Monthly Archives: October 2013

The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law – 2

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CHAPTER II
SKILLFULNESS
The Lord then rose with recollection and consciousness from his meditation, and forthwith addressed the venerable Sâriputra: The Buddha knowledge, Sâriputra, is profound, difficult to understand, difficult to comprehend. It is difficult for all disciples and Pratyekabuddhas to fathom the knowledge arrived at by the Tathâgatas, &c., and that, Sâriputra, because the Tathâgatas have worshipped many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Buddhas; because they have fulfilled their course for supreme, complete enlightenment, during many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Æons; because they have wandered far, displaying energy and possessed of wonderful and marvellous properties; possessed of properties difficult to understand; because they have found out things difficult to understand.

The mystery of the Tathâgatas, &c., is difficult to understand, Sâriputra, because when they explain the laws (or phenomena, things) that have their causes in themselves they do so by means of skilfulness, by the display of knowledge, by arguments, reasons, fundamental ideas, interpretations, and suggestions. By a variety of skilfulness they are able to release creatures that are attached to one point or another. The Tathâgatas, &c., Sâriputra, have acquired the highest perfection in skilfulness and the display of knowledge; they are endowed with wonderful properties, such as the display of free and unchecked knowledge; the powers; the absence of hesitation; the independent conditions; the strength of the organs; the constituents of Bodhi; the contemplations; emancipations; meditations; the degrees of concentration of mind. The Tathâgatas, &c., Sâriputra, are able to expound various things and have something wonderful and marvellous. Enough, Sâriputra, let it suffice to say, that the Tathâgatas, &c., have something extremely wonderful, Sâriputra. None but a Tathâgatha, Sâriputra, can impart to a Tathâgata those laws which the Tathâgata knows. And all laws, Sâriputra, are taught by the Tathâgata, and by him alone; no one but he knows all laws, what they are, how they are, like what they are, of what characteristics and of what nature they are.

And on that occasion, to set forth the same subject more copiously, the Lord uttered the following stanzas:

1. Innumerable are the great heroes in the world that embraces gods and men; the totality of creatures is unable to completely know the leaders.

2. None can know their powers and states of emancipation, their absence of hesitation and Buddha properties, such as they are.

3. Of yore have I followed in presence of kotis of Buddhas the good course which is profound, subtle, difficult to understand, and most difficult to find.

4. After pursuing that career during an inconceivable number of kotis of Æons, I have on the terrace of enlightenment discovered the fruit thereof.

5. And therefore I recognise, like the other chiefs of the world, how it is, like what it is, and what are its characteristics.

6. It is impossible to explain it; it is unutterable; nor is there such a being in the world.

7. To whom this law could be explained or who would be able to understand it when explained, with the exception of the Bodhisattvas, those who are firm in resolve.

8. As to the disciples of the Knower of the world, those who have done their duty and received praise from the Sugatas, who are freed from faults and have arrived at the last stage of bodily existence, the Gina-knowledge lies beyond their sphere.

9. If this whole sphere were full of beings like Sârisuta, and if they were to investigate with combined efforts, they would be unable to comprehend the knowledge of the Sugata.

10. Even if the ten points of space were full of sages like thee, ay, if they were full of such as the rest of my disciples,

11. And if those beings combined were to investigate the knowledge of the Sugata, they would, all together, not be able to comprehend the Buddha-knowledge in its whole immensity.

12. If the ten points of space were filled with Pratyekabuddhas, free from faults, gifted with acute faculties, and standing in the last stage of their existence, as numerous as reeds and bamboos in Ganges, with undivided attention and subtle wit, even then that (knowledge) would be beyond their ken.

13. And if combined for an endless number of myriads of kotis of Æons, they were to investigate a part only of my superior laws, they would never find out its real meaning.

14. If the ten points of space were full of Bodhisattvas who, after having don their duty under many kotis of Buddhas, investigated all things and preached many sermons, after entering a new vehicle [or rather a new career];

15. If the whole world were full of them, as of dense reeds and bamboos, without any interstices, and if all combined wre to investiage the law which the Sugata has realised;

16. If they were going on investigating for many kotis of Æons, as incalculable as the sand of the Ganges, with undivided attention and subtle wit, even then that knowledge would be beyond their understanding.

17. If such Bodhisattvas as are unable to fall back, numerous as the sand of the Ganges, were to investigate it with undivided attention, it would prove to lie beyond their ken.

18. Profound are the laws of the Buddhas, and subtle; all inscrutable and faultless. I myself know them as well as the Ginas do in the ten directions of the world.

19. Thou, Sâriputra, be full of trust in what the Sugata declares. The Gina speaks no falsehood, the great Seer who has so long preached the highest truth.

20. I address all disciples here, those who have set out to reach the enlightenment of Pratyekabuddhas, those who are roused to activity at my Nirvâna, and those who have been released from the series of evils.

21. It is by my superior skilfulness that I explain the law at great length to the world at large. I deliver whosoever are attached to one point or another, and show the three vehicles.

The eminent disciples in the assembly headed by Âgñâta-Kaundinya, the twelve hundred Arhats faultess and self-controlled, the other monks, nuns, male and femal lay devotees using the vehicle of disciples, and those who had entered the vehicle of Pratyeka-buddhas, all of them made this reflection: What may be the cause, what the reason of the Lord so extremely extolling the skilfulness of the Tathâgatas? of his extolling it by saying, ‘Profound is the law by me discovered;’ of his extolling it by saying, ‘It is difficult for all disciples and Pratyekabuddhas to understand it.’ But as yet the Lord has declared no more than one kind of emancipation, and therefore we also should acquire the Buddha-laws on reaching Nirvâna. We do not catch the meaning of this utterance of the Lord.

And the venerable Sâriputra, who apprehended the doubt and uncertainty of the four classes of the audience and guessed their thoughts from what was passing in his own mind, himself being in doubt about the law, then said to the Lord: What, O Lord, is the cause, what the reason of the Lord so repeatedly and extremely extolling the skilfulness, knowledge, and preaching of the Tathâgata? Why does he repeatedly extol it by saying, ‘Profound is the law by me discovered; it is difficult to understand the mystery of the Tathâgatas.’ Never before have I heard from the Lord such a discourse on the law. Those four classes of the audience, O Lord, are overcome with doubt and perplexity. Therefore may the Lord be pleased to explain what the Tathâgata is alluding to, when repeatedly extolling the profound law of the Tathâgatas.

On that occasion the venerable Sâriputra uttered the following stanzas:

22. Now first does the Sun of men utter such a speech: ‘I have acquired the powers, emancipations, and numberless meditations.’

23. And thou mentionest the terrace of enlightenment without any one asking thee: thou mentionest the mystery, although no one asks thee.

24. Thou speakest unasked and laudest thine own course; thou mentionest thy having obtained knowledge and pronouncest profound words.

25. To-day a question rises in my mind and of these self-controlled, faultless beings striving after Nirvâna: Why does the Gina speak in this manner?

26. Those who aspire to the enlightenment of Pratyekabuddhas, the nuns and monks, gods, Nâgas, goblins, Gandharvas, and great serpents, are talking together, while looking up to the highest of men,

27. And ponder in perplexity. Give an elucidation, great Sage, to all the disciples of Sugata here assembled.

28. Myself have reached the perfection (of virtue), have been taught by the supreme Sage; still, O highest of men! even in my position I feel some doubt whether the course (of duty) shown to me shall receive its final sanction by Nirvâna.

29. Let thy voice be heard, O thou whose voice resounds like an egregious kettle-drum! proclaim thy law such as it is. The legitimate sons of Gina here standing and gazing at the Gina, with joined hands;

30. As well as the gods, Nâgas, goblins, Titans, numbering thousands of kotis, like sand of the of the Ganges; and those that aspire to superior enlightenment, here standing, fully eighty thousand in number;

31. Further, the kings, rulers of provinces and paramount monarchs, who have flocked thither from thousands of kotis of countries, are now standing with joined hands, and respectful, thinking: How are we to fulfil the course of duty?

The venerable Sâriputra having spoken, the Lord said to him: Enough, Sâriputra; it is of no use explaining this matter. Why? Because, Sâriputra, the world, including the gods, would be frightened if this matter were expounded.

But the venerable Sâriputra entreated the Lord a second time, saying: Let the Lord expound, let the Sugata expound this matter, for in this assembly, O Lord, there are many hundreds, many thousands, many hundred thousands, many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of living beings who have seen former Buddhas, who are intelligent, and will believe, value, and accept the words of the Lord.

The venerable Sâriputra addressed the Lord with this stanza:

32. Speak clearly, O most eminent of Ginas! in this assembly there are thousands of living beings trustful, affectionate, and respectful towards the Sugata; they will understand the law by there expounded.

And the Lord said a second time to the venerable Sâriputra; Enough, Sâriputra; it is of no use explaining this matter for the the world, including the gods, would be frightened if this matter were expounded, and some monks might be proud and come to a heavy fall.

And on theat occasion uttered the Lord the following stanza:

32. Speak no more of it that I sould declare this law! This knowledge is too subtle, inscrutable, and there are too many unwise men who in their conceit and foolishness would scoff at the law revealed.

A third time the venerable Sâriputra entreated the Lord, saying, Let the Lord expound, let the Sugata expound this matter. In this assembly, O Lord, there are many hundreds of living beings my equals, and many hundreds, many thousands, many hundred thousands, many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of other living beings more, who in former births have been brought by the Lord to full ripeness. They will believe, value, and accept what the Lord declares, which shall tend to their advantage, weal, and happiness in length of time.

On that occasion the venerable Sâriputra uttered the following stanzas:

34. Explain the law, O thou most high of men! I, thine eldest son, beseech thee. Here are thousands of kotis of beings who are to believe in the law by thee revealed.

35. And those beings that in former births so long and constantly have by thee been brought to full maturity and now are all standing here with joined hands, they, too, are to believe in this law.

36. Let the Sugata, seeing the twelve hundred, my equals, and those who are striving after superior enlightenment, speak to them and produce in them an extreme joy.

When the Lord for the third time heard the entreaty of the venerable Sâriputra, he spoke to him as follows: Now that thou entreatest the Tathâgata a third time, Sâriputra, I will answer thee. Listen then, Sâriputra, take well and duly to heart what I am saying; I am going to speak.

Now it happened that the five thousand proud monks, nuns and lay devotees of both sexes in the congregatino rose from their seats and, after saluting with their heads the Lord’s feet, went to leave the assembly. Owing to the principle of good which there is in pride they imagined having attained what they had not, and having understood what they had not. Therefore, thinking themselves aggrieved, they went to leave the assembly, to which the Lord by his silence showed assent.

Thereupon the Lord addressed the venerable Sâriputra: My congregation, Sâriputra, has been cleared from the chaff, freed from the trash; it is firmly established in the strength of faith. It is good, Sâriputra, that those proud ones are gone away. Now I am going to expound the matter, Sâriputra. ‘Very well, Lord,’ replied the venerable Sâriputra. The Lord then began and said:

It is but now and then, Sâriputra, that the Tathâgata preaches such a discourse on the law as this. just as but now and then is seen the blossom of the glomerous fig-tree, Sâriputra, so does the Tathâgata but now and then preach such a discourse on the law. Believe me, Sâriputra; I speak what is real, I speak what is truthful, I speak what is right. It is difficult to understand the exposition of the mystery of the Tathâgata, Sâriputra; for in elucidating the law, Sâriputra, I use hundred thousands of various skilful means, such as different interpretations, indications, explanations, illustrations. It is not by reasoning, Sâriputra, that the law is to be found: it is beyond the pale of reasoning, and must be learnt from the Tathâgata. For, Sâriputra, it is for a sole object, a sole aim, verily a lofty object, a lofty aim that the Buddha, the Tathâgata, &c., appears in the world. And what is that sole object, that sole aim, that lofty object, that lofty aim of the Buddha, the Tathâgata, &c., appearing in the world? To show all creatures the sight of Tathâgata-knowledge does the Buddha, the Tathâgata, &c., appear in the world; to open the eyes of creatures for the sight of Tathâgata-knowledge does the Buddha, the Tathâgata, &c., appear in the world. This, O Sâriputra, is the sole object, the sole aim, the sole purpose of his appearance in the world. Such then, Sâriputra, is the sole object, the sole aim, the lofty object, the lofty aim of the Tathâgata. And it is achieved by the Tathâgata. For, Sâriputra, I do show all creatures the sight of Tathâgata-knowledge; I do open the eyes of creatures for the sight of Tathâgata-knowledge, Sâriputra; I do firmly establish the teaching of Tathâgata-knowledge, Sâriputra; I do lead the teaching of Tathâgata-knowledge on the right path, Sâriputra. By means of one sole vehicle, to wit, the Buddha-vehicle, Sâriputra, do I teach creatures the law; there is no second vehicle, nor a third. This is the nature of the law, Sâriputra, universally in the world, in all directions. For,Sariputra, all the Tathâgatas, &c., who in times past existed in countless, innumerable spheres in all directions for the weal of many, the happiness of many, out of pity to the world, for the benefit, weal, and happiness of the great body of creatures, and who preached the law to gods and men with able means, such as several directions and indications, various arguments, reasons, illustrations, fundamental ideas, interpretations, paying regard to the dispositions of creatures whose inclinations and temperaments are so manifold, all those Buddhas and Lords, Sâriputra, have preached the law to creatures by means of only one vehicle, the Buddhavehicle, which finally leads to omniscience; it is identical with showing all creatures the sight of Tathâgata-knowledge; with opening the eyes of creatures for the sight of Tathâgata-knowledge; with the awakening (or admonishing) by the display (or sight) of Tathâgata -knowledge; with leading the teaching of Tathâgata-knowledge on the right path. Such is the law they have preached to creatures. And those creatures, Sâriputra, who have heard the law from the past Tathâgatas, &c., have all of them reached supreme, perfect enlightenment.

And the Tathâgatas, &c., who shall exist in future, Sariputra, in countless, innumerable spheres in all directions for the weal of many, the happiness of many, out of pity to the world, for the benefit, weal, and happiness of the great body of creatures, and who shall preach the law to gods and men (&c., as above till) the right path. Such is the law they shall preach to creatures. And those creatures, Sâriputra, who shall hear the law from the future Tathâgatas, &c., shall all of them reach supreme, perfect enlightenment.

And the Tathâgatas, &c., who now at present are staying, living, existing, Sâriputra, in countless, innumerable spheres in all directions, &c., and who are preaching the law to gods and men (&c., as above till) the right path. Such is the law they are preaching to creatures. And those creatures, Sâriputra, who are hearing the law from the present Tathâgatas, &c., shall all of them reach supreme, perfect enlightenment.

I myself also, Sâriputra, am at the present period a Tathâgata, &c., for the weal of many (&c., till) manifold; I myself also, Sâriputra, am preaching the law to creatures (&c., till) the right path. Such is the law I preach to creatures. And those creatures, Sâriputra, who now are hearing the law from me, shall all of them reach supreme, perfect enlightenment. In this sense, Sâriputra, it must be understood that nowhere in the world a second vehicle is taught, far less a third.

Yet, Sâriputra, when the Tathâgatas, &c., happen to appear at the decay of the epoch, the decay of creatures, the decay of besetting sins, the decay of views, or the decay of lifetime; when they appear amid such signs of decay at the disturbance of the epoch; when creatures are much tainted, full of greed and poor in roots of goodness; then, Sâriputra, the Tathâgatas, &c., use, skilfully, to designate that one and sole Buddha-vehicle by the appellation of the threefold vehicle. Now, Sâriputra, such disciples, Arhats, or Pratyekabuddhaswho do not hear their actually being called to the Buddha-vehicle by the Tathâgata, who do not perceive, nor heed it, those, Sâriputra, should not be acknowledged as disciples of the Tathâgata, nor as Arhats, nor as Pratyekabuddhas.

Again, Sâriputra, if there be some monk or nun pretending to Arhatship without an earnest vow to reach supreme, perfect enlightenment and saying, ‘I am standing too high for the Buddha-vehicle, I am in my last appearance in the body before complete Nirvâna,’ then, Sâriputra, consider such a one to be conceited. For, Sâriputra, it is unfit, it is improper that a monk, a faultless Arhat, should not believe in the law which he hears from the Tathâgata in his presence. I leave out of question when the Tathâgata shall have reached complete Nirvâna; for at that period, that time, Sâriputra, when the Tathâgata shall be wholly extinct, there shall be none who either knows by heart or preaches such Sûtras as this. It will be under other Tathâgatas, &c., that they are to be freed from doubts. In respect to these things believe my words, Sâriputra, value them, take them to heart; for there is no falsehood in the Tathâgatas, Sâriputra. There is but one vehicle, Sâriputra, and that the Buddha-vehicle.

And on that occasion to set forth this matter more copiously the Lord uttered the following stanzas:

37. No less than five thousand monks, nuns, and lay devotees of both sexes, full of unbelief and conceit,

38. Remarking this slight, went, defective in training and foolish as they were, away in order to beware of damage.

39. The Lord, who knew them to be the dregs of the congregation, exclaimed: They have no sufficient merit to hear this law.

40. My congregation is now pure, freed from chaff; the trash is removed and the pith only remains.

41. Hear from me, Sâriputra, how this law has been discovered by the highest man, and how the mighty Buddhas are preaching it with many hundred proofs of skilfulness.

42. 1 know the disposition and conduct, the various inclinations of kotis of living beings in this world; I know their various actions and the good they have done before.

43. Those living beings I initiate in this (law) by the aid of manifold interpretations and reasons; and by hundreds of arguments and illustrations have I, in one way or another, gladdened all creatures.

44. I utter both Sûtras and stanzas; legends, Gâtakas, and prodigies, besides hundreds of introductions and curious parables.

45. I show Nirvâna to the ignorant with low dispositions, who have followed no course of duty under many kotis of Buddhas, are bound to continued existence and wretched.

46. The self-born one uses such means to manifest Buddha-knowledge, but he shall never say to them, Ye also are to become Buddhas.

47. Why should not the mighty one, after having waited for the right time, speak, now that he perceives the right moment is come? This is the fit opportunity, met somehow, of commencing the exposition of what really is.

48. Now the word of my commandment, as contained in nine divisions, has been published according to the varying degree of strength of creatures. Such is the device I have shown in order to introduce (creatures) to the knowledge of the giver of boons.

49. And to those in the world who have always been pure, wise, good-minded, compassionate sonsof Buddha and done their duty under many kotis of Buddhas will I make known amplified Sûtras.

50. For they are endowed with such gifts of mental disposition and such advantages of a blameless outward form that I can announce to them: in future ye shall become Buddhas benevolent and compassionate.

51. Hearing which, all of them will be pervaded with delight (at the thought): We shall become Buddhas pre-eminent in the world. And I, perceiving their conduct, will again reveal amplified Sûtras.

52. And those are the disciples of the Leader, who have listened to my word of command. One sinale stanza learnt or kept in memory suffices, no doubt of it, to lead all of them to enlightenment.

53. There is, indeed, but one vehicle; there is no second, nor a third anywhere in the world, apart from the case of the Purushottamas using an expedient to show that there is a diversity of vehicles.

54. The Chief of the world appears in the world to reveal the Buddha-knowledge. He has but one aim, indeed, no second; the Buddhas do not bring over (creatures) by an inferior vehicle.

55. There where the self-born one has established himself, and where the object of knowledge is, of whatever form or kind; (where) the powers, the stages of meditation, the emancipations, the perfected faculties (are); there the beings also shall be established.

56. 1 should be guilty of envy, should I, after reaching the spotless eminent state of enlightenment, establish any one in the inferior vehicle. That would not beseem me.

57. There is no envy whatever in me; no jealousy, no desire, nor passion. Therefore I am the Buddha, because the world follows my teaching’.

58. When, splendidly marked with (the thirty-two) characteristics, I am illuminating this whole world, and, worshipped by many hundreds of beings, I show the (unmistakable) stamp of the nature of the law;

59. Then, Sâriputra, I think thus: How will all beings by the thirty-two characteristics mark the self-born Seer, who of his own accord sheds his lustre all over the world?

60 And while I am thinking and pondering, when my wish has been fulfilled and my vow accomplished I no more reveal Buddha-knowledge

61. If, O son of Sâri, I spoke to the creatures, ‘Vivify in your minds the wish for enlightenment,’ they would in their ignorance all go astray and never catch the meaning of my good words.

62. And considering them to be such, and that they have not accomplished their course of duty in previous existences, (I see how) they are attached and devoted to sensual pleasures, infatuated by desire and blind with delusion.

63. From lust they run into distress; they are tormented in the six states of existence and people the cemetery again and again; they are overwhelmed with misfortune, as they possess little virtue.

64. They are continually entangled in the thickets of (sectarian) theories, such as, ‘It is and it is not; it is thus and it is not thus.’ In trying to get a decided opinion on what is found in the sixty-two (heretical) theories they come to embrace falsehood and continue in it.

65. They are hard to correct, proud, hypocritical, crooked, malignant, ignorant, dull; hence they do not hear the good Buddha-call, not once in kotis of births.

66. To those, son of Sari, I show a device and say: Put an end to your trouble. When I perceive creatures vexed with mishap I make them see Nirvâna.

67. And so do I reveal all those laws that are ever holy and correct from the very first. And the son of -Buddha who has completed his course shall once be a Gina.

68. It is but my skilfulness which prompts me to manifest three vehicles; for there is but one vehicle and one track; there is also but one instruction by the leaders.

69. Remove all doubt and uncertainty; and should there be any who feel doubts, (let them know that) the Lords of the world speak the truth; this is the only vehicle, a second there is not.

70. The former Tathâgatas also, living in the past for innumerable Æons, the many thousands of Buddhas who are gone to final rest, whose number can never be counted,

71. Those highest of men have all of them revealed most holy laws by means of illustrations, reasons, and arguments, with many hundred proofs of skilfulness.

72. And all of them have manifested but one vehicle and introduced but one on earth; by one vehicle have they led to full ripeness inconceivably many thousands of kotis of beings.

73. Yet the Ginas possess various and manifold means through which the Tathâgata reveals to the world, including the gods, superior enlightenment, in consideration of the inclinations and dispositions (of the different beings).

74. And all in the world who are hearing or have heard the law from the mouth of the Tathâgatas, given alms, followed the moral precepts, and patiently accomplished the whole of their religious duties;

75. Who have acquitted themselves in point of zeal and meditation, with wisdom reflected on those laws, and performed several meritorious actions, have all of them reached enlightenment.

76. And such beings as were living patient, subdued, and disciplined, under the rule of the Ginas of those times, have all of them reached enlightenment.

77. Others also, who paid worship to the relics of the departed Ginas, erected many thousands of Stûpas made of gems, gold, silver, or crystal,

78.Or built Stûpas of emerald, cat’s eye, pearls, egregious lapis lazuli, or sapphire; they have all of them reached enlightenment.

79. And those who erected Stûpas from marble, sandal-wood, or eagle-wood; constructed Stûpas from Deodar or a combination of different sorts of timber;

80. And who in gladness of heart built for the Ginas Stûpas of bricks or clay; or caused mounds of earth to be raised in forests and wildernesses in dedication to the Ginas;

81. The little boys even, who in playing erected here and there heaps of sand with the intention of dedicating them as Stûpas to the Ginas, they have all of them reached enlightenment.

82. Likewise have all who caused jewel images to be made and dedicated, adorned with the thirty-two characteristic signs, reached enlightenment.

83. Others who had images of Sugatas made of the seven precious substances, of copper or brass, have all of them reached enlightenment.

84. Those who ordered beautiful statues of Sugatas to be made of lead, iron, clay, or plaster have &c.

85. Those who made images (of the Sugatas) on painted walls, with complete limbs and the hundred holy signs, whether they drew them themselves or had them drawn by others, have &c.

86. Those even, whether men or boys, who during the lesson or in play, by way of amusement, made upon the walls (such) images with the nail or a piece of wood,

87. Have all of them reached enlightenment; they have become compassionate, and, by rousing many Bodhisattvas, have saved kotis of creatures.

88. Those who offered flowers and perfumes to the relics of the Tathâgatas, to Stûpas, a mound of earth, images of clay or drawn on a wall;

89. Who caused musical instruments, drums, conch trumpets, and noisy great drums to be played, and raised the rattle of tymbals at such places in order to celebrate the highest enlightenment;

90. Who caused sweet lutes, cymbals, tabors, small drums, reed-pipes, flutes of ekonnada or sugar-cane to be made, have all of them reached enlightenment.

91. Those who to celebrate the Sugatas made thoughts, one shall in course of time see kotis of Buddhas.

92. They have all of them reached enlightenment. By paying various kinds of worship to the relics of the Sugatas, by doing but a little for the relics, by making resound were it but a single musical instrument;

93. Or by worshipping were it but with a single flower, by drawing on a wall the images of the Sugatas, by doing worship were it even with distracted thoughts, one shall in course of time see kotis of Buddhas.

94. Those who, when in presence of a Stûpa, have offered their reverential salutation, be it in a complete form or by merely joining the hands; who, were it but for a single moment, bent their head or body;

95. And who at Stûpas containing relics have one single time said: Homage be to Buddha! albeit they did it with distracted thoughts, all have attained superior enlightenment.

96. The creatures who in the days of those Sugatas, whether already extinct or still in existence, have heard no more than the name of the law, have all of them reached enlightenment.

97. Many kotis of future Buddhas beyond imagination and measure shall likewise reveal this device as Ginas and supreme Lords.

98. Endless shall be the skilfulness of these leaders of the world, by which they shall educate kotis of beings to that Buddha-knowledge which is free from imperfection.

99. Never has there been any being who, after hearing the law of those (leaders), shall not become Buddha; for this is the fixed vow of the Tathâgatas: Let me, by accomplishing my course of duty, lead others to enlightenment.

100. They are to expound in future days many thousand kotis of heads of the law; in their Tathâgataship they shall teach the law by showing the sole vehicle before-mentioned.

101. The line of the law forms an unbroken continuity and the nature of its properties is always manifest. Knowing this, the Buddhas, the highest of men, shall reveal this single vehicle.

102. They shall reveal the stability of the law, its being subjected to fixed rules, its unshakeable perpetuity in the world, the awaking of the Buddhas on the elevated terrace of the earth, their skilfulness.

103. In all directions of space are standing Buddhas, like sand of the Ganges, honoured by gods and men; these also do, for the weal of all beings in the world, expound superior enlightenment.

104. Those Buddhas while manifesting skilfulness display various vehicles though, at the same time, indicating the one single vehicle: the supreme place of blessed rest.vious actions; with due regard to their strenuousness and vigour, as well as their inclination, the Buddhas impart their lights to them.

105. Acquainted as they are with the conduct of all mortals, with their peculiar dispositions and previous actions; with due regard to their strenuousness and vigour, as well as their inclination, the Buddhas impart their lights to them.

106. By dint of knowledge the leaders produce many illustrations, arguments, and reasons; and considering how the creatures have various inclinations they impart various directions.

107. And myself also, the leader of the chief Ginas, am now manifesting, for the weal of creatures now living, this Buddha enlightenment by thousands of kotis of various directions.

108. I reveal the law in its multifariousness with regard to the inclinations and dispositions of creatures. I use different means to rouse each according to his own character. Such is the might of my knowledge.

109. I likewise see the poor wretches, deficient in wisdom and conduct, lapsed into the mundane whirl retained in dismal places, plunged in affliction incessantly renewed.

110. Fettered as they are by desire like the yak by its tail, continually blinded by sensual pleasure, they do not seek the Buddha, the mighty one; they do not seek the law that leads to the end of pain.

111. Staying in the six states of existence, they are benumbed in their senses, stick unmoved to the low views, and suffer pain on pain. For those I feel a great compassion.

112. On the terrace of enlightenment I have remained three weeks in full, searching and pondering on such a matter, steadily looking up to the tree there (standing).

113. Keeping in view that king of trees with anunwavering gaze I walked round at its foot (thinking): This law is wonderful and lofty, whereas creatures are blind with dulness and ignorance.

114. Then it was that Brahma entreated me, and so did Indra, the four rulers of the cardinal points, Mahesvara, Îsvara, and the hosts of Maruts by thousands of kotis.

115. All stood with joined hands and respectful, while myself was revolving the matter in my mind (and thought): What shall I do? At the very time that I am uttering syllables, beings are oppressed with evils.

116. In their ignorance they will not heed the law I announce, and in consequence of it they will ncur some penalty. It would be better were I never to speak. May my quiet extinction take place this very day!

117. But on remembering the former Buddhas and their skilfulness, (I thought): Nay, I also will manifest this tripartite Buddha-enlightenment.

118. When I was thus meditating on the law, the other Buddhas in all the directions of space appeared to me in their own body and raised their voice, crying ‘Amen.

119. ‘Amen, Solitary, first Leader of the world! now that thou hast come to unsurpassed knowledge, and art meditating on the skilfulness of the leaders of the world, thou repeatest their teaching.

120. ‘We also, being Buddhas, will make clear the highest word, divided into three parts; for men (occasionally) have low inclinations, and might perchance from ignorance not believe (us, when we say), Ye shall become Buddhas.

121. ‘Hence we will rouse many Bodhisattvas by the display of skilfulness and the encouraging of the wish of obtaining fruits.’

122. And I was delighted to hear the sweet voice of the leaders of men; in the exultation of my heart I said to the blessed saints, ‘The words of the eminent sages are not spoken in vain.

123. ‘I, too, will act according to the indications of the wise leaders of the world; having myself been born in the midst of the degradation of creatures, I have known agitation in this dreadful world.’

124. When I had come to that conviction, O son of Sâri, I instantly went to Benares, where I skilfully preached the law to the five Solitaries, that law which is the base of final beatitude.

125. From that moment the wheel of my law has been moving, and the name of Nirvâna made its appearance in the world, as well as the name of Arhat, of Dharma, and Sangha.

126. Many years have I preached and pointed to the stage of Nirvâna, the end of wretchedness and mundane existence. Thus I used to speak at all times.

127. And when I saw, Sâriputra, the children of the highest of men by many thousands of kotis, numberless, striving after the supreme, the highest enlightenment;

128. And when such as had heard the law of the Ginas, owing to the many-sidedness of (their) skilfulness, had approached me and stood before my face, all of them with joined hands, and respectful;

129. Then I conceived the idea that the time had come for me to announce the excellent law and to reveal supreme enlightenment, for which task I had been born in the world.

130. This (event) to-day will be hard to be understood by the ignorant who imagine they see here a sign, as they are proud and dull. But the Bodhisattvas, they will listen to me.

131. And I felt free from hesitation and highly cheered; putting aside all timidity, I began speaking in the assembly of the sons of Sugata, and roused them to enlightenment.

132. On beholding such worthy sons of Buddha (I said): Thy doubts also will be removed, and these twelve hundred (disciples) of mine, free from imperfections, will all of them become Buddhas.

133. Even as the nature of the law of the former mighty saints and the future Ginas is, so is my law free from any doubtfulness, and it is such as I to-day preach it to thee.

134. At certain times, at certain places, somehow do the leaders appear in the world, and after their appearance will they, whose view is boundless, at one time or another preach a similar law.

135. It is most difficult to meet with this superior law, even in myriads of kotis of Æons; very rare are the beings who will adhere to the superior law which they have heard from me.

136. Just as the blossom of the glomerous fig-tree is rare, albeit sometimes, at some places, and somehow it is met with, as something pleasant to see for everybody, as a wonder to the world including the gods;

137. (So wonderful) and far more wonderful is the law I proclaim. Any one who, on hearing a good exposition of it, shall cheerfully accept it and recite but one word of it, will have done honour to all Buddhas.

138. Give up all doubt and uncertainty in this respect; I declare that I am the king of the law (Dharmarâga); I am urging others to enlightenment, but I am here without disciples.

139. Let this mystery be for thee, Sâriputra, for all disciples of mine, and for the eminent Bodhisattvas, who are to keep this mystery.

140. For the creatures, when at the period of the five depravities, are vile and bad; they are blinded by sensual desires, the fools, and never turn their minds to enlightenment.

141. (Some) beings, having heard this one and sole vehicle manifested by the Gina, will in days to come swerve from it, reject the Sûtra, and go down to hell.

142. But those beings who shall be modest and pure, striving after the supreme and the highest enlightenment, to them shall I unhesitatingly set forth the endless forms of this one and sole vehicle.

143. Such is the mastership of the leaders; that is, their skilfulness. They have spoken in many mysteries; hence it is difficult to understand (them).

144. Therefore try to understand the mystery of the Buddhas, the holy masters of the world; forsake all doubt and uncertainty: you shall become Buddhas; rejoice!

Vajrasattva mantra – karma purification

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image

Sanskirt
oṃ vajrasattva samayam
anupālaya
vajrasattva tvenopatiṣṭha
dṛḍho me bhava
sutoṣyo me bhava
supoṣyo me bhava
anurakto me bhava
sarva siddhiṃ me prayaccha
sarva karma su ca me
cittaṃ śreyaḥ kuru hūṃ
ha ha ha ha hoḥ
bhagavan sarva tathāgatavajra
mā me muñca
vajrī bhava mahā samaya sattva
aḥ (hūṃ phaṭ)

English:
Oṃ Vajrasattva! Preserve the bond!
As Vajrasattva stand before me.
Be firm for me.
Be greatly pleased for me.
Deeply nourish me.
Love me passionately.
Grant me siddhi in all things,
And in all actions make my mind most excellent. hūṃ!
ha ha ha ha ho!
Blessed One! Vajra of all the Tathāgatas! Do not abandon me.
Be the Vajra-bearer, Being of the Great Bond!
āḥ (hūṃ phaṭ)

The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law – 1

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The Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law

Translated By H. Kern (1884)

HOMAGE TO ALL THE BUDDHAS AND BODHISATTVAS.

CHAPTER I

INTRODUCTORY

Thus have I heard. Once upon a time the Lord was staying at Râgagriha, on the Gridhrakuta mountain, with a numerous assemblage of monks, twelve hundred monks, all of them Arhats, stainless, free from depravity, self-controlled, thoroughly emancipated in thought and knowledge, of noble breed, (like unto) great elephants, having done their task, done their duty, acquitted their charge, reached the goal; in whom the ties which bound them to existence were wholly destroyed, whose minds were thoroughly emancipated by perfect knowledge, who had reached the utmost perfection in subduing all their thoughts; who were possessed of the transcendent faculties; eminent disciples, such as the venerable Agñâta-Kaundinya, the venerable Asvagit, the venerable Vâshpa, the venerable Mahânâman, the venerable Bhadrikal, the venerable Mahâ-Kâsyapa, the venerable Kâsyapa of Uruvilvâ, the venerable Kâsyapa of Nadi, the venerable Kâsyapa of Gayâ, the venerable Sâriputra, the venerable Mahâ-Maudgalyâyana, the venerable Mahâ-Kâtyâyana, the venerable Aniruddha, the venerable Revata, the venerable Kapphina, the venerable Gavâmpati, the venerable Pilindavatsa, the venerable Vakula, the venerable Bhâradvâga, the venerable Mahâ-Kaushthila, the venerable Nanda (alias Mahânanda), the venerable Upananda, the venerable Sundara-Nanda, the venerable Pûrna Maitrâyanîputra, the venerable Subhûti, the venerable Râhula; with them yet other great disciples, as the venerable Ananda, still under training, and two thousand other monks, some of whom still under training, the others masters; with six thousand nuns having at their head Mahâpragâpatî, and the nun Yasodharâ, the mother of Râhula, along with her train; (further) with eighty thousand Bodhisattvas, all unable to slide back, endowed with the spells of supreme, perfect enlightenment, firmly standing in wisdom; who moved onward the never deviating wheel of the law; who had propitiated many hundred thousands of Buddhas; who under many hundred thousands of Buddhas had planted the roots of goodness, had been intimate with many hundred thousands of Buddhas, were in body and mind fully penetrated with the feeling of charity; able in communicating the wisdom of the Tathâgatas; very wise, having reached the perfection of wisdom; renowned in many hundred thousands of worlds; having saved many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of beings; such as the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Mañgusrî, as prince royal; the Bodhisattvas Mahâsattvas Avalokitesvara, Mahâsthâmaprâpta, Sarvarthanâman, Nityodyukta, Anikshiptadhura, Ratnakandra, Bhaishagyarâga, Pradânasûra, Ratnakandra, Ratnaprabha, Pûrnakandra, Mahivikrâmin, Trailokavikrâmin, Anantavikrâmin, Mahâpratibhâna, Satatasamitâbhiyukta, Dharanîdhara, Akshayamati, Padmasrî, Nakshatrarâga, the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Maitreya, the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Simha.

With them were also the sixteen virtuous men to begin with Bhadrapâla, to wit, Bhadrapâla, Ratnikara, Susârthavâha, Naradatta, Guhagupta, Varunadatta, Indradatta, Uttaramati, Viseshamati, Vardhamânamati, Amoghadarsin, Susamsthita, Suvikrântavikrâmin, Anupamamati, Sûryagarbha, and Dharanidhara; besides eighty thousand Bodhisattvas, among whom the fore-mentioned were the chiefs; further Sakra, the ruler of the celestials, with twenty thousand gods, his followers, such as the god Kandra (the Moon), the god Sûrya (the Sun), the god Samantagandha (the Wind), the god Ratnaprabha, the god Avabhâsaprabha, and others; further, the four great rulers of the cardinal points with thirty thousand gods in their train, viz. the great ruler Virûdhaka, the great ruler Virûpâksha, the great ruler Dhritarâshtra, and the great ruler Vaisravana; the god Îsvara and the god Mahesvara, each followed by thirty thousand gods; further, Brahma Sahdmpati and his twelve thousand followers, the BrahmakAyika gods, amongst whom Brahma Sikhin and Brahma Gyotishprabha, with the other twelve thousand Brahmakdyika gods; together with the eight Nâga kings and many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Nigas in their train, viz. the Nâga king Nanda, the Nâga king Upananda, Sâgara, Vâsuki, Takshaka, Manasvin, Anavatapta, and Utpalaka; further, the four Kinnara kings with many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of followers, viz. the Kinnara king Druma, the Kinnara king Mahâdharma, the Kinnara king Sudharma, and the Kinnara king Dharmadhara; besides, the four divine beings (called) Gandharvakâyikas with many hundred thousand Gandharvas in their suite, viz. the Gandharva Manogña, the Gandharva Manogñasvara, the Gandharva Madhura, and the Gandharva Madhurasvara; further, the four chiefs of the demons followed by many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of demons, viz. the chief of the demons Bali, Kharaskandha, Vemakitri, and Râhu; along with the four Garuda chiefs followed by many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Garudas, viz. the Garuda chiefs Mahâtegas, Mahâkâya, Mahâpûrna, and Mahârddhiprâpta, and with Agâtasatru, king of Magadha, the son of Vaidehi.

Now at that time it was that the Lord surrounded, attended, honoured, revered, venerated, worshipped by the four classes of hearers, after expounding the Dharmaparyâya called ‘the Great Exposition,’ a text of great development, serving to instruct Bodhisattvas and proper to all Buddhas, sat cross-legged on the seat of the law and entered upon the meditation termed ‘the station of the exposition of Infinity;’ his body was motionless and his mind had reached perfect tranquillity. And as soon as the Lord had entered upon his meditation, there fell a great rain of divine flowers, Mandâravasâ and great Mandâravas, Mañgûshakas and great Mañgûshakas, covering the Lord and the four classes of hearers, while the whole Buddha field shook in six ways: it moved, removed, trembled, trembled from one end to the other, tossed, tossed along.

Then did those who were assembled and sitting together in that congregation, monks, nuns, male and female lay devotees, gods, Nagas, goblins, Gandharvas, demons, Garudas, Kinnaras, great serpents, men, and beings not human, as well as governors of a region, rulers of armies and rulers of four continents, all of them with their followers, gaze on the Lord in astonishment, in amazement, in ecstasy.

And at that moment there issued a ray from within the circle of hair between the eyebrows of the Lord. It extended over eighteen hundred thousand Buddha-fields in the eastern quarter, so that all those Buddha-fields appeared wholly illuminated by its radiance, down to the great hell Avîki and up to the limit of existence. And the beings in any of the six states of existence became visible, all without exception. Likewise the Lords Buddhas staying, living, and existing in those Buddha-fields became all visible, and the law preached by them could be entirely heard by all beings. And the monks, nuns, lay devotees male and female, Yogins and students of Yoga, those who had obtained the fruition (of the Paths of sanctification) and those who had not, they, too, became visible. And the Bodhisattvas Mahâsattvas in those Buddha-fields who plied the Bodhisattva-course with ability, due to their earnest belief in numerous and various lessons and the fundamental ideas, they, too, became all visible. Likewise the Lords Buddhas in those Buddha-fields who had reached final Nirvâna became visible, all of them. And the Stûpas made of jewels and containing the relics of the extinct Buddhas became all visible in those Buddha-fields.

Then rose in the mind of the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Maitreya this thought: O how great a wonder does the Tathâgata display! What may be the cause, what the reason of the Lord producing so great a wonder as this? And such astonishing, prodigious, inconceivable, powerful miracles now appear, although the Lord is absorbed in meditation! Why, let me inquire about this matter; who would be able here to explain it to me? He then thought: Here is Mañgusrî, the prince royal, who has plied his office under former Ginas and planted the roots of goodness, while worshipping many Buddhas. This Mañgusrî, the prince royal, must have witnessed before such signs of the former Tathâgatas, those Arhats, those perfectly enlightened Buddhas; of yore he must have enjoyed the grand conversations on the law. Therefore will I inquire about this matter with Mañgusrî, the prince royal.

And the four classes of the audience, monks, nuns, male and female lay devotees, numerous gods, Nâgas, goblins, Gandharvas, demons, Garudas, Kinnaras, great serpents, men, and beings not human, on seeing the magnificence of this great miracle of the Lord, were struck with astonishment, amazement and curiosity, and thought: Let us inquire why this magnificent miracle has been produced by the great power of the Lord.

At the same moment, at that very instant, the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Maitreya knew in his mind the thoughts arising in the minds of the four classes of hearers and he spoke to Mañgusrî, the prince royal: What, O Mañgusrî, is the cause, what is the reason of this wonderful, prodigious, miraculous shine having been produced by the Lord? Look, how these eighteen thousand Buddha-fields appear variegated, extremely beautiful, directed by Tathâgatas and superintended by Tathâgatas.

Then it was that Maitreya, the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva, addressed Mañgusrî, the prince royal, in the following stanzas:

1. Why, Mañgusrî, does this ray darted by the guide of men shine forth from between his brows? this single ray issuing from the circle of hair? and why this abundant rain of Mandâravas?

2. The gods, overjoyed, let drop Mañgûshakas and sandal powder, divine, fragrant, and delicious.

3. This earth is, on every side, replete with splendour, and all the four classes of the assembly are filled with delight, while the whole field shakes in six different ways, frightfully.

4. And that ray in the eastern quarter illuminates the whole of eighteen thousand Buddha-fields, simultaneously, so that those fields appear as gold-coloured.

5. (The universe) as far as the (hell) Aviki (and) the extreme limit of existence, with all beings of those fields living in any of the six states of existence, those who are leaving one state to be born in another;

6. Their various and different actions in those states have become visible; whether they are in a happy, unhappy, low, eminent, or intermediate position, all that I see from this place.

7. I see also the Buddhas, those lions of kings, revealing and showing the essence of the law, comforting many kotis of creatures and emitting sweet-sounding voices.

8. They let go forth, each in his own field, a deep, sublime, wonderful voice, while proclaiming the Buddha-laws by means of myriads of kotis of illustrations and proofs.

9. And to the ignorant creatures who are oppressed with toils and distressed in mind by birth and old age, they announce the bliss of Rest, saying: This is the end of trouble, O monks.

10. And to those who are possessed of strength and vigour and who have acquired merit by virtue or earnest belief in the Buddhas, they show the vehicle of the Pratyekabuddhas, by observing this rule of the law.

11. And the other sons of the Sugata who, strivinor after superior knowledge, have constantly accomplished their various tasks, them also they admonish to enlightenment.

12. From this place, O Mañgughosha, I see and hear such things and thousands of kotis of other particulars besides; I will only describe some of them.

13. 1 see in many fields Bodhisattvas by many thousands of kotis, like sands of the Ganges, who are producing enlightenment according to the different degree of their power.

14. There are some who charitably bestow wealth, gold, silver, gold money, pearls, jewels, conch shells, stones’, coral, male and female slaves, horses, and sheep;

15. As well as litters adorned with jewels. They are spending gifts with glad hearts, developing themselves for superior enlightenment, in the hope of gaining the vehicle.

16. (Thus they think): ‘The best and most excellent vehicle in the whole of the threefold world is the Buddha-vehicle magnified by the Sugatas. May I, forsooth, soon gain it after my spending such gifts.’

17. Some give carriages yoked with four horses and furnished with benches, flowers, banners, and flags; others give objects made of precious substances.

18. Some, again, give their children and wives; others their own flesh; (or) offer, when bidden, their hands and feet, striving to gain supreme enlightenment.

19. Some give their heads, others their eyes, others their dear own body, and after cheerfully bestowing their gifts they aspire to the knowledge of the Tathâgatas.

20. Here and there, O Mañgusrî, I behold beings who have abandoned their flourishing kingdoms, harems, and continents, left all their counsellors and kinsmen,

21. And betaken themselves to the guides of the world to ask for the most excellent law, for the sake of bliss; they put on reddish-yellow robes, and shave hair and beard.

22. 1 see also many Bodhisattvas like monks, living in the forest, and others inhabiting the empty wilderness, engaged in reciting and reading.

23. And some Bodhisattvas I see, who, full of wisdom (or constancy), betake themselves to mountain caves, where by cultivating and meditating the Buddha-knowledge they arrive at its perception.

24. Others who have renounced all sensual desires, by purifying their own self, have cleared their sphere and obtained the five transcendent faculties, live in the wilderness, as (true) sons of the Sugata.

25. Some are standing firm, the feet put together and the hands joined in token of respect towards the leaders, and are praising joyfully the king of the leading Ginas in thousands of stanzas.

26. Some thoughtful, meek, and tranquil, who have mastered the niceties of the course of duty, question the highest of men about the law, and retain in their memory what they have learnt.

27. And I see here and there some sons of the principal Gina who, after completely developing their own self, are preaching the law to many kotis of living beings with many myriads of illustrations and reasons.

28. joyfully they proclaim the law, rousing many Bodhisattvas; after conquering the Evil One with his hosts and vehicles, they strike the drum of the law.

29. 1 see some sons of the Sugata, humble, calm, and quiet in conduct, living under the command of the Sugatas, and honoured by men, gods, goblins, and Titans.

30. Others, again, who have retired to woody thickets, are saving the creatures in the hells by emitting radiance from their body, and rouse them to enlightenment.

31. There are some sons of the Gina who dwell in the forest, abiding in vigour, completely renouncing sloth, and actively engaged in walking; it is by energy that they are striving for supreme enlightenment.

32. Others complete their course by keeping a constant purity and an unbroken morality like precious stones and jewels; by morality do these strive for supreme enlightenment.

33. Some sons of the Gina, whose strength consists in forbearance, patiently endure abuse, censure, and threats from proud monks. They try to attain enlightenment by dint of forbearance.

34. Further, I see Bodhisattvas, who have forsaken all wanton pleasures, shun unwise companions and delight in having intercourse with genteel men (âryas);

35. Who, with avoidance of any distraction of thoughts and with attentive mind, during thousands of kotis of years have meditated in the caves of the wilderness; these strive for enlightenment by dint of meditation.

36. Some, again, offer in presence of the Ginas and the assemblage of disciples gifts (consisting) in food hard and soft, meat and drink, medicaments for the sick, in plenty and abundance.

37. Others offer in presence of the Ginas and the assemblage of disciples hundreds of kotis of clothes, worth thousands of kotis, and garments of priceless value.

38. They bestow in presence of the Sugatas hundreds of kotis of monasteries which they have caused to be built of precious substances and sandal-wood, and which are furnished with numerous lodgings (or couches).

39. Some present the leaders of men and their disciples with neat and lovely gardens abounding with fruits and beautiful flowers, to serve as places of daily recreation,

40. When they have, with joyful feelings, made such various and splendid donations, they rouse their energy in order to obtain enlightenment; these are those who try to reach supreme enlightenment by means of charitableness.

41. Others set forth the law of quietness, by many myriads of illustrations and proofs; they preach it to thousands of kotis of living beings; these are tending to supreme enlightenment by science.

42. (There are) sons of the Sugata who try to reach enlightenment by wisdom; they understand the law of indifference and avoid acting at the antinomy (of things), unattached like birds in the sky.

43. Further, I see, O Mañgughosha, many Bodhisattvas who have displayed steadiness under the rule of the departed Sugatas, and now are worshipping the relics of the Ginas.

44. 1 see thousands of kotis of Stûpas, numerous as the sand of the Ganges, which have been raised by these sons of the Gina and now adorn kotis of grounds.

45. Those magnificent Stûpas, made of seven precious substances, with their thousands of kotis of umbrellas and banners, measure in height no less than 5000 yoganas and 2000 in circumference.

46. They are always decorated with flags; a multitude of bells is constantly heard sounding; men, gods, goblins, and Titans pay their worship with flowers, perfumes, and music.

47. Such honour do the sons of the Sugata render to the relics of the Ginas, so that all directions of space are brightened as by the celestial coral trees in full blossom.

48. From this spot I behold all this; those numerous kotis of creatures; both this world and heaven covered with flowers, owing to the single ray shot forth by the Gina.

49. O how powerful is the Leader of men! how extensive and bright is his knowledge! that a single beam darted by him over the world renders visible so many thousands of fields!

50. We are astonished at seeing this sign and this wonder, so great, so incomprehensible. Explain me the matter, O Mañgusvara! the sons of Buddha are anxious to know it.

51. The four classes of the congregation in joyful expectation gaze on thee, O hero, and on me; gladden (their hearts); remove their doubts; grant a revelation, O son of Sugata!

52. Why is it that the Sugata has now emitted such a light? O how great is the power of the Leader of men! O how extensive and holy is his knowledge!

53. That one ray extending from him all over the world makes visible many thousands of fields. It must be for some purpose that this great ray has been emitted.

54. Is the Lord of men to show the primordial laws which he, the Highest of men, discovered on the terrace of enlightenment? Or is he to prophesy the Bodhisattvas their future destiny?

55. There must be a weighty reason why so many thousands of fields have been rendered visible, variegated, splendid, and shining with gems, while Buddhas of infinite sight are appearing.

56. Maitreya asks the son of Gina; men, gods, goblins, and Titans, the four classes of the congregation, are eagerly awaiting what answer Mañgusvara shall give in explanation.

Whereupon Mañgusrî, the prince royal, addressed Maitreya, the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva, and the whole assembly of Bodhisattvas (in these words): It is the intention of the Tathâgata, young men of good family, to begin a grand discourse for the teaching of the law, to pour the great rain of the law, to make resound the great drum of the law, to raise the great banner of the law, to kindle the great torch of the law, to blow the great conch trumpet of the law, and to strike the great tymbal of the law. Again, it is the intention of the Tathâgata, young men of good family, to make a grand exposition of the law this very day. Thus it appears to me, young men of good family, as I have witnessed a similar sign of the former Tathâgatas, the Arhats, the perfectly enlightened. Those former Tathâgatas, &c., they, too, emitted a lustrous ray, and I am convinced that the Tathâgata is about to deliver a grand discourse for the teaching of the law and make his grand speech on the law everywhere heard, he having shown such a foretoken. And because the Tathâgata, &c., wishes that this Dharmaparyâya meeting opposition in all the world be heard everywhere, therefore does he display so great a miracle and this fore-token consisting in the lustre occasioned by the emission of a ray.

I remember, young men of good family, that in the days of yore, many immeasurable, inconceivable, immense, infinite, countless Æons, more than countless Æons ago, nay, long and very long before, there was born a Tathâgata called Kandrasûryapradîpa, an Arhat, &c., endowed with science and conduct, a Sugata, knower of the world, an incomparable tamer of men, a teacher (and ruler) of gods and men, a Buddha and Lord. He showed the law; he revealed the duteous course which is holy at its commencement, holy in its middle, holy at the end, good in substance and form, complete and perfect, correct and pure. That is to say, to the disciples he preached the law containing the four Noble Truths, and starting from the chain of causes and effects, tending to overcome birth, decrepitude, sickness, death, sorrow, lamentation, woe, grief, despondency, and finally leading to Nirvâna; and to the Bodhisattvas he preached the law connected with the six Perfections, and terminating in the knowledge of the Omniscient, after the attainment of supreme, perfect enlightenment.

[Now, young men of good family, long before the time of that Tathâgata Kandrasûryapradîpa, the Arhat, &c., there had appeared a Tathâgata, &c., likewise called Kandrasûryapradîpa, after whom, O Agita, there were twenty thousand Tathâgatas, &c., all of them bearing the name of Kandrasûryapradipa, of the same lineage and family name, to wit, of Bharadvâga. All those twenty thousand Tathâgatas, O Agita, from the first to the last, showed the law, revealed the course which is holy at its commencement, holy in its middle, holy at the end, &c. &c.]

The aforesaid Lord Kandrasûryapradîpa, the Tathâgata, &c., when a young prince and not yet having left home (to embrace the ascetic life), had eight sons, viz. the young princes Sumati, Anantamati, Ratnamati, Viseshamati, Vimatisamudghâtin, Ghoshamati, and Dharmamati. These eight young princes, Agita, sons to the Lord Kandrasûryapradîpa, the Tathâgata, had an immense fortune. Each of them was in possession of four great continents, where they exercised the kingly sway. When they saw that the Lord had left his home to become an ascetic, and heard that he had attained supreme, perfect enlightenment, they forsook all of them the pleasures of royalty and followed the example of the Lord by resigning the world; all of them strove to reach superior enlightenment and became preachers of the law. While constantly leading a holy life, those young princes planted roots of goodness under many thousands of Buddhas.

It was at that time, Agita, that the Lord Kandrasûryapradîpa, the Tathâgata, &c., after expounding the Dharmaparyâya called ‘the Great Exposition,’ a text of great extension, serving to instruct Bodhisattvas and proper to all Buddhas, at the same moment and instant, at the same gathering of the classes of hearers, sat cross-legged on the same seat of the law, and entered upon the meditation termed ‘the Station of the exposition of Infinity;’ his body was motionless, and his mind had reached perfect tranquillity. And as soon as the Lord had entered upon meditation, there fell a great rain of divine flowers, Mandâravas and great Mandâravas, Mañgûshakas and great Mañgûshakas, covering the Lord and the four classes of hearers, while the whole Buddha-field shook in six ways; it moved, removed, trembled, trembled from one end to the other, tossed, tossed along.

Then did those who were assembled and sitting together at that congregation, monks, nuns, male and fe-male lay devotees, gods, Nâgas, goblins, Gandharvas, demons, Garudas, Kinnaras, great serpents, men and beings not human, as well as governors of a region, rulers of armies and rulers of four continents, all of them with their followers gaze on the Lord in astonishment, in amazcment, in ecstasy.

And at that moment there issued a ray from within the circle of hair between the eyebrows of the Lord. It extended over eighteen hundred thousand Buddha-fields in the eastern quarter, so that all those Buddha-fields appeared wholly illuminated by its radiance, just like the Buddha-fields do now, O Agita.

[At that juncture, Agita, there were twenty kotis of Bodhisattvas following the Lord. All hearers of the law in that assembly, on seeing how the world was illuminated by the lustre of that ray, felt astonishment, amazement, ecstasy, and curiosity.]

Now it happened, Agita, that under the rule of the aforesaid Lord there was a Bodhisattva called Varaprabha, who had eight hundred pupils. It was to this Bodhisattva Varaprabha that the Lord, on rising from his meditation, revealed the Dharmaparyâya called ‘the Lotus of the True Law.’ He spoke during fully sixty intermediate kalpas, always sitting on the same seat, with immovable body and tranquil mind. And the whole assembly continued sitting on the same seats, listening to the preaching of the Lord for sixty intermediate kalpas, there being not a single creature in that assembly who felt fatigue of body or mind.

As the Lord Kandrasûryapradîpa, the Tathâgata, &c., during sixty intermediate kalpas had been expounding the Dharmaparyâya called ‘the Lotus of the True Law,’ a text of great development, serving to instruct Bodhisattvas and proper to all Buddhas, he instantly announced his complete Nirvâna to the world, including the gods, Mâras and Brahmas, to all creatures, including ascetics, Brahmans, gods, men and demons, saying: To-day, O monks, this very night, in the middle watch, will the Tathâgata, by entering the element of absolute Nirvâna, become wholly extinct.

Thereupon, Agita, the Lord Kandrasûryapradîpa, the Tathigata, &c., predestinated the Bodhisattva called Srîgarbha to supreme, perfect enlightenment, and then spoke thus to the whole assembly: O monks, this Bodhisattva Srîgarbha here shall immediately after me attain supreme, perfect enlightenment, and become Vimalanetra, the Tathâgata, &c.

Thereafter, Agita, that very night, at that very watch, the Lord Kandrasûryapradîpa, the Tathalgata, &c., became extinct by entering the element of absolute Nirvâna. And the aforementioned Dharmaparyâya, termed ‘the Lotus of the True Law,’ was kept in memory by the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Varaprabha; during eighty intermediate kalpas did the Bodhisattva Varaprabha keep and reveal the commandment of the Lord who had entered Nirvâna. Now it so happened, Agita, that the eight sons of the Lord Kandrasûryapradipa, Mati and the rest, were pupils to that very Bodhisattva Varaprabha. They were by him made ripe for supreme, perfect enlightenment, and in after times they saw and worshipped many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Buddhas, all of whom had attained supreme, perfect enlightenment, the last of them being Dîpankara, the Tathalgata, &c.

Amongst those eight pupils there was one Bodhisattva who attached an extreme value to gain, honour and praise, and was fond of glory, but all the words and letters one taught him faded (from his memory), did not stick. So he got the appellation of Yasaskâma. He had propitiated many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Buddhas by that root of goodness, and afterwards esteemed, honoured, respected, revered, venerated, worshipped them. Perhaps, Agita, thou feelest some doubt, perplexity or misgiving that in those days, at that time, there was another Bodhisvattva Mahâsattva Varaprabha, preacher of the law. But do not think so. Why? because it is myself who in those days, at that time, was the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Varaprabha, preacher of the law; and that Bodhisattva named Yasaskâma, the lazy one, it is thyself, Agita, who in those days, at that time, wert the Bodhisattva named Yasaskâma, the lazy one.

And so, Agita, having once seen a similar foretoken of the Lord, I infer from a similar ray being emitted just now, that the Lord is about to expound the Dharmaparyâya called ‘the Lotus of the True Law.’

And on that occasion, in order to treat the subject more copiously, Mañgusrî, the prince royal, uttered the following stanzas:

57. I remember a past period, inconceivable, illimited kalpas ago, when the highest of beings, the Gina of the name of Kandrasûryapradîpa, was in existence.

58. He preached the true law, he, the leader of creatures; he educated an infinite number of kotis of beings, and roused inconceivably many Bodhisattvas to acquiring supreme Buddha-knowledge.

59. And the eight sons born to him, the leader, when he was prince royal, no sooner saw that the great sage had embraced ascetic life, than they resigned worldly pleasures and became monks.

60. And the Lord of the world proclaimed the law, and revealed to thousands of kotis of living beings the Sûtra, the development, which by name is called ‘the excellent Exposition of Infinity.’

61. Immediately after delivering his speech, the leader crossed his legs and entered upon the meditation of ‘the excellent Exposition of the Infinite.’ There on his seat of the law the eminent seer continued absorbed in meditation.

62. And there fell a celestial rain of Mandâravas, while the drums (of heaven) resounded without being struck; the gods and elves in the sky paid honour to the highest of men.

63. And simultaneously all the fields (of Buddha) began trembling. A wonder it was, a great prodigy. Then the chief emitted from between his brows one extremely beautiful ray,

64. Which moving to the eastern quarter glittered, illuminating the world all over the extent of eighteen thousand fields. It manifested the vanishing and appearing of beings.

65. Some of the fields then seemed jewelled, others showed the hue of lapis lazuli, all splendid, extremely beautiful, owing to the radiance of the ray from the leader.

66. Gods and men, as well as Nâgas, goblins, Gandharvas, nymphs, Kinnaras, and those occupied with serving the Sugata became visible in the spheres and paid their devotion.

67. The Buddhas also, those self-born beings, appeared of their own accord, resembling golden columns; like unto a golden disk (within lapis lazuli), they revealed the law in the midst of the assembly.

68. The disciples, indeed, are not to be counted: the disciples of Sugata are numberless. Yet the lustre of the ray renders them all visible in every field.

69. Energetic, without breach or flaw in their course, similar to gems and jewels, the sons of the leaders of men are visible in the mountain caves where tbeyare dwelling.

70. Numerous Bodhisattvas, like the sand of the Ganges, who are spending all their wealth in giving alms, who have the strength of patience, are devoted to contemplation and wise, become all of them visible by that ray.

71. Immovable, unshaken, firm in patience, devoted to contemplation, and absorbed in meditation are seen the true sons of the Sugatas while they are striving for supreme enlightenment by dint of meditation.

72. They preach the law in many spheres, and point to the true, quiet, spotless state they know. Such is the effect produced by the power of the Sugata.

73. And all the four classes of hearers on seeing the power of the mighty Kandrârkadipa were filled with joy and asked one another: How is this?

74. And soon afterwards, as the Leader of the world, worshipped by men, gods, and goblins, rose from his meditation, he addressed his son Varaprabha, the wise Bodhisattva and preacher of the law:

75. ‘Thou art wise, the eye and refuge of the world; thou art the trustworthy keeper of my law, and canst bear witness as to the treasure of laws which I am to lay bare to the weal of living beings.’

76. Then, after rousing and stimulating, praising and lauding many Bodhisattvas, did the Gina proclaim the supreme laws during fully sixty intermediate kalpas.

77. And whatever excellent supreme law was proclaimed by the Lord of the world while continuing sitting on the very same seat, was kept in memory by Varaprabha, the son of Gina, the preacher of the law.

78. And after the Gina and Leader had manifested the supreme law and stimulated the numerous crowd, he spoke, that day, towards the world including the gods (as follows):

79. ‘I have manifested the rule of the law; I have shown the nature of the law; now, O monks, it is the time of my Nirvâna; this very night, in the middle watch.

80. ‘Be zealous and strong in persuasion; apply yourselves to my lessons; (for) the Ginas, the great seers, are but rarely met with in the lapse of myriads of kotis of Æons.’

81. The many sons of Buddha were struck with grief and filled with extreme sorrow when they heard the voice of the highest of men announcing that his Nirvâna was near at hand.

82. To comfort so inconceivably many kotis of living beings the king of kings said: ‘Be not afraid, O monks; after my Nirvâna there shall be another Buddha.

83. ‘The wise Bodhisattva Srîgarbha, after finishing his course in faultless knowledge, shall reach highest, supreme enlightenment, and become a Gina under the name of Vimalâgranetra.’

84. That very night, in the middle watch, he met complete extinction, like a lamp when the cause (of its burning) is exhausted. His relics were distributed, and of his Stûpas there was an infinite number of myriads of kotis.

85. The monks and nuns at the time being, who strove after supreme, highest enlightenment, numerous as sand of the Ganges, applied themselves to the commandment of the Sugata.

86. And the monk who then was the preacher of the law and the keeper of the law, Varaprabha, expounded for fully eighty intermediate kalpas the highest laws according to the commandment (of the Sugata).

87. He had eight hundred pupils, who all of them were by him brought to full development. They saw many kotis of Buddhas, great sages, whom they worshipped.

88. By following the regular course they became Buddhas in several spheres, and as they followed one another in immediate succession they successively foretold each other’s future destiny to Buddhaship.

89. The last of these Buddhas following one another was Dîpankara. He, the supreme god of gods, honoured by crowds of sages, educated thousands of kotis of living beings.

90. Among the pupils of Varaprabha, the son of Gina, at the time of his teaching the law, was one slothful, covetous, greedy of gain and cleverness.

91. He was also excessively desirous of glory, but very fickle, so that the lessons dictated to him and his own reading faded from his memory as soon as learnt.

92. His name was Yasaskâma, by which he was known everywhere. By the accumulated merit of that good action, spotted as it was,

93. He propitiated thousands of kotis of Buddhas, whom he rendered ample honour. He went through the regular course of duties and saw the present Buddha Sâkyasimha.

94. He shall be the last to reach superior enlightenment and become a Lord known by the family name of Maitreya, who shall educate thousands of kotis of creatures.

95. He who then, under the rule of the extinct Sugata, was so slothful, was thyself, and it was I who then was the preacher of the law.

96. As on seeing a foretoken of this kind I recognise a sign such as I have seen manifested of yore, therefore and on that account I know,

97. That decidedly the chief of Ginas, the supreme king of the Sâkyas, the All-seeing, who knows the highest truth, is about to pronounce the excellent Satra which I have heard before.

98. That very sign displayed at present is a proof of the skilfulness of the leaders; the Lion of the Sâkyas is to make an exhortation, to declare the fixed nature of the law.

99. Be well prepared and well minded; join your hands: he who is affectionate and merciful to the world is going to speak, is going to pour the endless rain of the law and refresh those that are waiting for enlightenment.

100. And if some should feel doubt, uncertainty, or misgiving in any respect, then the Wise One shall remove it for his children, the Bodhisattvas here striving after enlightenment

The Diamond Sutra (Vajracchedika Prajnaparamita Sutra)

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Translated from Kumarajiva’s Chinese [T235] by Charles Patton
Translator’s Note

This original translation has been composed for the express purpose that this text may be made freely available to any and all who should desire to obtain it. With this in mind, the author of this document has granted permission for this translation to be distributed freely, the only conditions being: a) that the content of this document not be altered and b) that all such distributions are gifts requiring nothing in recompense. So long as these conditions are followed, the author wholeheartedly encourages this document to be spread far and wide, in whatever form is convenient, so that myriad beings might come to read it, and grow wiser.

1.

Thus have I heard: One time the Buddha was staying at the garden retreat of Anathapindada, in the Jeta Grove near Sravasti, with a great bhiksu congregation of 1,250 people. At that time, the World Honored One at mealtime donned robes and took his almsbowl into the great city of Sravasti to beg for alms. In the midst of that city, he begged successively and then returned to his personal dwelling to eat his meal. Having put away his robes and bowl, and washed his feet, he prepared his seat and sat.

2.

At that time, the venerable Subhuti was amidst the great congregation. He then rose from his seat, adjusted his robes to one shoulder, and with his right knee touched the ground. With palms joined in reverence, he addressed the Buddha: “Extraordinary, World Honored One, is the tathagata’s skillful mindfulness of the bodhisattvas, and his skillful entrustment to the bodhisattvas. World Honored One, in what should good sons and good daughters initiating the annutara-samyak-sambodhicitta dwell? How should they regulate their thoughts?”

The Buddha replied: “Excellent, excellent! Subhuti, as you have said, the tathagata is skillfully mindful of the bodhisattvas, and skillful in entrusting to the bodhisattvas. If you now listen closely, I shall explain for you in what good sons and good daughters launching the anuttara-samyak-sambodhi mind should thus abide, and how thus they should regulate their thoughts.”

“Yes, World Honored One. Gladly, I shall listen.”

3.

The Buddha told Subhuti: “Bodhisattva-mahasattvas should thus regulate their thoughts: ‘Where there is every single sort of being — whether womb-born, whether egg-born, whether water-born, or born of transformation; whether possessing form or whether without form; whether possessing thought or whether without thought; whether neither possessing thought nor without thought — I will cause all to enter the non-residual nirvana, liberating them. Thus liberating the immeasurably boundless beings, in reality there are no beings attaining that liberation.’ What is the reason? Subhuti, if a bodhisattva has the view of a self, the view of a person, the view of beings, or the view of a soul; then he is not a bodhisattva.

4.

“Furthermore, Subhuti, a bodhisattva in the Dharma should in no place dwell while acting in charity. That is to say, not dwelling in the forms of charity: not dwelling in the sounds, odors, tastes, sensations, or dharmas of charity. Subhuti, a bodhisattva should thus be charitable, not dwelling in appearances. What is the reason? If a bodhisattva does not dwell in the appearances of charity, his blessed virtue cannot be calculated.

“Subhuti, what do you think? To the East, the empty space can be calculated, no?”

“No, World Honored One.”

“Subhuti, to the South, West, North, the four directions between, above and below, the empty space can be calculated, no?”

“No, World Honored One.”

“Subhuti, the blessed virtue of a bodhisattva not dwelling in the appearances of charity is also, again, thus: it cannot be calculated. Subhuti, bodhisattvas should only thus in this teaching dwell.”

5.

“Subhuti, what do you think? One can by means of the bodily signs see the tathagata, no?”

“No, World Honored One. One cannot by means of the bodily signs attain sight of the tathagata. What is the reason? The tathagata has explained that the bodily signs are not bodily signs [of the tathagata].”

The Buddha told Subhuti: “The mortal possession of signs is in every case vacant and delusive. If one sees that the signs are not signs, then one sees the tathagata.”

6.

Subhuti said to the Buddha: “World Honored One, it is doubtful that there are beings who, hearing thus the spoken words in this composition, will give birth to genuine belief, no?”

The Buddha told Subhuti: “Do not compose such a statement. In the last five hundred years after the tathagata’s extinction, there will be the taking up of precepts and cultivation of the blessed. From these paragraphs and phrases, it is possible to give birth to the believing mind because they are true. It should be known that these people [of that age] would not be with one buddha, two buddhas, three, four, or five buddhas when sowing their good roots. They will have completed, with immeasurable tens of millions of buddhas, the sowing of good roots. Hearing these paragraphs and phrases, even for a single recitation, shall give birth to pure belief. Subhuti, the tathagata fully knows and fully sees this of every being attaining thusly the immeasurably blessed virtue. What is the reason? These beings will not return to the views of a self, a person, beings, or a soul. They would be without the views of dharmas and also without the views of non-dharmas. What is the reason? If these beings’ minds were to apprehend appearances, it would then create the clinging to a self, a person, beings, and a soul. If they were to take up the appearances of dharmas, it would then create the clinging to a self, a person, beings, and a soul. What is the reason? If they were to take up the appearances of non-dharmas, it would then create the clinging to a self, a person, beings, and a soul. For this reason, one should not apprehend dharmas, nor should one apprehend non-dharmas. This meaning is the reason the Tathagata always says, ‘You monks! Know that my expounded Dharma is like the bamboo raft. The honored Dharma must be relinquished, how much more so what is not the Dharma?’

7.

“Subhuti, what do you think? Has the tathagata attained the annuttara-samyak-sambodhi? Has the Tathagata a teaching of the Dharma?”

Subhuti replied: “As I have comprehended the Buddha’s express meaning, there is no established dharma called ‘annuttara-samyak-sambodhi’. Also, there is no established dharma which the tathagata can expound. What is the reason? Of the dharmas expounded by the tathagata, none can be grasped or explained, being neither dharmas nor non-dharmas. What is the reason for that? Of every one of the Sages, all via the unconditioned dharma make discriminations.”

8.

“Subhuti, what do you think? If a person filled the billion worlds with the seven treasures for the purpose of charity, this person’s attainment of blessed deeds would become plentiful, no?”

Subhuti replied: “Incredibly plentiful, World Honored One. What is the reason? This blessed deed then would not, again, be of a blessed nature. This is the reason the Tathagata has said that the blessed deeds would become plentiful.”

“If again, there is a person who receives and keeps what is in this sermon, even just four lines of verse, and to another person expounds it, that person’s blessedness would overcome the other’s. What is the reason? Subhuti, every one of the buddhas who reach the buddhas’ annuttara-samyak-sambodhi Dharma are all from this sermon produced. Subhuti, what is called the ‘Buddha’s Dharma,’ then, is not the Buddha’s Dharma.

9.

“Subhuti, what do you think? The stream entrant (srota-apanna) is able to compose this thought — ‘I have attained the stream entrant’s fruit’ — no?”

Subhuti replied: “No, World Honored One. What is the reason? ‘Stream entrant’ is the name for entering the stream [of the holy life], for entering nowhere; not entering forms, sounds, odors, tastes, sensations, or dharmas. This is called ‘stream entrant’.”

“Subhuti, what do you think? The Once More to be Reborn (sakrdagama) is able to compose this thought — ‘I have attained the Once More to be Reborn’s fruit’ — no?”

Subhuti replied: “No, World Honored One. What is the reason? ‘Once More to be Reborn’ is the name for one more arrival [in this mortal world], and really is without future arrival. This is called ‘Once More to be Reborn’.”

“Subhuti, what do you think? The Non-Returner (anagamin) is able to compose this thought — ‘I have attained the Non-Returner’s fruit’ — no?”

Subhuti replied: “No, World Honored One. What is the reason? ‘Non-Returner’ is the name for no more rebirth, and really has no non-rebirth. This is why it is called ‘Non-Returner’.”

“Subhuti, what do you think? The Arhat can compose this thought — ‘I have attained the Arhat’s path’ — no?”

Subhuti replied: “No, World Honored One. What is the reason? Really, there is no existent dharma called ‘Arhat’. World Honored One, if an arhat were to compose this thought — ‘I have attained the Arhat’s reward’ — then it would be because of clinging to a self, a person, sentient beings, and a soul. The Buddha has said that I have attained, without debate, a samadhi which among others is the best. It is the best because of the departure from the desire for Arhatship. I do not compose this thought — ‘I have departed from the desire for Arhatship’. World Honored One, of myself, if I composed this thought — ‘I have attain the arhat’s path’ –the World Honored One would then not have said that Subhuti is this happy woodland practitioner (ie, ascetic), because Subhuti really practices nowhere. And so he is called ‘Subhuti, the happy woodland practitioner.”

10.

The Buddha addressed Subhuti: “What do you think? When the Tathagata was formerly staying with the Buddha Dipamkara, in the Dharma he had attainment, no?”

“No, World Honored One. When the tathagata was staying with the Buddha Dipamkara, in the Dharma he really had no attainment.”

“Subhuti, what do you think? The bodhisattva adorns the buddhaland, no?”

“No, World Honored One. What is the reason? The adornment of the buddhalands is not adornment. This is called ‘adornment’.”

“This is why, Subhuti, that bodhisattva-mahasattvas should thusly give rise to the purified mind. They should not dwell in forms when giving rise to that mind; they should not dwell in sounds, odors, tastes, sensations, or dharmas when giving rise to that mind. They should dwell nowhere while giving rise to their thoughts.

Subhuti, supppose there is a person whose body is like Mount Sumeru. What do you think? This body would be made great, no?”

Subhuti replied: “Incredibly great, World Honored One. What is the reason? The Buddha has said that a non-body is called a great body.”

11.

“Subhuti, suppose there were Ganges Rivers equal in numbers to that of all the sand grains in the Ganges River. What do you think? The sand grains of all those Ganges Rivers would be many, no?”

“Incredibly many, World Honored One. Merely all of those Ganges Rivers would be so many as to be countless. How much more so would be their sand grains?”

“Subhuti, I now will truthfully tell you: if there are good sons and good daughters who fill the billion worlds with the seven treasures with the purpose of charity, themselves numbering like the sands of those Ganges Rivers, they would attain many blessings, no?”

Subhuti replied: “Incredibly many, World Honored One.”

The Buddha addressed Subhuti: “If a good son or good daughter from within this sermon should receive and uphold just four lines of verse, and for another person explain it, the blessed virtue of this person would surpass the former’s blessed virtue.

12.

“Furthermore, Subhuti, where what is said in this sermon is followed, even if just four lines of verse, it should be known that this place in every single world — be it they of gods, men, or asuras — all within should give offerings of support as though it were a Buddhist pagoda or temple. How much more so if there is someone who is able to receive, keep, read, and recite it in its entirety? Subhuti, it should be known that this person will completely accomplish the supreme, best, most extraordinary Dharma. If this canonical sermon resides in his abode, then it would be like the place of a buddha, if it is honored by the disciples.”

13.

At that time, Subhuti said to the Buddha: “World Honored One, what shall be the name of this sermon? How are we to receive and uphold it?”

The Buddha addressed Subhuti: “This sermon’s name is the Diamond Perfection of Wisdom (Vajra Prajna-paramita). By way of the words of this title, you should receive and uphold it. For what reason? Subhuti, the Buddha says that it is the perfection of wisdom, so it is not the perfection of wisdom.

“Subhuti, what do you think? The Tathagata has a teaching of the Dharma, no?”

Subhuti said to the Buddha: “World Honored One, the Tathagata has no teaching.”

“Subhuti, what do you think? The atoms of the billion worlds are many, no?”

Subhuti replied: “Incredibly many, World Honored One.”

“Subhuti, atoms, the Tathagata has said, are not atoms: these are called ‘atoms’. The Tathagata has explained that the worlds are not worlds: these are called ‘worlds’. Subhuti, what do you think? One can by way of the thirty-two signs see the Tathagata, no?”

“No, World Honored One. One cannot by way of the thirty-two signs attain sight of the Tathagata. What is the reason? The Tathagata has explained that the thirty-two signs then are not signs: these are called the ‘thirty-two signs’.”

“Subhuti, suppose there are good sons and good daughters who with their lives equal to the sands of the Ganges River give in charity; and suppose again there is a person who from within this sermon, even if only receiving and keeping four lines of verse and for another person expounds it: his merit would be incredibly more.”

14.

At that time Subhuti, hearing the pronouncement of this sermon, deeply understood its meaning suddenly. He wept and lamented, and then addressed the Buddha, saying: “It is extraordinary, World Honored One, that the Buddha expounds thusly such an incredibly profound canonical sermon. Since formerly coming to obtaining the wisdom-eye, I have never before heard such a sermon. World Honored One, if again there is a person who hears this sermon with a believing mind that is pure, then they will give rise to the sign of reality. It should be known that this person will have entirely accomplished the best, most extraordinary merit. World Honored One, this sign of reality then is a non-sign. This is why the Tathagata has said that it is called the ‘real sign’. World Honored One, having heard thusly this canonical sermon, and sincerely understood it, receiving and upholding it is no longer difficult. If there shall come into the world after five hundred years, beings who hear this sermon with sincere understanding, receiving and upholding it, then they would be made most extraordinary. What is the reason? These people would be without the views of a self, a person, beings, or a soul. Why is that? The view of self then is this non-sign. The views of a person, beings, and a soul then are this non-sign. What is the reason? Departing, from all signs, they then are called Buddhas.”

The Buddha told Subhuti, “Yes, yes. If again there is a person who hears this sermon, and is not astonished, alarmed, or fearful; it should be known that this person would be made most extraordinary. What is the reason? Subhuti, the Tathagata has explained that the first perfection is then not the first perfection: This is called the first perfection. Subhuti, the perfection of perseverance (kshanti), the Tathagata has said, is not the perfection of perseverance. What is the reason? Subhuti, as I had formerly had my body sliced to pieces by King Kalinga, I in that time was without the views of a self, a person, beings, or a soul. What is the reason? When I in that former time had been limb from limb cut apart, if there had been the views of a self, a person, beings, or a soul; there would have arisen in me anger and indignation. Subhuti, further, I recall that in the past five hundred incarnations I had been an ascetic practicing perseverance. In that incarnation, I was without the view of a self, without the view of a person, without the view of beings, and without the view of a soul. Subhuti, bodhisattvas should depart from all signs while initiating the annutara-samyak-sambodhicitta. They should not dwell in forms when giving rise to that thought. They should not dwell in sounds, odors, tastes, sensations, or dharmas when giving rise to that thought. They should dwell nowhere when giving rise to that thought. If in thought they were to have a dwelling, then it would be to become non-dwelling. For this reason, the Buddha has said that the bodhisattva’s thought should not dwell in forms regarding charity. Subhuti, the bodhisattvas creating blessings for every sentient being should thus be charitable. The Tathagata has said that all signs then is the non-sign. Further, he has said that all sentient beings, then are not sentient beings. Subhuti, the Tathagata’s discourses are true, real, thus, not false, and not contradictory. Subhuti, the Dharma that the Tathagata has attained is neither true nor false. Subhuti, if a bodhisattva’s thought dwells in dharmas while practicing charity, it would be like a person entering darkness, and therefore being unable to see anything. If a bodhisattva’s thought does not dwell in dharmas while practicing charity, it would be like a person who, seeing by the sunlight that illumines, sees all the various forms. Subhuti, if it should come into the world that there are good sons and good daughters who are able to receive, keep, read, and recite what is in this sermon, then they will become Tathagatas. Via the Buddha’s sagely wisdom which fully knows and fully sees these people, I can say that that all shall attain the complete accomplishment of the immeasurably boundless merit.

15.

“Subhuti, suppose there are good sons and good daughters who, in the morning, in numbers equaling that of the sand grains of the Ganges, give themselves in charity; who, in the afternoon, in numbers equaling that of the sand grains of the Ganges, give themselves in charity; who, in the evening, in numbers equaling that of the sand grains of the Ganges, give themselves in charity; thusly for immeasurable billions of kalpas gave themselves in charity. Suppose, again, that there is a person who hears this canonical sermon with a believing mind that is not contrary: his blessedness would overcome that of the others. How much more so copying, receiving, upholding, reading, and recited it in its entirety, and then giving comprehensive explanations of it to other people? Subhuti, essentially speaking, this sermon has a meaning which cannot be comprehended, and the boundless merit [of receiving, upholding, et al] cannot be measured. The Tathagata for the sake of setting forth the great vehicle speaks it; for the sake of setting forth the supreme vehicle speaks it. If there is a person who is able to receive, uphold, read, and recite this sermon and widely explain it to others, The Tathagata fully knows and fully sees that such people will all attain entirely the accomplishment of the merit which cannot be measured, cannot be express, has no bounds, and is inconcievable. Thusly such people therefore carry on the Tathagata’s annuttara-samyak-sambodhi. What is the reason? Subhuti, if there is satisfaction found in lesser dharmas, that is attachment to the view of a self, the view of a person, the view of sentient beings, and the view of a soul. Therefore, there could not be compliance with, receiving, upholding, reciting, or explaining for another what is in this sermon. Subhuti, wherever it resides in whatever place, if therein is this sermon, every one of the worlds, be they of gods, humans, or asuras, should give offerings for its support. It should be known that this place then is a pagoda. All should venerate it by circling it clockwise, scattering flowers and incense about its premises.

16.

“Furthermore, Subhuti, good sons and good daughters receiving, upholding, reading, and reciting this sermon; if they should be insulted or despised, they would have in prior lives committed evil acts and accordingly fallen into the path of suffering. Because of that, they in the present life are insulted or despised by others. When the prior life’s evil acts then have been dissolved and extinguished, they shall attain the annuttara-samyak-sambodhi. Subhuti, I recall in the past measureless asankya kalpa, before having been with the Buddha Dipamkara, I had met eighty-four trillion nayutas of Buddhas, had to their entirety given offerings of support, and had carried on their work without needless error. Suppose, again, there is someone who, in the later superficial age, is capable of receiving, upholding, reading, and reciting this sermon, attaining that merit. The merit of my giving offerings of support to all of those buddhas would not compare to a hundredth of the latter’s merit. Even a billionth of the latter’s merit would be an insufficient estimation. Subhuti, if good sons and good daughters, in the later superficial age, who have received, upheld, read, and recited this sermon; if I were to fully enunciate the extent of their attainment of merit, some of the people’s minds in the audience would be confounded, becoming doubtful and disbelieving. Subhuti, it should be known that this sermon’s meaning is inconceivable. The fruit of its reward is also inconceivable.

17.

At that time, Subhuti said to the Buddha: “World Honored One, in what should good sons and good daughters initiating the annuttara-samyak-sambodhicitta dwell, how should they regulate their thoughts?”

The Buddha told Subhuti: “Goods sons and good daughters initiating the annuttara-samyak-sambodhicitta will give rise to the thought: ‘I shall liberate all sentient beings. Having liberated all of the sentients beings, there are really no existent beings who are liberated.’ What is the reason? Subhuti, if a bodhisattva has the view of a self, the view of a person, the view of sentient beings, or view of a soul; then that is not a bodhisattva. Why is that? Subhuti, really there is no existent annuttara-samyak-sambodhicitta. Subhuti, what do you think? When the Tathagata was with Dipamkara Buddha, he had attained the annuttara-samyak-sambodhi, no?”

“No, World Honored One. As I have understood the Buddha’s express meaning, the Buddha, when with Dipamkara Buddha, did not have any attainment of the annuttara-samyak-sambodhi.”

The Buddha replied: “Yes, yes. Subhuti, really there is no existent dharma that the Tathagata has attained in the annuttara-samyak-sambodhi. Subhuti, suppose there is a dharma that the Tathagata has attained in the annuttara-samyak-sambodhi. Dipamkara Buddha, then, would not have given me the prediction ‘You, in a life to come, shall appear as a Buddha named Shakyamuni’. That is because in reality there is no existent dharma in the attainment of annuttara-samyak-sambodhi. For this reason Dipamkara Buddha bestowed onto me prediction, composing the words: ‘You in a life to come shall appear as a buddha named Shakyamuni.’ What is the reason? For one who is a Tathagata, then, the dharmas are of like meaning. Suppose there is a person who says the Tathagata has attained the annuttara-samyak-sambodhi. Subhuti, really there is no existent dharma in the Buddha’s attaining the annuttara-samyak-sambodhi. Subhuti, the Tathagata’s attainment of the annuttara-samyak-sambodhi is the middle, being without truth or falsehood. For this reason, the Tathagata says that all of the dharmas are all the buddhadharma. Subhuti, that which is called ‘all of the dharmas,’ then, is not all of the dharmas. This is the reason it is called ‘all of the dharmas.’ Subhuti, for example take the person whose body is ancient and great.”

Subhuti replied: “World Honored One, the Tathagata has said that the person who has a body which is ancient and great, then, does not have a great body. It is called a great body.”

“Subhuti, a bodhisattva is also thus. If one should compose the words ‘I shall liberate the immeasurable beings’ then this is not to be called a bodhisattva. What is the reason? Subhuti, really there is no existent dharma whose name is ‘bodhisattva’. For this reason, the Buddha has said that every one of the dharmas lack a self, lack a person, lack sentient beings, and lack a soul. Subhuti, if a bodhisattva were to compose these words: ‘I shall adorn the buddhaland’; this is not to be called a bodhisattva. What is the reason? The Tathagata has said that the adornment of the buddhaland, then, are not adornment: it is called ‘adornment’. Subhuti, if a bodhisattva penetrates and traverses selflessly the Dharma, the Tathagata has said that he is truthfully called a bodhisattva.”

18.

“Subhuti, what do you think? The Tathagata possesses the flesh-eye, no?”

“Yes, World Honored One. The Tathagata possesses the flesh-eye.”

“Subhuti, what do you think? The Tathagata possesses the heavenly-eye, no?”

“Yes, World Honored One. The Tathagata possesses the heavenly-eye.”

“Subhuti, what do you think? The Tathagata possesses the wisdom-eye, no?”

“Yes, World Honored One. The Tathagata possesses the wisdom-eye.”

“Subhuti, what do you think? The Tathagata possesses the Dharma-eye, no?”

“Yes, World Honored One. The Tathagata possesses the Dharma-eye.”

“Subhuti, what do you think? The Tathagata possesses the Buddha-eye, no?”

“Yes, World Honored One. The Tathagata possesses the Buddha-eye.”

“Subhuti, what do you think? The sand grains in the Ganges River — the Buddha has spoken of these sands, no?”

“Yes, World Honored One. The Tathagata has spoken of these sands.”

“Subhuti, what do you think? As there are sand grains in a single Ganges River, suppose there are Ganges Rivers equal in number to those sands, possessing Buddha realms numbering [in each] like those sand grains. These realms would be made rather many, no?”

“Incredibly many, World Honored One.”

The Buddha said to Subhuti, “In those lands there are sentient beings with various kinds of minds, which the Tathagata fully knows. What is the reason? The Tathagata has said that minds all are not minds, and so are called minds. What is the reason for that? Subhuti, past thoughts are unobtainable, present thoughts are unobtainable, and future thoughts are unobtainable.”

19.

“Subhuti, what do you think? Suppose there is a person who filled the billion worlds with the seven treasures for the purpose of charity. This person, because of these causes and conditions, would obtain many blessings, no?”

“Yes, World Honored One. This person, via these causes and conditions, would obtain incredibly many blessings.”

“Subhuti, if that blessed deed were real, the Tathagata would not have said that this person would obtain many blessings. Since the blessed deed is not, the Tathagata says that the person would obtain many blessings.”

20.

“Subhuti, what do you think? The Buddha can by means of the perfect form of his body be recognized, no?”

“No, World Honored One. The Tathagata should not by means of the perfect form of his body be recognized. What is the reason? The Tathagata has said that the perfect form of his body is not a perfect form of body. It is called a perfect form of body.”

“Subhuti, what do you think? The Tathagata can by means of the perfect signs be recognized, no?”

“No, World Honored One. The Tathagata should not by means of the perfect signs be recognized. What is the reason? The Tathagata has said that the signs which are perfect are not signs which are perfect. They are called signs which are perfect.”

21.

“Subhuti, do not say that the Tathagata composes this thought: ‘I shall have an explanation of the Dharma.’ Do not compose that thought. What is the reason? If a person says that the Tathagata has an explanation of the Dharma, then they have slandered the Buddha, because they are unable to understand the reason for my speaking. Subhuti, the spoken Dharma lacks a Dharma which can be spoken. It is called a spoken Dharma.”

At that time, the Venerable Subhuti said to the Buddha: “World Honored One, it is doubtful that there will be sentient beings in generations yet to come who, hearing of this Dharma, will give birth to the believing mind, no?”

The Buddha replied: “Subhuti, those are not sentient beings, nor are they not sentient beings. What is the reason? Subhuti, the sentient beings who are sentient beings, the Tathagata has said, are not sentient beings. They are called sentient beings.”

22.

Subhuti said to the Buddha: “World Honored One, the Buddha’s attainment of the annuttara-samyak-sambodhi is because of nowhere attaining anything?”

The Buddha replied: “Yes, yes. Subhuti, in my annuttara-samyak-sambodhi, verily, there is not the slightest dharma that can be attained. This is called the annuttara-samyak-sambodhi.”

23.

“Furthermore, Subhuti, the Dharma is level, lacking high or low. This is called the annuttara-samyak-sambodhi. By means of being without self, without person, without sentient beings, and without a soul, cultivation of all the good Dharmas, then, is attaining the annuttara-samyak-sambodhi. Subhuti, what is said to be the good Dharmas, the Tathagata has explained to be non-Dharmas. They are called good Dharmas.

24.

“Subhuti, suppose that, like the Mount Sumerus of the billion realms, a person has accumulated mounds of the seven treasures of such size and numbers as those Mount Sumerus for the purpose of charity. If a person, via this perfection of wisdom sutra, even just four lines of verse, receives, upholds, reads, and recites, and for another explains it: the former’s blessed deed would not reach a hundredth of the latter’s. A billionth part of the latter’s, even, would be an insufficient estimation of it.

25.

“Subhuti, what do you think? Do you say that the tathagata composes this thought: ‘I shall save the sentient beings’? Subhuti, do not compose that thought. What is the reason? Really, there are no sentient beings the Tathagata saves. If there were beings the Tathagata saved, the Tathagata then would have a self, a personage, beings, and a soul. Subhuti, the Tathagata has explained that an existent self is then not a self. Mortal men regard their persons as being a self. Subhuti, mortal men, the Tathagata has explained, then, are not mortal men. They are called ‘mortal men’.”

26.

“Subhuti, what do you think? One can by means of the thirty-two signs examine the Tathagata, no?”

Subhuti replied: “Yes, yes. By means of the the thirty-two signs, one examines the Tathagata.”

The Buddha said: “Subhuti, if by means of the thirty-two signs one examines the Tathagata, a [Dharma]-wheel turning holy king, then, is this Tathagata.”

Subhuti said to the Buddha: “World Honored One, the Tathagata, as I understand the Buddha’s express meaning, should not be examined by means of the thirty-two signs.”

At that time, the World Honored One proclaimed this gatha, saying:

If via form (one) looks for the Tathagata
Or via the sound of the voice beseeches me,
This person walks a corrupt path
And is unable to recognize the Tathagata.

27.

“Subhuti, suppose you were to compose this thought: ‘Because it is not by means of the perfect signs that the Tathagata has attained the annuttara-samyak-sambodhi’. Subhuti, do not compose that thought: ‘Because it is not by means of the perfect signs that the Tathagata has attained the annuttara-samyak-sambodhi’. Subhuti, if you compose this thought: ‘Initiating the annuttara-samyak-sambodhi is the spoken Dharma of nihilism’. Do not form that thought. What is the reason? Initiating the annuttara-samyak-sambodhi cannot be said to be the dharma of a nihilistic view.

28.

“Subhuti, suppose a bodhisattva filled worlds numbering like the sands of the Ganges River with the seven treasures, and accumulated it for the purpose of charity. Suppose, again, there is a person who knows every dharma is selfless and attains the complete perseverance of them. This bodhisattva would overcome the former bodhisattva’s attainment of merit. Subhuti, the reason is because bodhisattvas do not receive blessed virtue.”

Subhuti addressed the Buddha, saying: “World Honored One, how is it bodhisattvas do not receive blessed virtue?”

“Subhuti, the bodhisattva’s composition of blessed deeds should not be greedily clung to. This is why is it is said ‘not receiving blessed virtue’.

29.

“Subhuti, if there is a person who says the Tathagata comes, goes, sits, or lies down; this person would not understand my express meaning. What is the reason? The Tathagata is without a place from whence to come, and also is without a place to which to go. That is the reason he is called a tathagata.”

30.

“Subhuti, suppose good sons and good daughters were to grind the billion realms to dust grains. What do you think? These grains would become many, no?”

“Incredibly many, World Honored One. What is the reason? If these myriad grains were really existent, the Buddha would not then speak of these myriad grains of dust. What is the reason for that? The Buddha has said the grains are then not grains of dust. These are called grains of dust. World Honored One, the Tathagata has said that the billion realms are then not realms: these are called realms. What is the reason? If the worlds were really existent, then these would appear as a single conglomeration. The Tathagata has said that the appearance of a single conglomeration is not the appearance of a single conglomeration. This is called a single conglomeration.”

“Subhuti, the appearance of a single conglomeration, then, is inexpressible. Only mortal men greedily cling to the doings of their own persons.

31.

“Subhuti, suppose someone says the Buddha has spoken of a view of self, a view of a person, the view of sentient beings, or the view of a soul. Subhuti, what do you think? This person understands my express meaning, no?”

“No, World Honored One. This person would not understand the Tathagata’s express meaning. What is the reason? The World Honored One has said the view of a self, the view of a person, the view of beings, and the view of a soul; then, are not the views of a self, a person, beings, or of a soul.”

“Subhuti, in the annuttara-samyak-sambodhi, all dharmas thusly should be known, thus be viewed, and thus be sincerely understood as the unborn appearances of dharmas. Subhuti, the words ‘dharma appearances,’ the Tathagata has said, then, are not dharma appearances. This is called dharma appearances.

32.

“Subhuti, suppose there is a person who fills immeasurable asankyas of worlds with the seven treasures and accumulates it for the purpose of charity. And suppose there are good sons and good daughters who initiate the bodhicitta, keeping from within this sutra even just four lines of verse; receiving, upholding, reading, reciting, and for others giving extensive explanations of it. Their blessed virtue would overcome the other’s. How would they make for other people extensive explanations? Without grasping the appearances of the absolute, without agitation. What is the reason?

All of the existent, conditioned dharmas
Are like dreams, illusions, bubbles, shadows;
Like dew and also like lightning:
Thus should they be contemplated.”

The Buddha having finnished propounding this sutra, the Venerable Subhuti, the bhiksus, bhiksunis, upasakas, and upasikas, and everyone in the worlds of gods, humans, and asuras having heard the Buddha’s exposition were all greatly elated. Sincerely, they received and handed down the practice of the Diamond Perfection of Wisdom Sutra.

Samanthabadra tenth vow – Transference of merit

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“Moreover, good man, to transfer all merits and virtues universally is explained like this: all merits and virtues, from the first vow, to pay homage and respect up to and including the vow to accommodate and benefit all living beings throughout out the Dharma realm (cosmos) and to the limits of empty space. I vow all living beings will be constantly happy without sickness or suffering. I vow that no one will succeed in doing any evil, but that all will quickly perfect their cultivation of good karma. I vow to shut the door to evil destinies and open the right paths of humans, gods and that of Nirvana. I will stand in for living beings and receive all the extremely severe fruits of suffering which they bring around with their evil karma. I will liberate all these beings and ultimately bring them to accomplish unsurpassed Bodhi (Buddhahood). The Bodhisattva cultivates transference’s in this way
Even when the realms of empty space are exhausted, the realms f living beings are exhausted, the karma’s of living beings are exhausted, and the afflictions of living beings are exhausted, I will transfer all merits and virtues endlessly, continuously, in thought after thought without cease. My body, speech and mind never weary of these deeds

Samanthabadra ninth vows – acomodate and benefit all sentient beings

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“Sudhana, to accommodate and benefit all living beings is explained like this: throughout the oceans of worlds in the ten directions exhausting the Dharma realm (cosmos) and the realms of empty space there are many different kinds of living beings. That is to say, there are those born from eggs, the wombborn, the transformational born, as well as those who live and rely on earth, water, fire and air for their existence. There are beings dwelling in space, and those who are born in and live in plants and trees. This includes all the many species and races with their diverse bodies, shapes, appearances, life spans, families, names, and natures. This includes their many varieties of knowledge and views, their various desires and pleasures, their thoughts and deeds, and their many different behaviors, clothing and diets. “It includes beings who dwell in different villages, towns, cities and palaces, as well as gods, dragons, and others of the eight divisions, Humans and nonhumans alike. There are also footless beings, beings with two feet, four feet, and many feet, with form and without form, with thought and not entirely with thought and not entirely without thought. ”

I will accord with and take care of all these many kinds of beings, providing all manner of services and offerings for them.
I will treat them with the same respect I show my own parents, teachers, elders, Arhats, and even the Buddha’s.
I will serve them all equally without difference. “

I will be a good Physician for the sick and suffering.
I will lead those who have lost their way to the right road.
I will be a bright light for those in the dark night, and cause the poor and destitute to uncover hidden treasures.

“The Bodhisattva impartially benefits all living beings in this manner Why is this? If a Bodhisattva accords with living beings, then he accords with and makes offerings to all Buddha’s. If he can honor and serve living beings then he honors and serves the Buddha’s. If he makes living beings happy, he is making all Buddha’s happy. Why is this? It is because all Buddha’s take the mind of great compassion as their substance. Because of living beings, they develop great compassion. From great compassion the bodhi mind is born; and because of the bodhi mind, they accomplish supreme, perfect enlightenment (Buddhahood). “It is like a great regal tree growing in the rocks and sand of a barren wilderness. When the roots get water, the branches, leaves, flowers, and fruits will all flourish. The regal Bodhi-tree growing in the wilderness of birth and death is the same. All living beings are its roots; all Buddha’s and Bodhisattvas are its flowers and fruits.

By benefiting all beings with the water of great compassion, one can realize the flowers and fruits of the Buddha’s and Bodhisattvas wisdom.

Why is this? It is because by benefiting living beings with the water of great compassion, the Bodhisattvas can achieve supreme perfect enlightenment; therefore, Bodhi belongs to living beings.

Without living beings, no Bodhisattva could achieve supreme, perfect enlightenment.

“Good man, you should understand these principals in this way: When the mind is impartial towards all living beings, one can accomplish full and perfect great compassion.
By using the mind of great compassion to accord with living beings, one perfects the offering of the Dharma to the Buddha’s.

In this way the Bodhisattva constantly accords with living beings. “Even when the realms of empty space are exhausted, the realms of living beings are exhausted, the karma’s of living beings are exhausted, I will still accord endlessly, continuously, in thought after thought, without cease. My body, speech and mind never weary of these deeds

Samanthabadra vows (avatamsaka sutra) – practice as a Bodhisattva

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First, Pay homage and respect to all Buddha’s.
Second, Praise all the Buddha’s.
Third, Make abundant offerings.
Fourth, Repent misdeeds and evil karma’s (actions)
Fifth, Rejoice in others’ merits and virtues.
Sixth, Request the Buddha’s to teach.
Seventh, Request the Buddha’s to remain in the world.
Eighth, Follow the teachings of the Buddha’s at all times.
Ninth, Accommodate and benefit all living beings.
Tenth, Transfer all merits and virtues universally.”

In chinese mahayana buddhism, we do transferance of merit every year during the hungry ghost festival by burning paper money to ancestors. Although this act is not eco-friendly; This act is actually a small kind of acomodate and benefit all sentient beings and transference of merit as mentioned in avatamsaka sutra.

According to the avatamsaka sutra, transfer of merit should equals to every sentient beings, not only to our ancestors