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TWENTY DIFFICULTIES IN LIFE
Translated into Chinese by Kasyapa Matanga ( ? - 73, Eastern Han Dynasty)
and Dharmaratna (Years unknown, Eastern Han Dynasty)
English translation: Miao Guang

  1. It is difficult for the poor to practice generosity.
  2. It is difficult for the rich to learn the Way.
  3. It is difficult to guarantee death by giving up one’s life.
  4. It is difficult to come across Buddhist sutras.
  5. It is difficult to be reborn in Buddha’s time.
  6. It is difficult to resist lust and abstain from desire.
  7. It is difficult not to pursue what is desirable.
  8. It is difficult not to be angry when insulted.
  9. It is difficult not to lean on power that is accessible.
  10. It is difficult to tend to matters without intentions.
  11. It is difficult to be erudite and knowledgeable.
  12. It is difficult to eliminate pride.
  13. It is difficult not to belittle one’s juniors.
  14. It is difficult to be impartial.
  15. It is difficult not to gossip.
  16. It is difficult to encounter a virtuous company.
  17. It is difficult to see one’s true nature and learn the Way.
  18. It is difficult to deliver others according to circumstances.
  19. It is difficult to remain unmoved in situations.
  20. It is difficult to have right understanding and be skillful.


BE MINDFUL OF MY PRECEPTS

The Buddha said, “My disciples, as you depart and become thousands of miles away from me, be mindful of my precepts, and you shall attain enlightenment. To be beside me yet mindful of unwholesome thoughts, enlightenment will never be attainable. To be in my presence and yet not act accordingly with the precepts, what benefits would ten thousand precepts bring?”


PATIENCE IS THE GREATEST STRENGTH
English translation: John Balcom

What is the greatest strength? The patient are the most settled; they do not complain; they will certainly be honored among people.
── from Sishi Er Zhang Jing (Sutra of Forty-Two Sections)