To Benefit All Beings

Yutang Lin

To benefit all sentient beings is the ultimate goal,
Considering action or inaction along its guidance.
One phrase penetrates the entire Bodhisattva way;
In the Diamond Sutra a clear mirror hangs above.


Recently I have been translating the Diamond Sutra and my work on it, "Essential Principles of the Diamond Sutra," from Chinese into English. Therefore, I was reviewing the Sutra several times. One passage of the Diamond Sutra stood out to strike me as an echo of what I have said frequently in my works. It reads, "In order to benefit all sentient beings, a Bodhisattva should practice alms-giving in such a manner (meaning to act with a mind that is free from preoccupations.) The phrase "to benefit all sentient beings" was frequently used by me but I did not realize that it was already, word for word, stated in a Sutra. Furthermore, the Sutra explicitly points out that it is the goal of Bodhisattvas. Indeed this is the guideline for all considerations related to the whole Bodhisattva path. Whenever practitioners ponder on choices of action or inaction, they should carefully evaluate if the choice could really be in accordance with this goal. In case one lost sight of this goal, then it is often the case that a correct decision could hardly be reached.

Written in Chinese on February 2, 2003
Translated on February 3, 2003
El Cerrito, California

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