Wednesday, April 04, 2012
The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law Chapter 28 - Encouragement of the Bodhisattva Universal Virtue
At that time the Bodhisattva Universal Virtue, with sovereign supernatural power, majesty, and fame, accompanied by great bodhisattvas, unlimited, infinite, incalculable, came from the eastern quarter; the countries through which he passed were shaken, jeweled lotus flowers rained down, and countless hundred thousand myriad kotis of kinds of music were performed. Encompassed also by a great host of countless gods, dragons, yakshas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kimnaras, mahoragas, men, nonhuman beings, and others, all displaying majestic supernatural powers, he arrived at Mount Gridhrakuta in the saha-world. Having prostrated himself before Shakyamuni Buddha, he made procession around him to the right seven times and addressed the Buddha, saying: "World-honored One!
I, in the domain of the Buddha Jeweled Majestic Superior King, hearing afar that the Law-Flower Sutra was being preached in this saha-world, have come with this host of countless, infinite hundred thousand myriad kotis of bodhisattvas to hear and receive it. Be pleased, World-honored One, to preach it to us, [and tell] how good sons and good daughters will be able to obtain this Law-Flower Sutra after the extinction of the Tathagata." The Buddha replied to the Bodhisattva Universal Virtue: "If any good son or good daughter acquires the four requisites, such a one will obtain this Law-Flower Sutra after the extinction of the Tathagata: first, to be under the guardianship of the buddhas; second, to plant the roots of virtue; third, to enter the assembly of [people of] correct resolution;
1 fourth, to aspire after the salvation of all the living. Any good son or good daughter who acquires such four requisites will certainly obtain this sutra after the extinction of the Tathagata." Then the Bodhisattva Universal Virtue said to the Buddha: "World-honored One! In the latter five hundred years of the corrupt and evil age, whoever receives and keeps this sutra I will guard and protect, eliminate the anxiety of falling away, and give ease of mind, so that no spy shall find occasion - neither Mara, nor Mara-sons, nor Mara-daughters, nor Mara-people, nor Mara-satellites, nor yakshas, nor rakshasas, nor kumbhandas, nor pishacakas, nor kriityas, nor putanas, nor vetadas, nor other afflicters of men - that none may find occasion. Wherever such a one walks or stands, reading and reciting this sutra, I will at once mount the six-tusked white elephant king and with a host of great bodhisattvas go to that place and, showing myself, will serve and protect [him], comforting his mind, also thereby serving the Law-Flower Sutra.
Wherever such a one sits, pondering this sutra, I will at once again mount the white elephant king and show myself to him. If such a one forgets [be it but] a single word or verse of the Law-Flower Sutra, I will teach it to him, read and recite it with him, and again cause him to master it. Thereupon he who receives and keeps, reads and recites the Law-Flower Sutra on seeing me will greatly rejoice and renew his zeal. Through seeing me, he will thereupon acquire the contemplation and dharanis named the dharani of revolution,2 the dharani of hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of revolutions,3 and the dharani of skill in Law-sounds;4 such dharanis as these will he acquire. "World-honored One! If in the latter age, in the last five hundred years of the corrupt and evil age, the bhikshus, bhikshunis, upasakas, and upasikas, seekers, receivers, and keepers, readers and reciters, or copiers desire to put in practice this Law-Flower Sutra, they must with single mind devote themselves to it for three times seven days.
After the three times seven days are fulfilled, I will mount the six-tusked white elephant and, together with countless bodhisattvas surrounding me, appear before those people in the form all the living delight to see, and preach to them, revealing, instructing, benefiting, and rejoicing them. Moreover, I will give them dharanis, and obtaining these dharanis, no human or nonhuman being can injure them, nor any woman beguile them. I myself also will ever protect them. Be pleased, World-honored One, to permit me to announce these dharani spells." Then in the presence of the Buddha he uttered a spell, saying: "Adande dandapati dandavartani dandakushale dandasudhari sudhari sudharapati buddhapashyane dharani avartani samvartani samghaparikshite samghanirghatani dharmaparikshite sarvasattvarutakaushalyanugate simhavikridite [anuvarte vartani vartali svaha].5
"World-honored One! If there be any bodhisattvas who hear these dharanis, they shall be aware of the supernatural power of Universal Virtue. If while the Law-Flower Sutra proceeds on its course through Jambudvipa there be those who receive and keep it, let them reflect thus: 'This is all due to the majestic power of Universal Virtue.' If any receive and keep, read and recite, rightly remember it, comprehend its meaning, and practice it as preached, let it be known that these are doing the works of Universal Virtue and have deeply planted good roots under numberless countless buddhas, and that their heads will be caressed by the hands of the tathagatas. If they only copy it, these when their life is ended will be born in the Heaven Trayastrimsha; on which occasion eighty-four thousand nymphs, performing all kinds of music, will come to welcome them, and they, wearing seven-jeweled crowns,
will joy and delight among those beautiful nymphs; how much more those who receive and keep, read and recite, rightly remember it, comprehend its meaning, and practice it as preached! If there be any who receive and keep, read and recite it, and comprehend its meaning, when their life is ended the hands of a thousand buddhas will be proffered, that they fear not, neither fall into any evil destiny, [but] go straight to Maitreya Bodhisattva in the Tushita heaven, [where] Maitreya Bodhisattva, possessed of the thirty-two signs, is surrounded by a host of great bodhisattvas and has hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of nymph-followers, amongst whom they will be born. Such are their merits and benefits. Therefore the wise should with all their mind themselves copy it, or cause others to copy it, receive and keep, read and recite, rightly remember it, and practice it as preached. World-honored One! I now by my supernatural power will guard and protect this sutra so that, after the extinction of the Tathagata, it may spread abroad without cease in Jambudvipa." Then Shakyamuni Buddha extolled him, saying:
"It is well, it is well, Universal Virtue, that you are able to protect and assist this sutra, and bring happiness and weal to the living in many places. You have already attained inconceivable merits and profound benevolence and compassion. From a long distant past have you aspired to Perfect Enlightenment and been able to make this supernatural vow to guard and protect this sutra. [And] I, by my supernatural power, will guard and protect those who are able to receive and keep the name of the Bodhisattva Universal Virtue. Universal Virtue! If there be any who receive and keep, read and recite, rightly remember, practice, and copy this Law-Flower Sutra, know that such are attending on Shakyamuni Buddha as if they were hearing this sutra from the Buddha's mouth; know that such are paying homage to Shakyamuni Buddha; know that the Buddha is praising them - 'Well done'; know that the heads of such are being caressed by the hands of Shakyamuni Buddha; know that such are covered by the robe of Shakyamuni Buddha.6
Such as these not again be eager for worldly pleasure, nor be fond of heretical scriptures and writings, nor ever again take pleasure in intimacy with such men or other evil persons, whether butchers, or herders of pigs, sheep, fowl, and dogs, or hunters, or panderers. But such as these will be right-minded, have correct aims, and be auspicious. Such will not be harassed by the three poisons, nor be harassed by envy, pride, haughtiness, and arrogance. Such will be content with few desires, and able to do the works of Universal Virtue. Universal Virtue! After the extinction of the Tathagata, in the latter five hundred years, if anyone sees one who receives and keeps, reads and recites the Law-Flower Sutra, he must reflect thus: 'This man will ere long go to the wisdom-floor, destroy the host of Mara, attain Perfect Enlightenment, and rolling onward the Law-wheel, beating the Law-drum, blowing the Law-conch, and pouring the rain of the Law, shall sit on the lion throne of the Law amidst a great assembly of gods and men.
' Universal Virtue! Whoever in future ages shall receive and keep, read and recite this sutra, such persons will no longer be greedily attached to clothes, bed things, drink, food, and things for the support of life; whatever they wish will never be in vain, and in the present life they will obtain their blessed reward. Suppose anyone slights and slanders them, saying, 'You are only madmen, pursuing this course in vain with never a thing to be gained.' The doom for such a sin as this is blindness generation after generation. If anyone takes offerings to and praises them, he will obtain visible reward in the present world. Again, if anyone sees those who receive and keep this sutra, and proclaims their errors and sins, whether true or false, such a one in the present life will be smitten with leprosy. If he ridicules them, generation after generation his teeth will be sparse and missing, his lips vile, his nose flat, his hands and feet contorted, his eyes asquint, his body stinking and filthy with evil scabs and bloody pus, dropsical and short of breath, and [with] every evil disease.
Therefore, Universal Virtue, if one sees those who receive and keep this sutra, he should stand up and greet them from afar just as if he were paying reverence to the Buddha." While this chapter of the encouragement of the Bodhisattva Universal Virtue was being preached, innumerable incalculable bodhisattvas equal to the sands of the Ganges attained the dharani of the hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of revolutions, and bodhisattvas equal to the atoms of a three-thousand-great-thousandfold world became perfect in the Way of Universal Virtue. When the Buddha preached this sutra, Universal Virtue and the other bodhisattvas, Shariputra and the other shravakas, and the gods, dragons, human and nonhuman beings, and all others in the great assembly greatly rejoiced together and, taking possession of the Buddha's words, made salutation to him and withdrew. HERE ENDS THE EIGHTH FASCICLE
Posted by Judy Simon at 12:15 PM