We’re publishing the full text of Won-Hyo’s Inspiring Yourself to Practice (Bal shim su haeng jang). Written in the seventh century in Korea, it consists of 706 Chinese characters. (The English version looks much longer!)
According to the anthology Admonitions to Beginners, printed by the Bureau of Education of the Jogye Order of Korean Buddhism, Inspiring Yourself to Practice is one of three staple texts for all aspiring monastics. “The text stresses the need to eliminated (sic) one’s karmic bond with the world and immediately begin practice.”
Inspiring is found in Admonitions to Beginners. Currently out-of-print, this edition needs editing and revising. The following is my rewording of the original English translation, which was produced by Mark Mueller and Won-Myong Sunim.
If you’d like to see a printing of the entire anthology Admonitions, please let us know. If there’s enough interest, maybe it could be published in the future.
INSPIRING YOURSELF TO PRACTICE by Won-Hyo Seunim
For countless eons all Buddhas residing in Nirvana
have discarded their desires and trained arduously.
From endless time sentient beings have cycled
within the burning house, having failed to discard desire.
The Pure Land is not blocked.
Yet few are those who enter;
most make their home among the three poisons.
Although the lower realms lack inherent power to seduce,
many enter therein.
The deluded mind values the five desires and the four elements
comprising the body as if they were jewels.
As this is the case, is there no one longing
to retire to the secluded mountains to practice the Way?
Enmeshed in desire, folks don’t go there.
Although you don’t take refuge in the mountains to cultivate your mind,
strive wholeheartedly to perform wholesome actions.
If you can renounce pleasure,
you will be as trusted and respected as the sages.
If you can undergo that which is difficult,
you will be as respected as the Buddha.
Those who greedily seek after things join the ranks of demons.
Those who give out of compassion are the disciples of the Dharma King.
(This post was also published on purelandway.wordpress.com: a blog specifically about Pure Land Buddhism)