Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law Chapter 8 - The Five Hundred Disciples Receive The Prediction of Their Destiny

At that time Purna, son of Maitrayani,1 having heard the Buddha preach in such wise, tactful, and opportune fashion, and having heard the prediction of the great disciples' Perfect Enlightenment; having, moreover, heard the stories of their former destinies, and also having heard of the sovereign, transcendent powers of the buddhas; having [thus] received such unexampled [teaching], his heart was purified and in ecstasy. Immediately he rose from his seat, went before the Buddha, prostrated himself at his feet, then withdrew to one side, gazing upon his honored countenance without for a moment turning away his eyes, and reflected thus:

"Wonderful is the World-honored One. Rare are his doings according to the many kinds of earthly dispositions. By tactful wisdom, he preaches the Law to and lifts all beings out of every condition to let them get rid of selfish attachment. No words of ours can declare the Buddha's merits. Only the Buddha, the World-honored One is able to know the natural inclinations of our inmost hearts."2

Thereupon the Buddha addressed the bhikshus, [saying]: "Do you see this Purna, son of Maitrayani? I have always styled him the very first among all the preachers of the Law and constantly praised his varied merits. He has been zealous in guarding and helping to proclaim my Law. Among the four groups he has been able to display and teach it with profit and delight [to them].

Perfectly interpreting the Righteous Law of the Buddha, he has greatly benefited his fellow followers of brahma-conduct. Aside from the Tathagata, no one is able to equal the lucidity of his discourse. Do not think that it is only my Law which Purna is able to guard and help to proclaim. He also under ninety kotis of buddhas in the past guarded and helped to proclaim the Righteous Law of the buddhas. Among those preachers of the Law he was also the foremost.

And in regard to the Law of the Void preached by the buddhas, he was clear-minded and penetrating; he attained the four degrees of unhindered wisdom; he has ever been able to preach the Law with judgment and in purity, without doubt and perplexity. Perfect in transcendent bodhisattva-powers, he maintained brahma-conduct to the end of his life. All the people of those buddha-periods spoke of him as 'the true disciple' [shravaka]. Thus Purna, by such tactfulness, has benefited innumerable hundreds and thousands of living beings and converted innumerable asamkhyeyas of people to achieve Perfect Enlightenment.

For the sake of purifying [his] buddha-land, he has constantly done a buddha's work and instructed the living. Bhikshus! Purna also was the foremost among the preachers of the Law under the Seven Buddhas3 and now is again the foremost among the preachers of the Law under me.

"Among the preachers of the Law under future buddhas4 in this Virtuous kalpa,5 he will also be the foremost and will guard and help to proclaim the Buddha-law. Also in the future he will guard and help to proclaim the Law of incalculable, infinite buddhas, instructing and benefiting innumerable living beings to cause them to achieve Perfect Enlightenment. For the sake of purifying [his] buddha-land he will ever diligently and zealously instruct the living.

Gradually fulfilling the bodhisattva-course, after infinite asamkhyeya kalpas, in that land he will attain Perfect Enlightenment and his title will be Radiance of the Law Tathagata, Worshipful, All Wise, Perfectly Enlightened in Conduct, Well Departed, Understander of the World, Peerless Leader, Controller, Teacher of Gods and Men, Buddha, World-honored One.

"That buddha will make [his] buddha-land of a three-thousand-great-thousandfold universe [of worlds as many] as the sands of the Ganges, with the precious seven for its earth, its ground level as the palm of the hand, free from hills and valleys, runnels and ditches, and its midst filled with terraces of the precious seven. The palaces of its gods will be situated nearby in the sky, where men and gods will meet and behold each other. There will be no evil ways and no womankind, [for] all living beings will be born transformed and have no carnal passion.

They will attain to the great transcendent [powers]: their bodies will emit rays of light; they will fly anywhere at will; their will and memory will be firm; they will be zealous and wise, all golden-hued, and adorned with the thirty-two signs. All the beings in his domain will always have two [articles of] food--one the food of joy in the Law, the other the food of gladness in meditation. There will be a host of infinite asamkhyeyas and thousands of myriads of kotis of nayutas of bodhisattvas who have attained the great transcendent [faculties] and the four [degrees] of unhindered wisdom, and who have excellent ability in instructing all kinds of beings.

His shravakas cannot be told by counting and calculation, and all will attain perfection in the six transcendent [faculties], the three clear [views], and the eight emancipations. The domain of that buddha will be adorned and perfected with such boundless excellencies as these. His kalpa will be named Jewel Radiance and his domain named Excellent Purity. The lifetime of that buddha will be infinite asamkhyeya kalpas, and the Law will remain for long. After the extinction of that buddha, stupas of the precious seven will be [erected] throughout all that domain."

At that time the World-honored One, desiring to proclaim this teaching over again, spoke thus in verse:

"Bhikshus! Listen to me attentively!
The Way [my] Buddha-son has walked,
Through well studying tactfulness,
Is beyond conception.
Knowing how all enjoy mere trifles
And are afraid of the greater wisdom,
The bodhisattvas therefore become
Shravakas or pratyekabuddhas.
By numberless tactful methods
They convert the various kinds of beings,
Saying: 'We are but shravakas,
Far removed from the Buddha-way.'
They release innumerable beings,
All completing [their course];
Even the lowly disposed and the neglectful
Gradually become buddhas.
Inwardly hiding their bodhisattva-deeds,
Outwardly they appear as shravakas.
With few desires and disliking mortal life,
They truly purify their buddha-land.
They show themselves possessed of human passions6
And seem to hold heretical views.
Thus do my disciples
Tactfully save all beings.
If I fully explained
The varied [future] transformations,
Beings who heard of them
Would be perplexed and puzzled.
Now this Purna
Under thousands of kotis of former buddhas
Has diligently maintained his course,
And proclaimed and protected the Buddha-law.
He has sought supreme wisdom
And under the buddhas
Has shown himself the superior disciple
In learning and wisdom.
In preaching he has been fearless,
Able to cause all beings to rejoice;
He has ever been tireless
In aiding Buddha-tasks.
Having achieved the great transcendent [faculties],
Acquired the four unhindered [powers of] wisdom,
And known the faculties [of others], keen or dull,
He has always preached the pure Law.
Expounding such principles as these,
He has taught thousands of kotis of beings,
Leading them to rest in the Great-vehicle Law,
And himself purified his buddha-land.
In future he shall also worship
Infinite, numberless buddhas,
Protect and aid in proclaiming the Righteous Law,
And himself purify his buddha-land.
Constantly with tactful methods
He shall fearlessly preach the Law
And lead incalculable beings
To attain perfect knowledge;
And worshiping the tathagatas,
And guarding the treasury of the Law,
He shall afterward become a buddha
Whose title will be Law Radiance.
His domain, named Excellent Purity,
Will be formed of the precious seven,
And his kalpa be called Jewel Radiance.
His bodhisattvas, a great host,
Infinite kotis in number,
All accomplished in great transcendent [faculties]
And perfect in dread powers,
Will fill that domain to the full.
Numberless also will be his shravakas
With the three clear [views] and eight emancipations,
Who have attained the four unhindered wisdoms.
Such will be his monks.

All the living in that domain
Will be free from carnal passions,
Pure and born by transformation,
Adorned with all the signs.
Joy in the Law and pleasure in meditation
Shall be their food, with no thought of other;
No womankind will be there,
Nor any evil ways.
The Bhikshu Purna,
Complete in all his merits,
Shall gain this pure land
Where the wise and sages abound.
Such are the boundless things of which
I have now but briefly spoken."

Then the twelve hundred arhats of self-reliant mind reflected thus: "Delighted are we to gain this unprecedented [experience]. If the World-honored One would predict for each of us [our future destiny] as for the other great disciples, how glad we should be!" The Buddha, knowing the thoughts in their minds, addressed Maha-Kashyapa, [saying]: "These twelve hundred arhats: let me now in their presence and in order predict [for them] Perfect Enlightenment.

Amongst this assembly, my great disciple Kaundinya Bhikshu, after paying homage to sixty-two thousand kotis of buddhas, will become a buddha whose title will be Universal Light Tathagata, Worshipful, All Wise, Perfectly Enlightened in Conduct, Well Departed, Understander of the World, Peerless Leader, Controller, Teacher of Gods and Men, Buddha, World-honored One. Of [the rest of] those arhats, five hundred--Uruvilva-Kashyapa,

Gaya-Kashyapa, Nadi-Kashyapa, Kalodayin, Udayin, Aniruddha, Revata, Kapphina, Vakkula, Cunda, Svagata, and others--all will attain to Perfect Enlightenment, all with the same title, namely, Universal Light."


At that time the World-honored One, desiring to proclaim this teaching over again, spoke thus in verse:

"Kaundinya Bhikshu
Will see innumerable buddhas,
And after asamkhyeya kalpas have passed,
Accomplish Perfect Enlightenment.
Ever emitting great light,
Perfect in the transcendent [powers],
His fame spread over the universe,
Revered by all [beings],
Ever preaching the supreme Way,
His title will be Universal Light.
Pure will be his domain;
His bodhisattvas all will be brave;
All mounted on wonderful buildings,
They will travel through all lands
With unsurpassed offerings,

To present them to the buddhas.
Having made these offerings,
Their hearts will greatly rejoice
And soon return to their own domain;
Such will be their supernatural powers.
That buddha's life will be six myriad kalpas;
His Righteous Law will remain twice his lifetime,
The Counterfeit Law double that.
His Law ended, gods and men will sorrow.
Five hundred other bhikshus
One by one shall become buddhas
With the same title, Universal Light;
In turn [each] shall predict, [saying]:
'After my extinction
So and so shall become buddha;
The world which he instructs
Shall be as mine of today.'
The splendid purity of their domain
And its transcendent powers,
Its bodhisattvas and shravakas,
Its Righteous Law and its Counterfeit,
The length of its kalpa period,
All will be as that above stated.
Kashyapa! You now know
Of these five hundred self-reliant ones.
The other band of shravakas
Will also be like them.
To these, who are not in this assembly,
Do you proclaim my words."

Thereupon the five hundred arhats present before the Buddha, having received [this] prediction, ecstatic with joy, instantly rose from their seats, went before the Buddha, made obeisance at his feet, repented their errors, and rebuked themselves, [saying]: "World-honored One! We have constantly been thinking that we had attained final nirvana. Now we know that we were just like the foolish ones. Wherefore? Because we ought to have obtained the Tathagata-wisdom, and yet were content with the inferior knowledge.

"World-honored One! It is as if some man goes to an intimate friend's house, gets drunk, and falls asleep. Meanwhile his friend, having to go forth on official duty, ties a priceless jewel within his garment as a present, and departs. The man, being drunk and asleep, knows nothing of it.

On arising he travels onward till he reaches some other country, where for food and clothing he expends much labor and effort, and undergoes exceedingly great hardship, and is content even if he can obtain but little. Later, his friend happens to meet him and speaks thus: 'Tut! Sir, how is it you have come to this for the sake of food and clothing?

Wishing you to be in comfort and able to satisfy all your five senses,7 I formerly in such a year and month and on such a day tied a priceless jewel within your garment. Now as of old it is present there and you in ignorance are slaving and worrying to keep yourself alive. How very stupid! Go you now and exchange that jewel for what you need and do whatever you will, free from all poverty and shortage.'

The Buddha also is like this. When he was a bodhisattva, he taught us to conceive the idea of perfect wisdom, but we soon forgot, neither knowing nor perceiving. Having obtained the arhat-way, we said we had reached nirvana;8 in the hardship of [gaining] a living we had contented ourselves with a mere trifle. [But] our aspirations after perfect wisdom still remain and were never lost, and now the World-honored One arouses us and speaks thus: 'Bhikshus! That which you have obtained is not final nirvana.

For long I have caused you to cultivate the roots of buddha-goodness, and for tactful reasons have displayed a form of nirvana. But you have considered it to be the real nirvana you had obtained.' World-honored One! Now we know we are really bodhisattvas predicted to attain Perfect Enlightenment. For this cause we greatly rejoice in our unprecedented gain."

Thereupon Ajnata-Kaundinya and the others, desiring to announce this meaning over again, spoke thus in verse:

"We, hearing his voice
Predicting [for us] unsurpassed comfort,9
Rejoice in our unexpected [lot]
And salute the all-wise Buddha.
Now before the World-honored One
We repent our errors;
[Though] countless Buddha-treasures [awaited],
With but a trifle of nirvana
We, like ignorant and foolish people,
Were ready to be content.
It is like [the case of] a poor man
Who goes to the house of a friend.
That friend, being very rich,
Sets much fine food before him.
A priceless precious pearl
He ties in his inner garment,
Secretly giving it and departing
While he sleeps on unaware.
The man when he arises
Travels on to another country
In search of food and clothes to keep alive,
Suffering great hardships for his living,
Contented with ever so little,
Wishing for nothing better,
Never perceiving that in his inner garment
There is a priceless jewel.
The friend who gave him the jewel
Afterward sees this poor man
And, bitterly rebuking him,
Shows where the jewel is bound.
The poor man, seeing this jewel,
Is filled with a great joy;
Rich, in possession of wealth,
He can satisfy his five senses.
Such were also we.
For long has the Wonderful-honored One
Always pitied and taught us
To cultivate the highest aspiration;
But because of our ignorance,
We neither perceived nor knew it;
Gaining but a little of nirvana,

Contented, we sought no more.
Now the Buddha has awakened us,
Saying this is not real nirvana;
[Only] on attaining the highest Buddha-wisdom
Is there real nirvana.
Now, having heard from the Buddha
The prediction and its glory,10
And the command11 we receive in turn,
Body and soul are full of joy

Monday, February 27, 2012

The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law Chapter 7

The Parable of the Magic City

The Buddha addressed the bhikshus, [saying]: "Of yore in the past, infinite, boundless, and inconceivable asamkhyeya kalpas ago, there was then a buddha named Universal Surpassing Wisdom1 Tathagata, Worshipful, All Wise, Perfectly Enlightened in Conduct, Well Departed, Understander of the World, Peerless Leader, Controller, Teacher of Gods and Men, Buddha, World-honored One, whose domain was named Well Completed,2 and whose kalpa was named Great Form. Bhikshus!

Since that buddha became extinct, a very long time has passed. For instance, suppose the earth element in a three-thousand-great-thousandfold world were by someone ground into ink, and he were to pass through a thousand countries in an eastern direction, and then let fall one drop as large as a grain of dust; again, passing through [another] thousand countries, again let fall one drop; [suppose] he thus proceeds until he has finished the ink [made] of the earth element--what is your opinion? All these countries--is it possible for mathematicians or their disciples to find their end or confines so as to know their number?"

"No, World-honored One!"

"Bhikshus! [Suppose] all those countries which that man has passed, where he has dropped [a drop] and where he has not, ground to dust, and let one grain of the dust be a kalpa--[the time] since that buddha became extinct till now still exceeds those numbers by innumerable, unlimited hundred thousand myriad kotis of asamkhyeya kalpas. By the power of my Tathagata-wisdom, I observe that length of time as if it were only today."

At that time the World-honored One, desiring to proclaim this teaching over again, spoke thus in verse:

"I remember in a past world,
Immeasurable infinite kalpas ago,
A buddha, a [most] honored man,
Named Universal Surpassing Wisdom.
Suppose someone by his power
Ground a three-thousand-great-thousandfold world
With its entire earth element
Entirely into ink,
And, passing a thousand countries,
Then lets fall one drop;
Proceeding in a like manner
He drops all this atomized ink;
[Suppose] all such countries as these,



Those ink-dropped and those undropped,
Again are entirely ground to dust,
And a grain be as a kalpa -
The number of those grains
Are exceeded by his kalpas.
Since that buddha became extinct,
Such are the measureless kalpas.
[I,] the Tathagata, by unhindered wisdom
Know the extinction of that buddha
And his shravakas and bodhisattvas
As if it were now occurring.
Know, bhikshus!
The Buddha-wisdom is pure and minute,
Faultless and unhindered,
Penetrating through infinite kalpas."

The Buddha [then] addressed all the bhikshus, [saying]: "The life-time of the Buddha Universal Surpassing Wisdom is five hundred and forty myriad kotis of nayutas of kalpas. At the beginning when that buddha, seated on the wisdom throne, had destroyed the army of Mara, [though] he was on the point of attaining Perfect Enlightenment, the Buddha-laws were not yet revealed to him. So for a minor kalpa and then onward for ten minor kalpas he sat cross-legged with body and mind motionless; but the Buddha-laws were not yet revealed to him.

"Then the gods of the thirty-three heavens3 spread for that buddha a lion throne a yojana high under a Bodhi tree so that the buddha on this throne should attain Perfect Enlightenment. No sooner had he sat on that throne than the Brahma heavenly kings rained down celestial flowers over an area of a hundred yojanas. A fragrant wind from time to time arose, sweeping away the withered flowers and raining fresh ones. Thus incessantly during full ten minor kalpas they paid honor to the buddha and even till his extinction they constantly rained those flowers, while the gods [belonging to] the four [heavenly] kings to honor the buddha constantly beat celestial drums and other gods performed celestial music during fully ten minor kalpas and continued so to do until his extinction.

"Bhikshus! After the lapse of ten minor kalpas, the Buddha Universal Surpassing Wisdom attained the Buddha-laws, and Perfect Enlightenment was revealed to him. Before that buddha left home he had sixteen sons, the eldest of whom was named Wisdom Store. Each of his sons had various kinds of valued amusements, [but] on hearing that their father had accomplished Perfect Enlightenment, they all gave up the things they valued and went to pay their regards to the buddha, their weeping mothers escorting them. Their grandfather, Sacred Wheel-rolling King, with his one hundred ministers and also a hundred thousand myriad kotis of his people, all surrounded and followed them to the terrace of enlightenment, all desiring to draw near to the Tathagata Universal Surpassing Wisdom and to serve, revere, honor, and extol him.

After their arrival they did homage before his feet with their heads, and after making procession around him, with folded hands and in one mind, they gazed up to the world-honored one and praised him in verse, saying:

"The World-honored One of Great Might,
To save all living beings,
After measureless kotis of years
Thou hast now become a buddha
And perfected all thy vows.
Good indeed is our fortune unsurpassed,
For rarely do world-honored ones appear.
At one sitting ten minor kalpas have passed,
Thy body and limbs
Still, peaceful, and motionless,
And with mind ever tranquil,
Never distracted;
Thou hast completed eternal nirvana
And dost calmly dwell in the faultless Law.
Now, seeing the world-honored one
Who has calmly accomplished the Buddha-way,
We have attained good fortune
And congratulate ourselves with great joy.
All the living are ever suffering,
Blind and without a leader,
Unaware of the way to end pain,
Knowing not to seek deliverance.
Through the long night evil ways have increased,
Diminishing the heavenly throng;
[The world] has passed from darkness into darkness,
Never hearing a buddha's name.
[But] now the Buddha has attained the supreme,
Pacific, faultless Law,
And we as well as gods and men
Gain the great fortune.
Therefore we all prostrate ourselves
And offer our lives to the peerless honored one.'

"Thereupon all these sixteen royal sons, when they had extolled the buddha in verse, entreated the world-honored one to roll the Law-wheel on, saying: 'World-honored One! Preach the Law, and abundantly comfort, have compassion for, and benefit both gods and men!' Repeating it in verse, they said:

'Hero of the world! Incomparable!
Adorned with a hundred auspicious signs!
Who has attained to supreme wisdom:
Be pleased to preach to the world,
For deliverance to us
And to all classes of the living;
Discriminate and reveal it
So that we may obtain this wisdom!
If we attain buddhahood,



All other living beings will also [attain it].
World-honored One! Thou knowest what the living
In their deepest minds are thinking,
The ways in which they walk,
Their capacities for wisdom,
Their pleasures and past good works,
The karma their former lives produced.
World-honored One! Thou knowest all these;
[Pray] roll along the peerless wheel.'"

The Buddha [then] said to the bhikshus: "When the Buddha Universal Surpassing Wisdom attained Perfect Enlightenment, the five hundred myriad kotis of buddha-worlds in all directions were each shaken in [different] ways; [even] the dark places between those realms, where the august light of the sun and moon could not shine, all became brilliant.

All the living beings in their midst could see each other and unitedly exclaimed: 'From where have all these living beings suddenly come?' Moreover, the palaces of the gods in all those regions, even Brahma palaces, shook in six [different] ways and a great light universally shone, filling all the worlds, surpassing the light of heaven.

"Then eastward, all the palaces of the Brahma heavens in five hundred myriad kotis of domains were brilliantly illuminated with double their normal brightness. And each of those Brahma heavenly kings reflected thus: 'For what reason does this sign appear, that our palaces are now illuminated as never of yore?' Then those Brahma heavenly kings all visited each other to discuss this affair. Meanwhile, amongst those assembled there was a great Brahma heavenly king named Savior of All, who addressed the host of Brahmas in verse:



'In all our palaces
Never has there been such shining;
What can be its cause?
Let us together investigate it.
Is it that a great virtuous god is born,
Is it that a buddha appears in the world,
That this great shining
Everywhere illuminates the universe?'

"Thereupon the Brahma heavenly kings in five hundred myriad kotis of domains, with all their palace train,4 each taking a sack filled with celestial flowers, went together to visit the western quarter to investigate this sign. [There] they saw the Tathagata Universal Surpassing Wisdom on the wisdom terrace under the Bodhi tree, seated on the lion throne, surrounded and revered by gods, dragon kings, gandharvas, kimnaras, mahoragas, human and nonhuman beings, and others. And they saw his sixteen royal sons entreating the buddha to roll along the Law-wheel.

Then all the Brahma heavenly kings bowed to the ground before the buddha, made procession around him hundreds and thousands of times, and then strewed the celestial flowers upon him. The flowers they strewed [rose] like Mount Sumeru and were offered also to the buddha's Bodhi tree. That Bodhi tree was ten yojanas in height. When they had offered the flowers, each of them presented his palace to the buddha and spoke thus: 'Out of compassion for us and for our good, condescend to accept the palaces we offer!'

"Thereupon all the Brahma heavenly kings, before the buddha, with one mind and voice praised him in verse, saying:

'Rare is a world-honored one,
Hard it is to meet him,
Perfect in infinite merit,
Able to save all.
Great teachers of gods and men,
He has compassion for the world.
All the living in the universe
Everywhere receive his aid.
The [distance] we have come
Is five hundred myriad kotis of domains,
Leaving deep meditative joys
For the sake of serving the buddha.
As rewards for our former lives
Our palaces are magnificently adorned;
Now we offer them to the world-honored one
And beg him in mercy to accept.'



"Then, when the Brahma heavenly kings had extolled the buddha in verse, each spoke thus: 'Be pleased, World-honored One, to roll the Law-wheel, deliver all the living, and open the nirvana-way!'

"Then the Brahma heavenly kings with one mind and voice spoke in verse, saying:

'Hero of the world! Honored of men!
Be pleased to proclaim the Law!
By the power of thy great compassion,
Save wretched living beings!'

"Then the Tathagata Universal Surpassing Wisdom silently gave assent.

"Again, bhikshus! The great Brahma kings in the southeastern quarter of five hundred myriad kotis of domains, each seeing his own palace radiant with light as never before, were ecstatic with joy and amazed. And instantly all visited each other to discuss together this affair. Meanwhile amongst those assembled there was a great Brahma heavenly king whose name was Most Merciful, who addressed the host of Brahmas in verse:

'What is the cause of this affair,
That such a sign should appear?
In all our palaces
Never has there been such shining.
Is it that a great virtuous god is born?
Is it that a buddha appears in the world?
We have never yet seen such a sign.
Let us with one mind investigate it.
Let us pass through a thousand myriad kotis of lands
In search of the light and together explain it.
It must be that a buddha has appeared
In the world to save suffering beings.'

"Thereupon the five hundred myriad kotis of Brahma heavenly kings, with all their palace train, each taking a sack filled with celestial flowers, went together to visit the northwestern quarter to investigate this sign. There they saw the Tathagata Universal Surpassing Wisdom on the wisdom terrace under the Bodhi tree, seated on the lion throne, surrounded and revered by gods, dragons kings, gandharvas, kimnaras, mahoragas, human and nonhuman beings, and others. And they saw the sixteen royal sons entreating the buddha to roll along the Law-wheel.

Then all the Brahma heavenly kings bowed to the ground before the buddha, made procession around him hundreds and thousands of times, and then strewed the celestial flowers upon him. The flowers they strewed [rose] like Mount Sumeru and were offered also to the buddha's Bodhi tree. When they had offered the flowers, each of them presented his palace to the buddha and spoke thus: 'Out of compassion to us and for our good, condescend to accept the palaces we offer!' Thereupon all the Brahma heavenly kings, before the buddha, with one mind and voice praised him in verse, saying:

'Holy lord, king among gods,
With voice [sweet as] the kalavinka's,
Who has compassion for all living beings!
We now respectfully salute thee.
Rarely does a world-honored one appear,
But once in long ages;
One hundred and eighty kalpas
Have passed away empty, with never a buddha,
The three evil regions becoming replete,
While heavenly beings decreased.
Now the buddha has appeared in the world
To become the eye of all living beings,
The resort of all the world,
Savior of all,
Father of all the living,
Who has compassion for and does good [to all].
Happy through our former destinies,
We now meet the world-honored one.'

"Then, when the Brahma heavenly kings had extolled the buddha in verse, each spoke thus: 'Be pleased, World-honored One, to have compassion for all [beings], roll the Law-wheel, and deliver the living!'

"Then the Brahma heavenly kings with one mind and voice spoke in verse, saying:



'Most holy! Roll on the Law-wheel;
Reveal the nature of thy laws;
Deliver suffering beings,
That they may obtain great joy.
All the living, hearing this Law,
Obtain the Way as if born in heaven;
Evil processes [of karma] decrease,
While endurers of goodness5 increase.'

"Then the Tathagata Universal Surpassing Wisdom silently gave assent.

"Again, bhikshus! The great Brahma kings in the southern quarter of five hundred myriad kotis of domains, each seeing his own palace radiant with light such as never was before, were ecstatic with joy and amazed. And instantly all visited each other to discuss together this affair, [asking]: 'What is the cause of this radiant light in our palaces?' In that assembly there was a great Brahma heavenly king whose name was Wonderful Law, who addressed the host of Brahmas in verse:

'That all our palaces
Scintillate with brilliant rays
Cannot be without reason.
Let us investigate this sign!
Through hundreds of thousands of kalpas,
Never has such a sign been seen.
Is it that a great virtuous god is born?
Is it that a buddha appears in the world?'

"Thereupon the five hundred myriad kotis of Brahma heavenly kings, with all their palace train, each taking a sack filled with celestial flowers, went together to visit the northern quarter to investigate this sign. [There] they saw the Tathagata Universal Surpassing Wisdom on the wisdom terrace under the Bodhi tree, seated on the lion throne, surrounded and revered by gods, dragon kings, gandharvas, kimnaras, mahoragas, human and nonhuman beings, and others. And they saw [his] sixteen royal sons entreating the buddha to roll along the Law-wheel. The all the Brahma heavenly kings bowed to the ground before the buddha, made procession around him hundreds and thousands of times, and then strewed the celestial flowers upon him. The flowers they strewed [rose] like Mount Sumeru and were offered also to the buddha's Bodhi tree. When they had offered the flowers, each of them presented his palace to the buddha and spoke thus: 'Out of compassion to us and for our good, condescend to accept the palaces we offer!'

"Thereupon all the Brahma heavenly kings, before the buddha, with one mind and voice praised [him] in verse, saying:

'How hard it is to get sight of a world-honored one,
Who destroys all earthly cares!
After a hundred and thirty kalpas,
Now at length we have obtained the sight.
To hungry and thirsty creatures
He pours forth the rain of the Law.
He whom we have never seen before,
The possessor of infinite wisdom,
Rare as the udumbara flower,
Today has been met by us.
All our palaces are
Made beautiful by [thy] light,
World-honored One! In thy great mercy,
We pray thou wilt condescend to accept [them].'

"Thereupon, when the Brahma heavenly kings had extolled the buddha in verse, each spoke thus: 'Be pleased, World-honored One, to roll the Law-wheel, and cause all the worlds of gods, Maras, Brahmas, monks, and Brahmans to be comforted and delivered!'

"Then all the Brahma heavenly kings with one mind and voice praised him in verse, saying:

'Be pleased, honored of gods and men,
To roll the supreme Law-wheel,
To beat the drum of the Great Law,
To blow the conch of the Great Law,
Universally to pour the rain of the Great Law,
And save innumerable creatures!
We all devote ourselves to thee.
Proclaim the reverberating news!'6

"Then the Tathagata Universal Surpassing Wisdom silently gave assent.

"The southwestern quarter down to the nadir also [responded] in like fashion.

"Then, in the upper quarter, the great Brahma kings of five hundred myriad kotis of domains, all beholding the palaces in which they rested become augustly radiant with light such as never was before, were ecstatic with joy and amazed. At once they visited each other to discuss together this affair, [asking]: 'What is the cause of this light in our palaces?' In that assembly there was a great Brahma heavenly king whose name was Shikhin, who addressed the host of Brahmas in verse:

'What is now the cause
That all our palaces
Are radiant with such august light
And made beautiful as never before?
Such a wonderful sign as this
Of old we have never heard nor seen.
Is it that a great virtuous god is born?
Is it that a buddha appears in the world?'

"Thereupon the five hundred myriad kotis of Brahma heavenly kings, with all their palace train, each taking a sack filled with celestial flowers, went together to visit the nadir quarter to investigate this sign. [There] they saw the Tathagata Universal Surpassing Wisdom on the wisdom terrace under the Bodhi tree, seated on the lion throne, surrounded and revered by gods, dragon kings, gandharvas, kimnaras, mahoragas, human and nonhuman beings, and others. And they saw [his] sixteen royal sons entreating the buddha to roll along the Law-wheel.

Then all the Brahma heavenly kings bowed to the ground before buddha, made procession around him hundreds and thousands of times, and then strewed the celestial flowers upon him. The flowers they strewed [rose] like Mount Sumeru and were also offered to the buddha's Bodhi tree. When they had offered the flowers, each of them presented his palace to the buddha and spoke thus: 'Out of compassion to us and for our good, condescend to accept the palaces we offer!'

"Thereupon all the Brahma heavenly kings, before the buddha, with one mind and voice praised [him] in verse, saying:

'How good it is to see the buddhas,
Holy honored ones who save the world,
Who can compel the hells of the triple world
To deliver up the living.
The all-wise, honored of gods and men,
Out of compassion for the crowds of young buds
Can open the doors of the sweet dews
For the extensive relief of all.
Innumerable kalpas of yore
Have emptily passed without buddhas;
While world-honored ones did not appear,
Darkness has everywhere reigned.
Thriving were the three evil states,
Flourishing also the asuras,
While the heavenly host dwindled,
And dying, fell into evil estates;
Not hearing the law from buddhas,
Ever following improper ways,
Their bodies, strength, and wisdom,
These all dwindled away;
Because of sinful karma
They lost their joy and joyful thoughts;
Fixed in heretical views,
Unconscious of the rules of goodness,
Not receiving the correction of buddhas,
They ever fell into evil ways.
The buddha is the eye of the world,
[And] after long ages appears.
Through pity for the living
He is revealed in the world,
Surpassing in his Perfect Enlightenment.
Great is our felicity,
And all other beings
Rejoice as never before.
All our palaces,
Made beautiful through this light,
Now we offer the World-honored One.
Condescend in compassion to accept them!
May this [deed of] merit
Extend to all [creatures]
That we with all the living
May together accomplish the Buddha-way!'

"Thereupon, when the five hundred myriad kotis of the Brahma heavenly kings had extolled the buddha in verse, each said to him: 'Be pleased, World-honored One, to roll the Law-wheel; abundantly comfort; abundantly deliver!'

"Then all the Brahma heavenly kings spoke in verse, saying:



'World-honored One, roll the law-wheel,
Beat the drum of the Law, sweet as dew,
Save the suffering living,
Reveal the nirvana-way!
Be pleased to receive our entreaty
And with thy great, mystic voice,
Out of compassion spread abroad
The Law thou hast practiced for infinite kalpas.'

"At that time the Tathagata Universal Surpassing Wisdom, receiving the entreaty of the Brahma heavenly kings of the ten regions and of [his] sixteen royal sons, at once thrice rolled the Law-wheel7 of twelve divisions,8 which neither shramanas, Brahmans, gods, Maras, Brahmas, nor other beings of the world are able to roll. His discourse was: 'This [is] suffering; this the accumulation of suffering; this the extinction of suffering; this the way to extinction of suffering'; and he extensively set forth the Law of the Twelve Causes, namely: 'Ignorance causes action; action causes consciousness; consciousness causes name and form; name and form cause the six entrances [or sense organs]; the six entrances cause contact; contact causes sensation; sensation causes desire [or love];

desire causes clinging; clinging causes existence; existence causes birth; birth causes old age and death, grief, lamentation, suffering, and distress. Ignorance annihilated, then action is annihilated; action annihilated, then consciousness is annihilated; consciousness annihilated, then name and form are annihilated; name and form annihilated, then the six entrances are annihilated; the six entrances annihilated, then contact is annihilated; contact annihilated, then sensation is annihilated; sensation annihilated, then desire is annihilated; desire annihilated, then clinging is annihilated; clinging annihilated, then existence is annihilated; existence annihilated, then birth is annihilated; birth being annihilated, then are annihilated old age and death, grief, lamentation, suffering, and distress.'

"When the buddha preached this law amidst the gods, men, and the great host, six hundred myriad kotis of nayutas of people, without being subject to all the [temporary] laws, had their minds freed from faults, all obtaining the profound, mystic mediations, the three clear [views], and the six transcendent [faculties], and accomplishing the eight emancipations.

Likewise at a second, a third, and a fourth time of preaching the Law, thousands of myriads of kotis of nayutas of living beings, [numerous] as the sands of the Ganges, without being subject to all the [temporary] laws, had their minds freed from all faults. From this time forth the host of [his] shravakas was immeasurable and boundless, beyond expression in numbers.

"Meanwhile the sixteen royal sons, all being youths, left their home and became shramaneras of keen natural powers, wise and intelligent. They had already served hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of buddhas, purely practiced brahma-conduct, and sought Perfect Enlightenment. Together they addressed the buddha, saying: 'World-honored One! All these innumerable thousand myriad kotis of great virtuous shravakas have already become perfect.

World-honored One! Preach also to us the Law of Perfect Enlightenment! And when we have heard it we will all put the lesson into practice. World-honored One! We are longing for the tathagata's knowledge. The thought of our inmost hearts thou dost prove and know.'

"Then amongst the throng whom the holy wheel-rolling king led, eight myriad kotis of people, seeing that the sixteen royal sons had gone forth from their home, also sought to leave their homes, whereupon the king permitted them.

"Then that buddha, on the entreaty of the shramaneras, when two myriad kalpas had passed, in [the presence of] the four groups preached this Great-vehicle Sutra named the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law, the Law by which bodhisattvas are instructed and which the buddhas watch over and keep in mind. When he had preached this sutra, the sixteen shramaneras, for the sake of Perfect Enlightenment, all received, kept, recited, and penetrated it.

"While this sutra was being preached, the sixteen bodhisattva-shramaneras all received it in faith, and amongst the host of shravakas there were also [those who] believed and discerned it, but the other living beings of thousands of myriad kotis of kinds all cherished doubts and perplexities.9

"The buddha preached this sutra for eight thousand kalpas without cessation. When he had finished preaching it, he then entered a quiet room and remained in meditation for eighty-four thousand kalpas.

"Thereupon the sixteen bodhisattva-shramaneras, knowing that the buddha had entered the room and was absorbed in meditation, each ascended a Law throne and also for eighty-four thousand kalpas extensively preached and expounded to the four groups the Sutra of the Flower of the Wonderful Law. Each of them saved six hundred myriad kotis of nayutas of living beings, [as many] as the sands of the Ganges, showing, teaching, benefiting, and gladdening them, and leading them to develop a mind of Perfect Enlightenment.

"The Buddha Universal Surpassing Wisdom, after eighty-four thousand kalpas had passed, arose from his meditation, went up to the Law throne, and quietly sat down on it.



"Universally addressing the great assembly, [he said]: 'Rare are such bodhisattva-shramaneras as these sixteen, keen in their natural powers and clear in their wisdom, who have paid homage to infinite thousand myriad kotis of buddhas, constantly practiced brahma-conduct under those buddhas, received and kept the Buddha-wisdom, and revealed it to living beings, leading them to enter into it. Do you all, again and again, draw nigh and worship them. Wherefore? Because if shravakas, pratyekabuddhas, and bodhisattvas are able to believe the Law of the sutra preached by these sixteen bodhisattvas, and receive and keep it without spoiling it, all those people will attain the Tathagata-wisdom of Perfect Enlightenment.'"

The Buddha addressed all the bhikshus, [saying]: "These sixteen bodhisattvas ever take delight in preaching this Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law. The six hundred myriad kotis of nayutas of living beings, like the sands of the Ganges, whom each of these bodhisattvas converted, born generation by generation, all following [these] bodhisattvas, heard the Law from them and all believed and discerned it. For this cause they succeeded in meeting four myriad kotis of buddhas, world-honored ones, and at the present time have not ceased [to do so].

"Bhikshus! I tell you now: that buddha's disciples, the sixteen shramaneras, have all attained Perfect Enlightenment, and in all countries in every direction are at the present time preaching the Law and have infinite hundred thousand myriad kotis of bodhisattvas and shravakas as their followers. Two of those shramaneras became buddhas in the eastern quarter, one named Akshobhya in the Kingdom of Joy, the other named Sumeru Peak; of the two buddhas in the southeastern quarter, one is named Lion Voice, the other Lion Ensign; of the two buddhas in the southern quarter, one is named Space Dweller, the other Eternal Extinction; of the two buddhas in the southwestern quarter, one is named Imperial Ensign,

the other Brahma Ensign; of the two buddhas in the western quarter one is named Amita, the other He Who Has Passed Through All the Sufferings of the World; of the two buddhas in the northwestern quarter, one is named Tamalapattra Spiritually Pervading Sandal Odor, the other Sumeru Sign; of the two buddhas in the northern quarter, one is named Sovereign Cloud, the other named Sovereign Cloud King; the buddha in the northeastern quarter is named Destroyer of All the World's Fear; and the sixteenth is I myself, Shakyamuni Buddha, who have accomplished Perfect Enlightenment in the saha-domain.

"Bhikshus! When we were shramaneras, each of us taught and converted infinite hundred thousand myriad kotis of living beings, [numerous] as the sands of the Ganges; and those who heard the Law from me [attained] Perfect Enlightenment. Amongst these living beings down to the present there are some who [still] remain in the stage of shravakas. I constantly instruct them in Perfect Enlightenment, so that all these people will through this Law gradually enter the Way of buddhahood.

Wherefore? Because the Tathagata-wisdom is hard to believe and hard to understand. All those living beings, innumerable as the sands of the Ganges, whom I converted at that time are yourselves, bhikshus, and will be my shravaka-disciples in future worlds after my extinction.

"After my extinction there will also be disciples of mine who, not hearing this sutra, nor knowing nor apprehending the course which bodhisattvas pursue, will by their own merits conceive the idea of extinction and enter [what they think is] nirvana. [But] in other domains [wherever they may go] I shall [still] be Buddha though under different names. These people, though they conceive the idea of extinction and enter [what they call] nirvana, yet in those lands will seek after the Buddha-wisdom and succeed in hearing this sutra. Only by the Buddha-vehicle will they attain [real] extinction. There is no other vehicle except the tactful teachings of the Tathagata. Bhikshus! If the Tathagata himself knows that the time of nirvana has arrived and the assembly is pure, firm in faith and discernment, penetrated with the Law of the Void, profound in meditation,

then he will gather together all bodhisattvas and shravakas to preach this sutra to them. In the world there is no second vehicle to attain extinction; there is only the One Buddha-vehicle for attaining extinction. Know, bhikshus! The tact of the Tathagata reaches deeply into the natures of all living beings and knows that they are bent on the pleasures of trifling things and deeply attached to the five desires. For the sake of these he preaches nirvana. If they hear it, they will receive it in faith.

"Suppose there is a fearful region, five hundred yojanas [in extent], through which lies a perilous and difficult road, far from the abodes of men. [Suppose] there is a large company wishing to pass along that road to the Place of Jewels, and they have a guide, wise and astute, who knows well the perilous road, where it is open and where closed, and who leads the company that wish to cross this arduous [region]. [Suppose] the company he leads become tired on the way and say to the leader: 'We are utterly exhausted and moreover afraid and cannot go any farther; the road before us stretches far; let us turn back.' The leader, [a man] of much tact, reflects thus:

'These [people] are to be pitied. How can they give up such great treasure and want to turn back?' Reflecting thus, by a device, in the midst of the perilous road, he mystically makes a city over three hundred yojanas in extent and says to the company: 'Do not fear, and do not turn back. Here is this great city in which you may rest and follow your own desires. If you enter this city, you will speedily be at rest; and if you [then] are able to go forward to the Place of Jewels, you proceed.'

"Thereupon the exhausted company greatly rejoice in their minds and praise [their] unexampled [fortune]: 'Now indeed we escape this evil way; let us speedily be at ease.' Then the company proceed into the magic city, imagining they have arrived at their destination, and are settled in comfort. When the leader perceives that the company are rested and are no longer fatigued, he makes the magic city disappear, and says to the company: 'Come along, all of you, the Place of Jewels is at hand. I [only] created this past large city for you to rest in.'

"Bhikshus! So is it with the Tathagata. At present he is your great leader acquainted with all the distresses, the evils, the perils, and the long-continued [processes of] mortality, from which you must be rid and removed. If living beings only hear of One Buddha-vehicle, they will not desire to see the Buddha nor wish to approach him, but think thus: 'The Buddha-way is long and far; only after the long suffering of arduous labor can the end be reached.' The Buddha, knowing that their minds are feeble and low, by his tact, when they are on the way, to give them rest, preaches the two [stages] of nirvana.10 If [those] beings dwell in [these] two stages, then the Tathagata proceeds to tell them: 'You have not yet accomplished your task. The place where you are dwelling is near the Buddha-wisdom.

Take note and ponder that the nirvana which you have attained is not the real [one]! It is only that the Tathagata, through his tactfulness, in the One Buddha-vehicle discriminates and speaks of three.' It is just as when that leader, in order to give rest [to his company], magically makes a great city and after they are rested informs them, saying: 'The Place of Jewels is at hand; this city is not real, but only my magic production.'"

At that time the World-honored One, desiring to proclaim this teaching over again, spoke thus in verse:

"The Buddha Universal Surpassing Wisdom
For ten kalpas sat on the wisdom throne,
The Buddha-law still unrevealed,
Still unaccomplished the Buddha-way.
Heavenly gods and dragon kings,
Asuras and other beings
Constantly rained celestial flowers
To pay homage to that buddha.
The gods beat their celestial drums
And made all kinds of music.
Fragrant breezes sweep away the faded flowers,
While raining others of fresh beauty.
When ten minor kalpas had passed,
Then he accomplished the Buddha-way.
Gods and men in the world
All were ecstatic in mind.
The sixteen sons of that buddha,
All with their followers,
Thousands of myriads of kotis around them,
All went to the buddha,
Bending low at the buddha's feet,
They begged him to roll the Law-wheel:
'Holy Lion! With rain of the Law,
Fill us and all others!'
Hard it is to meet a world-honored one;
He appears but once in long ages,
And [then] to awaken the living
He shakes all things.
In the worlds of the eastern quarter,
Five hundred myriad kotis of domains,
Brahma palaces shone with light
Such as never was before.
All the Brahmas, seeing this sign,
Sought till they reached the buddha.
They honored him, strewing flowers,
And offered him their palaces,
Entreating him to roll the Law-wheel
And extolling him in verse.
The buddha, knowing the time had not yet come,
Received their entreaty but sat in silence.
From three [other] quarters11 and four directions,12
The zenith and the nadir [they] likewise [came],
Strewing flowers, offering their palaces,
And begging the buddha to roll the Law-wheel:
'Hard it is to meet a world-honored one;
Be pleased, in thy great13 compassion,
Widely to open the gates of the sweet dew
And roll the supreme Law-wheel!'
The world-honored one of infinite wisdom,
Receiving the entreaty of that throng,
Proclaimed for them the various laws of
The Four Noble Truths and Twelve Causes:
'Ignorance on to age and death,
All exist because of birth.
All such distresses as these,
All of you must know.'
While this law was being proclaimed,
Six hundred myriad kotis of nayutas
[Of beings] ended all their distresses,
All becoming arhats.
The second time he preached the Law
Thousands of myriads, as the sands of the Ganges,
Not following ordinary methods,
Also became arhats.
From that time forth the Way-attainers
Were incalculable in number;
To count them for myriads of kotis of kalpas
Would not reach their end.
Then the sixteen royal sons
Who left home as shramaneras
Unitedly entreated the buddha:
'Proclaim the Law of the Great-vehicle!
We and our companies of followers
Would all accomplish the Buddha-way.
We would be like the World-honored One,
With wise and perfectly pure eyes.'
The Buddha, knowing his sons' mind
And the doings of their former lives,
By countless reasonings
And various parables
Preached the Six Paramitas
And the supernatural things,
Discriminated the real Law of
The way bodhisattvas walk,
And preached this Law-Flower Sutra
In verses [numerous] as the sands of the Ganges.
When the buddha had preached the sutra,
In a quiet room he entered meditation;
With concentrated mind he sat in one place
For eighty-four thousand kalpas.
All those shramaneras,
Perceiving he would not yet emerge from meditation,
To infinite kotis of beings
Expounded the buddha's wisdom,
Each sitting on a Law throne,
Preaching this Great-vehicle sutra;
And, after the buddha's rest,
Proclaimed and aided his teaching of the Law.
The number of living saved by
Each of those shramaneras was
Six hundred myriad kotis of beings,
As [many as] the sands of the Ganges.
After that buddha was extinct,
Those hearers of the Law,
In every one of the Buddha-lands,
Were [re]born along with their teachers.14
These sixteen shramaneras,
Perfectly practicing the Buddha-way,
Now dwell in the ten directions,
Each having attained Perfect Enlightenment.
Those who then heard the Law
All dwell with the buddhas.
Those who [still] remain shravakas
Are gradually taught in the Buddha-way.
I was amongst the sixteen
And formerly preached to you.
Therefore, by my tactfulness,
I lead you on to Buddha-wisdom.
Because of this former connection,
I now preach the Law-Flower Sutra
To cause you to enter the Buddha-way.
Be careful not to harbor fear!
Suppose there be a perilous way,
Cut off and full of venomous beasts,
Without either water or grass,
A region of terror to men.
An innumerable multitude, thousands of myriads,
Wish to pass along this perilous way,
A road indeed far-reaching,
Through five hundred yojanas.
Then appears a leader
Of strong sense and wise,
Clear-headed and of resolute mind,
Who in peril saves from all danger.
[But] those people all become exhausted
And speak to the leader, saying:
'We now are weary and worn
And want to turn back from here.'
The leader reflects [thus]:
'These fellows are much to be pitied.
How can they want to turn back
And miss such great treasure?'
At that instant he thinks of a device:
'Let me exert supernatural power
And make a great magic city
Splendidly adorned with houses,
Surrounded with gardens and groves,
Streamlets and bathing pools,
Massive gates and lofty towers,
Full of both men and women.'
Having made this transformation,
He pacifies them, saying: 'Do not fear!
Enter all of you into this city,
And let each enjoy himself at will.'
When those people had entered the city,
Their hearts were full of joy;
All thought [only] of rest and ease
And considered they had been saved.
When the leader knew they were rested,
He assembled and addressed them, saying:
'Let all of you push forward!
This was only an illusory city.
Seeing you all worn out
And wanting to turn back midway,
I therefore by a device
Temporarily made this city.
Do you now diligently advance
Together to the Place of Jewels.'
I, too, in like manner,
Am the leader of all [beings].
Seeing the seekers of the Way
Midway becoming wearied
And unable to cross the perilous ways
Of mortality and earthly cares,
So I by my tactful powers
For their relief preached nirvana, saying:
'Your sufferings are ended;
You have finished your work.'
When I knew you had reached nirvana
And all become arhats,
Then I gathered you all together
And preached to you the real Law.
Buddhas by their tactful powers
Separately preach the three vehicles;
[But] there is only the One Buddha-vehicle;
It is for the resting-place that two are preached.15
Now I preach to you the truth;
What you have reached is not the [real] extinction.



For the sake of [obtaining] the Buddha's perfect knowledge,
Exert yourselves with the utmost zeal!
[When] you have proved the perfect knowledge,
The ten powers, and so on of the Buddha-laws,
And perfected the thirty-two signs,
Then that is real extinction.
The buddhas, the leaders,
For the sake of giving rest call it nirvana,
But perceiving this rest [should be] ended,
They lead them [on] into Buddha-wisdom."

HERE ENDS
THE THIRD FASCICLE

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law - Chapter 6 - Predictions

At that time the World-honored One, after pronouncing this verse, addressed all the great assembly, uttering words like these: "This my disciple Maha-Kashayapa in the world to come shall do homage to three hundred myriad kotis of the world-honored buddhas, serving, revering, honoring, and extolling them and widely proclaiming the infinite great Law of the buddhas. In his final bodily state he will become a buddha, whose name will be called Radiance Tathagata, Worshipful, All Wise, Perfectly Enlightened in Conduct, Well Departed, Understander of the World, Peerless Leader, Controller, Teacher of Gods and Men, Buddha, World-honored One, whose domain is named Radiant Virtue, and whose kalpa is named Great Magnificence.

The lifetime of [that] buddha will be twelve minor kalpas, his Righteous Law will abide in the world for twenty minor kalpas, and the Counterfeit Law will also abide for twenty minor kalpas. His domain will be beautiful, devoid of dirt, potsherds, thorns, and unclean ordure; its land will be level and straight, with no uneven places, neither pitfalls nor mounds, its ground of lapis lazuli, lines of jewel trees, golden cords to bound the ways, strewn with precious flowers, and purity [reigning] everywhere. In that domain the bodhisattvas will be infinite thousand kotis, with shravakas numberless. No Mara deeds will be there, and though there are Mara and Mara's people, they all will protect the Buddha-law."

At that time the World-honored One, desiring to proclaim this teaching over again, spoke thus in verse:

"I say to you bhikshus
That with my Buddha-eyes
I see that this Kashyapa
In the world to come
After innumerable kalpas,
Will become a buddha,
And that in the world to come
He will serve and pay homage to
Three hundred myriad kotis
Of world-honored buddhas;
For the sake of the Buddha-wisdom
He will purely practice the brahma-life,
Serving the highest
And most honored of men,
Putting into practice all
The peerless wisdom,
And in his final bodily state
Become a buddha.
His land will be pure,
With lapis lazuli for ground,
Abundance of jewel trees
Lining the roadsides,
Golden cords to bound the ways,
Rejoicing the beholders,
Ever-pervading fragrance,
Rare flowers strewn everywhere,
Every kind of rarity
Adding to its splendor;
Its land will be level,
Free from mounds and hollows.
Many bodhisattvas,

Of untold number
And gentle mind,
Will attain great transcendent powers
And reverently keep the Buddha's
Great-vehicle sutras.
His multitude of shravakas,
Of faultless final form,
Sons of the Law-king,
Will be beyond count;
Even the eyes of the gods
Cannot know their number.
That buddha's lifetime will be
Twelve minor kalpas;
His Righteous Law will abide in the world
For twenty minor kalpas;
The Counterfeit Law will abide
For twenty minor kalpas.
Such will be the history of
The Radiant World-honored One."

Thereupon Maha-Maudgalyayana, Subhuti, Maha-Katyayana, and others all tremblingly folded their hands with one mind, and gazing up into the World-honored One's face, not for an instant lowering their eyes, with united voice spoke thus in verse:

"Great Hero, World-honored One,
Law-king of the Shakyas!
Out of compassion for us
Grant us the Buddha-announcement!
If thou dost know the depths of our minds
And predict our future destinies,
It will be like pouring sweet dew
To change the heat to coolness,
Like one from a famine land
Suddenly finding a royal repast,
Yet cherishing doubt and fear,
Not daring at once to eat,
But when instructed by the king,
Then daring to eat.
Thus it is with us;
While minding Hinayana error,
We know not how to obtain
The supreme wisdom of the Buddha.
Though we hear the voice of the Buddha,
Who says we shall become buddhas,
Our hearts are still anxious and afraid,
Like him who dare not eat.
But if we receive the Buddha's prediction,
Then shall we be happy and at ease.
Great Hero, World-honored One!
Thou dost ever desire to pacify the world;
Be pleased to bestow our prediction,
Like bidding the famished to feast!"

Thereupon the World-honored One, knowing the thoughts in the minds of those senior disciples, addressed all the bhikshus: "This Subhuti, in the world to come, shall do homage to three hundred myriad kotis of nayutas of buddhas, serving, revering, honoring, and extolling them, practicing the brahma-life, and perfecting the bodhisattva-way. In his final bodily state he will become a buddha whose title will be Name Form1 Tathagata, Worshipful, All Wise, Perfectly Enlightened in Conduct, Well Departed, Understander of the World, Peerless Leader, Controller, Teacher of Gods and Men, Buddha, World-honored One, whose kalpa is named Possessing Jewels, and whose domain is named Jewel Producing. His land will be level and straight, with crystal for ground, adorned with jewel trees, devoid of mounds and pits, gravel, thorns, and unclean ordure, the earth covered with precious flowers, and purity [reigning] everywhere.

All the people in that land will dwell on jeweled terraces and in pearly palaces. Shravaka disciples will be innumerable and limitless, they can be made known neither by figures nor by metaphors, and the bodhisattva host will be numberless thousand myriad kotis of nayutas. The lifetime of [that] buddha will be twelve minor kalpas, his Righteous Law will abide in the world for twenty minor kalpas, and the Counterfeit Law will also abide for twenty minor kalpas. That buddha will always dwell in the empyrean, preaching the Law to living beings and delivering innumerable bodhisattvas and shravakas."

At that time the World-honored One, desiring to proclaim this teaching over again, spoke thus in verse:

"All you host of bhikshus!
I have something to tell you.
All with one mind
Listen to what I say!
My senior disciple
Subhuti
Will become a buddha
Whose title will be Name Form.
He will serve numberless
Myriad kotis of buddhas,
And following the practice of the buddhas,
Will become perfect in the Great Way.
In his final bodily state
He will obtain the thirty-two signs,
And be erect and beautiful
As a mountain of jewels.
The domain of the buddha
Will be peerless in pure splendor,
So that all who behold [it]
Will love and delight in it.
The buddha in its midst
Will save innumerable beings;
In his Buddha-law
Many will be the bodhisattvas,
All of keen faculties,
Who roll the never-receding wheel.
His domain is ever
Ornate with bodhisattvas;
His shravaka host is
Beyond expression and count,
Who all attain the three clear [views],
Perfect the six transcendent [faculties],
Abide in the eight emancipations,
And are greatly awe-inspiring.
That Buddha preaches the law,
Revealing himself in infinite
Supernatural transformations
Beyond conception.
Gods and people
As the sands of the Ganges in number

All with folded hands
Hearken to that buddha's words.
That buddha's lifetime will be
Twelve minor kalpas,
His Righteous Law will abide in the world
For twenty minor kalpas,
And the Counterfeit Law will also abide
For twenty minor kalpas."

At that time the World-honored One again addressed all the assembly of bhikshus, [saying]: "Now I announce to you that this Maha-Katyayana, in the world to come, will worship and serve eight thousand kotis of buddhas with many kinds of offerings, revering and honoring them. After those buddhas are extinct he for each [of them] will erect stupas a thousand yojanas in height, of equal length and breadth, five hundred yojanas, composed of the precious seven--gold, silver, lapis lazuli, moonstone, agate, pearl, and carnelian--and will serve those stupas with garlands of flowers, perfume,2 sandal powder,3 burning incense, silk canopies, flags, and banners. After this he will again similarly serve two myriad kotis of buddhas; and, having served these buddhas, he will complete his bodhisattva-way and become a buddha whose title will be Jambunada Golden Light4 Tathagata, Worshipful, All Wise, Perfectly Enlightened in Conduct, Well Departed, Understander of the World, Peerless Leader, Controller, Teacher of Gods and Men, Buddha,

World-honored One. His land will be level and straight, with crystal for ground, adorned with jewel trees, with golden cords to bound the ways, its ground covered with wonderful flowers, and purity [reigning] everywhere, so that beholders rejoice. The four evil conditions will not be there--hells, hungry spirits, animals, and asuras--[but] gods and men will be many, and infinite myriad kotis of shravakas and bodhisattvas will adorn his domain. The lifetime of that buddha will be twelve minor kalpas, his Righteous Law will abide in the world for twenty minor kalpas, and the Counterfeit Law will also abide for twenty minor kalpas."

At that time the World-honored One, desiring to proclaim this teaching over again, spoke thus in verse:

"All of you host of bhikshus!
Listen to me with one mind!
The words that I speak
Are true and infallible.
This Katyayana
Will, with various kinds
Of excellent offerings,
Pay homage to buddhas.
After the buddhas are extinct
He will erect stupas of the precious seven
And also, with flowers and perfumes,
Pay homage to their relics;
In his final bodily state
He will obtain the Buddha-wisdom
And accomplish Perfect Enlightenment.

His land will be pure.
And he will save innumerable
Myriad kotis of the living,
Being worshiped by all
In every direction.
His buddha-luster
None can surpass,
And his buddha-title will be
Jambunada Golden Light.
Bodhisattvas and shravakas
Free from all existence,
Numberless, uncountable,
Will adorn his domain."

Thereupon the World-honored One again addressed the great assembly, [saying]: "Now I announce to you that Maha-Maudgalyayana will, with various kinds of offerings, serve eight thousand buddhas, revering and honoring them. After the extinction of these buddhas he for each [of them] will erect stupas a thousand yojanas in height, of equal length and breadth, five hundred yojanas, composed of the precious seven, gold, silver, lapis lazuli, moonstone, agate, pearl, and carnelian, and will serve them with garlands of flowers, perfume, sandal powder, burning incense, silk canopies, flags, and banners. After this he will again similarly serve two hundred myriad kotis of buddhas, and then become a buddha, whose title will be Tamalapattra Sandal Fragrance Tathagata, Worshipful, All Wise, Perfectly Enlightened in Conduct,

Well Departed, Understander of the World, Peerless Leader, Controller, Teacher of Gods and Men, Buddha, World-honored One. His kalpa will be named Joyful and his domain named Glad Mind. Its land will be level and straight, with crystal for ground, adorned with jewel trees, strewn with pearly flowers, and purity [reigning] everywhere, so that beholders rejoice. There will be gods, men, bodhisattvas, and shravakas, countless in number. The lifetime of that buddha will be twenty-four minor kalpas, his Righteous Law will abide in the world for forty minor kalpas, and the Counterfeit Law will also abide for forty minor kalpas."

Thereupon the World-honored One, desiring to proclaim the teaching over again, spoke thus in verse:

"This my disciple
Maha-Maudgalyayana,
After casting aside this body,
Will see eight thousand
Two hundred myriad of kotis
Of world-honored buddhas,
And, for the sake of the Buddha-way,
Will serve and revere them.
Among these buddhas,
Ever practicing the brahma-life
For innumerable kalpas,
He will keep the Buddha-law.
After these buddha are extinct,
He will erect stupas of the precious seven,
Displaying afar their golden spires,
And, with flowers, perfumes, and music
Pay homage to
The stupas of the buddhas.
Having gradually accomplished
The bodhisattva-way,
In the domain Glad Mind
He will become a buddha,
Styled Tamalapattra
Sandal Fragrance.
The lifetime of that buddha
Will be twenty-four kalpas.
Constantly to gods and men
He will preach the Buddha-way.
Shravakas will be innumerable
As the sands of the Ganges,
Having the three clear [views], the six transcendent [faculties],
And awe-inspiring powers.
Bodhisattvas will be numberless,
Firm in their will, and zealous
In the Buddha-wisdom,
Who never backslide.
After this buddha is extinct,
His Righteous Law will abide
For forty minor kalpas
And the Counterfeit Law the same.
[You] my disciples

Of perfect powers,
Five hundred in number,
All will receive their prediction
To become buddhas
In the world to come.
Of my and your
Development in previous worlds
I will now make declaration.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law Chapter 5 - The Parable of the Herbs

At that time the World-honored One addressed Maha-Kashyapa and the [other] great disciples: "Good! Good! Kashyapa; you have well proclaimed the real merits of the Tathagata. Truly they are as you have said. The Tathagata, in addition, has infinite, boundless, innumerable merits, [which] if you spoke of for infinite kotis of kalpas you could not fully express. Know, Kashyapa! The Tathagata is the king of the Law. Whatever he declares is wholly free from falsity.

He expounds all the laws by wise tactfulness. The Law preached by him all leads to the stage of perfect knowledge. The Tathagata sees and knows what is the good of all the laws and also knows what all living beings in their inmost hearts are doing; he penetrates them without hindrance. Moreover, in regard to all laws, having the utmost understanding of them, he reveals to all living beings the wisdom of perfect knowledge.1

"Kashyapa! Suppose, in the three-thousand-great-thousandfold world there are growing on the mountains, along the rivers and streams, in the valleys and on the land, plants, trees, thickets, forests, and medicinal herbs of various and numerous kinds, with names and colors all different. A dense cloud, spreading over and everywhere covering the whole three-thousand-great-thousandfold world, pours down [its rain] equally at the same time. Its moisture universally fertilizes the plants, trees, thickets, forests, and medicinal herbs, with their tiny roots, tiny stalks, tiny twigs, tiny leaves, their medium[-sized] roots, medium stalks, medium twigs, medium leaves, their big roots, big stalks, big twigs, and big leaves; every tree big or little, according to its superior, middle, or lower [capacity], receives its share. From the rain of the one cloud [each] according to the nature of its kind acquires its development, opening its blossoms and bearing its fruit. Though produced in one soil and moistened by the same rain, yet these plants and trees are all different.

"Know, Kashyapa! The Tathagata is also like this; he appears in the world like the rising of [that] great cloud. Universally he extends his great call over the world of gods, men, and asuras, just as that great cloud everywhere covers the three thousand-great-thousandfold region. In the great assembly he sounds forth these words: 'I am the Tathagata, the Worshipful, the All Wise, the Perfectly Enlightened in Conduct, the Well Departed, the Understander of the World, the Peerless Leader, the Controller, the Teacher of Gods and Men, the Buddha, the World-honored One. Those who have not yet been saved I cause to be saved; those who have not been set free to be set free; those who have not yet been comforted to be comforted; those who have not yet obtained nirvana to obtain nirvana.2 I know the present world and the world to come as they really are.

I am the All Knowing, the All Seeing, the Knower of the Way, the Opener of the Way, the Preacher of the Way. Come to me, all you gods, men, and asuras, to hear the Law.' At that moment numberless thousand myriad kotis of classes of living beings came to the Buddha to hear the Law. Thereupon the Tathagata, observing the natural powers of all these beings, keen or dull, zealous or indifferent, according to their [capacity] preached to them the Law in varying and unstinted ways, causing them all to rejoice and joyfully obtain much profit. All these living beings, having heard this Law, [are] comforted in the present life and afterward [will be] born in happy states, [where they will be] made joyful by the Truth and also hear the Law. Having heard the Law, they are freed from hindrances, and according to their capacity in all the laws, they gradually enter the Way.

"Just as that great cloud, raining on all the plants, trees, thickets, forests, and medicinal herbs, and according to the nature of their seed perfectly fertilizing them so that each grows and develops, [so] the Law preached by the Tathagata is of one form3 and flavor,4 that is to say, deliverance,5 abandonment,6 extinction,7 and finally the attainment of perfect knowledge.8 If there be living beings who hear the Law of the Tathagata and keep, read, recite, and practice it as preached [by him], their achievements will not [enable them] to understand their own [nature]. Wherefore? [Because] there is only the Tathagata who knows the seed, the form, the embodiment, and the nature of all these living beings, what things they are reflecting over, what things they are thinking, what things practicing, how reflecting, how thinking, how practicing, by what laws reflecting, by what laws thinking, by what laws practicing, and by what laws attaining to what laws.

There is only the Tathagata who in reality sees, clearly and without hindrance, the stages in which all living beings are, just as those plants, trees, thickets, forests, medicinal herbs, and others do not know their own natures, superior, middle, or inferior. The Tathagata knows this unitary essential Law, that is to say, deliverance, abandonment, extinction, final nirvana of eternal tranquillity, ending in return to the void. The Buddha, knowing this and observing the dispositions of all living beings, supports and protects them. For this reason he does not immediately declare to them the complete and perfect wisdom. Kashyapa! All of you! A most rare thing it is that you should be able to know the Law preached by the Tathagata as he sees fit, and be able to believe and able to receive it. Wherefore? [Because] the Law preached by buddhas, the world-honored ones, as they see fit is difficult to discern and difficult to know."

At that time the World-honored One, desiring to proclaim this teaching over again, spoke thus in verse:

"The Law-king who destroys existence
Appears in this world;
According to the natures of all living beings,
He preaches the Law discriminately.
The Tathagata is greatly to be honored
And profound in wisdom;
For long has he kept secret this essential [truth],
Not endeavoring hastily to declare it.
The wise, if they hear it,
Are able to believe and discern;
The ignorant doubt and turn away,
Losing it perpetually.
Therefore, Kashyapa,
According to their powers I preach to them
With varied reasonings
To bring them to right views.
Know, Kashyapa!
It is like a great cloud
Rising above the world,
Covering all things everywhere,
A beneficent cloud full of moisture;
Flashes of lightning shine and glint,
The voice of thunder vibrates afar,
Bringing gladness and ease to all.
The sun's rays are veiled,
And the earth is colored;
The cloud lowers and spreads
As if it might be caught and gathered;
Its rain everywhere equally
Descends on all sides,
Streaming and pouring without stint,
Enriching all the land.
On mountains, by rivers, in steep valleys,
In hidden recesses, there grow
The plants, trees, and herbs;
Trees, big or small,
The shoots of all the ripening grain,
Sugar cane and grapevine,
All these by the rain are fertilized
And abundantly enriched.
The dry ground is all soaked,
And herbs and trees flourish together.
From the one water which
Issued from that cloud,
Plants, trees, thickets, forests,
According to their need, receive moisture.
All the trees,
Superior, middle, inferior, all,
Each according to its size,
Grow and develop
Roots, stalks, branches, and leaves,
Blossoms and fruits in their brilliant colors;
By the pouring of the one rain,
All become fresh and glossy.
Just as their bodies, forms,
And natures are divided into great and small,
So the enriching [rain], though one and the same,
Yet makes each flourish.
In the same manner the Buddha also
Appears in the world,
Like a great cloud
Universally covering all things;
And having appeared in the world,
He, for the sake of all living beings,
Discriminates and proclaims
The reality of all the laws.
The great holy World-honored One
Among the gods and men
And all the other beings
Proclaims this, saying:
'I am the Tathagata,
The most honored among men;
I appear in the world
Just like a great cloud,
To pour enrichment on all
Parched living beings,
To free them all from misery
And so attain the joy of peace,
Joy in the world,
And the joy of nirvana.
Gods, men, and all!
With all your mind hearken to me.
Come all of you here
And behold the peerless honored one.
I am the World-honored One,
Who cannot be equaled.
To give peace to all creatures
I appear in the world,
And for the hosts of the living
Preach the Law, pure as sweet dew:
The one and only Law
Of emancipation and nirvana.'
With one transcendent voice
I proclaim this meaning,
Constantly taking the Great-vehicle
As my subject.
I look upon all [living beings]
Everywhere [with] equal [eyes],
Without distinction of persons,
Or mind of love or hate.
I have no predilections
Nor limitations [or partiality];
Ever to all [beings]
I preach the Law equally;
As [I preach] to one person,
So [I preach] to all.
Constantly I proclaim the Law,
Never occupied with aught else;
Going or coming, sitting or standing,
I never weary of
Pouring it abundantly upon the world,
Like the rain enriching universally.
Honored and humble, high and low,
Law-keepers and law-breakers,
Those of perfect character
And those of imperfect,
Orthodox and heterodox,
Quick-witted and dull-witted,
[With] equal [mind] I rain the rain of the Law
Unwearyingly.
All living creatures
On hearing my Law,
According to their receptive powers,
[Find their] abode in their several places;
Some dwell [amongst] gods or men
Or holy wheel-rolling kings,
Or Shakra, Brahma, or other kings;
These are [like] smaller herbs.
[Those who] know the faultless Law
[And are] able to attain nirvana,
[Who] cultivate the six transcendent [faculties]
And obtain the three clear [views],
Who dwell alone in mountain forests,
Ever practicing meditation,
And obtain pratyekabuddhahood -
These are the larger herbs.
Those who seek the World-honored One,
[Resolving,] 'We will become buddhas,'
And practice zeal and meditation -
These are the superior herbs.
And these Buddha-sons
Who single-minded [walk] the Buddha-way,
Ever practicing compassion,
Assured that they will become buddhas
Certainly and without doubt -
These are named shrubs.
The firmly settled in the transcendent [faculties],
Who roll the unretreating wheel
And save infinite hundred
Thousand kotis of the living,
Such bodhisattvas as these
Are named trees.
The Buddha's equal preaching
Is like the one rain;
[But] beings, according to their nature,
Receive it differently,
Just as the plants and trees
Each take a varying supply.
The Buddha by this parable
Tactfully reveals
And with various expressions
Proclaims the One Law;
[But of] the Buddha-wisdom
It is as a drop in the ocean.
I rain down the rain of the Law,
Filling the whole world,
The one essential Law,
To be practiced according to ability,
Just as those thickets, forests,
Herbs, and trees,
According to their size,
Luxuriantly develop.
The Law of all buddhas
Ever by its essential oneness
Causes all the worlds
Universally to gain perfect weal.
Gradually by its observance
All attain the Way's fruition.
Shravakas and pratyekabuddhas
Who dwell in the mountain forests,
Are in the final bodily state,
And, hearing the Law, reach fruition
Are named herbs,
Each progressing in growth.
As to the bodhisattvas
Who are firm in wisdom,
Penetrate the triple world,
And seek the highest vehicle,
These are named shrubs
Which gain increasing growth.
Again, those who practice meditation
And gain transcendent powers,
Who, hearing the doctrine of the Void,
Greatly rejoice in their minds,
And emitting innumerable rays
Save all living beings,
These are named trees
Which gain increasing growth.
Like this, Kashyapa,
Is the Law preached by the Buddha.
It is just like a great cloud
Which with the same kind of rain
Enriches men and blossoms,
So that each bears fruit.
Know, Kashyapa!
By numerous reasonings
And various parables
I reveal the Buddha-way;
This is my tactful method.
All buddhas do the same.
What I have now said to you all
Is the veriest truth.
All shravakas
[Have] not [yet] attained nirvana.9
The Way in which you walk
Is the bodhisattva-way;
By gradually practicing and learning,
All [of you] will become buddhas.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law Chapter 4 - Faith Discernment

At that time the wisdom-destined Subhuti, Maha-Katyayana, Maha-Kashyapa, and Maha-Maudgalyayana, hearing from the Buddha the unprecedented Law and the prediction by the World-honored One of Shariputra's [future destiny of] Perfect Enlightenment, were struck with wonder and ecstatic with joy. Thereupon they rose from their seats, and, arranging their garments, humbly baring their right shoulders, placing their right knees on the ground, with one mind folding their hands, bending their bodies in reverence, and gazing upon his honored face, addressed the Buddha, saying:

"We, heads of the monks, in years moreover worn out, consider that we have attained nirvana, and that there is nothing more we are able to undertake, so we do not press forward to seek after Perfect Enlightenment. The World-honored One for a long time has been preaching the Law, and we all the time seated in our places have become weary in our bodies and neglectful, only thinking of the void, of the formless, and of nonfunction,1 but in regard to the bodhisattva-laws, their supernatural displays, the purifying of the buddha-lands, and the perfecting of all living beings, our hearts have not taken delight. Wherefore? [Because we have fancied that] the World-honored One had caused us to escape the triple world and to obtain [proof of] nirvana, and besides, now we are [so] worn with age that in regard to Perfect Enlightenment, for which the Buddha instructs bodhisattvas, we have not conceived a single fond thought of joy.

Now we, in the presence of the Buddha, hearing that shravakas are predicted to [attain] Perfect Enlightenment, are extremely glad in our minds and have obtained that which we have never experienced before. Unexpectedly we now of a sudden hear this rare Law. Profoundly do we congratulate ourselves [on] having acquired so great and good a gain, an inestimable jewel, without the seeking. World-honored One! Now let us have the pleasure of speaking in a parable to make plain this meaning.

"It is like a man who, in his youth, leaves his father and runs away. For long he dwells in some other country, for ten, twenty, or fifty years. The older he grows, the more needy he becomes. Roaming about in all directions to seek clothing and food, he gradually wanders along till he unexpectedly approaches his native country. From the first the father searched for this son, but in vain, and meanwhile settled in a [certain] city. His home became very rich, his goods and treasures incalculable: gold, silver, lapis lazuli, coral, amber, crystal, and other gems, so that his granaries and treasuries overflow; he has many youths and slaves, retainers and attendants, and numberless elephants, horses, carriages, animals to ride, cows, and sheep. His revenues and investments spread to other countries, and his traders and customers are many in the extreme.

"At this time the poor son, wandering through village after village and passing through countries and cities, at last reaches the city where his father has settled. The father has always been thinking of his son, and though he has been parted from him over fifty years, he has never spoken of the matter to anyone, only pondering it himself and cherishing regret in his heart as he reflects: 'Old and worn, I own much wealth--gold, silver, and jewels, granaries and treasuries overflowing--but I have no son. Someday my end will come and my wealth will be scattered and lost, for there is no one to whom I can leave it.' Thus does he earnestly, whenever he thinks of his son, repeat this reflection: 'If I could only get [back] my son and commit my wealth to him, how contented and happy should I be, with never any more anxiety!'

"World-honored One! Meanwhile the poor son, hired for wages here and there, unexpectedly arrives at his father's house. Standing by the gate, he sees from afar his father seated on a lion couch, his feet on a jeweled footstool, revered and surrounded by Brahmans, Kshatriyas, and citizens, and with strings of pearl worth thousands and myriads adorning his body; attendants and young slaves with white fly whisks wait upon him right and left; he is covered by a precious canopy from which hang streamers of flowers; perfume is sprinkled on the earth, all kinds of famous flowers are scattered around, and precious things are placed in rows; some he accepts, others he rejects. Such is his glory, and the honor of his dignity. The poor son, seeing his father possessed of [such] great power, was seized with fear, regretting that he had come to [this] place, and secretly reflected thus: 'This must be a king or someone of royal rank; it is no place for me to obtain anything for the hire of my labor. I had better go to some poor hamlet, where there is a place to hire out my labor, and food and clothing are easier to get. If I tarry here long, I may suffer oppression and forced labor.'

"Having reflected thus, he hastily runs away. Meanwhile the rich elder on his lion seat has recognized his son at first sight and with great joy in his mind has thus reflected: 'Now I have the one to whom my treasuries of wealth are to be made over. Always have I been thinking of this [my] son, with no means of seeing him; but suddenly he himself has come and my longing is satisfied. Though worn with years, I still yearn [for him].'

"Instantly he dispatches his attendants to rush after him and fetch him back. Thereupon the messengers hasten forth to seize him. The poor son, surprised and scared, loudly cries his complaint: 'I have committed no offense against you; why should I be arrested?' The messengers all the more hasten to lay hold of him and compel him to go back. Thereupon the poor son thinks to himself that [though] he is innocent yet he will be imprisoned, and that will certainly mean his death, so that he is all the more terrified, faints away, and falls on the ground. The father, seeing this from afar, gives the messengers his word: 'There is no need for this man. Do not fetch him by force. Sprinkle cold water on his face to restore him to consciousness and do not speak to him any further!'2 Wherefore? The father, knowing that his son's disposition is inferior, knowing that his own lordly position has caused distress to his son, yet profoundly assured that he is his son, tactfully says nothing to others that this is his son. A messenger says to the son: 'I now set you free; go wherever you will.' The poor son is delighted, [thus] obtaining the unexpected. He rises from the ground and goes to a poor hamlet in search of food and clothing.

"Then the elder, desiring to attract his son, sets up a device. Secretly he sends two men of doleful and undignified appearance, [saying]: 'You go and visit that place and gently say to the poor man: "There is a place for you to work here; you will be given double wages." If the poor man agrees, bring him back and give him work. If he asks what work do [you] wish him to do, then you may say to him: "It is for removing [a heap of] dirt that we hire you, and we both also would work along with you."' Then the two messengers went in search of the poor son and, having found him, placed [before him] the above proposal. Thereupon the poor son, having received his wages beforehand, joins with them in removing the dirt [heap]. His father, beholding the son, is struck with compassion for and wonder at him.

"Another day he sees at a distance through a window his son's figure, gaunt, lean, and doleful, filthy and unclean from the piles of dirt and dust; thereupon he takes off his strings of jewels, his soft attire and ornaments, and puts on again a coarse, torn, and dirty garment, smears his body with dust, takes a dustpan in his right hand, and with an appearance of fear3 says to the laborers: 'Get on with your work, don't be lazy.' By [such] a device he gets near his son, to whom he soon afterward says: 'Aye, [my] man, you stay and work here, do not go again elsewhere; I will increase your wages; whatever you need, bowls, utensils, rice, wheat flour, salt, vinegar, and so on; have no hesitation; besides, there is [an] old and worn-out servant whom you shall be given if you need him. Be at ease in your mind; I am as it were your father; do not be worried again. Wherefore? I am old and advanced in years, but you are young and vigorous; all the time you have been working, you have never been deceitful, lazy, angry, or grumbling; I have never seen you have such vices as these, like the other laborers. From this time forth you shall be as my own begotten son.'

"Thereupon the elder gives him a name anew and calls him a son. Then the poor son, though he rejoices at this happening, still thinks of himself as a humble hireling. For this reason, for twenty years he continues to be employed for removing dirt. After this period, there is confidence between them and he goes in and out and at his ease, though his abode is still the original place.

"World-honored One! Then the elder becomes ill and, knowing that he will shortly die, says to the poor son: 'Now I possess abundant gold, silver, and precious things, and my granaries and treasuries are full to overflowing. The quantities of these things, and the [amounts] which should be received and given, [I want] you to understand in detail. Such is my mind. Do you agree to this my will. Wherefore? Because now I and you are of the same mind. Be increasingly mindful so that there be no waste.'

"Then the poor son accepts his instructions and commands, and becomes acquainted with all the goods, gold, silver, and precious things, as well as all the granaries and treasuries, but has no idea of expecting to receive [as much as] a meal, while his abode is still the original place and his sense of inferiority too he is still unable to abandon.

"After a short time has passed, again the father, knowing that his son's ideas have gradually been enlarged and his will well developed, and that he despises his previous [state of] mind, on seeing that his own end is near, commands his son [to come] and at the same time gathers together his relatives, and the kings, ministers, Kshatriyas, and citizens. When they are all assembled, he thereupon addresses them, saying: 'Know, gentlemen, this is my son begotten by me. It is over fifty years since, from a certain city, he left me and ran away to endure loneliness and misery. His former name was so and so and my name is so and so. At that time in that city I sought him sorrowfully. Suddenly in this place I met and regained him. This is really my son and I am really his father. Now all the wealth which I possess belongs entirely to my son, and all my previous disbursements and receipts are known by this son.'

"World-honored One! When the poor son heard these words of his father, great was his joy at such unexpected [news], and thus he thought: 'Without any mind for or effort on my part these treasures now come of themselves to me.'

"World-honored One! The very rich elder is the Tathagata and we all are as the Buddha's sons. The Tathagata has always declared that we are his sons. World-honored One! Because of the three sufferings, in the midst of births and deaths we have borne all kinds of torments, being deluded and ignorant and enjoying [our] attachment to trifles. Today the World-honored One has caused us to ponder over and remove the dirt of all diverting discussions of [inferior] laws [or things]. In these we have been diligent to make progress and have got [but] a day's pay [for our effort] to reach nirvana.4 Having got this, we greatly rejoiced and were contented, saying to ourselves: 'For our diligence and progress in the Buddha-law what we have received is ample.'

But the World-honored One, knowing beforehand that our minds were attached to low desires and delighted in inferior things, lets us go our own way and does not discriminate against us, [saying]: 'You shall [yet] have control of the treasury of Tathagata-knowledge.' The World-honored One by his tactful power tells of the Tathagata-wisdom, [but] we, [though] following the Buddha and receiving [but] a day's wage of nirvana, have deemed it a great gain and never devoted ourselves to seeking after this Great-vehicle.

We also have declared and expounded the Tathagata-wisdom to bodhisattvas, but in regard to this [Great-vehicle] we have never had a longing for it. Wherefore? The Buddha, knowing that our minds delight in inferior things, by his tactful power teaches according to our [capacity], but still we do not perceive that we are really Buddha-sons. Now we have just realized that the World-honored One does not begrudge the Buddha-wisdom. Wherefore? From of old we are really sons of the Buddha, but only have taken pleasure in minor matters; if we had had a mind to take pleasure in the great, the Buddha would have preached the Great-vehicle Law to us. Now he in this sutra preaches only the One-vehicle; and though formerly in the presence of bodhisattvas he spoke disparagingly of shravakas who were pleased with minor matters, yet the Buddha had in reality been instructing them in the Great-vehicle. Therefore we say that though we had no mind to hope or expect it, [yet] now the great treasure of the King of the Law has of itself come to us, and such things that Buddha-sons should obtain we have all obtained."

Then Maha-Kashyapa, desiring to proclaim this meaning over again, spoke [thus] in verse:

"We on this day
Have heard the Buddha's voice teach
And are ecstatic with joy at
Having obtained the unprecedented.
The Buddha declares that [we] shravakas
Will become buddhas;
[His] peerless collection of treasures
We have received without seeking.
It is like a youth,
Immature and ignorant,
Who leaves his father and runs away
To other lands far distant,
Wandering about in many countries
For over fifty years.
His father, with anxious care,
Searches in all directions.
Wearied with his search,
He abides in a certain city.
Where he builds a house,
Enjoying the pleasures of life;5
Very rich in his house,
With abundance of gold and silver,
Moonstones and agates,
Pearls and lapis lazuli,
Elephants, horses, oxen, and sheep,
Palanquins, litters, carriages,
Husbandmen, young slaves,
And a multitude of people;
His revenues and investments
Spread even to other countries;
His traders and customers
Are found everywhere;
A thousand myriad kotis of people
Surround and honor him;
Constantly by the king
He is held in affection;
All the ministers and noble families
Honor him highly;
For all these reasons
His guests are many;
Such are the abundance of his wealth
And the greatness of his power.
But his years are wearing away
And he grieves the more over his son;
Morning and night he ponders:
'The time of my death is approaching;
My foolish son has left me
For over fifty years;
These things in my storehouses -
What shall I do [with them]?'
At that time the poor son
Seeks food and clothing
From city to city,
From country to country,
Sometimes getting something,
Sometimes nothing;
Famished, weak, and gaunt,
Covered with scabs and sores,
Gradually he passes along
To the city where his father dwells.
Hired for wages he roams about,
At last reaching his father's house.
At that very hour the elder
Within his gates
Has set up a great jeweled curtain
And sits on a lion seat
Surrounded by his attendants,
Everybody taking care of him.
Some are counting
Gold, silver, and precious things,
[Others] incoming and outgoing goods,
Noting and recording bonds.
The poor son, seeing his father
So noble and splendid,
Thinks: 'This must be a king
Or one of royal rank.'
Alarmed and wondering, [he says]:
'Why have I come here?'
Again he thinks to himself:
'If I tarry [here] long,
I may suffer oppression
And be driven to forced labor.'
Having pondered thus,
He runs off in haste
In search of some poor place,
That he may go and hire his labor.
At that time the elder
On the lion seat,
Seeing his son from afar,
Secretly recognizes him
And instantly orders servants
To pursue and fetch him back.
The poor son cries in alarm,
Faints away, and falls on the ground, [saying]:
'These men have caught me;
I shall certainly be killed.
Why, for food and clothing,
Did I come here?'
The elder, knowing that his son,
Being foolish and inferior,
Will not believe in his word,
Nor believe that he is his father,
With tactful method
Again dispatches other men,
One-eyed, squat, common,
And unimposing, [saying]:
'You [go and] tell him,
Saying: "You be hired along with us
To remove dirt and rubbish
And you shall be given double wages."'
The poor son hearing this
Is glad, and comes with them,
For the purpose of removing dirt
And cleansing outhouses.
The elder, through a lattice,
Continually sees his son,
And thinks of him as foolish
And pleased with humble things.
Then the elder,
Donning a tattered dirty garment,
Takes a dirt hod,
Goes to where his son is,
And by [this] device gets near him,
Bidding him be diligent, [saying]:
'I have [decided to] increase your wages,
Besides oil for your feet,
And plenty of food and drink,
And thick warm mats.'
Then with sharp words he thus chides:
'Get you on with the work.'
Again he speaks gently:
'You are as if you were my son.'
The elder, being wise,
Gradually causes him to go in and out,
And after twenty years
Employs him in house affairs,
Showing him gold and silver,
Pearls and crystal,
And the incoming and outgoing of things;
All these he makes him know.
Still he dwells without,
Lodging in a hovel,
For himself thinking of penurious things,
[Saying]: 'These things are not mine.'
The father, knowing his son's mind
Has gradually developed,
And wishing to give him his wealth,
Gathers together his relatives,
Princes and ministers,
Kshatriyas and citizens.
In this great assembly,
He announces: 'This is my son,
Who left me and went elsewhere
Fifty years ago;
Since I saw my son arrive,
Twenty years have passed.
Long ago in a certain city
I lost this son;
In wandering round in search of him,
At last I arrived here.
All that I have,
Houses and people,
I entirely give to him;
He is free to use them as he will.'
The son thinks of his former poverty
And inferior disposition,
[Yet] anew from his father
Obtains such great treasures,
Together with houses and buildings
And all this wealth,
[And so] rejoices greatly
On receiving such unexpected [fortune].
So it is with the Buddha;
Knowing that we are pleased with trifles,
He did not before proclaim,
'You will become buddhas,'
But said that we
Who are attaining faultlessness
And perfect in Hinayana
Are his shravaka disciples.
The Buddha commands us:
'Preach the most high Way,
And that these who practice it
Will become buddhas.'
We, receiving the Buddha's teaching,
For the sake of great bodhisattvas,
By numerous reasonings,
By various parables,
And by so many expressions,
Preach the supreme Way.
The sons of the Buddha,
Hearing the Law from us,
Day and night ponder over
And with unflagging zeal practice it.
Then the buddhas
Will predict of them:
'You, in a future generation,
Shall become buddhas.'
The mystic Law
Of all the buddhas
[Can] only to bodhisattvas
Be expounded in full reality,
So not to us [till now]
Was this truth preached.
Just as that poor son
Who came to be near his father,
Though he knew all the goods,
Had no hope of possessing them,
[So] we, though we proclaimed
The treasury of the Buddha-law,
Yet had no will or wish for it,
Being also like him.
We, with the extinction of inward [fires],6
Considered ourselves satisfied;
Having thus settled this matter,
Nothing more remained to be done.
Even if we had heard
Of the purification of buddha-lands
And the conversion of living beings,
We would never have rejoiced.
And wherefore?
[Because we fancied that] all things
Were altogether void,
Without birth, without extinction,
Nothing large, nothing small,
Without fault, without effort.
Thinking thus,
With no conception of joy,
We, for long,
Neither coveted nor were attached
To the Buddha-wisdom,
Nor had we any will or wish [for it].
But we, in regard to the Law,
Considered we had reached finality.
We, for a long time
Practicing the Law of the Void,
Obtained release from the triple world's
Distressing troubles,
Dwelling in the final bodily state
Of nirvana [in which form still] remains;
Being instructed by the Buddha, [we thought]
We had, without a doubt, attained the Way
And that we had therefore
Repaid the Buddha's grace.
Though we, for the sake
Of all Buddha-sons,
Have preached the Bodhisattva-law
That they should seek the Buddha-way,
Yet we, in regard to this Law,7
Had never any wish or pleasure.
Our Leader saw and let us alone,
Because he looked into our minds;
[So] at first he did not stir up our zeal
By telling of the true gain.
Just as the rich elder,
Knowing his son's inferior disposition,
By his tactfulness
Subdues his mind,
And afterward gives him
All his wealth,
So is it with the Buddha
In his display of rarities.
Knowing those who delight in trifles,
And by his tactfulness
Subduing their minds,
He instructs them in the greater wisdom.
Today we have obtained
That which we have never had before;
What we have not previously looked for
Now we have unexpectedly obtained,
Just as that poor son
Obtained inestimable treasures.
World-honored One! Now we
Have got the Way and got the fruit,
And, in the faultless Law,
Attained to clear vision.8
We for long
Having kept the Buddha's pure commands,
Today for the first time
Obtain their fruit and reward.
In the Law of the Law-king,
Having long practiced holy deeds,9
Now we have attained to the faultless,
Peerless great fruit;
Now we are
Really hearers of the sound,10
Who cause all beings to hear
The sound of the Buddha-way.
Now we are
Really arhats,
Who, in all the worlds
Of gods, men, Maras, and Brahmans,
Universally by them
Are worthy of worship.
The World-honored One, in his great grace,
By things which are rare
Has compassion for and instructs
And benefits us;
Through countless kotis of kalpas,
Who could repay him?
Service by hands and feet,
Homage with the head,
All kinds of offerings,
Are all unable to repay him.
If one bore [him] on one's head,11
Or carried [him] on one's shoulders
Through kalpas [numerous] as the sands of the Ganges;
Or revered him with one's whole mind,
Or with the best of food,
Or garments of countless value
And all kinds of bed things,
Or every sort of medicament;
Or with ox-head sandalwood12
And all kinds of jewels
Erected stupas and monasteries;
Or carpeted the ground with precious garments;
With such things as these
To pay homage
Through kalpas as the sands of Ganges,
Yet one would be unable to repay.
Buddhas rarely [appear with their]
Infinite and boundless,13
Inconceivably
Great transcendent powers;
They are faultless and effortless,
The kings of the Law,
Who are able, for inferior [minds],
Patiently [to bide their time] in this matter,
And for common folk attached to externals
To preach as is befitting.
Buddhas in the Law
Attain to supreme power.
Knowing all living beings,
With their various desires and pleasures,
And their powers,
[So] according to their capacities,
By innumerable parables,
They preach the Law to them.
According as all living beings
In past lives [have planted] good roots.
[The buddhas,] knowing the mature
And the immature,
And taking account of each,
Discriminating and understanding,
In the One-vehicle, as may be befitting,
They preach the three."*

HERE ENDS
THE SECOND FASCICL