HEEDFULNESS IN THE THOUGHT OF ENLIGHTENMENT
The son of the Conqueror, who has thus firmly laid hold of the Thought of Enlightenment, must constantly strive without slackening to observe the rule. If a work be undertaken in haste and without right reflection, one may well consider whether it should be done or no, oven though a vow have been made; but how should I delay in this work, which has been perpended by the Enlightened Ones, by their most sage Sons, and by me likewise according to the measure of my power? If I fulfil not my vow by deeds, I shall be false to all beings, and what a fate will be mine!
Even of a small matter it is said that he who gives not what he has purposed in thought to give becomes a tortured ghost; how, then, shall it be with him who proffers aloud and earnestly the gift of supreme happiness? I shall be false to all the world, and what a fate will be mine! Therefore I must heedfully fulfil my vow; if I labour not this very day, down, down I fall. Numberless are the Enlightened who have passed by in search of all living beings; and through my own fault I have not conic into their healing hands. If this day also I shall be as I have been again and again, misery, sickness, death, maiming, dismemberment, and the like will fall to my lot; and when shall I win that most rare boon, the coming of one of the Enlightened, faith, human birth, and fitness to labour in righteousness, a day of health with food and no vexations? Life is a brief instant, and plays us false; the body is like a thing held in precarious tenure. Truly with deeds such as mine have been I shall not again win human birth; and if I win it not, evil awaits me; whence should good come? Since I work not righteousness when I am able, how shall I do it when crazed by the pains of hell? I do no righteous work, and gather sin; the very name of good destiny is lost to me for millions of aeons. Therefore the Lord has said that human birth is exceedingly hard to win; hard as for a turtle to pass its neck into the hole of a yoke in the ocean.
I have found this most rare sphere of weal, I know not how; and shall I with open eyes suffer myself to be borne back to these hells? My thought cannot grasp it; like one who is driven mad by spells, I know not by whom I am crazed or who possesses me. My foes, Desire, Hate, and their kindred, are handless and footless, they are neither valiant nor cunning; how can they have enslaved me? But they dwell in my spirit, and there at their ease smite me. And withal I am not wroth with them; fie on my unseemly long-suffering! If all gods and mankind were my foes, they could not drag me to the fire of the hell Avīchī; but into this flame, at the touch whereof not even ashes would remain of Meru, these mighty enemies the Passions hurl me in an instant. No other foes have life so long as the beginningless, endless, everlasting life of my enemies the Passions. All beings may be turned by submission to kindness; but these Passions become all the more vexatious by my submission. Then whilst these everlasting foes, sole source of the birth of the floods of sorrow, are dwelling in my heart, how can I fearlessly rejoice in the life of the flesh? Whence can I have happiness, if these warders of the prison-house of existence, ay, these torturers of the damned in hell and elsewhere lodge in the house of my spirit, in the bower of my desire? Then I will not lay down my burden until these foes be smitten before my eyes. Men of lofty spirit are stirred to wrath against even a mean offender, and sleep not until they have smitten him. They rage in the forefront of battle, furious, heeding not the anguish of wounds from arrows and javelins, to strike fiercely at the poor creatures doomed by nature to death, and turn not away until they have fulfilled their purpose. How then, and for what reason, should I, who have set myself to strike down these natural foes, the constant causes of ail miseries, sink down in base despair, even for hundreds of disasters? Men bear on their limbs, like ornaments, meaningless scars gotten from their enemies; why should sufferings overcome me, who am labouring to accomplish a lofty end? Setting their thoughts upon their mere livelihood, fishers, Chaṇḍālas, husbandman, and the like bear the miseries of cold, heat, and the rest; why should not I suffer them for the weal of the world?
Ah, when I vowed to deliver all beings within the hounds of space in its ten points from the Passions, I myself had not won deliverance froth the Passions. Knowing not my now measure, I spoke like a madman.. Then I will never turn back from smiting the Passions. I will grapple with them, will wrathfully make war on them all except the passion that makes for the destruction of the Passions. Though my bowels ooze out and my head fall off, I will nowise abase myself before my foes the Passions. An enemy, though driven away, may establish himself in another spot, whence he may return with gathered powers; but such is not the way of the enemy Passion. Where can this dweller in my spirit go when I cast him out; where can he stand, to labour for my destruction? It is only that I fool that I am make no effort; the miserable Passions are to he overcome by the vision of wisdom. The Passions lie not in the objects of sense, nor in the sense-organs, nor between them, nor elsewhere; where do they lie? And yet they disturb the whole world.
They are but a phantom. Then cast away thy heart’s terror, and labour for wisdom; why shouldst thou vainly torture thyself in hell? Thus resolved, I will strive to fulfil the rule as it has been taught; how should he who needs medicine find healing, if he depart from the physician’s command?