A Foundational Text: The Woe and Weal of the Faithful Sutra


Swirling around in a cauldron 
Filled with lust, avarice and vice,
Fools indulge in the forbidden
Fruit of loot and cruelty and wrath,
They bathe their hearts in evil which
Paves the way to pain and torment,
And so the tree of sin takes root,
Watered by greed and fed by hate,
Growing tall under glooming clouds,
Woeful decay is its blossom
And infernal rebirth the fruit!


Life is fleeting and passes quickly. The Ancient Sages say that: “Centuries old trees are common but centenarians on the street are a rare sight indeed.”

Therefore, it is very important to have proper views to act as a guiding foundation. Our actions and the attendant karma piles up quickly and will decide our lives for many rebirths to come. Thus, in Eastern Buddhism, the 阿難問事佛吉凶經 (THE ANANDA REQUESTS THE BUDDHA’S INSIGHT INTO THE WOE AND WEAL OF THE FAITHFUL SUTRA) serves as a short and succinct foundational text that furnishes beginners with basic and key principles that will prevent them from falling astray unwittingly, and thus fail to enjoy the supreme benefits of cultivating the Dharma.

Please read my free and Public Domain translation here:

PDF version:


Scribe Version:


Please also remember to read Buddhism as an Education (By Master Chin Kung) and my short essay titled The Parable of the Guest’s stay  (both included at the end of the translation).

In the Infinite Life Sutra, it is recorded that all of our good and evil deeds are recorded accurately and impartially by demigods, and that these books of our balance of good and evil will decide our circumstances of rebirth for the lives to come.

Thus, it is very important that we zealously accumulate virtues and good deeds while reining in and rectifying our faults.

If our books look like Don Giovanni’s infamous catalog in this scene (masterfully performed by Otto Edelmann):


Then we would be in big trouble when impermanence strikes and judgment comes (Tuba Mirium, with excellent tenor solo by Peter Schreier):


On the other hand, the person who eschews vice and embraces virtue has nothing to fear and plenty to look forward to.

All rights of this post that belong to me (i.e. poems, translations, post text) are released into Public Domain

3 thoughts on “A Foundational Text: The Woe and Weal of the Faithful Sutra

  1. This is very supreme wisdom.
    Your knowledge of Buddhism and the ease of language in your translation of the sutras is amazing. It is very easy and relatable to English readers, where other translated and published sutras that I have read use complicated or archaic english and one needs a philosophy degree to really understand the terminology used in order to transmit the import of the Sutra.
    I have added this translation to my own Sutra collection so that I may be able to practice the merits that it teaches.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much for taking the time to have a look and for your confidence in my work, your support means a lot to me! It is my pleasure to be of assistance to a sincere and faithful cultivator of the Dharma such as yourself!

      Liked by 1 person

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