The Enlightenment Sutra
I who would follow the Teachings of Buddha
Should concentrate earnestly morning and night
With resolve in my heart, on these Teachings the Buddha
Has given to free us from suffering’s grasp.
This is the first of the things to remember:
Throughout all the world there is nothing that’s permanent.
Even the Earth has the nature of transience.
Bodies are centers of sorrow and emptiness.
All of my parts are devoid of self,
Are dependent on causes and therefore impermanent,
Changing, decaying and out of control.
Expectations of permanence cause disappointment,
Forming attachments that lead to wrongdoing.
Observing the world in this light, may I daily
progress toward freedom from birth and from death.
This is the second thing I should remember:
Excessive desire only brings me to suffering.
Birth and death, sorrow and weariness all are from
Greedy attachment to things of this world.
But controlling desire cuts the root of unhappiness,
Leaving the body and mind to relax.
This is the third of the things to remember:
Insatiable cravings for things of this world
Only cause me to pile up more useless possessions,
Increasing my motives for sin and wrongdoing.
A seeker of freedom should let go of craving
And, seeing it’s uselessness, grow in contentment.
Rejecting life’s baubles and seeking the Way
I’ll concern myself only with gaining release.
This is the fourth of the things to remember:
My laziness leads to my own degradation.
I always should work just as hard as I can
Because only by this can I solve all my problems
And so be released from the things that bedevil me,
Finally escaping to Infinite Light.
This is the fifth of the things to remember:
The roots of unhappiness spring from my ignorance.
I who would follow the Buddha, remember to
Listen and read to develop my knowledge,
So as to aid other sufferers, hoping to
Bring sentient beings Nirvana’s release
And awaken them all to Enlightenment’s bliss.
This is the sixth of the things to remember:
Ill feeling is often occasioned by poverty
Leading to discord and further unhappiness.
Following Buddha’s example, I always should
Treat every being with love and respect.
Having malice toward none, I should dwell in contentment
And aid and encourage all beings to Peace.
This is the seventh thing I should remember:
The passions would lead me to sin and to sorrow,
But students of Dharma won’t drag themselves down
By relying on pleasure to bring themselves happiness.
Better to think of the monks in their robes,
Who are happy and free from the causes of misery.
Seeing the benefits brought by the Teachings,
I firmly resolve to attain to Enlightenment,
Being a better example to others,
In hopes that they also will gain this release.
This is the eighth of the things to remember:
The flames of existence are hard to escape from.
They bring us to pain and to sorrow unlimited.
Thus I resolve to awake from my slumber
And, feeling concern for all sentient beings,
Arouse in myself an intense dedication
Which lets me withstand all my pain with forbearance,
Avoiding taking it out on my neighbors
But helping them, too, to attain Perfect Peace.
These are the precepts that lead to enlightenment,
This is the path that was trod by the Buddhas,
The great Bodhisattvas and Buddha’s disciples.
The truths they remembered which brought them release.
I will follow them carefully, constantly try to
Develop compassion and wisdom together
To help me escape to the opposite shore
Whereupon, freed from suffering, I can return
To the realm of Samsara in comfort and joy,
Bringing freedom and peace to all sentient beings.
These statements are tools that will help me remember.
In order to follow the Teachings, I’ll always
Remember these eight ways of looking at life,
Gaining the wisdom and peace of Nirvana
For only by this will I always be free
From the wheel of rebirth with its pain and its sorrow,
At last and forever to finally find rest.