The Proper Dharma

What is the wish to cause the Proper Dharma to remain long in the world? Our World Honored One, for our sakes, cultivated the Bodhi Path for an infinite number of kalpas. He could practice what was difficult to practice and could endure what was difficult to endure. His causes were perfect, his results were complete; thus, he became a Buddha. After becoming a Buddha, he finished teaching those with whom he had affinities, and then he entered Nirvana.

The Proper Dharma Age and Dharma Semblance Age have already ended. Now we are in the Dharma Ending Age; there are teachings but no adherents. No one can distinguish the deviant from the proper; no one can tell right from wrong. We compete and struggle with each other. We pursue fame and fortune. Look around: the deluge has spread throughout the world.

No one knows who the Buddha is, what the Dharma means, or what constitutes the Sangha. The decay has reached such a perilous point that one can scarcely bear to speak of it. Every time I consider it, my tears fall without my realizing it. I am a disciple of the Buddha, yet I am unable to return the kindness that has been done for me. I do not benefit myself; I cannot benefit others. While alive, I am of no benefit to my time. After death, I will be of no benefit to posterity. Although the heavens are high, they cannot cover me. Although the earth is thick, it cannot bear me. If my own offenses are not extremely grave, then whose are?

My pain is, therefore, unbearable. I have no recourse but to immediately forget my baseness and quickly make the great resolve. Although I cannot reverse the fate of the Dharma's end in the present, I certainly must plan to protect and uphold the Proper Dharma in the future.

Therefore good friends, gather together at the Way Place, perform the Karmavachana, and establish Dharma assemblies. Make the forty-eight vows; make vow after vow to save living beings. Make a deep resolve that will last for hundreds of thousands of kalpas; in thought after thought, resolve to be a Buddha.

From this day to the end of future time, vow to return to the peace of the Pure Land at the end of every life, to ascend to the nine grades of lotuses, and to then come back to the Saha World. Make the Buddhas' sun gloriously shine once more. Open the gate of the Dharma again. Let the ocean of the Sangha be clear and pure in this world. The people of the East will be taught and the kalpa will be prolonged. The Proper Dharma will long continue. Such is the meager but genuine resolve I strive to fulfill.

This is the tenth cause and condition for making the resolve to attain Bodhi.


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