THE ENLIGHTENMENT SUTRA

PREACHED BY
GOTAMA BUDDHA

 

In so far as the Buddha's disciple, they should read day and night piously and earnestly the following eight precepts leading the followers of Mahayana Buddhism to attain the state of enlightenment:

 

FIRST ENLIGHTENMENT

Impermanence characterizes everything in the universe. Both dangerous and frail is the whole earth, subject to disintegration. The human body analyzed into four chief elements, inhere in sorrow and emptiness. The combination of the five elements of life impulse possesses no real ego. It is a law that all conditioned things arise and disappear. All is found to be in a state of change and decay. There is no control at all over the body and worldly objects. Consequently, the mind is the root of evil, while the attachment to worldly objects, the refuge of crimes or sins. Observing all phenomena from this angle, we shall bit by bit free ourselves from the suffering of birth and death.

 

SECOND ENLIGHTENMENT

Excessive desire begets suffering. The suffering of birth and death as well as the leading of a weary life are all caused by greed. Few desires along with no craving make our mind and body comfortable.

 

THIRD ENLIGHTENMENT

The insatiable ambitions seek only for acquisition, thus increasing sins. Those who practise the Bodhisattvaship will never do such things. They should bear contentment in mind, and endure poverty in following the Buddha's doctrine. They are looking for nothing but wisdom.

 

FOURTH ENLIGHTENMENT

Laziness degrades a man. One should always go ahead with all one's energy to acquire wisdom. Only by this means, one will destroy all evil of worries and overcome the four devils and put them under one's control, in order to get out of the prison from the five aggregates of life impulses and the suffering world.

 

FIFTH ENLIGHTENMENT

Ignorance constitutes the suffering of birth and death. Followers of the Bodhisattvaship must remember to store up knowledge by learning or listening, in order to develop their wisdom and prepare their eloquence for the spread of Buddhist scriptures to all beings, conferring on them the great happiness.

 

SIXTH ENLIGHTENMENT

The poor often foster hatred that keeps up everywhere bad term with others. In practicing charity, followers of the Bodhisattvaship should treat friend and foe alike, with the same degree of love, without malice whatsoever nor repugnant feeling towards the wicked persons.

 

SEVENTH ENLIGHTENMENT

The five passions fall into sins and woe though laymen should not taint with worldly pleasures, yet they have always to think of the three kinds of robes and tiled bowls as well as other instruments used by monks or bhikkhus. In case of the desire manifested by laymen to be bhikkhus, they must scrupulously observe the Buddhist scriptures and keep themselves pure from evil. Thus their perfect life may be known for a long time and far and wide. Besides, they will impart a deep compassion with every creature that suffers.

 

EIGHTH ENLIGHTENMENT

The wheel of birth and death are like the flame burning in the house. There are innumerable sufferings. First we have to dedicate ourselves to the service of mankind, then to suffer for their sake and finally to let them attain Nibbana, the ultimate state of supreme bliss.

 

These eight precepts are the way leading to the enlightenment for Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and followers of the Mahayana school. When one pursues the Buddhist scriptures with energy and perseverance, one can grow, for his own sake, in compassion and wisdom at the same time. Hence, one can get to the other side of the shore by taking the Buddha's ferryboat. Out of compassion, one may come down again and revolve, as one likes, in the wheel of birth and death with one aim and object to liberation of all beings.

 

These eight precepts give us the general idea to grasp the suffering of birth and death and abandon the five passions in order to cultivate our mind in attaining the Buddhist sainthood.

 

Should the Buddha's disciple read unremittingly the eight precepts mentioned above, they could get rid of countless sins so as to acquire transcendental wisdom and would soon achieve enlightenment. Consequently, they would be exempt from the suffering of rebirth and could stay always in the state of happiness.