mind is not cleansed of evil passions, what avails it to mutilate yourself? The Buddha said: "From the passions arise worry, and from worry arises fear. Away with the passions, and no fear, no worry. The Buddha said: "Those who follow the way are like unto warriors who fight single handed with a multitude of foes.

They may all go out of the fort in full armor; but among them are some who are faint-hearted, and some who go halfway and beat a retreat, and some who are killed in the affray and some who come home victorious. O monks, if you desire to attain enlightenment, you should steadily walk in your Way, with a resolute heart, with courage, and should be fearless in whatever environment you may happen to be, and destroy every evil influence that you may come across; for thus you shall reach the goal.

His tone was so mournful, and his voice so fainting, as if he were doing out of existence. The Buddha asked the monk, "What was your occupation before you became a homeless monk?

The Sutra in Forty-two Sections Spoken by the Buddha

When the mind is properly adjusted and quietly applied, the Way is attainable; but when you are too fervently bent on it, your body grows tired; and when your body is tired, your spirit becomes weary; when your spirit is weary, your discipline will relax; and with the relaxation of discipline there follows many an evil. Therefore be calm and pure, and the Way will be gained.

The Buddha said: "When a man makes utensils out of a metal which has been thoroughly cleansed of dross, the utensils will be excellent. You monks, who wish to follow the Way, make your own hearts clean from the dirt of evil passion, and your conduct will be unimpeachable. Those who try to strike at the expounders of the Dharma through their weaknesses shall never be able to do so.

Iti me iti me iti me iti me iti me nime nime nime nime nime ruhe ruhe ruhe ruhe stuhe stuhe stuhe stuhe stuhe.

Sutra of Forty-two Chapters

Consider the transgression of parricide, Of pressing sesame mixed with impurities, Of cheating people with scales; Consider the transgression committed by Devadatta Who divided the sangha. Those who slander this expounder of the Dharma Shall suffer consequences such as these.

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We also want to protect those who preserve, recite, and practice this sutra, and cause them to live at ease, rid them of their weighty cares, and drive out various poisons.