Monday, December 21, 2015

Part 5 of The Treatise on Arousing Faith in the Great Vehicle.

Here's my translation of the concluding section of the Treatise on Arousing Faith of the Great Vehicle, most commonly known by D.T. Suzuki's rendering of the title as Discourse on The Awakening of Faith in the Mahayana .  Yoshito S. Hakeda's translation shortens the title to The Awakening of Faith.  The Sanskrit title is Mahayana-Sraddhotpada Shastra, and the Chinese title is 大乘起信論 Dàshéng Qǐxìn Lùn. 
This is from the Chinese translation attributed to Paramartha in Taisho Tripitaka Vol. 32, No. 1666. Parts One, Two, and Five are the shortest, Part Four is somewhat longer, and Part Three is the central and major Part of the Treatise, and itself is divided into three main sections.
Here at the end, the efficacy of the Buddha Dharma is praised and extolled.  I especially like the paragraph below that says to repudiate those who slander the teaching and have no faith does both harm to ourselves as well as to others. That they are without faith is already evidence of bearing the suffering arising as the fruits of their past karma.

Thus the Great Vehicle (Mahayana) is the secret treasury of the various Buddhas that I have already generally articulated.  If there are the multitude of beings who want, from the Tathagata’s profundity in the objective realm, to be able to give birth to correct faith, distancing themselves from repudiation, to enter the Way of the Great Vehicle, they should take hold of this treatise, deliberate on it, and regularly cultivate it. Ultimately they will be able to reach the Way of the unsurpassed.

If a person hears this Dharma and afterwards does not give birth to timidity, one should know this person will certainly hand down the Buddha-seed[1], and necessarily actually will receive the sign[2] of becoming one of the various Buddhas.   

Making the assumption that there is a person who is able to convert the multitude of beings within a full 1,000,000,000 worlds (tri-sahasra-mahā-sahasra-loka-dhātu) and decree they practice the ten excellences, still it is not equal to having a person for the time of one meal period correctly consider this Dharma. Going beyond the virtuous merit of the former, that can not even be a metaphor.

Next in reply, if a person receives and upholds this treatise, investigates, cultivates, and practices it, if for one day and one night, then actually there will be meritorious virtues immeasurable and infinite that are not even able to be articulated.  Suppose that by order of all of the various Buddhas of the ten directions, each and every one for immeasurable and infinite asamkheya aeons praised it’s virtuous merit, likewise they are not able to exhaust it.  Because why?  Because it designates the virtuous merit of the Dharma-nature that has no existing exhaustion. This person’s virtuous merit likewise repeats like this without having limits or boundaries.

That there are the multitude of beings who slander and are not faithful to what is in this treatise is actually their being seized by retribution for wrongs from past immeasurable aeons and their receiving great suffering and vexation. For this reason the multitude of beings still should revere faith and not respond by repudiation (apavāda), since that deeply harms oneself and likewise harms other people, and cuts off every seed of the Three Treasures. 

Because every Tathagata in each and every case by depending on this Dharma attains nirvana, and because every Bodhisattva by cultivation and practice of the primary causes enters the Buddha-knowledge (buddhajnana), one should know that past bodhisattvas have already depended on this Dharma to be able to accomplish pure faith, that present bodhisattvas now depend on this Dharma to be able to accomplish pure faith, and that future bodhisattvas will depend on this Dharma to be able to accomplish pure faith.  For this reason the multitude of beings should vigorously study and cultivate it.

The deeply profound and extensive Great Meaning of the various Buddhas I have now articulated according to my ability overall to uphold it, and I return this virtuous merit, like the Dharma-nature, for the universal benefit of everyone in the realm of the multitudes of beings.
~The one scroll of the Treatise on Arousing Faith of the Great Vehicle~

[1]  This recapitulates the continuity of the Buddha-seed as stated in the opening Adoration for assuring that the Buddha-seed is not cut off..
[2] The sign (vyākaraa) is the prediction of future Buddhahood.

Related posts on Arousing Faith of the Great Vehicle: On the title; Part One; Part Two; Part Three; Part Four; Part Five.

[This post first posted 12/21/2015 and updated 01/03/2016 Copyright (c) A. Gregory Wonderwheel 2015.]

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