In the language of India, Shila Samyukta Sutra.
In English, The Sutra on Being Endowed with Morality.
Homage to the Omniscient One.
Thus have I heard at one time.
The Lord was dwelling at Sravasti, in Anatha-pindada’s park in the Jetavana, together with a great bhikshu-sangha of twelve hundred and fifty monks.
Then the Lord addressed the bhikshus: “Bhikshus. Consciousness grows dim, life is cut off, this life’s formations are swept away; even the doctrine of the teacher will certainly be destroyed. Why then do you not practise with energy and steadfast diligence? A human body is very hard to acquire. If when you have obtained it, and have also obtained going-forth (ordination) into the Conqueror’s doctrine, which you have found through it, you are led astray by what is unconducive to the goal of liberation, undoubtedly you will suffer.
“Bhikshus, to separate from life and die is easy but to damage and break one’s morality is not. Why is this? By separating from life and dying, this life’s rebirth is finished; but through damaging and breaking one’s morality, for a hundred times a hundred thousand rebirths one will be parted from good birth, abandon happiness, and experience great calamity.
(1) “Therefore the Teacher speaks great praise of morality.
One with morality meets a buddha’s arising.
One with morality has the best of all ornaments.
One with morality is anointed with perfume.
(2) One with morality is the home of all joy.
Morality is cool water, removing distress.
One with morality is praised by all the world.
Those who are moral receive superior destinies.
(3) One with morality is unharmed by poisonous snakes,
Even the great black naga – why mention others?
A bhikshu with morality shines with light.
One with morality gains renown and happiness.
(4) Just as without eyes one cannot see forms,
Without morality, one cannot see the Dharma.
Legless, how can one follow a path? Just so,
Without morality one won’t reach liberation.
(5) Just like an excellent vase, a vessel of gems,
Morality is the base on which qualities grow.
Just as a broken vase is no good for gems,
With morality rent, all qualities fall away.
(6) If in the first place one is without morality,
Do you think he will gain nirvana from outside?
Someone whose nose is missing or mutilated,
For example, will not need a mirror.
(7) Though it is not heard by the ears or seen with the eyes,
People who guard the doctrine will go to good rebirth.
Who hear much, retain and protect it, good rebirth likewise.
(8) How is it proper to frequent women?
Where is there joy in a royal palace?
How can foam have any essence?
Where is there permanence in enjoyments?
(9) There is nothing proper in women.
In royalty there is no joy.
There is not an essence in foam.
There is no permanence in enjoyments.
(10) Enjoyments are like a rushing stream.
A mansion is as is a boat.
A visible form is like a flower.
Life is similar to a bubble.”
When the Lord had spoken these words, Upali and the other bhikshus rejoiced, and praised the Lord’s teaching.
© Nalanda Monastery (France)
Offered with kind permission.
Header image: Shakyamuni Buddha, also known as Gautama Buddha, lived around 566 to 485 BCE in central north India. More…