Wednesday, April 04, 2012

The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law Chapter 27 The Story of the King Resplendent

At that time the Buddha addressed the great assembly: "Of yore, in a former eon, infinite, boundless, and inconceivable asamkhyeya kalpas ago, there was a buddha named Thunder Voice Constellation King of Wisdom,1 Tathagata, Arhat, Samyaksambodhi, whose domain was named Adorned with Radiance, and whose kalpa was named Joyful Sight. Under the spiritual rule of that buddha there was a king named Resplendent.

 The wife of that king was called Pure Virtue, who had two sons, one named Pure Treasury, the other named Pure-Eyed. Those two sons possessed great supernatural power, blessedness, and wisdom, and had for long devoted themselves to the ways in which bodhisattvas walk, that is to say, donation paramita, keeping the precepts paramita, perseverance paramita, assiduity paramita, meditation paramita, wisdom paramita, tactfulness paramita, benevolence, compassion, joy, indifference, and the thirty-seven kinds of aids to the Way - all these they thoroughly understood.

They had also attained the bodhisattva contemplation - the pure contemplation, the sun constellation contemplation, the pure light contemplation, the pure color contemplation,2 the pure illumination contemplation, the ever resplendent contemplation, and the contemplation of the treasury of great dignity, in which contemplations they were thoroughly accomplished. "Then that buddha, desiring to lead King Resplendent and having compassion for the living, preached this Law-Flower Sutra. Meanwhile the two sons, Pure Treasury and Pure-Eyed, went to their mother and, putting together their ten-fingered hands, spoke to her, saying: 'We beg you, mother, to go and visit the

 Buddha Thunder Voice Constellation King of Wisdom. We also would wait on, approach, serve, and worship him. Wherefore? [Because] that buddha among the host of gods and men is preaching the Law-Flower Sutra, and we ought to hear it.' The mother replied to her sons: 'Your father believes in the heretics and is deeply attached to the Brahman law. Do you go and speak to your father that he may go with us.'3 Pure Treasury and Pure-Eyed, putting together their ten-fingered hands, said to their mother: 'We are sons of the Law-king, though born in this home of heretical views.' The mother spoke to her sons, saying: 'You should have sympathy for your father, and show him some supernatural deed so that seeing it his mind will become clear and he will perhaps permit us to go to that buddha.'

 "Thereupon the two sons, with a mind for their father, sprang up into the sky seven tala trees high, and displayed many kinds of supernatural deeds, walking, standing, sitting, and lying in the sky; the upper [part of their] bodies emitting water, the lower emitting fire, or the lower emitting water and the upper emitting fire; or enlarging themselves till they filled the sky, and again appearing small, or small and again appearing large; then vanishing from the sky and suddenly appearing on the earth, or entering into the earth as into water, or walking on water as on the earth; displaying such various supernatural deeds, they led their father, the king, to cleanse his mind to faith and discernment. "When their father saw his sons [possessed of] such supernatural powers he was greatly delighted at so unprecedented an experience and with joined hands [saluted] his sons, saying: 'Who is your master? Whose pupils are you?'

The two sons replied: 'Great king! That Buddha Thunder Voice Constellation King of Wisdom, who is now under the seven-jeweled Bodhi tree, seated on the throne of the Law, preaching abroad the Law-Flower Sutra in the midst of the world-host of gods and men - he is our master, we are his pupils.' The father then said to his sons: 'I also would now like to see your master; let us go together.' "On this the two sons descended from the sky, went to their mother, and with folded hands said to her: 'Our father the king has now believed and understood, and been able to set his mind on Perfect Enlightenment. We have done a buddha-deed for our father. Be pleased, mother, to permit us to leave home and under that buddha pursue the Way.' "Then the two sons, desiring again to announce their wish, said to their mother in verse: 'Be pleased, mother, to release us To leave home and become shramanas. Hard it is to meet the buddhas, And we would be followers of a buddha. As the blossom of the udumbara,

Even harder is it to meet a buddha, And hard it is to escape from hardships. Be pleased to permit us to leave home.' "Then the mother spoke, saying: 'I grant you permission to leave home; and why? Because a buddha is hard to meet.' "On this the two sons said to their parents: 'Good, father and mother! We beg that you will now go to the Buddha Thunder Voice Constellation King of Wisdom, approach [him], and pay him homage. Wherefore? Because a buddha is as hard to meet as an udumbara flower, or as the one-eyed tortoise meeting the hole in the floating log.4 But we, richly blessed through a former lot, have met the Buddha-law in this life. Therefore, father and mother, listen to us and let us go forth from home. Wherefore? [Because] buddhas are hard to meet and the occasion is also hard to encounter.' "At that juncture all the eighty-four thousand court ladies of King Resplendent became capable of receiving and keeping this Law-Flower Sutra. The Bodhisattva Pure-Eyed had for long been thorough in the Law-Flower contemplation.

The Bodhisattva Pure Treasury had for infinite hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of kalpas been thorough in the contemplation of free from evil paths, [which] sought to lead all the living away from all evil states of existence. The queen of that king had attained the contemplation of assemblage of buddhas and was able to know the secret resources of buddhas. Thus did the two sons with tact wisely convert their father, bringing his mind to believe, discern, and delight in the Buddha-law. "Thereupon King Resplendent5 accompanied by his ministers and retinue, Queen Pure Virtue accompanied by her fine court ladies and retinue, and the two sons of that king, accompanied by forty-two thousand people, at once set out together to visit the buddha. Arriving and prostrating themselves at his feet, they made procession around the buddha three times and then withdrew to one side.

 "Then that buddha preached to the king, showing, teaching, profiting, and rejoicing him, so that the king was greatly delighted. Then King Resplendent and his queen unloosed the necklaces of pearls worth hundreds and thousands from their necks, and threw them upon the buddha, which in the sky were transformed into a four-columned jeweled tower; on the tower was a large jeweled couch spread with hundreds of thousands of myriads of celestial coverings, on which was the buddha sitting cross-legged, emitting a great [ray of] light. Whereupon King Resplendent reflected thus: 'Rare, dignified, extraordinary is the buddha's body, perfect in its supreme, refined coloring!' "Then the Buddha Thunder Voice Constellation King of Wisdom addressed the four groups, saying: 'You see this King Resplendent standing before me with folded hands?

This king, having become a bhikshu within my rule, and being zealous in observing the laws which aid the Buddha-way, shall become a buddha entitled Shalendra Tree King, whose domain will be named Great Luster, and his kalpa named Great High King. This Buddha Shalendra Tree King will have countless bodhisattvas and countless shravakas, and his domain will be level and straight. Such will be his merits.' "The king at once made over his domain to his younger brother; the king together with his queen, two sons, and retinue forsook his home and followed the Way under the rule of [that] buddha. Having forsaken his home, for eighty-four thousand years the king was ever diligent and zealous in observing the Wonderful Law-Flower Sutra, and after these [years] passed attained the contemplation of adorned with all pure merits. "Whereupon he arose in the sky to a height of seven tala trees and said to that buddha:

'World-honored One! These my two sons have already done a buddha-deed by their supernatural transformations, changing my heretical mind, establishing me in the Buddha-law, and causing me to see the World-honored One. These two sons are my good friends, for out of a desire to develop the roots of goodness [planted] in my former lives and to benefit me, they came and were born in my home.' "Thereupon the Buddha Thunder Voice Constellation King of Wisdom addressed King Resplendent, saying: 'So it is, so it is, it is as you say. Any good son or good daughter, by planting roots of goodness, will in every generation obtain good friends, which good friends will be able to do buddha-deeds, showing, teaching, profiting, and rejoicing him, and causing him to enter into Perfect Enlightenment. Know, great king!

 A good friend is the great cause whereby [men] are converted and led to see the buddha and aroused to Perfect Enlightenment. Great king! Do you see these two sons? These two sons have already paid homage to buddhas sixty-five [times] the hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of nayutas of the sands of the Ganges, waiting upon and revering them; and among those buddhas received and kept the Law-Flower Sutra, having compassion for the living with their false views, and establishing them in right views.' "King Resplendent thereupon descended from the sky and said to the buddha: 'World-honored One! Rare indeed is [the sight of] the tathagata; by his merits and wisdom the protuberance on his head shines brilliantly; his eyes are wide [open] and deep blue; the tuft between his eyebrows is white as the pearly moon; his teeth are white, even, close, and ever shining; his lips are red and beautiful as bimba fruit.'

Then, when King Resplendent had extolled that buddha's so many merits, countless hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of them, with all his mind he folded his hands before the tathagata and again addressed that buddha, saying: 'Unprecedented is the World-honored One. The Tathagata's teaching is perfect in its inconceivable and wonderful merits. The moral precepts which he promulgates are comforting and quickening. From this day onward I will not again follow my own mind, nor beget false views, nor a haughty, angry, or any other sinful mind.' Having uttered these words, he did reverence to the buddha and went forth." [Shakyamuni] Buddha [then] said to the great assembly:

 "What is your opinion? This King Resplendent - could he be any other person? He is indeed the present Bodhisattva Flower Virtue. That Queen Pure Virtue is the Bodhisattva Shining Splendor now in the presence of the Buddha,6 who out of compassion for King Resplendent and his people was born amongst them. These two sons are the present Medicine King Bodhisattva and Medicine Lord Bodhisattva. Those bodhisattvas Medicine King and Medicine Lord, having perfected such great merits, under countless hundred thousand myriad kotis of buddhas, planted virtuous roots and

 perfectly attained qualities of goodness beyond conception. If there be anyone who is acquainted with the names of these two bodhisattvas, gods and men in all the world will pay him homage." While the Buddha preached this chapter, "The Story of King Resplendent," the eighty-four thousand people departed from impurity and separated themselves from uncleanliness, and acquired pure spiritual eyes in regard to spiritual thing