Bản dịch Anh: Letter to the Great King Kaniska by Matrceta (Maharajakaniskalekha).
Translated with an Introductions and Notes by Michael Hahn.
Bản dịch Anh, in trong: Invitation to Enlightenment :
1. Letter to the Great King Kaniska by Matrceta.
2. Letter to a Disciple by Candragomin.
Dharma Publishing. Berkely, C.A. USA. 1999
Lời Giới Thiệu của bản dịch Việt
Các sử gia Tây Tạng xem ngài Matrceta cũng là ngài Asvaghosa (Mã Minh), tác giả của Buddhacarita (Phật Sở Hạnh Tán) . Sử gia Tây Tạng Taranatha viết bộ sử vào đầu thế kỉ thứ bảy có tường thuật tiểu sử ngài Matrceta với rất nhiều chi tiết, trong đó có ghi : Durdharsakala = Sura = Asvaghosa (Mã Minh) = Matrceta = Pitrceta = Dharmika Subhuti = Maticitra. Ngoại trừ chi tiết Matrceta = Asvaghosa có ghi trong một tác phẩm của Atisa (thế kỉ thứ 11) , vị Thầy truyền Đạo Phật vào Tây Tạng giai đoạn thứ nhì, hiện chưa có thêm các bằng chứng về các ghi nhận tương đương trên về tên ngài Matrceta.(Dịch giả Michael Hahn viết năm 1999).
Ngài Matrceta theo ngoại đạo và trong một cuộc luận đạo cộng thi triển thần thông với ngài Aryadeva (Thánh Thiên), tại Nalanda , ngài Matrceta thua , nên ngài về với Phật Giáo. Ngài Matrceta có khoảng 15 tác phẩm , đa số chỉ còn trong bản dịch Tạng ngữ. Hai bản tán ca dài nhất và được phổ biến nhất vẫn còn trong Phạn ngữ
1. “The Rise of Understanding from Faith” (Prasadapratibhodbhava), gồm 153 kệ tụng
2. “Praise of the Praiseworthy” (Varnarhavarna), gồm 386 kệ tụng
Sự kết hợp tính đơn giản (simplicity) và tính thâm mật (profundity) là nguyên nhân làm cho danh tiếng ngài Matrceta là tác giả của các tán ca (stotrakara) tuyệt hảo ở xứ Ấn và bên ngoài xứ Ấn.
85 kệ tụng này, ở xứ Ấn , đã được học thuộc và tán tụng trong cả ngàn năm cho tới khi Hồi giáo cai trị xứ Ấn.
Đại Sư Matrceta của Ấn Độ (khoảng năm 200), được Hoàng Đế trẻ tuổi Kaniska mời đến Hoàng Cung giảng pháp . Ngài vì tuổi già, không đi được, nên viết một “Thư gửi Đại Hoàng Đế Kaniska “, gồm có 85 kệ tụng .
Đặng Hữu PhúcSydney, 19.06.2015
|Nguyên văn tiếng Anh:
For your own sake, keep around you good men
You should not allow
You should always get to know
Those who accomplish difficult tasks,
who turn you away from what is inappropriate,
these are friends,
relatives, and allies.
Others who follow you only in theit own interest
are nothing but very ordinary beings.
Please take to heart the words of a friend
who intends your benefit.
Even when not sweet to hear,
these words are useful, tender, and true.
But do not take to heart
the sweet words of wicked people,
which are harmful,
and neither tender nor true.
May you accept with an open heart
one who gives useful advice, even if wrathful,
but take no pleasure in one
who gives harmful advice,
even though full of praise.
Just as access to a crystal clear lake should be
easy for the king of geese and difficult for flood,
let access to you be easy for the good,
and difficult for the wicked.
Consider it more important to please the wise
than to strive for wealth;
in order to rejoice in virtues,
become insatiable for virtues.
In conducting your life,
whether enjoying yourself,
or feeling happy or sad,
or being engaged in ordinary or higher pursuits,
you should adhere to the good;
when you surround yourself with mindful friends,
you will remain alert and watchful.
O good monarch,
you will then be embraced by good fortune
as the sal tree is embraced by creepers.
You should bestow gifts upon those who are mild,
truthful, and especially worthy;
examine your desires without dwelling on them;
never use punishment.
But those who use deceit to cultivate quarrels and strife,
who look down upon the poor,
who do not delight in moral beings,
and who distract ascetics from their vows --
these four types of people are not desirable.
They destroy the root of moral behavior.
Take great care to ensure that such people
do not stay here in your realm.
You must see to it that there is no contempt or disdain
among the strong toward the weak ,
among the benefactors toward those
who have nothing to give,
among the honored toward the unworthy,
among intimate friends toward those they do not know,
or for anyone at all toward anyone.
Conducting all business with honesty,
may you regard everyone as equal.
See to it that everyone fulfills his own dharma,
and that all live according to the law.
May you make all happy,
even the disagreeable, if they are free from fault.
If you love your retinue
as a father loves his son,
your subjects will want to please you
as a son would please his father.
When the general populace is good - natured,
they will become what you intend;
when the people are bad- natured,
they will not become what you intend.
If you adopt good thoughts and views,
you will be lifted higher and higher,
but if you practice bad behavior,
you will fall lower and lower.
If you abide by good works,
all the people, whose lives depend upon you,
will follow you
as a flock follows its leader.
If you become duplicity,
and follow nothing but intrigue,
then all the people ,
the subjects who follow your example,
will be polluted.
Therefore, in order to protect yourself and others,
please apply yourself fully
and establish anew the declining
tradition of the ancient kings and seers.
From the practice of the ancient kings,
take whatever is good and put it into practice.
But whatever is not appropriate
you must revile and abandon.
Break the hold of former laws that were enacted in error,
even when they exist as of the old,
and make a new code of law
marked by the name of King Kaniska.
Your Majesty -- you who are like a god --
intent on virtue, practice only virtues, like a god.
Your Majesty -- you who are like a god --
as one who knows fault,
do only what is faultless, like a god.
Be like the waning moon,
and dim the hosts of evil;
be like the waxing moon,
and ever adorn yourself with virtues.
Like your father before you, wholeheartedly
rule the earth according to the law.
Like your fathers before you, increase
the ceremonies in the temples.
For the sake of (gaining) the matchless ladder
that leads to heaven and liberation ,
always gather together in the temples
the great works of art that merit produces.
Be apprehensive of old age and death.
Having enjoyed the glory of lawful sovereignty,
in your old age retire into a hermitage
and let your life become fruitful
through the teachings of the holy Dharma.
You who were born into the lineage of the Kusanas
and instructed according to the (teaching of the) self-arising Buddhas
must see to it that the religious system
of the solar race, your noble lineage,
does not degenerate
Given the absolute certainty that those who are born
will grow old, fall ill, and die,
of what use is it even to pray: “ May you not become old, not become sick, not die.”
Any life form whatsoever
by its very nature grows old and dies.
Gradual transformation is the nature of old age;
instantaneous destruction is the nature of death.
If people say, “May I not grow old,
not become sick, not die” --
since this world will be completely consumed by fire,
what choice is left but not to exist again at all?
Where is the place where nothing unpleasant?
Where will composite things not decay?
Where is the place of happiness alone?
Where can you go where you will not die?
Do not defilement and suffering
inevitably arise in the phenomenal world?
Therefore, noble one, meditate extensively
on the non-existence of phenomenal world.
This alone is what you should do here in samsara --
do not seek to do anything other than that.
Having done what you should do,
you will avoiding what you should not do.
While revolve in the circle of existence
again and again, like a rosary,
what have you not already done in the world
a hundred times, or even thousands ?
Believing that we have not done something,
we foolishly try again and again to do it.
Thus, since beginningless time,
we have not reversed direction up to now.
The Lord of Death, who is no man’s friend,
will descend upon you suddenly.
Therefore, with great effort turn to the holy Dharma
and do not say, “I will do it tomorrow.”
“ I will do this tomorrow, not today”
is not good for a man to say.
Without any doubt, that tomorrow will come
when you no longer exist.
When the heartless Lord of Death,
who destroys men’s powers without rhyme or reason,
approaches with the intent to kill,
what wise man can remain at ease?
Therefore, so long as that extremely impatient one
has not loosed that unbearable arrow
which cannot be avoided,
give heed to your own welfare.
When your former karma,
having brought forth its fruit, has abandoned you,
you will be dragged away by the Lord of Death,
bound to new karma.
Then all beings will turn away and
nothing at all will follow you,
save for your virtuous and evil actions.
Knowing this, conduct your life well.
Pray listen for a while to
my lamentation, which is overwhelmed by compassion
and soaked through and through
with the moisture of melancholy.
Unfortunate beings that have fallen low,
who are unprotected and blameless,
who live mostly on plain
grass, water, and fruit --
relying on truth, you yourself should say
whether it is right or wrong
for a king to kill or be involved in killing
birds, game, and cattle.
They say that you never become very angry
and that you forgive even those
who have done you harm.
Alas, who has obstructed
your compassion toward animals ?
Since you pardon those who harm you,
but put to death those who have done you no harm,
there are clearly two bases for
your kindness and unkindness.
When even someone in your position harms those
who have become a target
because of deeds committed in the past,
tell me, in whom will they take refuge ?
When others harm you
but still you offer your own hand to raise them up,
and then openly harm those to whom you give shelter --
has not the whole world turned dark ?
All beings take pleasure in being alive;
life is dear to all.
All are subject to death;
all are tormented by suffering.
Thus anything we do not want
leads to suffering,
What wise men would, like a smith,
put fire again on what is already burned ?
If you do not take pleasure in taking life
and turn away from pleasure in killing,
will your kingdom come to ruin ?
Tell me, what kind of custom is this killing?
If you, who are skilled in the use of weapons,
see with your own eyes what they can do in a battle,
why do you, at other times,
commit such harm against animals ?
You who have the eyes of a young deer
why do you not feel compassion
for the deer who are like your eyes
when they are wild-eyed with fright
How could you not rejoice
when you give joy even to the deer
who give pleasure to you
because their eyes are like your eyes ?
That they are all beings,
that their eyes are similar to yours,
that they live in a place where there is no protection --
these facts, even taken singly,
should be valid reasons for not killing deer.
I entreat you to act toward animals,
who are sorely troubled by sorrow,
with even greater compassion than
you have shown toward human beings.
I do not fold my hands
in order to ask for your protection, but
to make a request on behalf of the lives of others.
Therefore, with all respect, may you consider it well.
To refine your studies, begin with the main points --
this is known as the custom of the noble.
In light of this, I make my request to the king
as would a beloved son.
If I request what is not beneficial,
then sentence me to death !
But if I request only what has benefit,
then act in accord with my request.
If I have not displease you,
I would repeat my request again and again.
But if you scorn my words,
please ignore what I have said.
If you are pleased, then henceforth do not kill.
If you are displeased, may you have some misgivings.
Because doing harm like the sun is something
you simply cannot do, act like the moon,
O moon among kings !
O king, like honey from a thorny bush,
accept words well said even from an enemy,
but like a poisonous stream from the Golden Mountain,
reject the evil words of a congenial person.
Supreme among men,
if this royal splendor -- achieved
by practicing good works in former lives
and having the power to ward off the harm
enemies would do --
is ornamented by virtue in this life, then such glory,
even though intrinsically fickle and unreliable,
through being somehow linked to virtuous behavior,
cannot help but be faithful to you for a long time to come.
The “Letter to the Great King Kaniska” by Matrceta
is completed. It was translated by the Indian master Vidyakaraprabha and the great reviser and translator, the Venerable Rin-chen-mchog. Later it was corrected and edited by the teacher dPal-brtsegs.
Note from Đặng Hữu Phúc:
Long Thọ: Long Thụ = Long Thắng = Long Mãnh
Mã Minh: Aryasura = Aryashura = Asvaghosa = Matriceta, Patriceta, Matichita, Bhavideva
Bi : 1. Đau , khóc không có nước mắt gọi là bi .
Wise: 1. (of ideas, behaviour etc) : sensible ; based on reason and experience.
youth swelling with pride = sự kiêu hãnh nổ bùng bất thình lình của tuổi trẻ
Collins COBUILD English for Advanced Learners:
swell: 3. If you swell with a feeling, you are suddenly full of that feeling [Literary]* She could see her two sons swell wth pride.
Note for Stanza 30*: dwell on them /// dwell on s.t: think, speak or write about(s.t) for a long time .
Note for Stanza 33*: see to it : see to s.o/ s.t : do what is necessary about s.o/s.t
Dịch giả bản Anh : “great with regard power to bestow” = “benefactor” ; “one who has nothing to give” = “ a poor person”
Notes for stanza 47* from Michael Hahn
bSod nams las byung (Tibetan) literally means’ resulting from (religious) merit” . Here, however, we expect something like “producing religious merit”. Perhaps an ambiguous Skt. compound like *udbhutapunya, which can mean both “religious merit that has arisen” and “that by which religious merit has come into being”, account for the Tibetan wording.Notes for stanza 55* from Michael Hahn
bGyi ba, “what should be done, proper, appropriate, right.” Likewise, mi bgyi ba means “what should not be done, improper, inappropriate, wrong. The meaning of the second half of the stanza is simply: If one always does only the right things, one will automatically avoid doing anything wrong.