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The Precious Garland
 A Compendium of the Collections for Enlightenment
Chapter Three

by Nagarjuna
 

201 Great king, from the great scriptures
Of the Great Vehicle
How the marks of a Buddha
Arise from inconceivable merit.

202 The merit giving rise to all
Solitary Realizers, to Learners, and non-Learners,
And all the merit of the transient world
Is measureless like the universe itself.

203 Though such merit ten times extended
One hair-pore of a Buddha is achieved.
All the hair pores of a Buddha
Arise in just the same way.

204 Through multiplying by a hundred
The merit which produces
All hair-pores of a Buddha
One auspicious beauty is acquired.

205 O King, as much merit is required
For one auspicious beautiful feature,
So much is also required
For each up to the eightieth.

206 Through multiplying a hundred-fold
The collection of merit which achieves
The eighty auspicious beautiful features
One mark of a great being arises.

207 Through multiplying a thousand-fold
The extensive merit that is the cause
Of achieving the thirty signs
The hair-treasure like a full moon arises (This is a single hair, spiraling to the right, between the brows)

208 Through multiplying a hundred thousand-fold
The merit for the hair-treasure
A Protector?s crown protrusion
Is produced, imperceptible as it actually us.

209 Through increasing ten million times
A hundred thousand the merit
For the crown protrusion there comes
The excellence producing the euphony
Of a Buddha?s speech and its sixty qualities.(The chapter has an extra stanza, and Gyel-tsap does not comment on this stanza which also has an extra line)

209 Though such merit is measureless,
It is said for brevity to have a measure,
Just as [the merit of] the world is said
For brevity to be included in the ten directions.

210 When the causes of even the Form Body
Of a Buddha are as immeasurable
As the world, how then could the causes
Of the Truth Body be measured?

211 If the causes of all things are small
But they produce extensive effects,
The thought that the measureless causes of Buddhahood
Have measurable effects should be eliminated

212 The Form Body of a Buddha
Arises from the collections of merit.
The Truth Body, O King,
Arises from the collections of wisdom.

213 Thus these two collections
Are the causes of attaining Buddhahood,
So in sum always rely
Upon merit and wisdom.

214 Do not feel inadequate about this [accumulation]
Of merit to achieve enlightenment,
Since reasoning and scripture
Can restore one?s spirits.

215 Just as in all the directions
Space, earth, fire, and wind
Are without limit,
So suffering sentient beings are limitless.

216Through their compassion
Bodhisattvas are determined to lead
These limitless beings out of suffering
And establish themselves in Buddhahood.

217[Hence] whether sleeping or not sleeping,
After thoroughly assuming [such compassion]
Those who remain steadfast-
Even though they might not be meticulous-

218 Always accumulate merit as limitless as all sentient beings
Since sentient beings are limitless.
Know then that since [the causes] are limitless,
Limitless Buddhahood is not hard to attain.

219 [Bodhisattvas] stay for a limitless time [in the world];
For limitless embodied beings they seek
The limitless [good qualities of] enlightenment
And perform limitless virtuous actions.

220 Hence though enlightenment is limitless,
How could they not attain it
With these four limitless collections
Without being delayed for long?

221 The limitless collection of merit
And the limitless collections of wisdom
Eradicate just quickly
Physical and mental sufferings.

222 The physical sufferings of bad transmigrations
Such as hunger and thirst arise from ill deeds;
Bodhisattvas do not commit ill deeds,
And due to meritorious deeds do not have
Physical suffering in other lives.

223 The mental sufferings of desire, hatred, fear,
Lust, and so forth arise from obscuration.
Through knowing them to be baseless
They just quickly forsake mental suffering.

224 Since thus they are not greatly harmed
By physical and mental suffering,
Why should they be discouraged
Though they lead beings in all worlds?

225 It is hard to bear suffering even for a little,
What need is there to speak of doing for so long!
What could bring harm even over limitless time
To happy beings who have no suffering?

226 They have no physical suffering;
How could they have mental suffering?
Through their compassion they feel pain
For the world and so stay in it long. (This pain is a special form of virtue, and the word does not imply that it is unwanted)

227 Hence do not feel inadequate thinking,?Buddhahood is far away.?
Always strive at these [collections]
To remove defects and attain good qualities.

228 Realizing that desire, hatred, and obscuration
Are defects, forsake them completely.
Realizing that non-desire, non-hatred, and non-obscuration
Are good qualities, inculcate them with vigor.

229 Through desire one goes into a hungry ghost transmigration,
Through hatred one is impelled into a hell,
Through obscurations one mostly goes into an animal transmigration.
Through stopping these one becomes a god or a human.

230 Eliminating defects and acquiring good qualities
Are the practices of those seeking high status.
Thoroughly extinguishing conceptions through consciousness [of reality]
Is the practice of those seeking definite goodness.

231 You should respectfully and extensively construct
Images of Buddha, monuments (mchod rten, stupa), and temples
And provide residences,
Abundant riches, and so forth.

232 Please construct from all precious substances
Images of Buddha with fine proportions,
Well designed and sitting on lotuses,
Adorned with precious substances.

233 You should sustain with all endeavor
The excellent doctrine and the communities
Of monastics, and decorate monuments
With gold and jeweled friezes.

234 Revere the monuments
With gold and silver flowers,
Diamond, coral, pearls,
Emeralds, cat?s eye gems, and sapphires.

235 To revere propounders of doctrine
Is to do what pleases them-
[Offering] goods and services
And relying firmly on the doctrine. (The last line follows an alternative reading given by Gyel-tsap (43a.5); otherwise it is: ?And respectfully rely on them with the six practices,? the six most likely being those given in stanza 10-not drinking intoxicants, a good livelihood, non-harming, respectful giving, honoring the honorable, and love)

236 Listen to teachers with homage
And respect, serve, and pray to them.
Always respectfully revere
The other Bodhisattvas.

237 You should not respect, revere,
Or do homage to others, the Forders,
(These are non-Buddhist Tirthikas)
Because through that the ignorant
Would become enamored of the faulty.

238 You should make donations of pages and books
Of the word of the King of Subduers
And of the treatises (These are the treatises written by scholar-adepts to explain Buddha?s word) they gave rise to,
Along with their prerequisites, pens and ink.

239 As ways to increase wisdom,
Wherever is a school in the land
Provide for the livelihood of teachers
And give lands to them [for provision].

240 In order to alleviate the suffering
Of sentient beings-the old, young, and infirm-
You should establish through the estates [that you control]
Doctors and barbers throughout your country.

241 O One of Good Wisdom, please provide
Hostels, parks, dikes,
Ponds, rest-houses, water-vessels,
Beds, food, hay and wood.

242 Please establish rest-houses
In all towns, at temples, and in all cities
And provide water-vessels
On all arid roadways.

243 Always care compassionately
For the sick, the unprotected, those stricken
With suffering, the lowly, and the poor
And take special care to nourish them.

244 Until you have given to monastics and beggars
Seasonally-appropriate food and drink,
As well as produce, grain, and fruit,
You should not partake of them.

245 At the sites of water-vessels
Place shoes, umbrellas, water filters,
Tweezers for removing thorns,
Needles, thread, and fans.

246 Within vessels place the three medicinal fruits,
The three fever medicines, butter,
Honey, eye medicines, and antidotes to poison,
And write out mantras and prescriptions (Spells for relieving illness as well as the names and purposes of medicines are to be posted).

247 At the sites of the vessels place
Salves for the body, feet, and head,
As well as wool, stools (These are for children), gruel,
Jars [for getting water], cooking pots, axes, and so forth.

248 Please have small containers
In the shade filled with sesame,
Rice, grains, foods, molasses,
And suitable water.

249 At the openings of ant-hills
Please have trustworthy persons
Always put food, water,
Sugar, and piles of grain.

250 Before and after taking food
Always appropriately offer fare
To hungry ghosts, dogs,
Ants, birds, and so forth.

251 Provide extensive care
For the persecuted, the victims of crop failure
The stricken, those suffering contagion,
And for beings in conquered areas.

252 Provide stricken farmers
With seeds and sustenance.
Eliminate high taxes [levied by the previous monarch].
Reduce the tax-rate [on harvest].

253 Protect [the poor] from the pain of wanting [your wealth]
Set up no [new] tolls and reduce those [that are heavy]
Also free [traders from other areas] from the afflictions
That come from waiting at your door.

254 Eliminate robbers and thieves
In your own and others? countries.
Please set prices fairly
And keep profits level [even during scarcity].

255 You should know full well [the counsel]
That your ministers offer,
And should always enact is
If it nurses the world.

256 Just as you are intent on thinking
Of what could be done to help yourself,
So you should be intent on thinking
Of what could be done for others.

257 If only for a moment make yourself
Available for the use of others
Just as earth, water, fire, wind, medicine (sman: whether is to medicine itself or herbs in unclear),
And forests [are available to all].

258 Even during their seventh step
Merit measureless as the sky
Is generated in Bodhisattvas
Whose attitude is to give all wealth away.

259 If you give to those so seeking
Girls of beauty well adorned,
You will thereby attain
Thorough retention ( gzungs, dharani: special capacities to retain the words and meanings of doctrine)
of the excellent doctrine.

260 Formerly the Subduer provided
Along with every need and so forth
Eighty thousand girls
With al adornments.

261 Lovingly give to beggars
Various and glittering
Clothes, adornments, perfumes,
Garlands, and enjoyments.

262 If you provide [facilities]
For those most deprived who lack
The means [to study] the doctrine,
There is no greater gift than that.

263 Even give poison
To those whom it will help
But do not even give the best food
To those whom it will not help.

264 Just as it is said that it will help
To cut of a finger bitten by a snake,
So the Subduer says that if it helps others,
One should even bring [temporary] discomfort.

265 You should respect most highly
The excellent doctrine and its proponents.
You should listen reverently to the doctrine
And also impart it to others.

266 Take no pleasure in worldly talk;
Take delight in what passes beyond the world.

Cause good qualities to grow in others
In the same way [you wish them] for yourself.

267 Please do not be satisfied with doctrine heard,
But retain and discriminate meanings.
Please always be intent
On offering presents to teachers.

268 Do not recite [the books of] worldly Nihilists, and so forth.
Forsake debating in the interest of pride.
Do not praise your own good qualities.
Speak of the good qualities even of your foes.

269[When debating] do not attack quick.
Do not talk about others
With bad intent. Individually
Analyze your own mistakes yourself.

270 You should root out completely from yourself
The faults the wise decry in others.
And through your influence
Also others to do the same.

271 Considering the harm others do to you
As created by your former deeds, do not anger.
Act such that further suffering will not be created
And your own faults will disappear.

272 Without hope or reward
Provide help to others.
Bear suffering alone.
And share your pleasures with beggars.

273 Do not be inflated
Even with the prosperity of gods.
Do not be depressed
Even by the poverty of hungry ghosts.

274 For your sake always speak the truth.
Even should it cause your death
Or ruin your governance,
Do not speak in any other way.

275 Always observe discipline
Of actions just as it has been explained.
In that way, O glorious one, you will become
The best of authoritative beings upon the earth.

276 You should always analyze well
Everything before you act,
And through seeing things correctly as they are
Do not put full reliance on others.

277 Through these practices your realm will be happy,
A broad canopy of fame
Will rise in all directions,
And your officials will respect you fully.

278 The causes of death are many,
Those of staying alive are few,
These too can become causes of death,
Therefore always perform the practices.

279 If you always perform thus the practices
The mental happiness which arises
In the world and in yourself
Is the most favorable.

280 Through the practices you will sleep happily
And will awaken happily.
Because your inner nature will be without defect,
Even your dreams will be happy.

281 Intent on serving your parents,
Respectful to the principals of your lineage,
Using your resources well, patient, generous,
With kindly speech, without divisiveness, and truthful,

282 Through performing such discipline for one lifetime
You will become a monarch of gods
Whereupon even more so you will be a monarch of gods.
Therefore observe such practices.

283 Even three times a day to offer
Three hundred cooking pots of food
Does not match a portion of the merit
In one instant of love.

284 Though [through love] you are not liberated
You will attain the eight good qualities of love-
Gods and humans will be friendly,
Even [non-humans] will protect you,

285You will have mental pleasures and many [physical] pleasures,
Poison and weapons will not harm you,
Without striving you will attain your aims,
And be reborn in the world of Brahma.

286 If you cause sentient beings to generate
The altruistic aspiration to enlightenment and make it firm,
You will always attain an altruistic aspiration to enlightenment
Firm like the monarch of mountains

287 Through faith you will not be without leisure, (The eight conditions of non-leisure are:
1.    birth as a hell-being
2.    birth as a hungry ghost
3.   birth as an animal
4.   birth in an uncultured area
5.   possessing defective sense faculties
6.   Having wrong views
7.   birth as a god of long life
8.   Birth in an world system where a Buddha did not come)

Through good ethics you will move in good transmigrations,
Through becoming familiar with emptiness
You will attain detachment from al phenomena.

288 Through not wavering you will attain mindfulness,
Through thinking you will attain intelligence,
Through respect you will be endowed with realization of meaning,
Through guarding the doctrine you will become wise.

289 Through making the hearing and the giving
Of the doctrine be unobstructed
You will company with Buddhas
And will quickly attain you wishes

290 Through non-attachment you will achieve the meaning [of doctrines],
Through not being miserly your resources will increase,
Through not being proud you will become chief [of those respected],
Through enduring the doctrine you will attain retention.

291 Through giving the five essentials (Sugar/molasses, ghee, honey, sesame oil, and salt)
As well as non-fright to the frightened
You will not be harmed by any demons
And will become the best of the mighty.

292 Through offering series of lamps at monuments
And through offering lamps in dark places
As well as oil for them
You will attain the divine eye.

293 Through offering musical instruments and bells
For the worship of monuments
And through offering drums and trumpets
You will attain the divine ear.

294 And through not mentioning others? mistakes
And not talking of others? defective limbs
But protecting their minds
You will attain knowledge of others? minds.

295 Through giving shoes and conveyances,
Through serving the feeble,
And through providing teachers with transport
You will attain the skill to create magical emanations (The skill of reducing many emanations to one and vice versa, etc.)

296 Through acting for the doctrine, (Such as building temples and enduring difficulties for the sake of the doctrine)
Remembering books of doctrine and their meaning,
And through stainless giving of the doctrine
You will attain memory of your continuum of lives.

297 Through knowing thoroughly, correctly, and truly
That all phenomena lack inherent existence,
You will attain the sixth clairvoyance-
The excellent extinction of all contamination.

298 Through meditatively cultivating the wisdom of reality
Which is the same [for all phenomena] and is moistened with compassion
For the sake of liberating all sentient beings,
You will become a Conqueror endowed with all supreme aspects.

299 Through multitudes of pure wishes
Your Buddha Land will be purified.
Through offering gems to the Kings of Subduers
You will emit infinite light.

300 Therefore knowing the concordance
Of actions and their effects,
Always help beings in fact. (Gyel-tsap takes don tu (translated here as ?in fact?) as meaning ?for the purpose of helping yourself? which would repeat what is said in the final line of the stanza. Ajimitra more cogently interprets it as ?the causes should be achieved by ways of fact?. I assume that emphasis is being put on actually carrying out the practices)
Just that will help yourself.

The third chapter of the Precious Garland, A Compendium of the Collections for Enlightenment, is finished.
 
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