The Eight Guidelines
"If a person wants to have far-reaching achievement, he must first cultivate virtue, and only then apply himself to literature and art." Under the Venerable Master's standards, even if one possesses linguistic skills and is intelligent enough to understand the Master's explanations, one still can't be considered a well-rounded translator. The Master set down the Eight Guidelines for the Translation of Buddhist Texts. If translators can actually follow these guidelines, they will be endowed with noble integrity. All those involved in the work of translation should honor these rules.
The Eight Guidelines for the Translation of Buddhist Texts are:
- A translator must free him/herself from motives of personal fame and reputation.
- A translator must cultivate a sincere and reverent attitude that is free from arrogance and conceit.
- A translator must refrain from aggrandizing his/her work and denigrating that of others.
- A translator must not establish him/herself as the standard of correctness and suppress the work of others with his/her fault-finding.
- A translator must take the Buddha-mind as his/her own mind.
- A translator must use the wisdom of Dharma-Selecting Vision to determine true principles.
- A translator must request Virtuous Elders of the ten directions to certify his/her translations.
- A translator must endeavor to propagate the teachings by printing Sutras, Shastra texts, Vinaya texts, and other Buddhist texts when the translations are certified as being correct.
From these Eight Guidelines, we can see that every person who takes part in the translation work must be broad-minded and of lofty integrity. Only then will he or she be able to take on this sacred work. The Venerable Master exhorted those doing the translation work with the following words:
- The measure of our minds should encompass all of space and pervade worlds as numerous as grains of sand, excluding nothing and including everything. If you have doubts, bring them up. If you feel that a certain point is correct, you can explain your reason. Everyone is here to discuss and investigate together. We don't need to argue. It's not a case of one person winning and another losing. No one wins and no one loses. At all times, everyone is level and equal. United and equal, we advance together.