Translated by Upasaka Chu Chan (John Blofeld)
Key'ed in from hardcopy by TY with permission from publisher
    (Yan Boon Remembrance Commitee in Hong Kong)

Note: [] indicates comments by TY 


Jointly translated in the Later Han Dynasty by the monks
Kasyapa Matanga and Gobharana from Central India.

When the World Honored had become Enlightened, he 
reflected thus: "To abandon desire and rest in perfect
quietude is the greatest of victories.  To remain in a 
state of complete abstraction is to overcome the ways
of all the evil ones."  In the Royal Deer Park, he 
expounded the Doctrine of the Four Noble Truths, converting
Kaundinya and four others, and thus manifesting the fruit 
of the Way.  There were frequently monks who voiced their
doubts and asked the Buddha to resolve them, so the World
Honored taught and commanded them, until, one by one, they 
became Enlightened and, bringing their hands together in
respectful agreement, prepared to follow the sacred commands.

1. The Buddha said: "Those who, taking leave of their 
families and adopting the homeless life, know the nature
of their minds and reach to what is fundamental, thus 
breaking away (from the phenomenal and attaining to)
the unphenomenal, are called Sramanas.  They constantly 
observe the two hundred and fifty precepts, entering into 
and abiding in perfect quietude.  By working their way
through the four stages of progress, they become Arhans, who 
possess the powers of levitation and transformation, as 
well as the ability to prolong their lives for many aeons 
and to reside or move about anywhere in heaven or earth.  
Below them come the Anagamins, who at the end of a long life,
ascend in spirit to the nineteen heavens and become Arhats.  
Then come the Sakridagamins who must ascend one step and be 
reborn once more before becoming Arhans.  There are also the
Srota-apanas who cannot become Arhans until they have passed 
through nine more rounds of birth and death [original Chinese
text states seven, not nine].  One who has put an end to his 
longings and desires is like a man who, having no further 
use for his limbs (literal: having cut off his limbs), never 
uses them again."

2. The Sramana who, having left home, puts an end to his desires
and drives away his longings, knowing the source of his own mind, 
penetrates to the profound principles of Buddhahood.  He awakes 
to the non-phenomenal, clinging to nothing within and seeking 
for nothing from without.  His mind is not shackled with dogmas, 
nor is he enmeshed by karma.  Pondering nothing and doing nothing,
practising nothing and manifesting nothing, without passing through
all the successive stages, he (nevertheless) reaches the loftiest
of all.  This is what is meant by "The Way".

3. The Buddha said: "He who has shorn his locks and beard to 
become a Sramana and has accepted the Doctrine of the Way, 
abandons everything of worldly value and is satisfied by the
food he obtained by begging, eating but once a day.  If there
is a tree under which to rest, he desires nothing else.  
Longings and desires are what make men stupid and darken their 

4. The Buddha said: "There are ten things by which beings do
good and ten by which they do evil.  What are they?  Three are 
performed with the body, four with the mouth, and three with the
mind.  The (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.  These ten are not in 
keeping with the holy Way and are called the ten evil practices.
Putting a stop to all of them is called performing the ten 
virtuous practices."

5. The Buddha said: "If a man has all kinds of faults and does 
not regret them, in the space of a single heartbeat retribution 
will suddenly fall upon him and, as water returning to the sea,
will gradually become deeper and wider.  (But), if a man has 
faults and, becoming aware of them, changes for the better,
retribution will melt away into nothingness of its own accord,
as the danger of a fever gradually abates once perspiration
has set in.  

6.  The Buddha said: "If an evil man, on hearing of what is good,
comes and creates a disturbance, you should hold your peace. 
You must not angrily unbraid him; then he who has come to curse 
you will merely harm himself."

7. The Buddha said: "There was one who heard that I uphold the
Way and practise great benevolence and compassion.  On this account,
he came to sold me, but I remained silent and did not retort.  
When he had finished scolding me, I said: "Sir, if you treat
another with courtesy and he does not accept it, does not the
courtesy and he does not accept it, does not the courtesy rebound
to you?" He replied that it does and I continued: '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.
For a sound accords with the noise that produced it and the 
reflection accords with the form.  In the end there will be no
escape, so take care lest you do what is evil."

8. The Buddha said: "An evil man may wish to injure the
Virtuous Ones and, raising his head, spit towards heaven, but
the spittle, far from reaching heaven, will return and descend
upon himself.  An unruly wind may raise the dust, but the 
dust does not go elsewhere; it remains to contaminate the
wind.  Virtue cannot be destroyed, while evil inevitably 
destroys itself."

9.  The Buddha said: "Listen avidly to and cherish the Way.  The
Way will certainly be hard to reach.  Maintain your desire to
accept it humbly, for the Way is mighty indeed."

10. The Buddha said: "Observe those who bestow (knowledge of)
the Way.  To help them is a great joy and many blessings can
thus be obtained."  A Sramana asked: "Is there any limit to such
blessings?"  The Buddha replied: "They are like the fire of a 
torch from which hundreds and thousands of people light their
own torches.  The (resulting) light eats up the darkness and that
torch is the origin of it all.  Such is the nature of those 

11. The Buddha said: "To bestow food on a hundred bad men is not 
equal to bestowing food on one good one.  Bestowing food on a 
thousand good men is not equal to bestowing food on one who 
observes the five precepts.  Bestowing food on ten thousand who 
observe the five precepts is not equal to bestowing food on 
one Srota-apana.  Bestowing food on a million Srota-apanas is not 
equal to bestowing food on one Sakrdagamin.  Bestowing food on
ten million Sakrdagamins is not equal to bestowing food on one 
Anagamin.  Bestowing food on a hundred million Anagamins is not
equal to bestowing food on one Arhan.  Bestowing food on a 
thousand million Arhans is not equal to bestowing food on one 
Pratyeka Buddha.  Bestowing food on ten thousand million 
Pratyeka Buddhas is not equal to bestowing food on one of the 
Buddhas of the Triple World.  Bestowing food on a hundred 
thousand million Buddhas of the Triple World is not equal to 
bestowing food on one who ponders nothing, does nothing, 
practices nothing, and manifest nothing."

12. The Buddha said: "There are twenty things which are hard for
human beings:
"It is hard to practice charity when one is poor.
"It is hard to study the Way when occupying a position of great
"It is hard to surrender life at the approach of inevitable death.
"It is hard to get an opportunity of reading the sutras
"It is hard to be born directly into Buddhist surroundings
"It is hard to bear lust and desire (without yielding to them).
"It is hard to see something attractive without desiring it.  
"It is hard to hard to bear insult without making an angry reply.
"It is hard to have power and not to pay regard to it.
"It is hard to come into contact with things and yet remain 
unaffected by them
"It is hard to study widely and investigate everything thoroughly.
"It is hard to overcome selfishness and sloth.
"It is hard to avoid making light of not having studied (the Way)
"It is hard to keep the mind evenly balanced.
"It is hard to refrain from defining things as being something or 
not being something.
"It is hard to come into contact with clear perception (of the Way).
"It is hard to perceive one's own nature and (through such perception) 
to study the Way.
"It is hard to help others towards Enlightenment according to their 
various deeds.
"It is hard to see the end (of the Way) without being moved.
"It is hard to discard successfully (the shackles that bind us to
the wheel of life and death) as opportunities present themselves.

13. A Sramana asked the Buddha: "By what method can we attain the knowledge 
of how to put a stop to life (in the phenomental sphere) and come
in contact with the Way?" The Buddha answered: "By purifying the mind
preserving the will (to struggle onwards) you can come in contact 
with the Way just as, when a mirror is wiped, the dust falls off and 
the brightness remains.  By eliminating desires and seeking for nothing 
(else) you should be able to put a stop to life (in the phenomenal 

14. A Sramana asked the Buddha: "What is goodness and what is
greatness?" The Buddha replied: "To follow the Way and hold to what
is true is good.  When the will is in conformity with the Way, that
is greatness."

15. A Sramana asked the Buddha: "What is great power and what is 
the acme of brilliance?"  The Buddha answered: "To be able to bear
insult (without retort) implies great power.  He that does not cherish
cause for resentment, but remains calm and firm equally (under all
circumstances), and who bears all things without indulging in abuse 
will  certainly be honored by men.  The acme of brilliance is reached
when the mind is utterly purged of impurities and nothing false or 
foul remains (to besmirch) its purity.  When there is nothing, from
before the formation of heaven and earth until now or in any of the 
ten quarters of the universe which you have not seen, heard and 
understood; when you have attained to a knowledge of everything, that
may be called brilliance."

16. Men who cherish longings and desires are those who have not
perceived the Way.  Just as, if clear water be stirred up with the 
hand, none of those looking into it will perceive their reflections,
so men, in whose minds filth has been stirred up by longings and 
desires will not perceive the Way.  You Sramanas must abandon 
longings and desires.  When the filth of longing and desires has
been entirely cleared away, then only will you be able to perceive
the Way."

17.  The Buddha said: "With those who have perceived the Way, it is 
thus.  Just as, when one enters a dark house with a torch, the
darkness is dissipated and only light remains, so, by studing the
Way and perceiving the truth, ignorance is dissipated and insight 
remains forever."

18. The Buddha said: "My Doctrine implies thinking of that which
is beyond thought, performing that which is beyond performance, 
speaking of that which is beyond words and practising that which
is beyond practice.  Those who can come up to this, progress, while 
the stupid regress.  The way which can be express in words stops
short; there is nothing which can be grasped.  If you are wrong by
so much as the thousandth part of a hair, you will lose (the Way)
in a flash."

19. The Buddha said: "Regard heaven and earth and consider their 
impermanence.  Regard the world and consider its impermanence.  
Regard the spiritual awakening as Bodhi.  This sort of knowledge 
leads to speedy Enlightenment."

20. The Buddha said: "You should ponder on the fact that, though 
each of the four elements of which the body is made up has a name,
none of them (constitute any part of) the real self.  In fact, the
self is non-existant, like a mirage."

21. The Buddha said: "There are people who, following the dictates of 
their feelings and desires, seek to make a name or themselves, but, 
by the time that name resounds, they are already dead.  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.  
Just as burning incese, though others perceive its pleasant smell,
is itself being burnt up, so (desires) bring the danger of fire which
can burn up your bodies in their train.

22. The Buddha said: "Wealth and beauty, to a man who will not relinquish
them, are like a knife covered with honey which, even before he has 
had the pleasure of eating the honey, cuts the tongue of the child that 
licks it."

23. The Buddha said: "People who are tied to their wives, children, and
homes are worse off than prisoners.  A prisoner will be released sooner
or later, but wives and children have no thought of betaking themselves
off.  Why fear to rid yourselves immediately of the longing for 
physical beauty?  (Otherwise,) you are tamely submitting to the jaws
of a tiger and deliberately allowing yourselves to drown in the 
quicksand into which you have fallen, thus meriting the name of 'simple
fellows'.  If you can reach the point (of abandoning such things), you 
will rise from the dust and become Arhans.

24. The Buddha said: "Of all longings and desires, there is none stronger 
than sex.  Sex as a desire has no equal.  Rely on the (universal) Oneness.
No one under heaven is able to become a follower of the Way if he accepts

25. The Buddha said: "Those who (permit themselves) longings and desires
are like a man who walks in the teeth of the wind carrying a torch.  
Inevitably, his hands will be burnt.  

26. The gods bestowed the jade girl upon me, hoping to shake my 
determination.  I said, 'O skin bag, full of every kind of filth!
For what have you come here?  Go! I do not need you.'  Then the gods
payed me profound reverence and, as they asked me to expound the Way,
I enlightened them and they became Srota-apanas as a result."

27.  The Buddha said: "Those who follow the Way are like a piece of
wood in the water, which floats along, touching neither bank, and 
which is neither picked up by men, intercepted by the gods, hindered
by floating scum, nor rots upon the way.  I am prepared to undertake
that such a piece of wood will certainly reach the sea.  If those 
who study the Way are not misled by their feelings and desires, not
disburbed by any sort of depravity, and, if they earnestly advance 
towards the unphenomenal, I am prepared to undertake that they will 
certainly attain to the Way."

28. The Buddha said: "Be careful not to depend on your own intelligence--
it is not to be trusted.  Take care not to come in contact with physical
attractions-- such contacts result in calamities.  Only when you have
reached the stage of Arhan can you depend on your own intelligence."

29. The Buddha said: "Take care to avoid looking on the beauty of women and
do not converse with them.  If you do (have occasion to) converse with 
them, control the thoughts which run through your minds.  When I was a
Sramana and came in contact with the impure world, I was like the lotus 
which remains unsullied by the mud (from which it grows).  Think of old 
women as of you mothers, of those older than yourselves as of your elder
sisters, of those younger than yourselves as of your younger sisters, and 
of very young ones as your daughters.  Dwell on thoughts of Enlightenment
and banish all evil ones."

30. The Buddha said: "Those who follow the Way are like straw which must
be perserved from fire.  A follower of the Way who experience desire must
put a distance between himself and (object of his) desire."

31. The Buddha said: "There was one who indulged his sexual passions 
unceasingly but who wished, of his own accord, to put an end to his evil
actions, I said to him: "To put a stop to these evil actions will not be 
so good as to put a stop to (the root of the evil) in your mind.  The 
mind is like Kung Ts'ao.  If Kung Ts'ao desists, his followers will stop
also.  If mental depravities continues, what is the use of putting an 
end to evil actions?'  I then repeated this verse for him: 'Desire 
springs from your thoughts.  Thought springs from discernment (of matter).
When the two minds are both stilled, there is neither form nor action.'
I added that this verse was first spoken by Kasyapa Buddha".

32. The Buddha said: "The sorrows of men comes from their longings and 
desires.  Fear comes from these sorrows.  If freedom from desire is 
attained, what (cause for) grief and fear will remain?

33. The Buddha said: "Those who follow the Way are like one who has to 
fight ten thousand and who, putting on his armor, steps out of the gate.
His toughts may be timorous and his resolution weak, or he may (even) get
halfway to the battle-ground and then turn around and flee.  Again, he 
may join battle and be slain.  On the other hand, he may gain the victory
and return.  The Sramana who studies the Way must have a resolute mind
and zealously build up his courage, fearing nothing that lies before him
and destroying all demons (of temptation that stand in his way), that he 
may obtain the fruit (of diligently studing) the Way."

34.  One night, a Sramana was intoning "The Sutra of Teachings Bequeathed 
by Kasyapa Buddha."  The sound of his voice was mournful, for he though
repentantly of his back-slidings, born of desire.  The Buddha asked him: 
"What did you do before you became a monk?"  "I used to like playing the
lute," he replied.  "What happened," said the Buddha, "when you loosened
the strings?"  "They made no sound."  "And when you pulled them taut?" 
"The sounds were brief."  "And how was it when they were neither taut 
nor loose?"  "Then all the sounds were normal" replied the Sraman.  To this
the Buddha said, "It is the same with a Sraman studing the Way.  If his 
mind is properly adjusted, he can attain to it, but if he forces himself 
towards it, his mind will become weary and, on account of the weariness 
of his mind, his thoughts will become irritable.  With such irritable 
thoughts, his actions will retrogress and, with such retrogression, evil
will enter his mind.  But if he studies quietly and happily, he will not
lose the Way."

35.  The Buddha said: "If a man smelts iron until all impurities have been 
eliminated (before proceeding to) make implements with it, the implements
will be of fine quality.  If one who studies the Way first purges his heart
of all foul influences, his actions will then become pure."

36.  The Buddha said: 
"It is hard for one to leave the grosser forms of incarnation and be born 
a human being.
"It is hard for such a one to escape being a woman and be born a man.
"It is hard for such a one to be born with all his organs in perfect 
"It is hard for such a one to be born in China.
"It is hard for such a one to be born directly into Buddhist surroundings.
"It is hard for such a one to come in contact with the Way.
"It is hard for such a one to cultivate faith in his mind.
"It is hard for such a one to attain to the Bodhi-heart. 
"it is hard for such a one to attain to (the state where) nothing is 
practised and nothing manifested."

37. The Buddha said: "A desciple living thousands of miles away from me
will, if he constantly cherishes and ponders on my precepts, attain the
fruit (of studying) the Way: but one who is in immediate contact with me, 
though he sees me constantly, will ultimately fail to do so if he does not 
follow my precepts."

38. The Buddha said to a Sramana: "How long is the span of a man's life?" 
"It is but a few days," was the answer.  The Buddha said: "You have not 
understood," and asked another Sramana, who replied: "It is (like) the time
taken to eat(a single meal.")  To this the Buddha replied in the same way 
and asked a third: "How long is the span of a man's life?"  "It is (like)
the time taken by (single) breath," was the reply.  "Excellent," said the
Buddha, "You understand the Way."

39. The Buddha said: "Those who study the Way of the Buddha should believe
and follow all that is said by the Buddha.  Just as, when you eat honey
(you find that), every drop of it sweet, so it is with my words."

40. The Buddha said: "A Sramana studying the Way should not be as an ox 
turning the millstone which though it performs the necessary actions with 
its body, does not concentrate on them with its mind.  If the Way is followed
in the mind, of what use are actions?"

41. The Buddha said: "Those who follow the Way are like an ox bearing a 
heavy load and walking through deep mud.  It feels so weary that it does 
not dare to look to left or right and, only on emerging from the mud, can it 
revive itself by resting.  A Sramana should regard feelings and desires 
more seriously than (the ox regards) the mud.  Only by controlling his 
mind and thinking of the Way can he avoid sorrow."

42.  The Buddha said: "I look upon the state of kings and princes as upon
the dust which blows through a crack. I look upon ornaments of gold and 
jewels as upon rubble.  I look upon garments of finest silk as upon worn-
out rags.  I look upon a major chiliocosm as upon a small nut.  I look upon 
the Anavatapta as upon oil for smearing the feet.  (On the other hand), I 
look upon expedient methods (leading to the truth) as upon spending heaps of
jewels.  I look upon the supreme vehicle as upon a dream of abundant wealth.
I look upon the Buddha's Way as upon all the splendors which confront the
eye.  I look upon dhyana meditation as upon the pillar of Mount Sumeru.  I
look upon Nirvana as upon waking at daybreak from a night's sleep.  I look 
upon heresy erected as upon six dragons dancing.  I look upon the universal,
impartial attitude (of a Buddha) as upon the Absolute Reality.  I look upon
conversion (to the Way) as upon the changes undergone by a tree (due to the
action of the) four seasons."