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Asanga’s Chapter on Ethics – Issue 10

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Chapter on Ethics[1]

by Asaṅga[2]

 

(posted in 12 issues): Issue 10

If the bodhisattva deliberately discounts the person speaking doctrine and pays no respect to him, ridiculing him, making sarcastic remarks, and making his reference the letter rather than the meaning, then he is possessed of fault, possessed of contradiction; there is defiled fault.

If the bodhisattva maintaining the vow does not, because he has thoughts of enmity and resentment, minister to the needs of sentient beings, whether it be deciding what is to be done, being a travelling companion, employment in good business and work, guarding property, reconciling the divided, festivity and meritorious deeds, then he is pos­sessed of fault, possessed of contradiction; there is defiled fault. If he fails to render assistance out of laziness and indolence, the fault is not defiled.

If he is sick and incapacitated, there is no fault. If the seeker is ca­pable of doing it by himself, or if he already has some protector and recourse, there is no fault. If the deed is connected with some harm and unconnected with doctrine, there is no fault. If he desire to exert discipline by that means, there is no fault – and so forth, as before. If he is already promised to someone else, there is no fault. If he has en­trusted it to someone else who is capable, there is no fault. If he is continuing application in some wholesome direction, there is no fault. If he is dull-witted by nature and not qualified to impart the tradition, there is no fault, as before. If he desires to guard the thought of the majority, there is no fault. In keeping an internal rule of the communi­ty, there is no fault.

When the bodhisattva encounters someone stricken with illness, and with thoughts of enmity and resentment does not render service and attendance, he is possessed of fault, possessed of contradiction; there is defiled fault. If he fails to do so out of laziness and indolence, the fault is not defiled. If he himself is sick and incapacitated, there is no fault. If he has appointed someone else who is capable and conge­nial, there is no fault. If the patient already has a protector and recourse, there is no fault. If he has been stricken with a long-standing illness and is about to be healed, there is no fault. If he does not do so in order to guard against interference in some sublime, wholesome direction in which he has applied himself, there is no fault. If his wis­dom is too dull and he cannot properly expound the doctrine, nor pro­perly bear it in mind, nor settle his mind upon an image, there is no fault. If he is already promised to someone else, there is no fault.

Ministering to remove suffering in the suffering should be understood in the same way as nursing illness.

If the bodhisattva sees sentient beings proceeding in a manner not conducive to present and future welfare, and with thoughts of enmity and resentment does not point out to them what is relevant, what is conducive, then he is faulted, he is contradicted; there is defiled fault. If he fails to teach them out of laziness and indolence, the fault is not defiled. If he himself, not knowing, is incapable, there is no fault. If he has entrusted it to someone else who is capable, there is no fault. If the other is capable, there is no fault. If he is associated with ano­ther spiritual adviser, there is no fault. If he desires to exert discipline by that means, there is no fault, and so forth as before. If the one to be taught with relevance has a thought of enmity, if he misconstrues out of obduracy, if he has a wild nature with no respect or affection, there is no fault.

If the bodhisattva is ungrateful to sentient beings who have helped him, if he has no feeling for the deed and with a thought of en­mity fails to return the favor with proportionate assistance, then he is possessed of fault, possessed of contradiction; there is defiled fault. If he fails to do so out of laziness and indolence, the fault is not defil­ed. If, while conscientious, he is unable, incapable, there is no fault. If he desires to exert discipline by that means, there is no fault, as before. If the object does not want assistance in return, there is no fault.

If the bodhisattva with a thought of enmity does not relieve sorrow that has developed in sentient beings who have suffered a cala­mity having to do with relatives or property, then he is possessed of fault, possessed of contradiction; there is defiled fault. If he fails to re­lieve it out of laziness and indolence, the fault is not defiled. The cases without fault should be understood as before, in the case of not minis­tering to needs.

If the bodhisattva, with thoughts of enmity and resentment, does not give requisites such as food and drink when they are begged for correctly by those who seek food, drink, and the like, then he is possessed of fault, possessed of contradiction; there is defiled fault. If he fails to give out of laziness, indolence, and carelessness, the fault is not defiled. If the goods do not exist in his possession, there is no fault. If something improper and unsuitable is being begged, there is no fault. If he desires to tame and to discipline by that means, there is no fault, as before. In guarding against an offense to the king, there is no fault. In keeping an internal rule of the community, there is no fault.

If the bodhisattva, having drawn a following does not, with a thought of enmity, advise them well and instruct them well from time to time, and does not search out, from faithful Brahmans and householders, requisite robes, food, bed and bedding, and medicinal drugs for those of them who are destitute, then he is possessed of fault, possessed of contradiction; there is defiled fault. Failing to advise and instruct, and failing to search out [requisites] out of laziness, indolence, or carelessness, the fault is not defiled. In desiring to tame and to dis­cipline by that means, there is no fault, as before. In keeping an inter­nal rule of the community, there is no fault. If he is sick and incapaci­tated, there is no fault. If he has entrusted it to someone else who is capable, there is no fault. If his following possesses great merit, or he knows it is capable of searching out its own robes and so forth, and he has already done the advising and instruction with which they should be advised and instructed, there is no fault. In the case of some­one who was previously a tīrthika and has come as a Dharma thief, who has a nature which there is no opportunity to tame, there is no fault.

If the bodhisattva, with a thought of enmity, fails to comply with the expectations of others, then he is possessed of fault, possessed of contradiction; there is defiled fault. If he does not comply out of laziness, indolence, and carelessness, the fault is not defiled. If any wish of others would be unsuitable, there is no fault. If he is sick and inca­pacitated, there is no fault. If he is keeping an internal rule of the community, there is no fault. If his wish is suitable, but it is not the wish of, and does not suit the majority, there is no fault. If [it is done] to suppress tīrthikas, there is no fault. If he desires to tame and to dis­cipline by that means, there is no fault, as before.

If the bodhisattva, with a thought of enmity, does not mention and speak genuine praise of the genuine good qualities of others, nor give a “Well done!” to what has been well spoken, then he is possessed of fault, possessed of contradiction; there is defiled fault. If he fails to speak so out of laziness, indolence, and carelessness, the fault is not defiled. If he judges that [the other] is by nature unprepossessing and complies with him, there is no fault. If he desires to tame and to disci­pline by that means, there is no fault, as before. In keeping an internal rule of the community, there is no fault. If he suspects that upon that basis defilement in general, self-conceit, arrogance, and harm would re­sult, and [does not speak] to avoid it, there is no fault. If the qualities are artificial qualities and not genuine, and the good speech is not a genuine good speech, there is no fault. In [not speaking] to suppress tīrthikas, there is no fault. If he be awaiting the final outcome of the narration, there is no fault.

If the bodhisattva, in regard to sentient beings who deserve to be rebuked, who deserve punishment, and who deserve banishment, with a defiled thought fails to rebuke them, or rebukes them but fails to correct them with an act of punishment, or corrects them but fails to banish them, then he is possessed of fault, possessed of contradiction; there is defiled fault. If he fails out of laziness, indolence, and careless­ness to rebuke, punish, and banish them, the fault is not defiled. In neglecting someone whose nature is corrigible – who is closed to discus­sion and obdurate, who has a great share of enmity – there is no fault. In awaiting the proper time, there is no fault. If he foresees conflict, caviling, fighting, and disputation on that basis, there is no fault. If those sentient beings, being free from pretense and endowed with an intense sense of shame as well as embarrassment, will comply as soon as possible, there is no fault.

(Issue 11)

 

  1. Asanga’s Chapter on Ethics with the Commentary of Tsong-Kha-Pa, The basic path to awakening, The complete Bodhisattva. Published by Edwin Mellen, USA, Canada © Mark Tatz 1986. ISBN 0 -88946-054-X. The Commentaries by Tsong-kha-pa and not included in the www.dailytheosophy.net online version. [<<]
  2. More information about Asaṅga or Aryāsaṅga, the true one who lived some centuries BCE according to H.P. Blavatsky, see EDITORIAL 15c: Confusions about Buddhism and Theosophy [<<]
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