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From the Sutra of Forty-Two Sections


From the Sutra of Forty-Two Sections Spoken by the Buddha

Georgia O'Keefe. Pelvis. Mirrored.

The following points are culled and reworked from The Sutra of Forty-Two Sections Spoken by the Buddha.

It was translated by Kasyapa Matanga and Gobharana in the later Han Dynasty. Both monks were from Central India. Later it has been translated into English by John Blofeld (Hong Kong: Yan Boon Remembrance Commitee (Nd)).

Extracts from another version of the same sutra are found on a previous page in this section.


Try to experience the nature of your mind and reach to what is fundamental; work your way thus.


Who ponders nothing and does nothing, may reach the loftiest of all states.


Great evils performed with the body are killing, stealing and unchaste deeds; those with the mouth are duplicity, slandering, lying, and idle talk; those with the mind are covetousness, anger, and foolishness. Putting a stop to all of them is called performing the ten virtuous practices.


If a man has faults and, becoming aware of them, changes for the better, retribution (bad karma) may abate.


Hold your peace if an evil man comes and creates a disturbance. If you do not angrily upbraid him; he will merely harm himself.


There was one who came to scold me, but I remained silent and did not retort. When he had finished, I said: "Now you have just cursed me and I did not accept your curses, so the evil which you yourself did has now returned and fallen upon you. In the end there will be no escape, so take care not to do what is evil."


To help those who bestow the Way is a great joy and many blessings can thus be obtained.


To bestow food on a hundred bad men is not equal to bestowing food on one good one [not to speak of a Buddha].

It is great to give food to one who "ponders nothing, does nothing, practices nothing, and manifest nothing" someone on the Way.


It is hard to practice charity when one is poor.
Get an opportunity of reading the sutras.
Try to bear insult without making an angry reply.
It is hard to come into contact with things and yet remain unaffected by them.
It can be hard to investigate things thoroughly.
It is not always easy to keep the mind evenly balanced.


By purifying the mind and preserving the will you can come in contact with the Way.


To follow the Way and hold to what is true is good. When the will is in conformity with the Way, that is greatness.


To be able to bear insult (without retort) suggests great power.
One is to remain calm and firm under most circumstances, if not all of them. *
Brilliance is reached when the mind is pure and not defiled.


Those who can come up to practising that which is beyond practice, they progress.


Those who hunger for a name that shall long be remembered in the world and who do not study the Way strive vainly and struggle for empty forms.


Why fear to rid yourselves at once of the longing for physical beauty? Otherwise you are meriting the name of 'simple fellows'.


If those who study the Way are not misled, not disturbed, and earnestly advance towards the non-phenomenal, they will attain to the Way.


Be careful not to depend on your own intelligence - it is not to be trusted. Only when you have reached a high level within can you depend on your own intelligence.


One who has to fight ten thousand soldiers may join battle and be slain. On the other hand, he may gain the victory.


When the mind is properly adjusted to the Way, one can attain to it.
By forcing oneself the mind will become weary and perhaps irritable, even irresolute.
If a person studies quietly and happily, he should not lose the Way.


It is hard to be born with all one's organs in perfect condition and to come in contact with the Way.


Follow my precepts for things to turn out well.


One is to believe and follow the basics of what is presumably said by Buddha.


Someone studying the Way should not be as an ox turning the millstone. You need to focus your mind.


I look on expedient methods (leading to the truth) as on spending heaps of jewels. I look on the supreme vehicle as on a dream of abundant wealth. I look on the Buddha's Way as on all the splendours which confront the eye. I deeply regard dhyana meditation.

Sutra of Forty-Two Sections extracts, END MATTER

Sutra of Forty-Two Sections extracts, LITERATURE  

Gleaned from Kasyapa Matanga and Gobharan. The Sayings of the Buddha in Forty-Two Sections.

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