Total 27 chapters
HOMAGE TO ALL THE BUDDHAS AND BODHISATTVAS.
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.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- 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!
Then the venerable Sâriputra, pleased, glad, charmed, cheerful, thrilling with delight and joy, stretched his joined hands towards the Lord, and, looking up to the Lord with a steady gaze, addressed him in this strain: I am astonished, amazed, O Lord! I am in ecstasy to hear such a call from the Lord. For when, before I had heard of this law from the Lord, I saw other Bodhisattvas, and heard that the Bodhisattvas would in future get the name of Buddhas, I felt extremely sorry, extremely vexed to be,deprived from so grand a sight as the Tathâgata-knowledge. And whenever, O Lord, for my daily recreation I was visiting the caves of rocks or mountains, wood thickets, lovely gardens, rivers, and roots of trees, I always was occupied with the same and ever-reeurring thought: ‘Whereas the entrance into the fixed points [Or, elements] of the law is nominally equal, we have been dismissed by the Lord with the inferior vehicle.’ Instantly, however, O Lord, I felt that it was our own fault, not the Lord’s. For had we regarded the Lord at the time of his giving the allsurpassing demonstration of the law, that is, the exposition of supreme, perfect enlightenment, then, O Lord, we should have become adepts in those laws. But because, without understanding the mystery of the Lord, we, at the moment of the Bodhisattvas not being assembled, heard only in a hurry, caught, meditated, minded, took to heart the first lessons pronounced ori the law, therefore, O Lord, I used to pass day and night in self-reproach. (But) to-day, O Lord, I have reached complete extinction; to-day, O Lord, I have become calm; to-day, O Lord, I am wholly come to rest; to-day, O Lord, I have reached Arhatship; to-day, O Lord, I am the Lord’s eldest son, born from his law, sprung into existence by the law, made by the law, inheriting from the law, accomplished by the law. My burning has left me, O Lord, now that I have heard this wonderful law, which I had not leant before, announced by the voice from the mouth of the Lord.
And on that occasion the venerable Sâriputra addressed the Lord in the following stanzas:
1. I am astonished, great Leader, I am charmed to hear this voice; I feel no doubt any more; now am I fully ripe for the superior vehicle.
2. Wonderful is the voice [Rather, call] of the Sugatas; it dispels the doubt and pain of living beings; my pain also is all gone now that I, freed from imperfections, have heard that voice (or, call).
3. When I was taking my daily recreation or was walking in woody thickets, when betaking myself to the roots of trees or to mountain caves, I indulged in no other thought but this:
4. ‘O how am I deluded by vain thoughts! whereas the faultless laws are, nominally, equal, shall I in future not preach the superior law in the world?
5. ‘The thirty-two characteristic signs have failed me, and the gold colour of the skin has vanished; all the (ten) powers and emancipations have likewise been lost. O how have I gone astray at the equal laws!
6. ‘The secondary signs also of the great Seers, the eighty excellent specific signs, and the eighteen uncommon properties have failed me. O how am I deluded!’
7. And when I had perceived thee, so benigh and merciful to the world, and was lonely walking to take my daily recreation, I thought: ‘I am excluded from that inconceivable, unbounded knowledge!’
8. Days and nights, O Lord, I passed always thinking of the same subject; I would ask the Lord whether I had lost my rank or not.
9. In such reflections, O Chief of Ginas, I constantly passed my days and nights; and on seeing many other Bodhisattvas praised by the Leader of the world,
10. And on hearing this Buddha-law, I thought: ‘To be sure, this is expounded mysteriously’; it is an inscrutable, subtle, and faultless science, which is announced by the Ginas on the terrace of enlightenment.’
11. Formerly I was attached to (heretical) theories, being a wandering monk and in high honour (or, of the same opinions) with the heretics; afterwards has the Lord, regarding my disposition, taught me Nirvâna, to detach me from perverted views.
12. After having completely freed myself from all (heretical) views and reached the laws of void, (I conceive) that I have become extinct; yet this is not deemed to be extinction.
13. But when one becomes Buddha, a superior being, honoured by men, gods, goblins, Titans, and adorned with the thirty-two characteristic signs, then one will be completely extinct.
14. All those (former) cares have now been dispelled, since I have heard the voice. Now am I extinct, as thou announcest my destination (to Nirvâna) before the world including the gods.
15. When I first heard the voice of the Lord, I had a great terror lest it might be Mâra, the evil one, who on this occasion had adopted the disguise of Buddha.
16. But when the unsurpassed Buddha-wisdom had been displayed in and established with arguments, reasons, and illustrations, by myriads of kotis, then I lost all doubt about the law I heard.
17. And when thou hadst mentioned to me the thousands of kotis of Buddhas, the past Ginas who have come to final rest, and how they preached this law by firmly establishing it through skilfulness;
18. How the many future Buddhas and those who are now existing, as knowers of the real truth, shall expound or are expounding this law by hundreds of able devices;
19. And when thou wert mentioning thine own course after leaving home, how the idea of the wheel of the law presented itself to thy mind and how thou decidedst upon preaching the law;
20. Then I was convinced: This is not Mâra; it is the Lord of the world, who has shown the true course; no Mâras can here abide. So then my mind (for a moment) was overcome with perplexity;
21. But when the sweet, deep, and lovely voice of Buddha gladdened me, all doubts were scattered, my perplexity vanished, and I stood firm in knowledge.
22. I shall become a Tathâgata, undoubtedly, worshipped in the world including the gods; I shall manifest Buddha-wisdom, mysteriously rousing many Bodhisattvas.
After this speech of the venerable Sâriputra, the Lord said to him: I declare to thee, Sâriputra, I announce to thee, in presence of this world including the gods, Mâras, and Brahmas, in presence of this people, including ascetics and Brahmans, that thou, Sâriputra, hast been by me made ripe for supreme, perfect enlightenment, in presence of twenty hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Buddhas, and that thou, Sâriputra, hast for a long time followed my commandments. Thou, Sâriputra, art, by the counsel of the Bodhisattva, by the decree of the Bodhisattva, reborn here under my rule. Owing to the mighty will of the Bodhisattva thou, Sâriputra, hast no recollection of thy former vow to observe the (religious) course; of the counsel of the Bodhisattva, the decree of the Bodhisattva. Thou thinkest that thou hast reached final rest. I, wishing to revive and renew in thee the knowledge of thy former vow to observe the (religious) course, will reveal to the disciples the Dharmaparyaya called ‘the Lotus of the True Law,’ this Sûrânta, &c.
Again, Sâriputra, at a future period, after innumerable, inconceivable, immeasurable Æons, when thou shalt have learnt the true law of hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Tathâgatas, showed devotion in various ways, and achieved the present Bodhisattva-course, thou shalt become in the world a Tathâgata, &c., named Padmaprabha, endowed with science and conduct, a Sugata, a knower of the world, an unsurpassed tamer of men, a master of gods and men, a Lord Buddha.
At that time then, Sâriputra, the Buddha-field of that Lord, the Tathâgata Padmaprabha, to be called Viraga, will be level, pleasant, delightful, extremely beautiful to see, pure, prosperous, rich, quiet, abounding with food, replete with many races of men; it will consist of lapis lazuli, and contain a checker-board of eight compartments distinguished by gold threads, each compartment having its jewel tree always and perpetually filled with blossoms and fruits of seven precious substances.
Now that Tathâgata Padmaprabha, &c., Sâriputra, will preach the law by the instrumentality of three vehicles . Further, Sâriputra, that Tathâgata will not appear at the decay of the Æon, but preach the law by virtue of a vow.
That Æon, Sâriputra, will be named Mahâratnapratimandita (i. e. ornamented with magnificent jewels). Knowest thou, Sâriputra, why that Æon is named Mahâratnapratimandita? The Bodhisattvas of a Buddha-field, Sâriputra, are called ratnas (jewels), and at that time there will be many Bodhisattvas in that sphere (called) Viraga; innumerable, incalculable, beyond computation, abstraction made from their being computed by the Tathâgatas. On that account is that Æon called Maharatnapratimandita.
Now, to proceed, Sâriputra, at that period the Bodhisattvas of that field will in walking step on jewel lotuses. And these Bodhisattvas will not be plying their work for the first time, they having accumulated roots of goodness and observed the course of duty under many hundred thousand Buddhas; they are praised by the Tathâgatas for their zealous application to Buddha-knowledge; are perfectioned in the rites preparatory to transcendent knowledge; accomplished in the direction of all true laws; mild, thoughtful. Generally, Sâriputra, will that Buddha-region teem with such Bodhisattvas.
As to the lifetime, Sâriputra, of that Tathâgata Padmaprabha, it will last twelve intermediate kalpas, if we leave out of account the time of his being a young prince. And the lifetime of the creatures then living will measure eight intermediate kalpas. At the expiration of twelve intermediate kalpas, Sâriputra, the Tathâgata Padmaprabha, after announcing the future destiny of the Bodhisattva called Dhritiparipûrnan [Dhriti, perserverence, endurance. Dhritiparipûrna is, full of perserverance or endurance] to superior perfect enlightenment, is to enter complete Nirvâna. ‘This Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Dhritiparipûrna, O monks, shall immediately after me come to supreme, perfect enlightenment. He shall become in the world a Tathâgata named Padmavrishabhavikrâmin, an Arhat, &c., endowed with science and conduct, &c. &c.’
Now the Tathigata Padmavrishabhavikrâmin, Sâriputra, will have a Buddha-field of quite the same description. The true law, Sâriputra, of that Tathâgata Padmavrishabhavikrâmin will, after his extinction, last thirty-two intermediate kalpas, and the counterfeit of his true law will last as many intermediate kalpas.
And on that occasion the Lord uttered the following stanzas:
23. Thou also, son of Sari, shalt in future be a Gina, a Tathâgata named Padmaprabha, of illimited sight; thou shalt educate thousands of kotis of living beings.
24. After paying honour to many kotis of Buddhas, making strenuous efforts in the course of duty, and after having produced in thyself the ten powers, thou shalt reach supreme, perfect enlightenment.
25. Within a period inconceivable and immense there shall be an Æon rich in jewels (or, the Æon jewel-rich), and a sphere named Viraga, the pure field of the highest of men;
26. And its ground will consist of lapis lazuli, and be set off with gold threads; it will have hundreds of jewel trees, very beautiful, and covered with blossoms and fruits.
2 7. Bodhisattvas of good memory, able in showing the course of duty which they have been taught under hundreds of Buddhas, will come to be born in that field.
28. And the afore-mentioned Gina, then in his last bodily existence, shall, after passing the state of prince royal, renounce sensual pleasures, leave home (to become a wandering ascetic), and thereafter reach the supreme and the highest enlightenment.
29. The lifetime of that Gina will be precisely twelve intermediate kalpas, and the life of men will then last eight intermediate kalpas.
30. After the extinction of the Tathigata the true law will continue thirty-two Æons in full, for the benefit of the world, including the gods.
31. When the true law shall have come to an end, its counterfeit will stand for thirty-two intermediate kalpas. The dispersed relics of the holy one will always be honoured by men and gods.
32. Such will be the fate of that Lord. Rejoice, O son of Sâri, for it is thou who shalt be that most excellent of men, so unsurpassed.
The four classes of the audience, monks, nuns, lay devotees male and female, gods, Nagas, goblins, Gandharvas, demons, Garudas, Kinnaras, great serpents, men and beings not human, on hearing the announcement of the venerable Sâriputra’s destiny to supreme, perfect enlightenment, were so pleased, glad, charmed, thrilling with delight and joy, that they covered the Lord severally with their own robes, while Indra the chief of gods, Brahma Sahâmpati, besides hundred thousands of kotis of other divine beings, covered him with heavenly garments and bestrewed him with flowers of heaven, Mandâravas and great Mandâravas. High aloft they whirled celestial clothes and struck hundred thousands of celestial musical instruments and cymbals, high in the sky; and after pouring a great rain of flowers they uttered these words: The wheel of the law has been put in motion by the Lord, the first time at Benares at Rishipatana in the Deer-park; to-day has the Lord again put in motion the supreme wheel of the law.
And on that occasion those divine beings uttered the following stanzas:
33. The wheel of the law was put in motion by thee, O thou that art unrivalled in the world, at Benares, O great hero! (that wheel which is the rotation of) the rise and decay of all aggregates.
34. There it was put in motion for the first time; now, a second time, is it turned here, O Lord. Today, O Master, thou hast preached this law, which is hard to be received with faith.
35. Many laws have we heard near the Lord of the world, but never before did we hear a law like this.
36. We receive with gratitude, O great hero, the mysterious speech of the great Sages, such as this prediction regarding the self-possessed Arya Sâriputra.
37. May we also become such incomparable Buddhas in the world, who by mysterious speech announce supreme Buddha-enlightenment.
38. May we also, by the good we have done in this world and in the next, and by our having propitiated the Buddha, be allowed to make a vow for Buddhaship.
Thereupon the venerable Sâriputra thus spoke to the Lord: My doubt is gone, O Lord, my uncertainty is at an end on hearing from the mouth of the Lord my destiny to supreme enlightenment. But these twelve hundred self-controlled (disciples), O Lord, who have been placed by thee on the stage of Saikshas, have been thus admonished and instructed: ‘My preaching of the law, O monks, comes to this, that deliverance from birth, decrepitude, disease, and death is inseparably connected with Nirvâna;’ and these two thousand monks, O Lord, thy disciples, both those who are still under training and adepts, who all of them are free from false views about the soul, false views about existence, false views about cessation of existence, free, in short, from all false views, who are fancying themselves to have reached the stage of Nirvâna, these have fallen into uncertainty by hearing from the mouth of the Lord this law which they had not heard before. Therefore, O Lord, please speak to these monks, to dispel their uneasiness, so that the four classes of the audience, O Lord, may be relieved from their doubt and perplexity.
On this speech of the venerable Sâriputra the Lord said to him the following: Have I not told thee before, Sâriputra, that the Tathâgata, &c., preaches the law by able devices, varying directions and indications, fundamental ideas, interpretations, with due regard to the different dispositions and inclinations of creatures whose temperaments are so various? All his preachings of the law have no other end but supreme and perfect enlightenment, for which he is rousing beings to the Bodhisattva-course. But, Sâriputra, to elucidate this matter more at large, I will tell thee a parable, for men of good understanding will generally readily enough catch the meaning of what is taught under the shape of a parable.
Let us suppose the following case, Sâriputra. In a certain village, town, borough, province, kingdom, or capital, there was a certain housekeeper, old, aged, decrepit, very advanced in years, rich, wealthy, opulent; he had a great house, high, spacious, built a long time ago and old, inhabited by some two, three, four, or five hundred living beings. The house had but one door, and a thatch; its terraces were tottering, the bases of its pillars rotten, the coverings and plaster of the walls loose. On a sudden the whole house was from every side put in conflagration by a mass of fire. Let us suppose that the man had many little boys, say five, or ten, or even twenty, and that he himself had come out of the house.
Now, Sâriputra, that man, on seeing the house from every side wrapt in a blaze by a great mass of fire, got afraid, frightened, anxious in his mind, and made the following reflection: I myself am able to come out from the burning house through the door, quickly and safely, without being touched or scorched by that great mass of fire; but my children, those young boys, are staying in the burning house, playing, amusing, and diverting themselves with all sorts of sports. They do not perceive, nor know, nor understand, nor mind that the house is on fire, and do not get afraid. Though scorched by that great mass of fire, and affected with such a mass of pain, they do not mind the pain, nor do they conceive the idea of escaping.
The man, Sâriputra, is strong, has powerful arms, and (so) he makes this reflection: I am strong, and have powerful arms; why, let me gather all my little boys and take them to my breast to effect their escape from the house. A second reflection then presented itself to his mind: This house has but one opening; the door is shut; and those boys, fickle, unsteady, and childlike as they are, will, it is to be feared, run hither and thither, and come to grief and disaster in this mass of fire. Therefore I will warn them. So resolved, he calls to the boys: Come, my children; the house is burning with a mass of fire; come, lest ye be burnt in that mass of fire, and come to grief and disaster. But the ignorant boys do not heed the words of him who is their well-wisher; they are not afraid, not alarmed, and feel no misgiving; they do not care, nor fly, nor even know nor understand the purport of the word ‘burning;’ on the contrary, they run hither and thither, walk about, and repeatedly look at their father; all, because they are so ignorant.
Then the man is going to reflect thus: The house is burning, is blazing by a mass of fire. It is to be feared that myself as well as my children will come to grief and disaster. Let me therefore by some skilful means get the boys out of the house. The man knows the disposition of the boys, and has a clear perception of their inclinations. Now these boys happen to have many and manifold toys to play with, pretty, nice, pleasant, dear, amusing, and precious. The man, knowing the disposition of the boys, says to them: My children, your toys, which are so pretty, precious, and admirable, which you are so loth to miss, which are so various and multifarious, (such as) bullock-carts, goat-carts, deer-carts, which are so pretty, nice, dear, and precious to you, have all been put by me outside the house-door for you to play with. Come, run out, leave the house; to each of you I shall give what he wants. Come soon; come out for the sake of these toys. And the boys, on hearing the names mentioned of such playthings as they like and desire, so agreeable to their taste, so pretty, dear, and delightful, quickly rush out from the burning house, with eager effort and great alacrity, one having no time to wait for the other, and pushing each other on with the cry of ‘Who shall arrive first, the very first?’
The man, seeing that his children have safely and happily escaped, and knowing that they are free from danger, goes and sits down in the open air on the square of the village, his heart filled with joy and delight, released from trouble and hindrance, quite at ease. The boys go up to the place where their father is sitting, and say: ‘Father, give us those toys to play with, those bullock-carts, goat-carts, and deer-carts.’ Then, Sâriputra, the man gives to his sons, who run swift as the wind, bullock-carts only, made of seven precious substances, provided with benches, hung with a multitude of small bells, lofty, adorned with rare and wonderful jewels, embellished with jewel wreaths, decorated with garlands of flowers, carpeted with cotton mattresses and woollen coverlets, covered with white cloth and silk, having on both sides rosy cushions, yoked with white, very fair and fleet bullocks, led by a multitude of men. To each of his children he gives several bullockcarts of one appearance and one kind, provided with flags, and swift as the wind. That man does so, Sâriputra, because being rich, wealthy, and in possession of many treasures and granaries, he rightly thinks: Why should I give these boys inferior carts, all these boys being my own children, dear and precious? I have got such great vehicles, and ought to treat all the boys equally and without partiality. As I own many treasures and granaries, I could give such great vehicles to all beings, how much more then to my own children. Meanwhile the boys are mounting the vehicles with feelings of astonishment and wonder. Now, Sâriputra, what is thy opinion? Has that man made himself guilty of a falsehood by first holding out to his children the prospect of three vehicles and afterwards giving to each of them the greatest vehicles only, the most magnificent vehicles?
Sâriputra answered: By no means, Lord; by no means, Sugata. That is not sufficient, O Lord, to qualify the man as a speaker of falsehood, since it only was a skilful device to persuade his children to go out of the burning house and save their lives. Nay, besides recovering their very body, O Lord, they have received all those toys. If that man, O Lord, had given no single cart, even then he would not have been a speaker of falsehood, for he had previously been meditating on saving the little boys from a great mass of pain by some able device. Even in this case, O Lord, the man would not have been guilty of falsehood, and far less now that he, considering his having plenty of treasures and prompted by no other motive but the love of his children, gives to all, to coax them, vehicles of one kind, and those the greatest vehicles. That man, Lord, is not guilty of falsehood.
The venerable Siriputra having thus spoken, the Lord said to him: Very well, very well, Sâriputra, quite so; it is even as thou sayest. So, too, Sâriputra, the Tathâgata, &c., is free from all dangers, wholly exempt from all misfortune, despondency, calamity, pain, grief, the thick enveloping dark mists of ignorance. He, the Tathâgata, endowed with Buddha-knowledge, forces, absence of hesitation, uncommon properties, and mighty by magical power, is the father of the world, who has reached the highest perfection in the knowledge of skilful means, who is most merciful, long-suffering, benevolent, compassionate. He appears in this triple world, which is like a house the roof and shelter whereof are decayed, (a house) burning by a mass of misery, in order to deliver from affection, hatred, and delusion the beings subject to birth, old age, disease, death, grief, wailing, pain, melancholy, despondency, the dark enveloping mists of ignorance, in order to rouse them to supreme and perfect enlightenment. Once born, he sees how the creatures are burnt, tormented, vexed, distressed by birth, old age, disease, death, grief, wailing, pain, melancholy, despondency; how for the sake of enjoyments, and prompted by sensual desires, they severally suffer various pains. In consequence both of what in this world they are seeking and what they have acquired, they will in a future state suffer various pains, in hell, in the brute creation, in the realm of Yama; suffer such pains as poverty in the world of gods or men, union with hateful persons or things, and separation from the beloved ones. And whilst incessantly whirling in that mass of evils they are sporting, playing, diverting themselves; they do not fear, nor dread, nor are they seized with terror; they do not know, nor mind; they are not startled, do not try to escape, but are enjoying themselves in that triple world which is like unto a burning house, and run hither and thither. Though overwhelmed by that mass of evil, they do not conceive the idea that they must beware of it.
Under such circumstances, Sâriputra, the Tathâgata reflects thus: Verily, I am the father of these beings; I must save them from this mass of evil, and bestow on them the immense, inconceivable bliss of Buddha-knowledge, wherewith they shall sport, play, and divert themselves, wherein they shall find their rest.
Then, Sâriputra, the Tathâgata reflects thus: If, in the conviction of my possessing the power of knowledge and magical faculties, I manifest to these beings the knowledue, forces, and absence of hesitation of the Tathâgata, without availing myself of some device, these beings will not escape. For they are attached to the pleasures of the five senses, to worldly pleasures; they will not be freed from birth, old age, disease, death, grief, wailing, pain, melancholy, despondency, by which they are burnt, tormented, vexed, distressed. Unless they are forced to leave the triple world which is like a house the shelter and roof whereof is in a blaze, how are they to get acquainted with Buddha-knowledge?
Now, Sâriputra, even as that man with powerful arms, without using the strength of his arms, attracts his children out of the burning house by an able device, and afterwards gives them magnificent, great carts, so, Sâriputra, the Tathâgata, the Arhat, &c., possessed of knowledge and freedom from all hesitation, without using them, in order to attract the creatures out of the triple world which is like a burning house with decayed roof and shelter, shows, by his knowledge of able devices, three vehicles, viz. the vehicle of the disciples, the vehicle of the Pratyekabuddhas, and the vehicle of the Bodhisattvas. By means of these three vehicles he attracts the creatures and speaks to them thus: Do not delight in this triple world, which is like a burning house, in these miserable forms, sounds, odours, flavours, and contacts. For in delighting in this triple world ye are burnt, heated, inflamed with the thirst inseparable from the pleasures of the five senses. Fly from this triple world; betake yourselves to the three vehicles: the vehicle of the disciples, the vehicle of the Pratyekabuddhas, the vehicle of the Bodhisattvas. I give you my pledge for it, that I shall give you these three vehicles; make an effort to run out of this triple world. And to attract them I say: These vehicles are grand, praised by the Aryas, and provided with most pleasant things; with such you are to sport, play, and divert yourselves in a noble manner. Ye will feel the great delight of the faculties, powers, constituents of Bodhi, meditations, the (eight) degrees of emancipation, self-concentration, and the results of self-concentration, and ye will become greatly happy and cheerful.
Now, Sâriputra, the beings who have become wise have faith in the Tathâgata, the father of the world, and consequently apply themselves to his commandments. Amongst them there are some who, wishing to follow the dictate of an authoritative voice, apply themselves to the commandment of the Tathâgata to acquire the knowledge of the four great truths, for the sake of their own complete Nirvâna. These one may say to be those who, coveting the vehicle of the disciples, fly from the triple world, just as some of the boys will fly from that burning house, prompted by a desire of getting a cart yoked with deer. Other beings desirous of the science without a master, of self-restraint and tranquillity, apply themselves to the commandment of the Tatha’gata to learn to understand causes and effects, for the sake of their own complete Nirvâna. These one may say to be those who, coveting the vehicle of the Pratyekabuddhas, fly from the triple world, just as some of the boys fly from the burning house, prompted by the desire of getting a cart yoked with goats. Others again desirous of the knowledge of the all-knowing, the knowledge of Buddha, the knowledge of the self-born one, the science without a master, apply themselves to the commandment of the Tathâgata to learn to understand the knowledge, powers, and freedom from hesitation of the Tathâgata, for the sake of the common weal and happiness, out of compassion to the world, for the benefit, weal, and happiness of the world at large, both gods and men, for the sake of the complete Nirvâna of all beings. These one may say to be those who, coveting the great vehicle, fly from the triple world. Therefore they are called Bodhisattvas Mahâsattvas. They may be likened to those among the boys who have fled from the burning house prompted by the desire of getting a cart yoked with bullocks.
In the same manner, Sâriputra, as that man, on seeing his children escaped from the burning house and knowing them safely and happily rescued and out of danger, in the consciousness of his great wealth, gives the boys one single grand cart; so, too, Sâriputra, the Tathigata, the Arhat, &c., on seeing many kotis of beings recovered from the triple world, released from sorrow, fear, terror, and calamity, having escaped owing to the command of the Tathâgata, delivered from all fears, calamities, and difficulties, and having reached the bliss of Nirvâna, so, too, Sâriputra, the Tathâgata, the Arhat, &c., considering that he possesses great wealth of knowledge, power, and absence of hesitation, and that all beings are his children, leads them by no other vehicle but the Buddha-vehicle to full development. But he does not teach a particular Nirvâna for each being; he causes all beings to reach complete Nirvâna by means of the complete Nirvâna of the Tathigata. And those beings, Sâriputra, who are delivered from the triple world, to them the Tathâgata gives as toys to amuse themselves with the lofty pleasures of the Aryas, the pleasures of meditation, emancipation, self-concentration, and its results; (toys) all of the same kind. Even as that man, Sâriputra, cannot be said to have told a falsehood for having held out to those boys the prospect of three vehicles and given to all of them but one great vehicle, a magnificent vehicle made of seven precious substances, decorated with all sorts of ornaments, a vehicle of one kind, the most egregious of all, so, too, Sâriputra, the Tathâgata, the Arhat, &c., tells no falsehood when by an able device he first holds forth three vehicles and afterwards leads all to complete Nirvâna by the one great vehicle. For the Tathâgata, Sâriputra, who is rich in treasures and storehouses of abundant knowledge, powers, and absence of hesitation, is able to teach all beings the law which is connected with the knowledge of the all-knowing. In this way, Sâriputra, one has to understand how the Tatha’gata by an able device and direction shows but one vehicle, the great vehicle.
And on that occasion the Lord uttered the following stanzas:
39. A man has an old house, large, but very infirm; its terraces are decaying and the columns rotten at their bases.
40. The windows and balconies are partly ruined, the wall as well as its coverings and plaster decaying; the coping shows rents from age; the thatch is everywhere pierced with holes.
41. It is inhabited by no less than five hundred beings; containing many cells and closets filled with excrements and disgusting.
42. Its roof-rafters are wholly ruined; the walls and partitions crumbling away; kotis of vultures nestle in it, as well as doves, owls, and other birds.
43. There are in every corner dreadful snakes, most venomous and horrible; scorpions and mice of all sorts; it is the abode of very wicked creatures of every description.
44. Further, one may meet in it here and there beings not belonging to the human race. It is defiled with excrement and urine, and teeming with worms, insects, and fire-flies; it resounds from the howling of dogs and jackals.
45. In it are horrible hyenas that are wont to devour human carcasses; many dogs and jackals greedily seeking the matter of corpses.
46. Those animals weak from perpetual hunger go about in several places to feed upon their prey, and quarrelling fill the spot with their cries. Such is that most horrible house.
47. There are also very malign goblins, who violate human corpses; in several spots there are centipedes, huge snakes, and vipers.
48. Those animals creep into all corners, where they make nests to deposit their brood, which is often devoured by the goblins.
49. And when those cruel-minded goblins are satiated with feeding upon the flesh of other creatures, so that their bodies are big, then they commence sharply fighting on the spot.
50. In the wasted retreats are dreadful, malign urchins, some of them measuring one span, others one cubit or two cubits, all nimble in their movements.
51. They are in the habit of seizing dogs by the feet, throwing them upside down upon the floor, pinching their necks and using them ill.
52. There also live yelling ghosts naked, black, wan, tall, and high, who, hungry and in quest of food, are here and there emitting cries of distress.
53. Some have a mouth like a needle, others have a face like a cow’s; they are of the size of men or dogs, go with entangled hair, and utter plaintive cries from want of food.
54. Those goblins, ghosts, imps, like vultures, are always looking out through the windows and loopholes, in all directions in search of food.
55. Such is that dreadful house, spacious and high, but very infirm, full of holes, frail and dreary. (Let us suppose that) it is the property of a certain man,
56. And that while he is out of doors the house is reached by a conflagration, so that on a sudden it is wrapt in a blazing mass of fire on every side.
57. The beams and rafters consumed by the fire, the columns and partitions in flame are crackling most dreadfully, whilst goblins and ghosts are yelling.
58. Vultures are driven out by hundreds; urchins withdraw with parched faces; hundreds of mischievous beasts of prey I run, scorched, on every side, crying and shouting.
59. Many poor devils move about, burnt by the fire; while burning they tear one another with the teeth, and bespatter each other with their blood.
60. Hyenas also perish there, in the act of eating one another. The excrements burn, and a loathsome stench spreads in all directions.
61. The centipedes, trying to fly, are devoured by the urchins. The ghosts, with burning hair, hover about, equally vexed with hunger and heat.
62. In such a state is that awful house, where thousands of flames are breaking out on every side. But the man who is the master of the house looks on from without.
63. And he hears his own children, whose minds are engaged in playing with their toys, in their fondness of which they amuse themselves, as fools do in their ignorance.
64. And as he hears them he quickly steps in to save his children, lest his ignorant children might perish in the flames.
65. He tells them the defect of the house, and says: This, young man of good family, is a miserable house, a dreadful one; the various creatures in it, and this fire to boot, form a series of evils.
66. In it are snakes, mischievous goblins, urchins, and ghosts in great number; hyenas, troops of dogs and jackals, as well as vultures, seeking their prey.
67. Such beings live in this house, which, apart from the fire, is extremely dreadful, and miserable enough; and now comes to it this fire blazing on all sides.
68. The foolish boys, however, though admonished, do not mind their father’s words, deluded as they are by their toys; they do not even understand him.
69. Then the man thinks: I am now in anxiety on account of my children. What is the use of my having sons if I lose them? No, they shall not perish by this fire.
70. Instantly a device occurred to his mind: These young (and ignorant) children are fond of toys, and have none just now to play with. Oh, they are so foolish!
71. He then says to them: Listen, my sons, I have carts of different sorts, yoked with deer, goats, and excellent bullocks, lofty, great, and completely furnished.
72. They are outside the house; run out, do with them what you like; for your sake have I caused them to be made. Run out all together, and rejoice to have them.
73. All the boys, on hearing of such carts, exert themselves, immediately rush out hastily, and reach, free from harm, the open air.
74. On seeing that the children have come out, the man betakes himself to the square in the centre of the village, and there from the throne he is sitting on he says: Good people, now I feel at ease.
75. These poor sons of mine, whom I have recovered with difficulty, my own dear twenty young children, were in a dreadful, wretched, horrible house, full of many animals.
76. As it was burning and wrapt in thousands of flames, they were amusing themselves in it with playing, but now I have rescued them all. Therefore I now feel most happy.
77. The children, seeing their father happy, approached him, and said: Dear father, give us, as you have promised’, those nice vehicles of three kinds;
78. And make true all that you promised us in the house when saying, ‘I will give you three sorts of vehicles.’ Do give them; it is now the right time.
79. Now the man (as we have supposed) had a mighty treasure of gold, silver, precious stones, and pearls; he possessed bullion, numerous slaves, domestics, and vehicles of various kinds;
80. Carts made of precious substances, yoked with bullocks, most excellent, with benches and a row of tinkling bells, decorated with umbrellas and flags, and adorned with a network of gems and pearls.
81. They are embellished with gold, and artificial wreaths hanging down here and there; covered all around with excellent cloth and fine white muslin.
82. Those carts are moreover furnished with choice mattresses of fine silk, serving for cushions, and covered with choice carpets showing the images of cranes and swans, and worth thousands of kotis.
83. The carts are yoked with white bullocks, well fed, strong, of great size, very fine, who are tended by numerous persons.
84. Such excellent carts that man gives to all his sons, who, overjoyed and charmed, go and play with them in all directions.
85. In the same manner, Sâriputra, I, the great Seer, am the protector and father of all beings, and all creatures who, childlike, are captivated by the pleasures of the triple world, are my sons.
86. This triple world is as dreadful as that house, overwhelmed with a number of evils, entirely inflamed on every side by a hundred different sorts of birth, old age, and disease.
87. But I, who am detached from the triple world and serene, am living in absolute retirement in a wood. This triple world is my domain, and those who in it are suffering from burning heat are my sons.
88. And I told its evils because I had resolved upon saving them, but they would not listen to me, because all of them were ignorant and their hearts attached to the pleasures of sense.
89. Then I employ an able device, and tell them of the three vehicles, so showing them the means of evading the numerous evils of the triple world which are known to me.
90. And those of my sons who adhere to me, who are mighty in the six transcendent faculties (Abhigñas) and the triple science, the Pratyekabuddhas, as well as the Bodhisattvas unable to slide back;
91. And those (others) who equally are my sons, to them I just now am showing, by means of this excellent allegory, the single Buddha-vehicle. Receive it; ye shall all become Ginas.
92. It is most excellent and sweet, the most exalted in the world, that knowledge of the Buddhas, the most high among men; it is something sublime and adorable.
93. The powers, meditations, degrees of emancipation and self-concentration by many hundreds of kotis, that is the exalted vehicle in which the sons of Buddha take a never-ending delight.
94. In playing with it they pass days and nights, fortnights, months, seasons, years, intermediate kalpas, nay, thousands of kotis of kalpas.
95. This is the lofty vehicle of jewels which sundry Bodhisattvas and the disciples listening to the Sugata employ to go and sport on the terrace of enlightenment.
96. Know then, Tishya, that there is no second vehicle in this world anywhere to be found, in whatever direction thou shalt search, apart from the device (shown) by the most high among men.
97. Ye are my children, I am your father, who has removed you from pain, from the triple world, from fear and danger, when you had been burning for many kotis of Æons.
98. And I am teaching blessed rest (Nirvâna), in. so far as, though you have not yet reached (final) rest, you are delivered from the trouble of the mundane whirl, provided you seek the vehicle of the Buddhas.
99. Any Bodhisattvas here present obey my Buddha-rules. Such is the skilfulness of the Gina that he disciplines many Bodhisattvas.
100. When the creatures in this world delight in low and contemptible pleasures, then the Chief of the world, who always speaks the truth, indicates pain as the (first) great truth.
101. And to those who are ignorant and too simple-minded to discover the root of that pain I lay open the way: ‘Awaking of full consciousness, strong desire is the origin of pain.’
102. Always try, unattached, to suppress desire. This is my third truth, that of suppression. It is an infallible means of deliverance; for by practising this method one shall become emancipated.
103. And from what are they emancipated, Sâriputra? They are emancipated from chimeras. Yet they are not wholly freed; the Chief declares that they have not yet reached (final and complete) rest in this world.
104. Why is it that I do not pronounce one to be delivered before one’s having reached the highest, supreme enlightenment? (Because) such is mywill; I am the ruler of the law, who is born in this world to lead to beatitude.
105. This, Sâriputra, is the closing word of my law which now at the last time I pronounce for the weal of the world including the gods. Preach it in all quarters.
106. And if some one speaks to you these words, ‘I joyfully accept,’ and with signs of utmost reverence receives this Sûtra, thou mayst consider that man to be unable to slide back.
107. To believe in this Sûtra one must have seen former Tathâgatas, paid honour to them, and heard a law similar to this.
108. To believe in my supreme word one must have seen me; thou and the assembly of monks have seen all these Bodhisattvas.
109. This Sûtra is apt to puzzle the ignorant, and I do not pronounce it before having penetrated to superior knowledge. Indeed, it is not within the range of the disciples, nor do the Pratyekabuddhas come to it.
110. But thou, Siriputra, hast good will, not to speak of my other disciples here. They will walk in my faith, though each cannot have his individual knowledge.
111. But do not speak of this matter to haughty persons, nor to conceited ones, nor to Yogins who are not self-restrained; for the fools, always revelling in sensual pleasures, might in their blindness scorn the law manifested.
112. Now hear the dire results when one scorns my skilfulness and the Buddha-rules for ever fixed in the world; when one, with sullen brow, scorns the vehicle.
113. Hear the destiny of those who have scorned such a Sûtra like this, whether during my lifetime or after my Nirvâna, or who have wronged the monks.
114. After having disappeared from amongst men, they shall dwell in the lowest hell (Avîki) during a whole kalpa, and thereafter they shall fall lower and lower, the fools, passing through repeated births for many intermediate kalpas.
115. And when they have vanished from amongst the inhabitants of hell, they shall further descend to the condition of brutes, be even as dogs and jackals, and become a sport to others.
116. Under such circumstances they shall grow blackish of colour, spotted, covered with sores, itchy; moreover, they shall be hairless and feeble, (all) those who have an aversion to my supreme enlightenment.
117. They are ever despised amongst animals; hit by clods or weapons they yell; everywhere they are threatened with sticks, and their bodies are emaciated from hunger and thirst.
118. Sometimes they become camels or asses, carrying loads, and are beaten with whips and sticks; they are constantly occupied with thoughts of eating, the fools who have scorned the Buddharule.
119. At other times they become ugly jackals, half blind and crippled; the helpless creatures are vexed by the village boys, who throw clods and weapons at them.
120. Again shooting off from that place, those fools become animals with bodies of five hundred yoganas, whirling round, dull and lazy.
121. They have no feet, and creep on the belly; to be devoured by many kotis of animals is the dreadful punishment they have to suffer for having scorned a Sûtra like this.
122. And whenever they assume a human shape, they are born crippled, maimed, crooked, one-eyed, blind, dull, and low, they having no faith in my Sûtra.
123. Nobody keeps their side; a putrid smell is continually issuing from their mouths; an evil spirit has entered the body of those who do not believe in this supreme enlightenment.
124. Needy, obliged to do menial labour, always in another’s service, feeble, and subject to many diseases they go about in the world, unprotected.
125. The man whom they happen to serve is unwilling to give them much, and what he gives is soon lost. Such is the fruit of sinfulness.
126. Even the best-prepared medicaments, administered to them by able men, do, under those circumstances, but increase their illness, and the disease has no end.
127. Some commit thefts, affrays, assaults, or acts of hostility, whereas others commit robberies of goods; (all this) befalls the sinner.
128. Never does he behold the Lord of the world, the King of kings ruling the earth, for he is doomed to live at a wrong time, he who scorns my Buddha-rule.
129. Nor does that foolish person listen to the law; he is deaf and senseless; he never finds rest, because he has scorned this enlightenment.
130. During many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Æons equal to the sand of the Ganges he shall be dull and defective; that is the evil result from scorning this Sûtra.
131. Hell is his garden (or monastery), a place of misfortune his abode; he is continually living amongst asses, hogs, jackals, and dogs.
132. And when he has assumed a human shape he is to be blind, deaf, and stupid, the servant of another, and always poor.
133. Diseases, myriads of kotis of wounds on the body, scab, itch, scurf, leprosy, blotch, a foul smell are, in that condition, his covering and apparel.
134. His sight is dim to distinguish the real. His anger appears mighty in him, and his passion is most violent; he always delights in animal wombs.
135. Were I to go on, Sâriputra, for a whole Æon, enumerating the evils of him who shall scorn my Sûtra, I should not come to an end.
136. And since I am fully aware of it, I command thee, Sâriputra, that thou shalt not expound a Sûtra like this before foolish people.
137. But those who are sensible, instructed, thoughtful, clever, and learned, who strive after the highest supreme enlightenment, to them expound its real meaning.
138. Those who have seen many kotis of Buddhas, planted immeasurably many roots of goodness, and undertaken a strong vow, to them expound its real meaning.
139. Those who, full of energy and ever kindhearted, have a long time been developing the feeling of kindness, have given up body and life, in their presence thou mayst preach this Sûtra.
140. Those who show mutual love and respect, keep no intercourse with ignorant people, and are content to live in mountain caverns, to them expound this hallowed Sûtra.
141. If thou see sons of Buddha who attach themselves to virtuous friends and avoid bad friends, then reveal to them this Sûtra.
142. Those sons of Buddha who have not broken the moral vows, are pure like gems and jewels, and devoted to the study of the great Sûtras, before those thou mayst propound this Sûtra.
143. Those who are not irascible, ever sincere, full of compassion for all living beings, and respectful towards the Sugata, before those thou mayst propound this Sûtra.
144. To one who in the congregation, without any hesitation and distraction of mind, speaks to expound the law, with many myriads of kotis of illustrations, thou mayst manifest this Sûtra.
145. And he who, desirous of acquiring all-knowingness, respectfully lifts his joined hands to his head, or who seeks in all directions to find some monk of sacred eloquence;
146. And he who keeps (in memory) the great Ritras, while he never shows any liking for other books, nor even knows a single stanza from another work; to all of them thou mayst expound this sublime Sûtra.
147. He who seeks such an excellent Sûtra as this, and after obtaining it devoutly worships it, is like the man who wears a relic of the Tathâgata he has eagerly sought for.
148. Never mind other Satras nor other books in which a profane philosophy is taught; such books are fit for the foolish; avoid them and preach this Sûtra.
149. During a full Æon, Sâriputra, I could speak of thousands of kotis of (connected) points, (but this suffices); thou mayst reveal this Sûtra to all who are striving after the highest supreme enlightenment.
As the venerable Subhûti, the venerable MahâKâtyâyana, the venerable Mahâ-Kâsyapa, and the venerable Mahâ-Maudgalyâyana heard this law unheard of before, and as from the mouth of the Lord they heard the future destiny of Sâriputra to superior perfect enlightenment, they were struck with wonder, amazement, and rapture. They instantly rose from their seats and went up to the place where the Lord was sitting; after throwing their cloak over one shoulder, fixing the right knee on the ground and lifting up their joined hands before the Lord, looking up to him, their bodies bent, bent down and inclined, they addressed the Lord in this strain:
Lord, we are old, aged, advanced in years; honoured as seniors in this assemblage of monks. Worn out by old age we fancy that we have attained Nirvâna; we make no efforts, O Lord, for supreme perfect enlightenment; our force and exertion are inadequate to it. Though the Lord preaches the law and has long continued sitting, and though we have attended to that preaching of the law, yet, O Lord, as we have so long been sitting and so long attended the Lord’s service, our greater and minor members, as well as the joints and articulations, begin to ache. Hence, O Lord, we are unable, in spite of the Lord’s preaching, to realise the fact that all is vanity (or void), purposeless (or causeless, or unconditioned), and unfixed; we have conceived no longing after the Buddha-laws, the divisions of the Buddha-fields, the sports [or display of magical phenomena] of the Bodhisattvas or Tathâgatas. For by having fled out of the triple world, O Lord, we imagined having attained Nirvâna, and we are decrepit from old age. Hence, O Lord, though we have exhorted other Bodhisattvas and instructed them in supreme perfect enlightenment, we have in doing so never conceived a single thought of longing. And just now, O Lord, we are hearing from the Lord that disciples also may be predestined to supreme perfect enlightenment. We are astonished and amazed, and deem it a great gain, O Lord, that to-day, on a sudden, we have heard from the Lord a voice such as we never heard before. We have acquired a magnificent jewel, O Lord, an incomparable jewel. We had not sought, nor searched, nor expected, nor required so magnificent a jewel. It has become clear to us, O Lord; it has become clear to us, O Sugata.
It is a case, O Lord, as if a certain man went away from his father and betook himself to some other place. He lives there in foreign parts for many years, twenty or thirty or forty or fifty. In course of time the one (the father) becomes a great man; the other (the son) is poor; in seeking a livelihood for the sake of food and clothing he roams in all directions and goes to some place, whereas his father removes to another country. The latter has much wealth, gold, corn, treasures, and granaries; possesses much (wrought) gold and silver, many gems, pearls, lapis lazuli, conch shells, and stones(?), corals, gold and silver; many slaves male and female, servants for menial work. and journeymen; is rich in elephants, horses, carriages, cows, and sheep. He keeps a large retinue; has his money invested in great territories, and does great things in business, money-lending, agriculture, and commerce.
In course of time, Lord, that poor man, in quest of food and clothing, roaming through villages, towns, boroughs, provinces, kingdoms, and royal capitals, reaches the place where his father, the owner of much wealth and gold, treasures and granaries, is residing. Now the poor man’s father, Lord, the owner of much wealth and gold, treasures and granaries, who was residing in that town, had always and ever been thinking of the son he had lost fifty years ago, but he gave no utterance to his thoughts before others, and was only pining in himself and thinking: I am old, aged, advanced in years, and possess abundance of bullion, gold, money and corn, treasures and granaries, but have no son. It is to be feared lest death shall overtake me and all this perish unused. Repeatedly he was thinking of that son: O how happy should I be, were my son to enjoy this mass of wealth!
Meanwhile, Lord, the poor man in search of food and clothing was gradually approaching the house of the rich man, the owner of abundant bullion, gold, money and corn, treasures and granaries. And the father of the poor man happened to sit at the door of his house, surrounded and waited upon by a great crowd of Brâhmans, Kshatriyas, Vaisyas, and Sûdras; he was sitting on a magnificent throne with a footstool decorated with gold and silver, while dealing with hundred thousands of kotis of gold-pieces, and fanned with a chowrie, on a spot under an extended awning inlaid with pearls and flowers and adorned with hanging garlands of jewels; sitting (in short) in great pomp. The poor man, Lord, saw his own father in such pomp sitting at the door of the house, surrounded with a great crowd of people and doing a householder’s business. The poor man frightened, terrified, alarmed, seized with a feeling of horripilation all over the body, and agitated in mind, reflects thus: Unexpectedly have I here fallen in with a king or grandee. People like me have nothing to do here; let me go; in the street of the poor I am likely to find food and clothing without much difficulty. Let me no longer tarry at this place, lest I be taken to do forced labour or incur some other injury.
Thereupon, Lord, the poor man quickly departs, runs off, does not tarry from fear of a series of supposed dangers. But the rich man, sitting on the throne at the door of his mansion, has recognised his son at first sight, in consequence whereof he is content, in high spirits, charmed, delighted, filled with joy and cheerfulness. He thinks: Wonderful! he who is to enjoy this plenty of bullion, gold, money and corn, treasures and granaries, has been found! He of whom I have been thinking again and again, is here now that I am old, aged, advanced in years.
At the same time, moment, and instant, Lord, he despatches couriers, to whom he says: Go, sirs, and quickly fetch me that man. The fellows thereon all run forth in full speed and overtake the poor man, who, frightened, terrified, alarmed, seized with a feeling of horripilation all over his body, agitated in mind, utters a lamentable cry of distress, screams, and exclaims: I have given you no offence. But the fellows drag the poor man, however lamenting, violently with them. He, frightened, terrified, alarmed, seized with a feeling of horripilation all over his body, and agitated in mind, thinks by himself: I fear lest I shall be punished with capital punishment; I am lost. He faints away, and falls on the earth. His father dismayed and near despondency says to those fellows: Do not carry the man in that manner. With these words he sprinkles him with cold water without addressing him any further. For that householder knows the poor man’s humble disposition I and his own elevated position; yet he feels that the man is his son.
The householder, Lord, skilfully conceals from every one that it is his son. He calls one of his servants and says to him: Go, sirrah, and tell that poor man: Go, sirrah, whither thou likest; thou art free. The servant obeys, approaches the poor man and tells him: Go, sirrah, whither thou likest; thou art free, The poor man is astonished and amazed at hearing these words; he leaves that spot and wanders to the street of the poor in search of food and clothing. In order to attract him the householder practises an able device. He employs for it two men ill-favoured and of little splendour. Go, says he, go to the man you saw in this place; hire him in your own name for a double daily fee, and order him to do work here in my house. And if he asks: What – work shall I have to do? tell him: Help us in clearing the heap of dirt. The two fellows go and seek the poor man and engage him for such work as mentioned. Thereupon the two fellows conjointly with the poor man clear the heap of dirt in the house for the daily pay they receive from the rich man, while they take up their abode in a hovel of straw in the neighbourhood of the rich man’s dwelling. And that rich man beholds through a window his own son clearing the heap of dirt, at which sight he is anew struck with wonder and astonishment.
Then the householder descends from his mansion, lays off his wreath and ornaments, parts with his soft, clean, and gorgeous attire, puts on dirty raiment, takes a basket in his right hand, smears his body with dust, and goes to his son, whom he greets from afar, and thus addresses: Please, take the baskets and without delay remove the dust. By this device he manages to speak to his son, to have a talk with him and say: Do, sirrah, remain here in my service; do not go again to another place; I will give thee extra pay, and whatever thou wantest thou mayst confidently ask me, be it the price of a pot, a smaller pot, a boiler or wood, or be it the price of salt, food, or clothing. I have got an old cloak, man; if thou shouldst want it, ask me for it, I will give it. Any utensil of such sort, when thou wantest to have it, I will give thee. Be at ease, fellow; look upon me as if I were thy father, for I am older and thou art younger, and thou hast rendered me much service by clearing this heap of dirt, and as long as thou hast been in my service thou hast never shown nor art showing wickedness, crookedness, arrogance, or hypocrisy; I have discovered in thee no vice at all of such as are commonly seen in other man-servants. From henceforward thou art to me like my own son.
From that time, Lord, the householder, addresses the poor man by the name of son, and the latter feels in presence of the householder as a son to his father. In this manner, Lord, the householder affected with longing for his son employs him for the clearing of the heap of dirt during twenty years, at the end of which the poor man feels quite at ease in the mansion to go in and out, though he continues taking his abode in the hovel of straw.
After a while, Lord, the householder falls sick, and feels that the time of his death is near at hand. He says to the poor man: Come hither, man, I possess abundant bullion, gold, money and corn, treasures and granaries. I am very sick, and wish to have one upon whom to bestow (my wealth); by whom it is to be received, and with whom it is to be deposited. Accept it. For in the same manner as I am the owner of it, so art thou, but thou shalt not suffer anything of it to be wasted.
And so, Lord, the poor man accepts the abundant bullion, gold, money and corn, treasures and granaries of the rich man, but for himself he is quite indifferent to it, and requires nothing from it, not even so much as the price of a prastha of flour; he continues living in the same hovel of straw and considers himself as poor as before.
After a while, Lord, the householder perceives that his son is able to save, mature and mentally developed; that in the consciousness of his nobility he feels abashed, ashamed, disousted, when thinking of his former poverty. The time of his death approaching, he sends for the poor man, presents him to a gathering of his relations, and before the king or king’s peer and in the presence of citizens and country-people makes the following speech: Hear, gentlemen! this is my own son, by me begotten. It is now fifty years that he disappeared from such and such a town. He is called so and so, and myself am called so and so. In searching after him I have from that town come hither. He is my son, I am his father. To him I leave all my revenues, and all my personal (or private) wealth shall he acknowledge (his own).
The poor man, Lord, hearing this speech was astonished and amazed; he thought by himself: Unexpectedly have I obtained this bullion, gold, money and corn, treasures and granaries.
Even so, O Lord, do we represent the sons of the Tathâgata, and the Tathâgata says to us: Ye are my sons, as the householder did. We were oppressed, O Lord, with three difficulties, viz. the difficulty of pain, the difficulty of conceptions, the difficulty of transition (or evolution); and in the worldly whirl we were disposed to what is low. Then have we been prompted by the Lord to ponder on the numerous inferior laws (or conditions, things) that are similar to a heap of dirt. Once directed to them we have been practising, making efforts, and seeking for nothing but Nirvâna as our fee. We were content, O Lord, with the Nirvâna obtained, and thought to have gained much at the hands of the Tathâgata because of our having applied ourselves to these laws, practised, and made efforts. But the Lord takes no notice of us, does not mix with us, nor tell us that this treasure of the Tathâgata’s knowledge shall belong to us, though the Lord skilfully appoints us as heirs to this treasure of the knowledge of the Tathâgata. And we, O Lord, are not (impatiently) longing to enjoy it, because we deem it a great gain already to receive from the Lord Nirvâna as our fee. We preach to the Bodhisattvas Mahâsattvas a sublime sermon about the knowledge of the Tathâgata; we explain, show, demonstrate the knowledge of the Tathâgata, O Lord, without longing. For the Tathâgata by his skilfulness knows our disposition, whereas we ourselves do not know, nor apprehend. It is for this very reason that the Lord just now tells us that we are to him as sons, and that he reminds us of being heirs to the Tathâgata. For the case stands thus: we are as sons to the Tathâgata, but low (or humble) of disposition; the Lord perceives the strength of our disposition and applies to us the denomination of Bodhisattvas; we are, however, charged with a double office in so far as in presence of Bodhisattvas we are called persons of low disposition and at the same time have to rouse them to Buddha-enlightenment. Knowing the strength of our disposition the Lord has thus spoken, and in this way, O Lord, do we say that we have obtained unexpectedly and without longing the jewel of omniscience, which we did not desire, nor seek, nor search after, nor expect, nor require; and that inasmuch as we are the sons of the Tathâgata.
On that occasion the venerable Mahâ-Kâsyapa uttered the following stanzas:
1. We are stricken with wonder, amazement, and rapture at hearing a Voice; it is the lovely voice, the leader’s voice, that so unexpectedly we hear to-day.
2. In a short moment we have acquired a great heap of precious jewels such as we were not thinking of, nor requiring. All of us are astonished to hear it.
3. It is like (the history of) a young, person who, seduced by foolish people, went away from his father and wandered to another country far distant.
4. The father was sorry to perceive that his son had run away and in his sorrow roamed the country in all directions during no less than fifty years.
5. In search of his son he came to some great city, where he built a house and dwelt, blessed with all that can gratify the five senses.
6. He had plenty of bullion and gold, money and corn, conch shells, stones (?), and coral; elephants, horses, and footboys; cows, cattle, and sheep;
7. Interests, revenues, landed properties; male and female slaves and a great number of servants; was highly honoured by thousands of kolis and a constant favourite of the king’s.
8. The citizens bow to him with joined hands, as well as the villagers in the rural districts; many merchants come to him, (and) persons charged with numerous affairs.
9. In such way the man becomes wealthy, but he gets old, aged, advanced in years, and he passes days and nights always sorrowful in mind on account of his son.
10. ‘It is fifty years since that foolish son has run away. I have got plenty of wealth and the hour of my death draws near.’
11. Meanwhile that foolish son is wandering from village to villave, poor and miserable, seeking food and clothing.
12. When begging, he at one time gets something, another time he does not. He grows lean in his travels, the unwise boy, while his body is vitiated with scabs and itch.
13. In course of time he in his rovings reaches the town where his father is living, and comes to his father’s mansion to beg for food and raiment.
- And the wealthy, rich man happens to sit at the door on a throne under a canopy expanded in the sky and surrounded with many hundreds of living beings.
15. His trustees stand round him, some of them counting money and bullion, some writing bills, some lending money on interest.
16. The poor man, seeing the splendid mansion of the householder, thinks within himself: Where am I here? This man must be a king or a grandee.
17. Let me not incur some injury and be caught to do forced labour. With these reflections he hurried away inquiring after the road to the street of the poor.
18. The rich man on the throne is glad to see his own son, and despatches messengers with the order to fetch that poor man.
19. The messengers immediately seize the man, but he is no sooner caught than he faints away (as he thinks): These are certainly executioners who have approached me; what do I want clothing or food?
20. On seeing it, the rich, sagacious man (thinks): This ignorant and stupid person is of low disposition and will have no faith in my magnificence’, nor believe that I am his father.
21. Under those circumstances he orders persons of low character, crooked, one-eyed, maimed, ill-clad, and blackish 1, to go and search that man who shall do menial work.
22. ‘Enter my service and cleanse the putrid heap of dirt, replete with faeces and urine; I will give thee a double salary’ (are the words of the message).
23. On hearing this call the poor man comes and cleanses the said spot; be takes up his abode there in a hovel near the mansion.
24. The rich man continually observes him through the windows (and thinks): There is my son engaged in a low occupation, cleansing the heap of dirt.
25. Then he descends, takes a basket, puts on dirty garments, and goes near the man. He chides him, saying: Thou dost not perform thy work.
26. 1 will give thee double salary and twice more ointment for the feet; I will give thee food with salt, potherbs, and, besides, a cloak.
27. So he chides him at the time, but afterwards he wisely conciliates him (by saying): Thou dost thy work very well, indeed; thou art my son, surely; there is no doubt of it.
28. Little by little he makes the man enter the house, and employs him in his service for fully twenty years, in the course of which time he succeeds in inspiring him with confidence.
29. At the same time he lays up in the house gold, pearls, and crystal, draws up the sum total, and is always occupied in his mind with all that property.
30. The ignorant man, who is living outside the mansion, alone in a hovel, cherishes no other ideas but of poverty, and thinks to himself: Mine are no such possessions!
31. The rich man perceiving this of him (thinks): My son has arrived at the consciousness of being noble. He calls together a gathering of his friends and relatives (and says): I will give all my property to this man.
32. In the midst of the assembly where the king, burghers, citizens, and many merchantmen were present, he speaks thus: This is my son whom I lost a long time ago.
33. It is now fully fifty years-and twenty years more during which I have seen him-that he disappeared from such and such a place and that in his search I came to this place.
34. He is owner of all my property; to him I leave it all and entirely; let him do with it what he wants; I give him my whole family property.
35. And the (poor) man is struck with surprise; remembering his former poverty, his low disposition 1, and as he receives those good things of his father’s and the family property, he thinks: Now am I a happy man.
36. In like manner has the leader, who knows our low disposition (or position), not declared to us: ‘Ye shall become Buddhas,’ but, ‘Ye are, certainly, my disciples and sons.’
37. And the Lord of the world enjoins us: Teach, Kâsyapa, the superior path to those that strive to attain the highest summit of enlightenment, the path by following which they are to become Buddhas.
38. Being thus ordered by the Sugata, we show the path to many Bodhisattvas of great might, by means of myriads of kolis of illustrations and proofs.
39. And by hearing us the sons of Gina realise that eminent path to attain enlightenment, and in that case receive the prediction that they are to become Buddhas in this world.
40. Such is the work we are doing strenuously, preserving this law-treasure and revealing it to the sons of Gina, in the manner of that man who had deserved the confidence of that (other man).
41. Yet, though we diffuse the Buddha-treasure we feel ourselves to be poor; we do not require the knowledge of the Gina, and yet, at the same time, we reveal it.
42. We fancy an individual [i.e. separate] Nirvâna; so far, no further does our knowledge reach; nor do we ever rejoice at hearing of the divisions of Buddha-fields.
43. All these laws are faultless, unshaken, exempt from destruction and commencement; but there is no law-‘ in them. When we hear this, however, we cannot believe.
44. We have put aside all aspiration to superior Buddha-knowledge a long time ago; never have we devoted ourselves to it. This is the last and decisive word spoken by the Gina.
45. In this bodily existence, closing with Nirvâna, we have continually accustomed our thoughts to the void; we have been released from the evils of the triple world we were suffering from, and have accomplished the command of the Gina.
46. To whom(soever) among the sons of Gina who in this world are on the road to superior enlightenment we revealed (the law), and whatever law we taught, we never had any predilection for it.
47. And the Master of the world, the Self-born one, takes no notice of us, waiting his time; he does not explain the real connection of the things, as he is testing our disposition.
48. Able in applying devices at the right time, like that rich man (he says): ‘Be constant in subduing your low disposition,’ and to those who are subdued he gives his wealth.
49. It is a very difficult task which the Lord of the world is performing, (a task) in which he displays his skilfulness, when he tames his sons of low disposition and thereupon imparts to them his knowledge.
50. On a sudden have we to-day been seized with surprise, just as the poor man who acquired riches; now for the first time have we obtained the fruit under the rule of Buddha, (a fruit) as excellent as faultless.
51. As we have always observed the moral precepts under the rule of the Knower of the world, we now receive the fruit of that morality which we have formerly practised.
52. Now have we obtained the egregious, hallowed, exalted, and perfect fruit of our having observed an excellent and pure spiritual life under the rule of the Leader.
53. Now, O Lord, are we disciples, and we shall proclaim supreme enlightenment everywhere, reveal the word of enlightenment, by which we are formidable disciples.
54. Now have we become Arhats, O Lord; and deserving of the worship of the world, including the gods, Mâras and Brahmas, in short, of all beings.
55. Who is there, even were he to exert himself during kotis of Æons, able to thwart thee, who accomplishes in this world of mortals such difficult things as those, and others even more difficult I?
56. It would be difficult to offer resistance with hands, feet, head, shoulder, or breast, (even were one to try) during as many complete Æons as there are grains of sand in the Ganges.
57. One may charitably give food, soft and solid, clothing, drink, a place for sleeping and sitting, with clean coverlets; one may build monasteries of sandal-wood, and after furnishing them with double pieces of fine white muslin, present them;
58. One may be assiduous in giving medicines of various kinds to the sick, in honour of the Sugata; one may spend alms during as many Æons as there are grains of sand in the Ganges-even then one will not be able to offer resistance.
59. Of sublime nature, unequalled power, miraculous might, firm in the strength of patience is the Buddha; a great ruler is the Gina, free from imperfections. The ignorant cannot bear (or understand) such things as these.
60. Always returning, he preaches the law to those whose course (of life) is conditioned, he, the Lord of the law, the Lord of all the world, the great Lord, the Chief among the leaders of the world.
61. Fully aware of the circumstances (or places) of (all) beings he indicates their duties, so multifarious, and considering the variety of their dispositions he inculcates the law with thousands of arguments.
62. He, the Tathâgata, who is fully aware of the course of all beings and individuals, preaches a multifarious law, while pointing to this superior enlightenment.
Thereupon the Lord addressed the venerable Mahâ-Kâsyapa and the other senior great disciples, and said: Very well, very well, Kâsyapa; you have done very well to proclaim the real qualities of the Tathâgata. They are the real qualities of the Tathâgata, Kâsyapa, but he has many more, innumerable, incalculable, the end of which it would be difficult to reach, even were one to continue enumerating them for immeasurable Æons. The Tathâgata, Kâsyapa, is the master of the law, the king, lord, and master of all laws. And whatever law for any case has been instituted by the Tathâgata, remains unchanged. All laws, Kâsyapa, have been aptly instituted by the Tathâgata. In his Tathâgata-wisdom he has instituted them in such a manner that all those laws finally lead to the stage of those who know all. The Tathâgata also distinctly knows the meaning of all laws. The Tathâgata, the Arhat, &c. is possessed of the faculty of penetrating all laws, possessed of the highest perfection of knowledge, so that he is able to decide all laws, able to display the knowledge of the allknowing, impart the knowledge of the all-knowing, and lay down (the rules of) the knowledge of the all-knowing.
It is a case, Kâsyapa, similar to that of a great cloud big with rain, coming up in this wide universe over all grasses, shrubs, herbs, trees of various species and kind, families of plants of different names growing on earth, on hills, or in mountain caves, a cloud covering the wide universe to pour down its rain everywhere and at the same time. Then, Kâsyapa, the grasses, shrubs, herbs, and wild trees in this universe, such as have young and tender stalks, twigs, leaves, and foliage, and such as have middle-sized stalks, twigs, leaves, and foliage, and such as have the same fully developed, all those grasses, shrubs, herbs, and wild trees, smaller and greater (other) trees will each, according to its faculty and power, suck the humid element from the water emitted by that great cloud, and by that water which, all of one essence, has been abundantly poured down by the cloud, they will each, according to its germ, acquire a regular development, growth, shooting up, and bigness; and so they will produce blossoms and fruits, and will receive, each severally, their names. Rooted in one and the same soil, all those families of plants and germs are drenched and vivified by water of one essence throughout.
In the same manner, Kâsyapa, does the Tathâgata, the Arhat, &c. appear in the world. Like unto a great cloud coming up, the Tathâgata appears and sends forth his call to the whole world, including gods, men, and demons’. And even as a great cloud, Kâsyapa, extending over the whole universe, in like manner, Kâsyapa, the Tathâgata, the Arhat, &c., before the face of the world, including gods, men, and demons, lifts his voice and utters these words: I am the Tathâgata, O ye gods and men! the Arhat, the perfectly enlightened one; having reached the shore myself, I carry others to the shore; being free, I make free; being comforted, I comfort; being perfectly at rest, I lead others to rest. By my perfect wisdom I know both this world and the next, such as they really are. I am all-knowing, all-seeing. Come to me, ye gods and men! hear the law. I am he who indicates the path; who shows the path, as knowing the path, being acquainted with the path. Then, Kâsyapa, many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of beings come to hear the law of the Tathâgata; and the Tathâgata, who knows the difference as to the faculties and the energy of those beings, produces various Dharmaparyâyas, tells many tales, amusing, agreeable, both instructive and pleasant, tales by means of which all beings not only become pleased with the law in this present life, but also after death will reach happy states, where they are to enjoy many pleasures and hear the law. By listening to the law they will be freed from hindrances and in due course apply themselves to the law of the all-knowing, according to their faculty, power, and strength.
Even as the great cloud, Kâsyapa, after expanding over the whole universe, pours out the same water and recreates by it all grasses, shrubs, herbs, and trees; even as all these grasses, shrubs, herbs, and trees, according to their faculty, power, and strength, suck in the water and thereby attain the full development assigned to their kind; in like manner, Kâsyapa, is the law preached by the Tathâgata, the Arhat, &c., of one and the same essence, that is to say, the essence of it is deliverance, the final aim being absence of passion, annihilation, knowledge of the all-knowing. As to that, Kâsyapa, (it must be understood) that the beings who hear the law when it is preached by the Tathâgata, who keep it in their memory and apply themselves to it, do not know, nor perceive, nor understand their own self. For, Kâsyapa, the Tathâgata only really knows who, how, and of what kind those beings are; what, how, and whereby they are meditating; what, how, and whereby they are contemplating; what, why, and whereby they are attaining. No one but the Tathâgata, Kâsyapa, is there present, seeing all intuitively, and seeing the state of those beings in different stages, as of the lowest, highest, and mean grasses, shrubs, herbs, and trees. I am he, Kâsyapa, who, knowing the law which is of but one essence, viz. the essence of deliverance, (the law) ever peaceful, ending in Nirvâna, (the law) of eternal rest, having but one stage and placed in voidness, (who knowing this) do not on a sudden reveal to all the knowledge of the all-knowing, since I pay regard to the dispositions of all beings.
You are astonished, Kâsyapa, that you cannot fathom the mystery expounded by the Tathâgata. It is, Kâsyapa, because the mystery expounded by the Tathâgatas, the Arhats, &c. is difficult to be understood.
And on that occasion, the more fully to explain the same subject, the Lord uttered the following stanzas:
1. I am the Dharmarâga, born in the world as the destroyer of existence. I declare the law to all beings after discriminating their dispositions.
2. Superior men of wise understanding guard the word, guard the mystery, and do not reveal it to living beings.
3. That science is difficult to be understood; the simple, if hearing it on a sudden, would be perplexed; they would in their ignorance fall out of the way and go astray.
4. I speak according to their reach and faculty; by means of various meanings I accommodate my view (or the theory).
5. It is, Kâsyapa, as if a cloud rising above the horizon shrouds all space (in darkness) and covers the earth.
6. That great rain-cloud big with water, is wreathed with flashes of lightning and rouses with its thundering call all creatures.
7. By warding off the sunbeams, it cools the region; and gradually lowering so as to come in reach of hands, it begins pouring down its water all around.
8. And so, flashing on every side, it pours out an abundant mass of water equally, and refreshes this earth.
9. And all herbs which have sprung up on the face of the earth, all grasses, shrubs, forest trees, other trees small and great;
10. The various field fruits and whatever is green; all plants on hills, in caves and thickets;
11. All those grasses, shrubs, and trees are vivified by the cloud that both refreshes the thirsty earth and waters the herbs.
12. Grasses and shrubs absorb the water of one essence which issues from the cloud according to their faculty and reach.
13. And all trees, great, small, and mean, drink that water according to their growth and faculty, and grow lustily.
14. The great plants whose trunk, stalk, bark, twigs, pith, and leaves are moistened by the water from the cloud develop their blossoms and fruits.
15. They yield their products, each according to its own faculty, reach, and the particular nature of the germ; still the water emitted (from the cloud) is of but one essence.
16. In the same way, Kâsyapa, the Buddha comes into the world like a rain-cloud, and, once born, he, the world’s Lord, speaks and shows the real course of life.
17. And the great Seer, honoured in the world, including the gods, speaks thus: I am the Tathâgata, the highest of men, the Gina; I have appeared in this world like a cloud.
18. I shall refresh all beings whose bodies are withered, who are clogged to the triple world. I shall bring to felicity those that are pining away with toils, give them pleasures and (final) rest.
19. Hearken to me, ye hosts of gods and men; approach to behold me: I am the Tathâgata, the Lord, who has no superior, who appears in this world to save.
20. To thousands of kotis of living beings I preach a pure and most bright law that has but one scope, to wit, deliverance and rest.
21. I preach with ever the same voice, constantly taking enlightenment as my text. For this is equal for all; no partiality is in it, neither hatred nor affection.
22. I am inexorable, bear no love nor hatred towards any one, and proclaim the law to all creatures without distinction, to the one as well as the other.
23. Whether walking, standing, or sitting, I am exclusively occupied with this task of proclaiming the law. I never get tired of sitting on the chair I have ascended.
24. I recreate the whole world like a cloud shedding its water without distinction; I have the same feelings for respectable people as for the low; for moral persons as for the immoral;
25. For the depraved as for those who observe the rules of good conduct; for those who hold sectarian views and unsound tenets as for those whose views are sound and correct.
26. I preach the law to the inferior (in mental culture) as well as to persons of superior understanding and extraordinary faculties; inaccessible to weariness, I spread in season the rain of the law.
27. After hearing me, each according to his faculty, the several beings find their determined place in various situations, amongst gods, men, beautiful beings, amongst Indras, Brahmas, or the monarchs, rulers of the universe.
28. Hear, now, I am going to explain what is meant by those plants of different size, some of them being low in the world, others middle-sized and great.
29. Small plants are called the men who walk in the knowledge of the law, which is free from evil after the attaining of Nirvâna, who possess the six transcendent faculties and the triple science.
30. Mean plants are called the men who, dwelling in mountain caverns, covet the state of a Pratyekabuddha, and whose intelligence is moderately purified.
31. Those who aspire to become leading men (thinking), I will become a Buddha, a chief of gods and men, and who practise exertion and meditation, are called the highest plants.
- But the sons of Sugata, who sedulously practise benevolence and a peaceful conduct, who have arrived at certainty about their being leading men, these are called trees.
33. Those who move forward the wheel that never rolls back, and with manly strength stand firm in the exercise of miraculous power, releasing many kolis of beings, those are called great trees.
34. Yet it is one and the same law which is preached by the Gina, like the water emitted by the cloud is one and the same; different only are the faculties as described, just as the plants on the face of the earth.
35. By this parable thou mayst understand the skilfulness of the Tathâgata, how he preaches one law, the various developments whereof may be likened to drops of rain.
36. I also pour out rain: the rain of the law by which this whole world is refreshed; and each according to his faculty takes to heart this wellspoken law that is one in its essence.
37. Even as all grasses and shrubs, as well as plants of middle size, trees and great trees at the time of rain look bright in all quarters;
38. So it is the very nature of the law to promote the everlasting weal of the world; by the law the whole world is recreated, and as the plants (when refreshed) expand their blossoms, the world does the same when refreshed.
39. The plants that in their growth remain middle-sized, are Arhats (saints) stopping when they have overcome frailties, (and) the Pratyekabuddhas who, living in woody thickets, accomplish this well-spoken law.
40. (But) the many Bodhisattvas who, thoughtful and wise, go their way all over the triple world, striving after supreme enlightenment, they continue increasing in growth like trees.
41. Those who, endowed with magical powers and being adepts in the four degrees of meditation, feel delight at hearing of complete voidness and emit thousands of rays, they are called the great trees on earth.
42. So then, Kâsyapa, is the preaching of the law, like the water poured out by the cloud everywhere alike; by which plants and men(?) thrive, endless (and eternal) blossoms (are produced).
43. I reveal the law which has its cause in itself; at due time I show Buddha-enlightenment; this is my supreme skilfulness and that of all leaders of the world.
44. What I here say is true in the highest sense of the word; all my disciples attain Nirvâna; by following the sublime path of enlightenment all my disciples shall become Buddhas.
And further, Kâsyapa, the Tathâgata, in his educating creatures, is equal (i.e. impartial) and not unequal (i. e. partial). As the light of the sun and moon, Kâsyapa, shines upon all the world, upon the virtuous and the wicked, upon high and low, upon the fragrant and the ill-smelling; as their beams are sent down upon everything equally, without inequality (partiality); so, too, Kâsyapa, the intellectual light of the knowledge of the omniscient, the Tathâgatas, the Arhats, &c., the preaching of the true law proceeds equally in respect to all beings in the five states of existence, to all who according to their particular disposition are devoted to the great vehicle, or to the vehicle of the Pratyekabuddhas, or to the vehicle of the disciples. Nor is there any deficiency or excess in the brightness of the Tathâgataknowledge up to one’s becoming fully acquainted with the law. There are not three vehicles, Kâsyapa; there are but beings who act differently; therefore it is declared that there are three vehicles.
When the Lord had thus spoken, the venerable Mahâ-Kâsyapa said to him: Lord, if there are not three vehicles, for what reason then is the designation of disciples (Srâvakas), Buddhas, and Bodhisattvas kept up in the present times?
On this speech the Lord answered the venerable Mahâ-Kâsyapa as follows: It is, Kâsyapa, as if a potter made different vessels out of the same clay. Some of those pots are to contain sugar, others ghee, others curds and milk; others, of inferior quality, are vessels of impurity. There is no diversity in the clay used; no, the diversity of the pots is only due to the substances which are put into each of them. In like manner, Kâsyapa, is there but one vehicle, viz. the Buddha-vehicle; there is no second vehicle, no third.
The Lord having thus spoken, the venerable Mahâ-Kâsyapa said: Lord, if the beings are of different disposition, will there be for those who have left the triple world one Nirvâna, or two, or three? The Lord replied: Nirvâna, Kâsyapa, is a consequence of understanding that all laws (things) are equal. Hence there is but one Nirvâna, not two, not three. Therefore, Kâsyapa, I will tell thee a parable, for men of good understanding will generally readily enough catch the meaning of what is taught under the shape of a parable.
It is a case, Kâsyapa, similar to that of a certain blind-born man, who says: There are no handsome or ugly shapes; there are no men able to see handsome or ugly shapes; there exists no sun nor moon; there are no asterisms nor planets; there are no men able to see planets. But other persons say to the blind-born: There are handsome and ugly shapes; there are men able to see handsome and ugly shapes; there is a sun and moon; there are asterisms and planets; there are men able to see planets. But the blind-born does not believe them, nor accept what they say. Now there is a physician who knows all diseases. He sees that blind-born man and makes to himself this reflection: The disease of this man originates in his sinful actions in former times. All diseases possible to arise are fourfold: rheumatical, cholerical, phlegmatical, and caused by a complication of the (corrupted) humours. The physician, after thinking again and again on a means to cure the disease, makes to himself this reflection: Surely, with the drugs in common use it is impossible to cure this disease, but there are in the Himalaya, the king of mountains, four herbs, to wit: first, one called Possessed-of-all-sorts-of-colours-and-flavours; second, Delivering-from-all-diseases; third, Delivering-from-all-poisons; fourth, Procuring-happiness-to-those-standing-in-the-right-place. As the physician feels compassion for the blind-born man he contrives some device to get to the Himalaya, the king of mountains. There he goes up and down and across to search. In doing so he finds the four herbs. One he gives after chewing it with the teeth; another after pounding; another after having it mixed with another drug and boiled; another after having it mixed with a raw drug; another after piercing with a lancet somewhere a vein; another after singeing it in fire; another after combining it with various other substances so as to enter in a compound potion, food, &c. Owing to these means being applied the blindborn recovers his eyesight, and in consequence of that recovery he sees outwardly and inwardly, far and near, the shine of sun and moon, the asterisms, planets, and all phenomena. Then he says: O how foolish was I that I did not believe what they told me, nor accepted what they affirmed. Now I see all; I am delivered from my blindness and have recovered my eyesight; there is none in the world who could surpass me. And at the same moment Seers of the five transcendent faculties [the five senses], strong in the divine sight and hearing, in the knowledge of others’ minds, in the memory of former abodes, in magical science and intuition, speak to the man thus: Good man, thou hast just recovered thine eyesight, nothing more, and dost not know yet anything. Whence comes this conceitedness to thee? Thou hast no wisdom, nor art thou a clever man. Further they say to him: Good man, when sitting in the interior of thy room, thou canst not see nor distinguish forms outside, nor discern which beings are animated with kind feelings and which with hostile feelings; thou canst not distinguish nor hear at the distance of five yoganas the voice of a man or the sound of a drum, conch trumpet, and the like; thou canst not even walk as far as a kos without lifting up thy feet; thou hast been produced and developed in thy mother’s womb without remembering the fact; how then wouldst thou be clever, and how canst thou say: I see all? Good man, thou takest darkness for light, and takest light for darkness.
Whereupon the Seers are asked by the man: By what means and by what good work shall I acquire such wisdom and with your favour acquire those good qualities (or virtues)? And the Seers say to that man: If that be thy wish, go and live in the wilderness or take thine abode in mountain caves, to meditate on the law and cast off evil passions. So shalt thou become endowed with the virtues of an ascetic and acquire the transcendent faculties. The man catches their meaning and becomes an ascetic. Living in the wilderness, the mind intent upon one sole object, he shakes off worldly desires, and acquires the five transcendent faculties. After that acquisition he reflects thus: Formerly I did not do the right thing; hence no good accrued to me. Now, however, I can go whither my mind prompts me; formerly I was ignorant, of little understanding, in fact, a blind man.
Such, Kâsyapa, is the parable I have invented to make thee understand my meaning. The moral to be drawn from it is as follows. The word ‘blindborn,’ Kâsyapa, is a designation for the creatures staying in the whirl of the world with its six states; the creatures who do not know the true law and are heaping up the thick darkness of evil passions. Those are blind from ignorance, and in consequence of it they build up conceptions; in consequence of the latter name-and-form, and so forth, up to the genesis of this whole huge mass of evils.
So the creatures blind from ignorance remain in the whirl of life, but the Tathâgata, who is out of the triple world, feels compassion, prompted by which, like a father for his dear and only son, he appears in the triple world and sees with his eye of wisdom that the creatures are revolving in the circle of the mundane whirl, and are toiling without finding the right means to escape from the rotation. And on seeing this he comes to the conclusion: Yon beings, according to the good works they have done in former states, have feeble aversions and strong attachments; (or) feeble attachments and strong aversions; some have little wisdom, others are clever; some have soundly developed views, others have unsound views. To all of them the Tathâgata skilfully shows three vehicles.
The Seers in the parable, those possessing the five transcendent faculties and clear-sight, are the Bodhisattvas who produce enlightened thought, and by the acquirement of acquiescence in the eternal law awake us to supreme, perfect enlightenment.
The great physician in the parable is the Tathâgata. To the blind-born may be likened the creatures blind with infatuation. Attachment, aversion, and infatuation are likened to rheum, bile, and phlegm. The sixty-two false theories also must be looked upon as such (i. e. as doshas, ‘humours and corrupted humours of the body,’ ‘faults and corruptions’). The four herbs are like vanity (or voidness), causelessness (or purposelessness), unfixedness, and reaching Nirvâna. Just as by using different drugs different diseases are healed, so by developing the idea of vanity (or voidness), purposelessness, unfixedness, (which are) the principles of emancipation, is ignorance suppressed; the suppression of ignorance is succeeded by the suppression of conceptions (or fancies); and so forth, up to the suppression of the whole huge mass of evils. And thus one’s mind will dwell no more on good nor on evil.
To the man who recovers his eyesight is likened the votary of the vehicle of the disciples and of Pratyekabuddhas. He rends the ties of evil passion in the whirl of the world; freed from those ties he is released from the triple world with its six states of existence. Therefore the votary of the vehicle of the disciples may think and speak thus: There are no more laws to be penetrated; I have reached Nirvâna. Then the Tathâgata preaches to him: How can he who has not penetrated all laws have reached Nirvâna? The Lord rouses him to enlightenment, and the disciple, when the consciousness of enlightenment has been awakened in him, no longer stays in the mundane whirl, but at the same time has not yet reached Nirvâna. As he has arrived at true insight, he looks upon this triple world in every direction as void, resembling the produce of magic, similar to a dream, a mirage, an echo. He sees that all laws (and phenomena) are unborn and undestroyed, not bound and not loose, not dark and not bright. He who views the profound laws in such a light, sees, as if he were not seeing, the whole triple world full of beings of contrary and omnifarious fancies and dispositions.
And on that occasion, in order to more amply explain the same subject, the Lord uttered the following stanzas:
45. As the rays of the sun and moon descend alike on all men, good and bad, without deficiency (in one case) or surplus (in the other);
46. So the wisdom of the Tathâgata shines like the sun and moon, leading all beings without partiality.
47. As the potter, making clay vessels, produces from the same clay pots for sugar, milk, ghee, or water;
48. Some for impurities, others for curdled milk, the clay used by the artificer for the vessels being of but one sort;
49. As a vessel is made to receive all its distinguishing qualities according to the quality of the substance laid into it, so the Tathâgatas, on account of the diversity of taste,
50. Mention a diversity of vehicles, though the Buddha-vehicle be the only indisputable one. He who ignores the rotation of mundane existence, has no perception of blessed rest;
51. But he who understands that all laws are void and without reality (and without individual character) penetrates the enlightenment of the perfectly enlightened Lords in its very essence.
52. One who occupies a middle position of wisdom is called a Pratyekagina (i. e. Pratyekabuddha); one lacking the insight of voidness is termed a disciple.
53. But after understanding all laws one is called a perfectly-enlightened one; such a one is assiduous in preaching the law to living beings by means of hundreds of devices.
54. It is as if some blind-born man, because he sees no sun, moon, planets, and stars, in his blind ignorance (should say): There are no visible things at all.
55. But a great physician taking compassion on the blind man, goes to the Himalaya, where (seeking) across, up and down,
56. He fetches from the mountain four plants; the herb Of-all-colours-flavours-and-cases, and others. These he intends to apply.
57. He applies them in this manner: one he gives to the blind man after chewing it, another after pounding, again another by introducing it with the point of a needle into the man’s body.
58. The man having got his eyesight, sees the sun, moon, planets, and stars, and arrives at the conclusion that it was from sheer ignorance that he spoke thus as he had formerly done.
59. In the same way do people of great ignorance, blind from their birth, move in the turmoil of the world, because they do not know the wheel of causes and effects, the path of toils.
60. In the world so blinded by ignorance appears the highest of those who know all, the Tathâgata, the great physician, of compassionate nature.
61. As an able teacher he shows the true law; he reveals supreme Buddha-enlightenment to him who is most advanced.
62. To those of middling wisdom the Leader preaches a middling enlightenment; again another enlightenment he recommends to him who is afraid of the mundane whirl.
63. The disciple who by his discrimination has escaped from the triple world thinks he has reached pure, blest Nirvâna, but it is only by knowing all laws (and the universal laws) that the immortal Nirvâna is reached.
64. In that case it is as if the great Seers, moved by compassion, said to him: Thou art mistaken; do not be proud of thy knowledge.
65. When thou art in the interior of thy room, thou canst not perceive what is going on without, fool as thou art.
66. Thou who, when staying within, dost not perceive even now what people outside are doing or not doing, how wouldst thou be wise, fool as thou art?
67. Thou art not able to hear a sound at a distance of but five yoganas, far less at a greater distance.
68. Thou canst not discern who are malevolent or benevolent towards thee. Whence then comes that pride to thee?
69. If thou hast to walk so far as a kos, thou canst not go without a beaten track; and what happened to thee when in thy mother’s womb thou hast immediately forgotten.
70. In this world he is called all-knowing who possesses the five transcendent faculties, but when thou who knowest nothing pretendest to be allknowing, it is an effect of infatuation.
71. If thou art desirous of omniscience, direct thy attention to transcendent wisdom; then betake thy self to the wilderness and meditate on the pure law; by it thou shalt acquire the transcendent faculties.
72. The man catches the meaning, goes to the wilderness, meditates with the greatest attention, and, as he is endowed with good qualities, ere long acquires the five transcendent faculties.
73. Similarly all disciples fancy having reached Nirvâna, but the Gina instructs them (by saying): This is a (temporary) repose, no final rest.
74. It is an artifice of the Buddhas to enunciate this dogma. There is no (real) Nirvâna without all-knowingness; try to reach this.
75. The boundless knowledge of the three paths (of time), the six utmost perfections (Pâramitas), voidness, the absence of purpose (or object), the absence of finiteness;
76. The idea of enlightenment and the other laws leading to Nirvâna, both such as are mixed with imperfection and such as are exempt from it, such as are tranquil and comparable to ethereal space;
77. The four Brahmavihâras and the four Sangrahas, as well as the laws sanctioned by eminent sages for the education of creatures;
78. (He who knows these things) and that all phenomena have the nature of illusion and dreams, that they are pithless as the stem of the plantain, and similar to an echo;
79. And who knows that the triple world throughout is of that nature, not fast and not looge, he knows rest.
80. He who considers all laws to be alike, void, devoid of particularity and individuality, not derived from an intelligent cause; nay, who discerns that nothingness is law;
81. Such a one has great wisdom and sees the whole of the law entirely. There are no three vehicles by any means; there is but one vehicle in this world.
82. All laws (or the laws of all) are alike, equal, for all, and ever alike. Knowing this, one understands immortal blest Nirvâna.
ANNOUNCEMENT OF FUTURE DESTINY
After pronouncing these stanzas the Lord addressed the complete assembly of monks: I announce to you, monks, I make known to you that the monk Kâsyapa, my disciple, here present, shall do homage to thirty thousand kotis of Buddhas; shall respect, honour, and worship them; and shall keep the true law of those Lords and Buddhas. In his last bodily existence in the world Avabhâsa (i. e. lustre), in the age (Æon) Mahâvyûha (i.e. great division) he shall be a Tathâgata, an Arhat, &c. &c., by the name of Rasmiprabhâsa (i.e. beaming with rays). His lifetime shall last twelve intermediate kalpas, and his true law twenty intermediate kalpas; the counterfeit of his true law shall last as many intermediate kalpas. His Buddha-field will be pure, clean, devoid of stones, grit, gravel; of pits and precipices; devoid of gutters and dirty pools; even, pretty, beautiful, and pleasant to see; consisting of lapis lazuli, adorned with jewel-trees, and looking like a checker-board with eight compartments set off with gold threads. It will be strewed with flowers, and many hundred thousand Bodhisattvas are to appear in it. As to disciples, there will be innumerable hundred thousands of myriads of kotis of them. Neither Mâra the evil one, nor his host will be discoverable in it, though Mâra and his followers shall afterwards be there; for they will apply themselves to receive the true law under the command of that very Lord Rasmiprabhâsa.
And on that occasion the Lord uttered the following stanzas:
1. With my Buddha-eye, monks, I see that the senior Kâsyapa here shall become a Buddha at a future epoch, in an incalculable Æon, after he shall have paid homage to the most high of men.
2. This Kâsyapa shall see fully thirty thousand kotis of Ginas, under whom he shall lead a spiritual life for the sake of Buddha-knowledge.
3. After having paid homage to those highest of men and acquired that supreme knowledge, he shall in his last bodily existence be a Lord of the world, a matchless, great Seer.
4. And his field will be magnificent, excellent, pure, goodly, beautiful, pretty, nice, ever delightful, and set off with gold threads.
5. That field, monks, (appearing like) a board divided into eight compartments, will have several jewel-trees, one in each compartment, from which issues a delicious odour.
6. It will be adorned with plenty of flowers, and embellished with variegated blossoms; in it are no pits nor precipices; it is even, goodly, beautiful.
7. There will be found hundreds of kotis of Bodhisattvas, subdued of mind and of great; magical power, mighty keepers of Sûtrântas of great extension.
8. As to disciples, faultless, princes of the law, standing in their last period of life, their number can never be known, even if one should go on counting for Æons, and that with the aid of divine knowledge.
9. He himself shall stay twelve intermediate kalpas, and his true law twenty complete Æons; the counterfeit is to continue as many Æons, in the domain of Rasmiprabhâsa.
Thereupon the venerable senior Mahâ-Maudgalyâyana, the venerable Subhûti, and the venerable Mahâ-Kâtyâyana, their bodies trembling, gazed up to the Lord with unblenching eyes, and at the same moment severally uttered, in mental concert, the following stanzas :
10. O hallowed one (Arhat), great hero, Sâkya-lion, most high of men! out of compassion to us speak the Buddha-word.
11. The highest of men, the Gina, he who knows the fatal term, will, as it were, sprinkle us with nectar by predicting our destiny also.
12. (It is as if) a certain man, in time of famine, comes and gets good food, but to whom, when the food is already in his hands, they say that he should wait.
13. Similarly it was with us, who after minding the lower vehicle, at the calamitous conjuncture of a bad time, were longing for Buddha-knowledge.
14. But the perfectly-enlightened great Seer has not yet favoured us with a prediction (of our destiny), as if he would say: Do not eat the food that has been put into your hand.
15. Quite so, O hero, we were longing as we heard the exalted voice (and thought): Then shall we be at rest [And felicitous, blest, beatified (nirvritra)], when we shall have received a prediction.
16. Utter a prediction, O great hero, so benevolent and merciful! let there be an end of our feeling of poverty!
And the Lord, who in his mind apprehended the thoughts arising in the minds of those great senior disciples, again addressed the complete assembly of monks: This great disciple of mine, monks, the senior Subhûti, shall likewise pay homage to thirty hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Buddhas; shall show them respect, honour, reverence, veneration, and worship. Under them shall he lead a spiritual life and achieve enlightenment. After the performance of such duties shall he, in his last bodily existence, become a Tathâgata in the world, an Arhat, &c. &c., by the name of Sasiketu [moon-signal].
His Buddha-field will be called Ratnasambhava and his epoch Ratnaprabhâsa. And that Buddha-field will be even, beautiful, crystalline, variegated with jewel-trees, devoid of pits and precipices, devoid of sewers, nice, covered with flowers. And there will men have their abode in palaces (or towers) given them for their use. In it will be many disciples, innumerable, so that it would be impossible to terminate the calculation. Many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Bodhisattvas also will be there. The lifetime of that Lord is to last twelve intermediate kalpas; his true law is to continue twenty intermediate kalpas, and its counterfeit as many. That Lord will, while standing poised in the firmament [Properly, standing as a great meteor], preach the law to the monks, and educate many thousands of Bodhisattvas and disciples.
And on that occasion the Lord uttered the following stanzas:
17. I have something to announce monks, something to make known; listen then to me: The senior Subhûti, my disciple, shall in days to come be a Buddha.
18. After having seen of most mighty Buddhas thirty myriads of kotis in full, he shall enter upon the straight course to obtain this knowledge.
19. In his last bodily existence shall the hero, possessed of the thirty-two distinctive signs, become a great Seer, similar to a column of gold, beneficial and bounteous to the world.
20. The field where that friend of the world shall save myriads of kotis of living beings will be most beautiful, pretty, and delightful to people at large.
21. In it will be many Bodhisattvas to turn the wheel that never rolls back (or never deviates); endowed with keen faculties they will, under that Gina, be the ornaments of the Buddha-field.
22. His disciples are so numerous as to pass calculation and measure; gifted with the six transcendent faculties, the triple science and magic power; firm in the eight emancipations.
23. His magic power, while he reveals supreme enlightenment, is inconceivable. Gods and men, as numerous as the sands of the Ganges, will always reverentially salute him with joined hands.
24. He shall stay twelve intermediate kalpas; the true law of that most high of men is to last twenty intermediate kalpas and the counterfeit of it as many.
Again the Lord addressed the complete assembly of monks: I announce to you, monks, I make known that the senior Mahâ-Katyâyana here present, my disciple, shall pay homage to eight thousand kotis of Buddhas; shall show them respect, honour, reverence, veneration, and worship; at the expiration of those Tathâgatas he shall build Stûpas, a thousand yoganas in height, fifty yoganas in circumference, and consisting of seven precious substances, to wit, gold, silver, lapis lazuli, crystal, red pearl, emerald, and, seventhly, coral. Those Stûpas he shall worship with flowers, incense, perfumed wreaths, ointments, powder, robes, umbrellas, banners, flags, triumphal streamers. Afterwards he shall again pay a similar homage to twenty kotis of Buddhas; show them respect, honour, reverence, veneration, and worship. Then in his last bodily existence, his last corporeal appearance, he shall be a Tathâgata in the world, an Arhat, &c. &c., named Gambûnada-prabhâsa (i.e. gold-shine), endowed with science and conduct, &c. His Buddha-field will be thoroughly pure, even, nice, pretty, beautiful, crystalline, variegated with jeweltrees, interlaced with gold threads, strewed with flowers, free from beings of the brute creation, hell, and the host of demons, replete with numerous men and gods, adorned with many hundred thousand disciples and many hundred thousand Bodhisattvas. The measure of his lifetime shall be twelve intermediate kalpas; his true law shall continue twenty intermediate kalpas and its counterfeit as many.
And on that occasion the Lord uttered the following stanzas:
25. Listen all to me, ye monks, since I am going to utter an infallible word . Katyâyana here, the senior, my disciple, shall render worship to the Leaders.
26. He shall show veneration of various kinds and in many ways to the Leaders, after whose expiration he shall build Stûpas, worshipping them with flowers and perfumes.
27. In his last bodily existence he shall be a Gina, in a thoroughly pure field, and after acquiring full knowledge he shall preach to a thousand kotis of living beings.
28. He shall be a mighty Buddha and illuminator, highly honoured in this world, including the gods, under the name of Gâmbunada-prabhâsa, and save kotis of gods and men.
29. Many Bodhisattvas as well as disciples, beyond measure and calculation, will in that field adorn the reign of that Buddha, all of them freed from existence and exempt from existence.
Again the Lord addressed the complete assembly of monks: I announce to you, monks, I make known, that the senior Mahâ-Maudgalyâyana here present, my disciple, shall propitiate twenty-eight thousand Buddhas and pay those Lords homage of various kinds; he shall show them respect, &c., and after their expiration build Stûpas consisting of seven precious substances, to wit, gold, silver, lapis lazuli, crystal, red pearl, emerald, and, seventhly, coral; (Stûpas) a thousand yoganas in height and five hundred yoganas in circumference, which Stilpas he shall worship in different ways, with flowers, incense, perfumed wreaths, ointments, powder, robes, umbrellas, banners, flags, and triumphal streamers.
Afterwards he shall again pay a similar worship to twenty hundred thousand kotis of Buddhas; he shall show respect, &c., and in his last bodily existence become in the world a Tathâgata, &c., named Tamâlapatrakandanagandha, endowed with science and conduct, &c. The field of that Buddha will be called Manobhirâma; his period Ratipratipûrna. And that Buddha-field will be even, nice, pretty, beautiful, crystalline, variegated with jewel-trees, strewn with detached flowers, replete with gods and men, frequented by hundred thousands of Seers, that is to say, disciples and Bodhisattvas. The measure of his lifetime shall be twenty-four intermediate kalpas; his true law is to last forty intermediate kalpas and its counterfeit as many.
And on that occasion the Lord uttered the following stanzas:
30. The scion of the Mudgala-race, my disciple here, after leaving human existence shall see twenty thousand mighty Ginas and eight (thousand) more of these faultless beings.
31. Under them he shall follow a course of duty, trying to reach Buddha-knowledge; he shall pay homage in various ways to those Leaders and to the most high of men.
32. After keeping their true law, of wide reach and sublime, for thousands of kotis of Æons, he shall at the expiration of those, Sugatas worship their Stûpas.
33. In honour of those most high Ginas, those mighty beings I so beneficial to the world, he shall erect Stûpas consisting of precious substances, and decorated with triumphal streamers, worshipping them with flowers, perfumes, and the sounds of music.
34. At the period of his last bodily existence he shall, in a nice and beautiful field, be a Buddha bounteous and compassionate to the world, under the name of Tamâlapatrakandanagandha.
35. The measure of that Sugata’s life shall be fully twenty-four intermediate kalpas, during which he shall be assiduous in declaring the Buddha-rule to men and gods.
36. That Gina shall have many thousands of kotis of disciples, innumerable as the sands of the Ganges, gifted with the six transcendent faculties and the triple science, and possessed of magic power, under the command of that Sugata.
37. Under the reign of that Sugata there shall also appear numerous Bodhisattvas, many thousands of them, unable to slide back (or to deviate), developing zeal, of extensive knowledge and studious habits.
38. After that Gina’s expiration his true law shall measure in time twenty-four intermediate kalpas in full; its counterfeit shall have the same measure.
39. These are my five mighty disciples whom I have destined to supreme enlightenment and to become in future self-born Ginas; now hear from me their course. [In this chapter only four disciples are mentioned; the fifth must be Sâriputra, whose destination has been predicted before]
Of yore, monks, in the past, incalculable, more than incalculable, inconceivable, immense, measureless Æons since, nay, at a period, an epoch far beyond, there appeared in the world a Tathâgata, &c., named Mahâbhigñâgñanâbhibhû, endowed with science and conduct, a Sugata, &c. &c., in the sphere Sambhava (i. e. origin, genesis), in the period Mahârûpa. (You ask), monks, how long ago is it that the Tathâgata was born? Well, suppose some man was to reduce to powder the whole mass of the earth element as much as is to be found in this whole universe; that after taking one atom of dust from this world he is to walk a thousand worlds farther in easterly direction to deposit that single atom; that after taking a second atom of dust and walking a thousand worlds farther he deposits that second atom, and proceeding in this way at last gets the whole of the earth element deposited in eastern direction. Now, monks, what do you think of it, is it possible by calculation to find the end or limit of these worlds? They answered: Certainly not, Lord; certainly not, Sugata. The Lord said: On the contrary, monks, some arithmetician or master of arithmetic might, indeed, be able by calculation to find the end or limit of the worlds, both those where the atoms have been deposited and where they have not, but it is impossible by applying the rules of arithmetic to find the limit of those hundred thousands of myriads of Æons, so long, so inconceivable, so immense is the number of Æons which have elapsed since the expiration of that Lord, the Tathâgata Mahâbhigñâgñanâbhibhû. Yet, monks, I perfectly remember that Tathâgata who has been extinct for so long a time, as if he had reached extinction to-day or yesterday, because of my possessing the mighty knowledge and sight of the Tathâgata.
And on that occasion the Lord pronounced the following stanzas:
1. I remember the great Seer Abhigñâgñânâbhibhû, the most high of men, who existed many kotis of Æons ago as the superior Gina of the period.
2. If, for example, some men after reducing this universe to atoms of dust took one atom to deposit it a thousand regions farther on;
3. If he deposited a second, a third atom, and so proceeded until he had done with the whole mass of dust, so that this world were empty and the mass of dust exhausted;
4. To that immense mass of the dust of these worlds, entirely reduced to atoms, I liken the number of Æons past.
5. So immense is the number of kotis of Æons past since that extinct Sugata; the whole of (existing) atoms is no (adequate) expression of it; so many are the Æons which have expired since.
6. That Leader who has expired so long ago, those disciples and Bodhisattvas, I remember all of them as if it were to-day or yesterday. Such is the knowledge of the Tathâgatas.
7. So endless, monks, is the knowledge of the Tathâgata; I know what has taken place many hundreds of Æons ago, by my precise and faultless memory.
To proceed, monks, the measure of the lifetime of the Tathâgata Mahâbhigñâgñanâbhibhû, the Arhat, &c. was fifty-four hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Æons.
In the beginning when the Lord had not yet reached supreme, perfect enlightenment and had just occupied the summit of the terrace of enlightenment, he discomfited and defeated the whole host of Mâra, after which he thought: I am to reach perfect enlightenment. But those laws (of perfect enlightenment) had not yet dawned upon him. He stayed on the terrace of enlightenment at the foot of the tree of enlightenment during one intermediate kalpa. He stayed there a second, a third intermediate kalpa, but did not yet attain supreme, perfect enlightenment. He remained a fourth, a fifth, a sixth, a seventh, an eighth, a ninth, a tenth intermediate kalpa on the terrace of enlightenment at the foot of the tree of enlightenment, continuing sitting cross-legged without in the meanwhile rising. He stayed, the mind motionless, the body unstirring and untrembling, but those laws had not yet dawned upon him.
Now, monks, while the Lord was just on the summit of the terrace of enlightenment, the gods of Paradise (Trâyastrimsas) prepared him a magnificent royal throne, a hundred yoganas high, on occupying which the Lord attained supreme, perfect enlightenment; and no sooner had the Lord occupied the seat of enlightenment than the Brahmakâyika gods scattered a rain of flowers all around the seat of enlightenment over a distance of a hundred yoganas; in the sky they let loose storms by which the flowers, withered, were swept away. From the beginning of the rain of flowers, while the Lord was sitting on the seat of enlightenment, it poured without interruption during fully ten intermediate kalpas, covering the Lord. That rain of flowers having once begun falling continued to the moment of the Lord’s complete Nirvâna. The angels belonging to the division of the four guardians of the cardinal points made the celestial drums of the gods resound; they made them resound without interruption in honour of the Lord who had attained the summit of the terrace of enlightenment. Thereafter, during fully ten intermediate kalpas, they made uninterruptedly resound those celestial musical instruments up to the moment of the complete extinction of the Lord.
Again, monks, after the lapse of ten intermediate kalpas the Lord Mahâbhigñâgñanâbhibhû, the Tathâgata, &c., reached supreme, perfect enlightenment. Immediately on knowing his having become enlightened the sixteen sons born to that Lord when a prince royal, the eldest of whom was named Gñânâkara-which sixteen young princes, monks, had severally toys to play with, variegated and pretty-those sixteen princes, I repeat, monks, left their toys, their amusements, and since they knew that the Lord Mahâbhigñâgñanâbhibhû, the Tathâgata, &c., had attained supreme, perfect knowledge, went, surrounded and attended by their weeping mothers and nurses, along with the noble, rich king Kakravartin, many ministers, and hundred thousands of myriads of kotis of living beings, to the place where the Lord Mahâbhigñâgñanâbhibhû, the Tathâgata, &c., was seated on the summit of the terrace of enlightenment. They went up to the Lord in order to honour, respect, worship, revere, and venerate him, saluted his feet with their heads, made three turns round him keeping him to the right, lifted up their joined hands, and praised the Lord, face to face, with the following stanzas:
8. Thou art the great physician, having no superior, rendered perfect in endless Æons. Thy benign wish of saving all mortals (from darkness) has to-day been fulfilled.
9. Most difficult things hast thou achieved during the ten intermediate kalpas now past; thou hast been sitting all that time without once moving thy body, hand, foot, or any other part.
10. Thy mind also was tranquil and steady, motionless, never to be shaken; thou knewest no distraction;thou art completely quiet and faultless.
11. Joy with thee! that thou so happily and safely, without any hurt, hast reached supreme enlightenment. How great a fortune is ours! we congratulate ourselves, O Lion amongst kings!
12. These unhappy creatures, vexed in all ways, deprived of eyes, as it were, and joyless, do not find the road leading to the end of toils, nor develop energy for the sake of deliverance.
13. Dangers are for a long time on the increase and the laws (or phenomena, things) are deprived of the (possession of a) celestial body; the word of the Gina is not being heard; the whole world is plunged in thick darkness.
14. But to-day (or now) hast thou, Majesty of the world, reached this hallowed, high, and faultless spot; we as well as the world are obliged to thee, and approach to seek our refuge with thee, O Protector!
When, O monks, those sixteen princes in the condition of boys, childlike and young, had with such stanzas celebrated the Lord Mahâbhigñâgñanâbhibhû, the Tathâgata, &c., they urged the Lord to move on the wheel of the law: Preach the law, O Lord; preach the law, O Sugata, for the weal of the public, the happiness of the public, out of compassion for the world; for the benefit, weal, and happiness of the people generally, both of gods and men. And on that occasion they uttered the following stanzas:
15. Preach the law, O thou who art marked with a hundred auspicious signs, O Leader, O incomparable great Seer! thou hast attained exalted, sublime knowledge; let it shine in the world, including the gods.
16. Release us as well as these creatures; display the knowledge of the Tathâgatas, that we also and, further, these beings may obtain this supreme enlightenment.
17. Thou knowest every course (of duty) and knowledge; thou knowest the (mental and moral) disposition and the good works done in a former state; the (natural) bent of all living beings. Move on the most exalted, sublime wheel!
Then, monks, as the Lord Mahâbhigñâgñanâbhibhû, the Tathâgata, &c., reached supreme, perfect enlightenment, fifty hundred thousand myriads of kotis of spheres in each of the ten directions of space were shaken in six different ways and became illumined with a great lustre. And in the intervals between all those spheres, in the dreary places of dark gloom, where even the sun and moon, so powerful, mighty, and splendid, have no advantage of the shining power they are endowed with, have no advantage of the colour and brightness they possess, even in those places a great lustre arose instantly. And the beings who appeared in those intervals behold each other, acknowledge each other, (and exclaim): Lo, there are other beings also here appearing! lo, there are other beings also here appearing! The palaces and aerial cars of the gods in all those spheres up to the Brahma-world shook in six different ways and became illumined with a great lustre, surpassing the divine majesty of the gods. So then, monks, a great earthquake and a great, sublime lustre arose simultaneously. And the aerial cars of the Brahma-angels to the east, in these fifty hundred thousand myriads of kotis of spheres, began excessively to glitter, glow, and sparkle in splendo,ur and glory. And those Brahma-angels made this reflection: What may be foreboded by these aerial cars so excessively glittering, glowing, and sparkling in splendour and glory? Thereupon, monks, the Brahma-angels in the fifty hundred thousand myriads of kotis of spheres went all to each other’s abodes and communicated the matter to one another. After that, monks, the great Brahma-angel, named Sarvasattvatrâtri (i.e. Saviour of all beings), addressed the numerous host of Brahma-angels in the following stanzas:
18. Our aerial cars to-day (or now) are all bristling with rays in an extraordinary degree, and blazing in beautiful splendour and brilliancy. What may be the cause of it?
19. Come, let us investigate the matter, what divine being has to-day sprung into existence, whose power, such as was never seen before, here now appears?
20. Or should it be the Buddha, the king of kings, who to-day has been born somewhere in the world, and whose birth is announced by such a token that all the points of the horizon are now blazing in splendour?
Thereupon, monks, the great Brahma-angels in the fifty hundred thousand myriads of kotis of spheres mounted all together their own divine aerial cars, took with them divine bags, as large as Mount Sumeru, with celestial flowers, and went through the four quarters successively until they arrived at the western quarter, where those great Brahma-angels, O monks, stationed in the western quarter, saw the Lord Mahâbhigñâgñanâbhibhû, the Tathâgata, &c., on the summit of the exalted terrace of enlightenment, seated on the royal throne at the foot of the tree of enlightenment, surrounded and attended by gods, Nagas, goblins, Gandharvas, demons, Garudas, Kinnaras, great serpents, men, and beings not human, while his sons, the sixteen young princes, were urging him to move forward the wheel of the law. On seeing which the Brahma-angels came up to the Lord, saluted his feet with their heads, walked many hundred thousand times round him from left to right, strewing (flowers) and overwhclming both him and the tree of enlightenment, over a distance of ten yoganas, with those flower-bags as large as Mount Sumeru. After that they presented to the Lord their aerial cars (with the words): Accept, O Lord, these aerial cars out of compassion to us; use, O Sugata, those cars out of compassion to us.
On that occasion, monks, after presenting their own cars to the Lord, the Brahma-angels celebrated the Lord, face to face, with the following seasonable stanzas:
21. A (or the) wonderful, matchless Gina, so beneficial and merciful, has arisen in the world. Thou art born a protector, a ruler (and teacher), a master; to-day all quarters are blessed.
22. We have come as far as fully fifty thousand kotis of worlds from here to humbly salute the Gina by surrendering our lofty acriel cars all together.
23. We possess these variegated and bright cars, owing to previous works; accept them to oblige us, and make use of them to thine heart’s content, O Knower of the world!
After the great Brahma-angels, monks, had celebrated the Lord Mahâbhigñâgñanâbhibhû, the Tathâgata, &c., face to face, with these seasonable stanzas, they besought him, saying: May the Lord move forward the wheel of the law! May the Lord preach final rest! May the Lord release all beings! Be favourable, O Lord, to this world! Preach the law, O Lord, to this world, including gods, Mâras, and Brahma-angels; to all people, including ascetics and Brahmans, gods, men, and demons! It will tend to the weal of the public, to the happiness of the public; out of mercy to the world, for the benefit and happiness of the people at large, both gods and men.
Thereupon, monks, those fifty hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Brahma-angels addressed the Lord, with one voice, in common chorus, with the following stanza:
24. Show the law, O Lord; show it, O most high of men! Show the power of thy kindness; save the tormented beings.
25. Rare is the light of the world like the blossom of the glomerated fig-tree. Thou hast arisen, O great Hero; we pray to thee, the Tathâgata.
And the Lord, O monks, silently intimated his assent to the Brahma-angels.
Somewhat later, monks, the aerial cars of the Brahma-angels in the south-eastern quarter in the fifty hundred thousand myriads of spheres began excessively to glitter, glow, and sparkle in splendour and glory. And those Brahma-angels made this reflection: What may be foreboded by these aerial cars so excessively glittering, glowing, and sparkling in splendour and glory? Thereupon, monks, the Brahma-angels in the fifty hundred thousand myriads of kotis of spheres went all to each other’s abodes and communicated the matter to one another. After that, monks, the great Brahma-angel, named Adhimâtrakârunika (i.e. exceedingly compassionate), addressed the numerous host of Brahma-angels with the following stanzas:
26. What foretoken is it we see to-day (or now), friends? Who or what is foreboded by the celestial cars shining with such uncommon glory?
- May, perhaps, some blessed divine being have come hither, by whose power all these aerial cars are illumined?
28. Or may the Buddha, the most high of men, have appeared in this world, that by his power these celestial cars are in such a condition as we see them?
29. Let us all together go and search; no trifle can be the cause of it; such a foretoken, indeed, was never seen before.
30. Come, let us go and visit kotis of fields, along the four quarters; a Buddha will certainly now have made his appearance in this world.
Thereupon, monks, the great Brahma-angels in the fifty hundred thousand myriads of kotis of spheres mounted all together their own divine aerial cars, took with them divine bags, as large as Mount Sumeru, with celestial flowers, and went through the four quarters successively until they arrived at the north-western quarteir, where those great Brahma-angels, stationed in the north-western quarter, saw the Lord Mahâbhigñâgñanâbhibhû [&c., as above till compassion to us].
On that occasion, monks, after presenting their own cars to the Lord the Brahma-angels celebrated the Lord, face to face, with the following seasonable stanzas:
31. Homage to thee, matchless great Seer, chief god of gods, whose -voice is sweet as the lark’s’. Leader in the world, including the gods, I salute thee, who art so benign and bounteous to the world.
32. How wonderful, O Lord, is it that after so long a time thou appearest in the world. Eighty hundred complete Æons this world of the living was without Buddha’.
- It was deprived of the most high of men; hell was prevailing and the celestial bodies constantly went on waning during eighty hundred complete Æons.
34. But now he has appeared, owing to our good works, who is (our) eye, refuge, resting-place, protection, father, and kinsman; he, the benign and bounteous one, the King of the law.
After the great Brahma-angels, monks, had celebrated the Lord Mahâbhigñâgñanâbhibhû, the Tathâgata, &c., face to face, with these seasonable stanzas: they besought him: May the Lord move forward the wheel of the law! [as above till both gods and men.]
Thereupon, monks, those fifty hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Brahma-angels addressed the Lord, with one voice, in common chorus, with the following stanzas:
35. Move forward the exalted wheel, O great ascetic! reveal the law in all directions; deliver all beings oppressed with suffering; produce amongst mortals gladness and joy!
36. Let them by hearing the law partake of enlightenment and reach divine places. Let all shake off their demon body and be peaceful, meek, and at ease.
And the Lord, O monks, silently intimated his assent to these Brahma-angels also.
Somewhat later, monks, the aerial cars of the Brahma-angels in the southern quarter [&c., as above till to one another]. After that, monks, the great Brahma-angel, named Sudharma, addressed the numerous host of Brahma-angels in stanzas:
37. It cannot be without cause or reason, friends, that to-day (or now) all these celestial cars are so brilliant; this bespeaks some portent somewhere in the world. Come, let us go and investigate the matter.
38. No such portent has appeared in hundreds of Æons past. Either some god has been born or a Buddha has arisen in this world.
Thereupon, monks, the great Brahma-angels in the fifty hundred thousand myriads of kotis of spheres mounted [&c., as above till compassion to us].
On that occasion, monks, after presenting their own cars to the Lord, the Brahma-angels celebrated the Lord, face to face, with the following seasonable stanzas:
39. Most rare (and precious) is the sight of the Leaders. Be welcome, thou dispeller of worldly defilement. It is after a long time that thou now appearest in the world; after hundreds of complete Æons one (now) beholds thee.
- Refresh the thirsty creatures, O Lord of the world! Now first thou art seen; it is not easy to behold thee. As rare (or precious) as the flowers of the glomerated fig-tree is thine appearance, O Lord.
41. By thy power these aerial cars of ours are so uncommonly illumined now, O Leader. To show us thy favour accept them, O thou whose look pierces everywhere!
After the great Brahma-angels, monks, had celebrated the Lord Mahâbhigñâgñanâbhibhû, the Tathâgata, &c., face to face, with these seasonable stanzas, they besought him: May the Lord move forward the wheel of the law! [as above till gods and men.]
Thereupon, monks, those fifty hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Brahma-angels addressed the Lord, with one voice, in common chorus, with the following stanzas:
42. Preach the law, O Lord and Leader! move forward the wheel of the law, make the drum of the law resound, and blow the conch-trumpet of the law.
43. Shed the rain of the true law over this world and proclaim the sweet-sounding, good word; manifest the law required, save myriads of kotis of beings.
And the Lord, monks, silently intimated his assent to the Brahma-angels.
Repetition; the same occurred in the south-west, in the west, in the north-west, in the north, in the north-east, in the nadir.
Then, monks, the aerial cars of the Brahma-angels in the nadir, in those fifty hundred thousand myriads of kotis of spheres [&c., as above till to one another]. After that, monks, the great Brahma-angel, named Sikhin, addressed the numerous host of Brahma-angels with the following stanzas:
44. What may be the cause, O friends, that our cars are so bright with splendour, colour, and light? What may be the reason of their being so exceedingly glorious?
45. We have seen nothing like this before nor heard of it from others. These (cars) are now bright with splendour and exceedingly glorious; what may be the cause of it?
46. Should it be some god who has been bestowed upon the world in recompense of good works, and whose grandeur thus comes to light? Or is perhaps a Buddha born in the world?
Thereupon, monks, the great Brahma-angels in the fifty hundred thousand myriads of kotis of spheres mounted all together their own divine aerial cars, took with them divine bags, as large as Mount Sumeru, with celestial flowers, and went through the four quarters successively until they arrived at the zenith, where those great Brahma-angels, stationed at the zenith, saw the Lord Mahâbhigñâgñanâbhibhû [&c., as above till compassion to us].
On that occasion, monks, after presenting their own cars to the Lord, the Brahma-angels celebrated the Lord, face to face, with the following seasonable stanzas:
47. How goodly is the sight of the Buddhas, the mighty Lords of the world; those Buddhas who are to deliver all beings in this triple world.
48. The all-seeing Masters of the world send their looks in all directions of the horizon, and by opening the gate of immortality they make people reach the (safe) shore.
49. An inconceivable number of Æons now past were void, and all quarters wrapt in darkness, as the chief Ginas did not appear.
50. The dreary hells, the brute creation and demons were on the increase; thousands of kotis of living beings fell into the state of ghosts.
51. The heavenly bodies were on the wane; after their disappearance they entered upon evil ways; their course became wrong because they did not hear the law of the Buddhas.
52. All creatures lacked dutiful behaviour, purity, good state, and understanding; their happiness was lost, and the consciousness of happiness was gone.
53. They did not observe the rules of morality; were firmly rooted in the false law; not being led by the Lord of the world, they were precipitated into a false course.
54. Hail! thou art come at last, O Light of the world! thou, born to be bounteous towards all beings.
55. Hail! thou hast safely arrived at supreme Buddha-knowledge; we feel thankful before thee, and so does the world, including the gods.
56. By thy power, O mighty Lord, our aerial cars are glittering; to thee we present them, great Hero; deign to accept them, great Solitary.
57.Out of grace to us, O Leader, make use of them-, so that we, as well as all (other) beings, may attain supreme enlightenment.
After the great Brahma-angels, O monks, had celebrated the Lord Mahâbhigñâgñanâbhibhû, the Tathâgata, &c., face to face, with seasonable stanzas, they besought him: May the Lord move forward the wheel of the law! [&c., as above till both gods and men.]
Thereupon, monks, those fifty hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Brahma-angels addressed the Lord, with one voice, in common chorus, with the following two stanzas:
58. Move forward the exalted, unsurpassed wheel! beat the drum of immortality! release all beings from hundreds of evils, and show the path of Nirvâna.
59. Expound the law we pray for; show thy favour to us and this world. Let us hear thy sweet and lovely voice which thou hast exercised during thousands of kotis of Æons.
Now, monks, the Lord Mahâbhigñâgñanâbhibhû the Tathâgata, &c., being acquainted with the prayer of the hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Brahma-angels and of the sixteen princes, his sons, commenced at that juncture to turn the wheel that has three turns and twelve parts, the wheel never moved by any ascetic, Brahman, god, demon, nor by any one else. (His preaching) consisted in this: This is pain; this is the origin of pain; this is the suppression of pain; this is the treatment leading to suppression of pain. He moreover extensively set forth how the series of causes and effects is evolved, (and said): It is thus, monks. From ignorance proceed conceptions (or fancies); from conceptions (or fancies) proceeds understanding; from understanding name and form; from name and form the six senses; from the six senses proceeds contact; from contact sensation; from sensation proceeds longing; from longing proceeds striving; from striving as cause issues existence; from existence birth; from birth old age, death, mourning, lamentation, sorrow, dismay, and despondency. So originates this whole mass of misery. From the suppression of ignorance results the suppression of conceptions; from the suppression of conceptions results that of understanding; from the suppression of understanding results that of name and form; from the suppression of name and form results that of the six senses; from the suppression of the six senses results that of contact; from the suppression of contact results that of sensation; from the suppression of sensation results that of longing; from the suppression of longing results that of striving; from the suppression of striving results that of existence; from the suppression of existence results that of birth; from the suppression of birth results that of old age, death, mourning, lamentation, sorrow, dismay, and despondency. In this manner the whole mass of misery is suppressed.
And while this wheel of the law, monks, was being moved onward by the Lord Mahâbhigñâgñanâbhibhû, the Tathâgata, &c., in presence of the world, including the gods, demons, and Brahma-angels; of the assemblage, including ascetics and Brahmans; then, at that time, on that occasion, the minds of sixty hundred thousand myriads of kotis of living beings were without effort freed from imperfections and became all possessed of the triple science, of the sixfold transcendent wisdom, of the emancipations and meditations. In due course, monks, the Lord Mahâbhigñâgñanâbhibhû, the Tathâgata, &c., again gave a second exposition of the law; likewise a third and a fourth exposition. And at each exposition, monks, the minds of hundred thousands of myriads of kotis of beings, like the sands of the river Ganges, were without effort freed from imperfections. Afterwards, monks, the congregation of disciples of that Lord was so numerous as to surpass all calculation.
Meanwhile, monks, the sixteen princes, the youths, had, full of faith, left home to lead the vagrant life of mendicants, and had all of them become novices, clever, bright, intelligent, pious, followers of the course (of duty) under many hundred thousand Buddhas, and striving after supreme, perfect enlightenment. These sixteen novices, monks, said to the Lord Mahâbhigñâgñanâbhibhû, the Tathâgata, &c., the following: O Lord, these many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of disciples of the Tathâgata have become very mighty, very powerful, very potent, owing to the Lord’s teaching of the law. Deign, O Lord, to teach us also, for mercy’s sake, the law with a view to supreme, perfect enlightenment, so that we also may follow the teaching of the Tathâgata. We want, O Lord, to see the knowledge of the Tathâgata; the Lord can himself testify to this, for thou, O Lord, who knowest the disposition of all beings, also knowest ours.
Then, monks, on seeing that those princes, the youths, had chosen the vagrant life of mendicants and become novices, the half of the whole retinue of the king Kakravartin, to the number of eighty hundred thousand myriads of kotis of living beings, chose the vagrant life of mendicants.
Subsequently, monks, the Lord Mahâbhigñâgñanâbhibhû, the Tathâgata, &c., viewing the prayer of those novices at the lapse of twenty thousand Æons, amply and completely revealed the Dharmaparyâya called ‘the Lotus of the True Law, a text of great extent, serving to instruct Bodhisattvas and proper for all Buddhas, in presence of all the four classes of auditors.
In course of time, monks, those sixteen novices grasped, kept, and fully penetrated the Lord’s teaching.
Subsequently, monks, the Lord Mahâbhigñâgñanâbhibhû, the Tathâgata, &c., foretold those sixteen novices their future djestiny to supreme, perfect enlightenment. And while the Lord Mahâbhigñâgñanâbhibhû, the Tathâgata, &c., was propounding the Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law, the disciples as well as the sixteen novices were full of faith, and many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of beings acquired perfect certainty.
Thereupon, monks, after propounding the Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law during eight thousand Æons without interruption, the Lord Mahâbhigñâgñanâbhibhû, the Tathâgata, &c., entered the monastery to retire for the purpose of meditation, and in that retirement, monks, the Tathâgata continued in the monastery during eighty-four thousand kotis of Æons.
Now, monks, when the sixteen novices perceived that the Lord was absorbed, they sat down on the seats, the royal thrones which had been prepared for each of them, and amply expounded, during eighty-four hundred thousand myriads of kotis, the Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus of the True Law to the four classes. By doing this, monks, each of those novices, as Bodhisattvas fully developed, instructed, excited, stimulated, edified, confirmed in respect to supreme, perfect enlightenment 60 x 60 hundred thousand myriads of kotis of living beings, equal to the sands of the river Ganges.
Now, monks, at the lapse of eighty-four thousand Æons the Lord Mahâbhigñâgñanâbhibhû, the Tathâgata, &c., rose from his meditation, in possession of memory and consciousness, whereafter he went up to the seat of the law, designed for him, in order to occupy it.
As soon as the Lord had occupied the seat of the law, monks, he cast his looks over the whole circle of the audience and addressed the congregation of monks: They are wonderfully gifted, monks, they are prodigiously gifted, these sixteen novices, wise, servitors to many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Buddhas, observers of the course (of duty), who have received Buddha-knowledge, transmitted Buddha-knowledge, expounded Buddha-knowledge. Honour these sixteen novices, monks, again and again; and all, be they devoted to the vehicle of the disciples, the vehicle of the Pratyekabuddhas, or the vehicle of the Bodhisattvas, who shall not reject nor repudiate the preaching of these young men of good family, O monks, shall quickly gain supreme, perfect enlightenment, and obtain Tathâgata-knowledge.
In the sequel also, monks, have these young men of good family repeatedly revealed this Dharmaparyâya of the Lotus,of the True Law under the mastership of that Lord. And the 60 x 60 hundred thousand myriads of kotis of living beings, equal to the sands of the river Ganges, who by each of the sixteen novices, the Bodhisattvas Mahasattvas, in the quality of Bodhisattva, had been roused to enlightenment, all those beings followed the example of the sixteen novices in choosing along with them the vagrant life of mendicants, in their several existences; they enjoyed their sight and heard the law from their mouth. They propitiated forty kotis of Buddhas, and some are doing so up to this day.
I announce to you, monks, I declare to you: Those sixteen princes, the youths, who as novices under the mastership of the Lord were interpreters of the law, have all reached supreme, perfect enlightenment, and all of them are staying, existing, living even now, in the several directions of space, in different Buddha-fields, preaching the law to many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of disciples and Bodhisattvas, to wit: In the east, monks, in the world Abhirati the Tathâgata named Akshobhya, the Arhat, &c., and the Tathâgata Merukûta, the Arhat, &c. In the south-east, monks, is the Tathâgata Simhaghosha, &c., and the Tathâgata Simhadhvaga, &c. In the south, monks, is the Tathâgata named Akâsapratishthita, &c., and the Tathâgata named Nityaparinirvrita, &c. In the southwest, monks, is the Tathâgata named Indradhvaga, &c., and the Tathâgata named Brahmadhvaga, &c. In the west, monks, is the Tathâgata named Amitâyus, &c., and the Tathâgata named Sarvalokadhâtûpadravodvegapratyuttîrna, &c. In the north-west, monks, is the Tathâgata named Tamâlapatrakandanagandhâbhigña, &c., and the Tathâgata Merukalpa, &c. In the north, monks, is the Tathâgata named Meghasvarapradipa, &c., and the Tathâgata named Meghasvararâga, &c. In the north-east, monks, is the Tathâgata named Sarvalokabhayâgitakkhambhitatvavidhvamsanakara, the Arhat, &c., and, the sixteenth, myself, Sâkyamuni, the Tathâgata, the Arhat, &c., who have attained supreme, perfect enlightenment in the centre of this Saha-world.
Further, monks, those beings who have heard the law from us when we were novices, those many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of beings, numerous as the sands of the river Ganges, whom we have severally initiated in supreme, perfect enlightenment, they are up to this day standing on the stage of disciples and matured for supreme, perfect enlightenment. In regular turn they are to attain supreme, perfect enlightenment, for it is difficult, monks, to penetrate the knowledge of the Tathâgatas. And which are those beings, monks, who, innumerable, incalculable like the sands of the Ganges, those hundred thousands of myriads of kotis of living beings, whom I, when I was a Bodhisattva under the mastership of that Lord, have taught the law of omniscience? Yourselves, monks, were at that time those beings.
And those who shall be my disciples in future, when I shall have attained complete Nirvâna, shall learn the course (of duty) of Bodhisattvas, without conceiving the idea of their being Bodhisattvas. And, monks, all who shall have the idea of complete Nirvâna, shall reach it. It should be added, monks, as I stay under different names in other worlds, they shall there be born again seeking after the knowledge of the Tathâgatas, and there they shall anew hear this dogma: The complete Nirvâna of the Tathâgatas is but one; there is no other, no second Nirvâna of the Tathâgatas. Herein, monks, one has to see a device of the Tathâgatas and a direction for the preaching of the law. When the Tathâgata, monks, knows that the moment of his complete extinction has arrived, and sees that the assemblage is pure, strong in faith, penetrated with the law of voidness, devoted to meditation, devoted to great meditation, then, monks, the Tathâgata, because the time has arrived, calls together all Bodhisattvas and all disciples to teach them thus: There is, O monks, in this world no second vehicle at all, no second Nirvâna, far less a third. It is an able device of the Tathâgata, monks, that on seeing creatures far advanced on the path of perdition, delighting in the low and plunged in the mud of sensual desires, the Tathâgata teaches them that Nirvâna to which they are attached.
By way of example, monks, suppose there is some dense forest five hundred yoganas in extent which has been reached by a great company of men. They have a guide to lead them on their journey to the Isle of Jewels, which guide, being able, clever, sagacious, well acquainted with the difficult passages of the forest, is to bring the whole company out of the forest. Meanwhile that great troop of men, tired, weary, afraid, and anxious, say: ‘Verily, Master, guide, and leader, know that we are tired, weary, afraid, and anxious; let us return; this dense forest stretches so far.’ The guide, who is a man of able devices, on seeing those people desirous of returning, thinks within himself: It ought not to be that these poor creatures should not reach that great Isle of Jewels. Therefore out of pity for them he makes use of an artifice. In the middle of that forest he produces a magic city more than a hundred or two hundred yoganas in extent. Thereafter he says to those men: ‘Be not afraid, sirs, do not return; there you see a populous place where you may take repose and perform all you have to do; there stay in the enjoyment of happy rest. Let him who after reposing there wants to do so, proceed to the great Isle of Jewels.’
Then, monks, the men who are in the forest are struck with astonishment, and think: We are out of the forest; we have reached the place of happy rest; let us stay here. They enter that magic city, in the meaning that they have arrived at the place of their destination, that they are saved and in the enjoyment of rest. They think: We are at rest, we are refreshed’. After a while, when the guide perceives that their fatigue is gone, he causes the magic city to disappear, and says to them: ‘Come, sirs, there you see the great Isle of Jewels quite near; as to this great city, it has been produced by me for no other purpose but to give you some repose.’
In the same manner, monks, is the Tathâgata, the Arhat,&c., your guide, and the guide of all other beings. Indeed, monks, the Tathâgata, &c., reflects thus: Great is this forest of evils which must be crossed, left, shunned. It ought not to be that these beings, after hearing the Buddha-knowledge, should suddenly turn back and not proceed to the end because they think: This Buddha-knowledge is attended with too many difficulties to be gone through to the end. Under those circumstances the Tathâgata, knowing the creatures to be feeble of character, (does) as the guide (who) produces the magic city in order that those people may have repose, and after their having taken repose, he tells them that the city is one produced by magic. In the same manner, monks, the Tathâgata, &c., to give a repose to the creatures, very skilfully teaches and proclaims two stages of
Nirvâna, viz. the stage of the disciples and that of the Pratyekabuddhas. And, monks, when the creatures are there halting, then the Tathâgata, &c., himself, pronounces these words: ‘You have not accomplished your task, monks; you have not finished what you had to do. But behold, monks! the Buddha-knowledge is near; behold and be convinced: what to you (seems) Nirvâna, that is not Nirvâna. Nay, monks, it is an able device of the Tathâgatas, &c., that they expound three vehicles.’
And in order to explain this same subject more in detail, the Lord on that occasion uttered the following stanzas:
60. The Leader of the world, Abhigñâgñânâbhibhû, having occupied the terrace of enlightenment, continued ten complete intermediate kalpas without gaining enlightenment, though he saw the things in their very essence.
61. Then the gods, Nâgas, demons, and goblins, zealous to honour the Gina, sent down a rain of flowers on the spot where the Leader awakened to enlightenment.
62. And high in the sky they beat the cymbals to worship and honour the Gina, and they were vexed that the Gina delayed so long in coming to the highest place.
63. After the lapse of ten intermediate kalpas the Lord Anâbhibhû attained enlightenment; then all gods, men, serpents, and demons were glad and overjoyed.
64. The sixteen sons of the Leader of men, those heroes, being at the time young princes, rich in virtues, came along with thousands of kotis of living beings to honour the eminent chiefs of men.
65. And after saluting the feet of the Leader they prayed: Reveal the law and refresh us as well as this world with thy good word, O Lion amongst kings.
66. After a long time thou art seen (again) in the ten points of this world; thou appearest, great Leader, while the aerial cars of the Brahma-angels are stirring to reveal a token to living beings.
67. In the eastern quarter fifty thousand kotis of fields have been shaken, and the lofty angelic cars in them have become excessively brilliant.
68. The Brahma-angels on perceiving this foretoken went and approached the Chief of the Leaders of the world, and, covering him with flowers, presented all of them their cars to him.
69. They prayed him to move forward the wheel of the law, and celebrated him with stanzas and songs. But the king of kings was silent, (for he thought): The time has not yet arrived for me to proclaim the law.
70. Likewise in the south, west, north, the nadir, zenith, and in the intermediate points of the compass there were thousands of kotis of Brahma-angels.
71. Unremittingly covering the Lord (with flowers) they saluted the feet of the Leader, presented all their aerial cars, celebrated him, and again prayed:
72. Move forward the wheel, O thou whose sight is infinite! Rarely art thou met in (the course of) many kotis ofÆons. Display the benevolence thou hast observed in so many former generations; open the gate of immortality.
73. On hearing their prayer, he whose sight is infinite exposed the multifarious law and the four Truths, extensively. All existences (said he) spring successively from their antecedents.
74. Starting from Ignorance, the Seer proceeded to speak of death, endless woe; all those evils spring from birth. Know likewise that death is the lot of mankind.
75. No sooner had he expounded the multifarious, different, endless laws, than eighty myriads of kotis of creatures who had heard them quickly attained the stage of disciples.
76. On a second occasion the Gina expounded many laws, and beings like the sands of the Ganges became instantly purified and disciples.
77. From that moment the assembly of that Leader of the world was innumerable; no man would be able to reach the term (of its number), even were he to go on counting for myriads of kotis of Æons.
78. Those sixteen princes also, his own dear sons, who had become mendicants and novices, said to the Gina: ‘Expound, O Chief, the superior law;
79. ‘That we may become sages, knowers of the world, such as thyself art, O supreme of all Ginas, and that all these beings may become such as thyself art, O hero, O clear-sighted one.’
80. And the Gina, considering the wish of his sons, the young princes, explained the highest superior enlightenment by means of many myriads of kotis of illustrations.
81. Demonstrating with thousands of arguments and elucidating the knowledge of transcendent wisdom, the Lord of the world indicated the veritable course (of duty) such as was followed by the wise Bodhisattvas.
82. This very Sûtra of orreat extension, this good Lotus of the True Law, was by the Lord delivered in many thousands of stanzas, so numerous as to equal the sands of the Ganges.
83. After delivering this Sûtra, the Gina entered the monastery for the purpose of becoming absorbed in meditation; during eighty-four complete Æons the Lord of the world continued meditating, sitting on the same seat.
84. Those novices, perceiving that the Chief remained in the monastery without coming out of it, imparted to many kotis of creatures that Buddha-knowledge, which is free from imperfections and blissful.
85. On the seats which they had made to be prepared, one for each, they expounded this very Sûtra under the mastership of the Sugata of that period. A service of the same kind they render to me.
86. Innumerable as the sands of sixty thousand (rivers like the) Ganges were the beings then taught; each of the sons of the Sugata converted (or trained) endless beings.
87. After the Gina’s complete Nirvâna they commenced a wandering life and saw kotis of Buddhas; along with those pupils they rendered homage to the most exalted amongst men.
88. Having observed the extensive and sublime course of duty and reached enlightenment in the ten points of space, those sixteen sons of the Gina became themselves Ginas, two by two, in each point of the horizon.
89. And all those who had been their pupils became disciples of those Ginas, and gradually obtained possession of enlightenment by various means.
90. I myself was one of their number, and you have all been taught by me. Therefore you are my disciples now also, and I lead you all to enlightenment by (my) devices.
91. This is the cause dating from old, this is the motive of my expounding the law, that I lead you to superior enlightenment. This being the case, monks, you need not be afraid.
92. It is as if there were a forest dreadful, terrific, barren, without a place of refuge or shelter, replete with wild beasts, deprived of water, frightful for persons of no experience.
93. (Suppose further that) many thousand men have come to the forest, that waste track of wilderness which is fully five hundred yoganas in extent.
94. And he who is to act as their guide through that rough and horrible forest is a rich man, thoughtful, intelligent, wise, well instructed, and undaunted.
95. And those beings, numbering many kotis, feel tired, and say to the guide: ‘We are tired, Master; we are not able to go on; we should like now to return.’
96. But he, the dexterous and clever guide, is searching in his mind for some apt device. Alas! he thinks, by going back these foolish men will be deprived of the possession of the jewels.
97. Therefore let me by dint of magic power now produce a great city adorned with thousands of kotis of buildings and embellished by monasteries and parks.
98. Let me produce ponds and canals; (a city) adorned with gardens and flowers, provided with walls and gates, and inhabited by an infinite number of men and women.
99. After creating that city he speaks to them in this manner: ‘Do not fear, and be cheerful; you have reached a most excellent city; enter it and do your business, speedily.
100. ‘Be joyful and at ease; you have reached the limit of the whole forest.’ It is to give them a time for repose that he speaks these words, and, in fact, they recover from their weariness.
101. As he perceives that they have sufficiently reposed, he collects them and addresses them again: ‘Come, hear what I have to tell you: this city have I produced by magic’.
102. ‘On seeing you fatigued, I have, lest you should go back, made use of this device; now strain your energy to reach the Isle.’
103. In the same manner, monks, I am the guide, the conductor of thousands of kotis of living beings; in the same manner I see creatures toiling and unable to break the shell of the egg of evils’.
104. Then I reflect on this matter: These beings have enjoyed repose, have been tranquillised; now I will remind them of the misery of all things (and I say): ‘At the stage of Arhat you shall reach your aim.’
105. At that time, when you shall have attained that state, and when I see all of you have become Arhats, then will I call you all together and explain to you how the law really is.
106. It is an artifice of the Leaders, when they, the great Seers, show three vehicles, for there is but one vehicle, no second; it is only to help (creatures) that two vehicles are spoken of.
107. Therefore I now tell you, monks: Rouse to the utmost your lofty energy for the sake of the knowledge of the all-knowing; as yet, you have not come so far as to possess complete Nirvâna.
108. But when you shall have attained the knowledge of the all-knowing and the ten powers proper to Ginas, you shall become Buddhas marked by the thirty-two characteristic signs and have rest for ever.
109. Such is the teaching of the Leaders: in order to give quiet they speak of repose, (but) when they see that (the creatures) have had a repose, they, knowing this to be no final resting-place, initiate them in the knowledge of the all-knowing.
ANNOUNCEMENT OF THE FUTURE DESTINY OF THE FIVE HUNDRED MONKS
On hearing from the Lord that display of skilfulness and the instruction by means of mysterious speech; on hearing the announcement of the future destiny of the great Disciples, as well as the foregoing tale concerning ancient devotion and the leadership of the Lord, the venerable Pûrna, son of Maitrâyanî, was filled with wonder and amazement, thrilled with pure-heartedness, a feeling of delight and joy. He rose from his seat, full of delight and joy, full of great respect for the law, and while prostrating himself before the Lord’s feet, made within himself the following reflection: Wonderful, O Lord; wonderful, O Sugata; it is an extremely difficult thing that the Tathâgatas, &c., perform, the conforming to this world, composed of so many elements, and preaching the law to all creatures with many proofs of their skilfulness, and skilfully releasing them when attached to this or that. What could we do, O Lord, in such a case? None but the Tathâgata knows our inclination and our ancient course. Then, after saluting with his head the Lord’s feet, Parna went and stood apart, gazing up to the Lord with unmoved eyes and so showing his veneration.
And the Lord, regarding the mental disposition of the venerable Pûrna, son of Maitrâyani, addressed the entire assembly of monks in this strain: Ye monks, see this disciple, Pûrna, son of Maitrâyani, whom I have designated as the foremost of preachers in this assembly, praised for his many virtues, and who has applied himself in various ways to comprehend the true law. He is the man to excite, arouse, and stimulate the four classes of the audience; unwearied in the preaching of the law; as capable to preach the law as to oblige his fellow-followers of the course of duty. The Tathâgata excepted, monks, there is none able to equal Pûrna, son of Maitrâyanî, either essentially or in accessories. Now, monks, do you suppose that he keeps my true law only? No, monks, you must not think so. For I remember, monks, that in the past, in the times of the ninety-nine Buddhas, the same Pûrna kept the true law under the mastership of those Buddhas. Even as he is now with me, so he has, in all periods, been the foremost of the preachers of the law; has in all periods been a consummate knower of Voidness; has in all periods acquired the (four) distinctive qualifications of an Arhat; has in all periods reached mastership in the transcendent wisdom of the Bodhisattvas. He has been a strongly convinced preacher of the law, exempt from doubt, and quite pure. Under the mastership of those Buddhas he has during his whole existence observed a spiritual life, and everywhere they termed him ‘the Disciple.’ By this means he has promoted the interest of innumerable, incalculable hundred thousands of myriads of kotis of beings, and brought innumerable and incalculable beings to full ripeness for supreme and perfect enlightenment. In all periods he has assisted the creatures in the function of a Buddha, and in all periods he has purified his own Buddha-field, always striving to bring creatures to ripeness. He was also, monks, the foremost among the preachers of the law under the seven Tathâgatas, the first of whom is Vipasyin and the seventh myself.
And as to the Buddhas, monks, who have in future to appear in this Bhadra-kalpa, to the number of a thousand less four, under the mastership of them also shall this same Pûrna, son of Maitrayanî, be the foremost among the preachers of the law and the keeper of the true law. Thus he shall keep the true law of innumerable and incalculable Lords and Buddhas in future, promote the interest of innumerable and incalculable beings, and bring innumerable and incalculable beings to full ripeness for supreme and perfect enlightenment. Constantly and assiduously he shall be instant in purifying his own Buddha-field and bringing creatures to ripeness. After completing such a Bodhisattva-course, at the end of innumerable, incalculable Æons, he shall reach supreme and perfect enlightenment; he shall in the world be the Tathâgata called Dharmaprabhâsa, an Arhat, &c., endowed with science and conduct, a Sugata, &c. He shall appear in this very Buddha-field.
Further, monks, at that time the Buddha-field spoken of will look as if formed by thousands of spheres similar to the sands of the river Ganges. It will be even, like the palm of the hand, consist of seven precious substances, be without hills, and filled with high edifices of seven precious substances. There will be cars of the gods stationed in the sky; the gods will behold men, and men will behold the gods. Moreover, monks, at that time that Buddha-field shall be exempt from places of punishment and from womankind, as all beings shall be born by apparitional birth. They shall lead a spiritual life, have ideal bodies, be self-lighting, magical, moving in the firmament, strenuous, of good memory, wise, possessed of gold-coloured bodies, and adorned with the thirty-two characteristics of a great man. And at that time, monks, the beings in that Buddha-field will have two things to feed upon, viz. the delight in the law and the delight in meditation. There will be an immense, incalculable number of hundred thousands of myriads of kotis of Bodhisattvas; all endowed with great transcendent wisdom, accomplished in the (four) distinctive qualifications of an Arhat, able in instructing creatures. He (that Buddha) will have a number of disciples, beyond all calculation, mighty in magic, powerful, masters in the meditation of the eight emancipations. So immense are the good qualities that Buddha-field will be possessed of. And that Æon shall be called Ratnâvabhâsa (i.e. radiant with gems), and that world Suvisuddha (i.e. very pure). His lifetime shall last immense, incalculable Æons; and after the complete extinction of that Lord Dharmaprabhâsa, the Tathâgata, &c., his true law shall last long, and his world shall be full of Stûpas made of precious substances. Such inconceivable good qualities, monks, shall the Buddha-field of that Lord be possessed of.
So spoke the Lord, and thereafter he, the Sugata, the Master, added the following stanzas:
- Listen to me, monks, and hear how my son has achieved his course of duty, and how he, welltrained and skilful, has observed the course of enlightenment.
2. Viewing these beings to be lowly-disposed and to be startled at the lofty vehicle, the Bodhisattvas become disciples and exercise Pratyekabuddhaship.
3. By many hundreds of able devices they bring numerous Bodhisattvas to full ripeness and declare: We are but disciples, indeed, and we are far away from the highest and supreme enlightenment.
4. It is by learning from them this course (of duty) that kotis of beings arrive at full ripeness, who (at first), lowly-disposed and somewhat lazy, in course of time all become Buddhas.
5. They follow a course in ignorance (thinking): We, disciples, are of little use, indeed! In despondency they descend into all places of existence (successively), and (so) clear their own field.
6. They show in their own persons that they are not free from affection, hatred, and infatuation; and on perceiving (other) beings clinging to (heretical) views, they go so far as to accommodate themselves to those views.
7. By following such a course my numerous disciples skilfully save creatures; simple people would go mad, if they were taught the whole course of life (or story).
8. Pûrna here, monks, my disciple, has formerly fulfilled his course (of duty) under thousands of kotis of Buddhas, he has got possession of this true law by seeking after Buddha-knowledge.
9. And at all periods has he been the foremost of the disciples, learned, a brilliant orator, free from hesitation; he has, indeed, always been able to excite to gladness and at all times ready to perform the Buddha-task.
- He has always been accomplished in the sublime transcendent faculties and endowed with the distinctive qualifications of an Arhat; he knew the faculties and range of (other) beings, and has always preached the perfectly pure law.
11. By exposing the most eminent of true laws he has brought thousands of kotis of beings to full ripeness for this supreme, foremost vehicle, whilst purifying his own excellent field.
12. In future also he shall likewise honour thousands of kotis of Buddhas, acquire knowledge of the most eminent of good laws, and clean his own field.
13. Always free from timidity he shall preach the law with thousands of kotis of able devices, and bring many beings to full ripeness for the knowledge of the all-knowing that is free from imperfections.
14. After having paid homage to the Chiefs of men and always kept the most eminent of laws, he shall in the world be a Buddha self-born, widely renowned everywhere by the name of Dharmaprabhâsa.
15. And his field shall always be very pure and always set off with seven precious substances; his Æon shall be (called) Ratnâvabhâsa, and his world Suvisuddha.
16. That world shall be pervaded with many thousand kotis of Bodhisattvas, accomplished masters in the great transcendent sciences, pure in every respect, and endowed with magical power.
17. At that period the Chief shall also have an assemblage of thousands of kotis of disciples, endowed with magical power, adepts at the meditation of the (eight) emancipations, and accomplished in the (four) distinctive qualifications of an Arhat.
18. And all beings in that Buddha-field shall be pure and lead a spiritual life. Springing into existence by apparitional birth, they shall all be goldcoloured and display the thirty-two characteristic signs.
19. They shall know no other food but pleasure in the law and delight in knowledge. No womankind shall be there, nor fear of the places of punishments or of dismal states.
20. Such shall be the excellent field of Pûrna, who is possessed of all good qualities; it shall abound with all goodly things, a small part (only) of which has here been mentioned.
Then this thought arose in the mind of those twelve hundred self-controlled (Arhats): We are struck with wonder and amazement. (How) if the Tathâgata would predict to us severally our future destiny as the Lord has done to those other great disciples? And the Lord apprehending in his own mind what was going on in the minds of these great disciples addressed the venerable Mahâ-Kasyapa: Those twelve hundred self-controlled hearers whom I am now beholding from face to face, to all those twelve hundred self-controlled hearers, Kasyapa, I will presently foretell their destiny. Amongst them, Kâsyapa, the monk Kaundinya, a great disciple, shall, after sixty-two hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Buddhas, become a Tathâgata, an Arhat, &c., under the name of Samantaprabhâsa, endowed with science and conduct, a Sugata, &c. &c.; but of those (twelve hundred), Kâsyapa, five hundred shall become Tathâgatas of the same name. Thereafter shall all those five hundred great disciples reach supreme and perfect enlightenment, all bearing the name of Samantaprabhâsa; viz. Gayâ-Kâsyapa, Nadî-Kâsyapa, Uruvilvâ.-Kâsyapa, Kâla, KâIodâyin, Aniruddha, Kapphina, Vakkula, Kunda, Svâgata, and the rest of the five hundred self-controlled (Arhats).
And on that occasion the Lord uttered the following stanzas:
21. The scion of the Kundina family, my disciple here, shall in future be a Tathâgata, a Lord of the world, after the lapse of an endless period; he shall educate hundreds of kotis of living beings.
22. After seeing many endless Buddhas, he shall in future, after the lapse of an endless period, become the Gina Samantaprabhâsa, whose field shall be thoroughly pure.
23. Brilliant, gifted with the powers of a Buddha, with a voice far resounding in all quarters, waited upon by thousands of kotis of beinas, he shall preach supreme and eminent enlightenment.
24. There shall be most zealous Bodhisattvas, mounted on lofty aereal cars, and moving, meditative, pure in morals, and assiduous in doing good.
25. After hearing the law from the highest of men, they shall invariably go to other fields, to salute thousands of Buddhas and show them great honour.
26. But ere long they shall return to the field of the Leader called Prabhâsa, the Tathâgata. So great shall be the power of their course (of duty).
27. The measure of the lifetime of that Sugata shall be sixty thousand Æons, and, after the complete extinction of that mighty one, his true law shall remain twice as long in the world.
28. And the counterfeit of it shall continue three times as long. When the true law of that holy one shall he exhausted, men and gods shall be vexed.
29. There shall appear a complete number of five hundred Chiefs, supreme amongst men, who shall bear the same name with that Gina, Samantaprabha, and follow one another in regular succession.
30. All shall have like divisions, magical powers, Buddha-fields, and hosts (of followers). Their true law also shall be the same and stand equally long.
31. All shall have in this world, including the gods, the same voice as Samantaprabha’sa, the highest of men, such as I have mentioned before.
32. Moved by benevolence and compassion they shall in succession foretell each other’s destiny, with the words: This is to be my immediate successor, and he is to command the world as I do at present.
33. Thus, Kâsyapa, keep now in view I here these self-controlled (Arhats), no less than five hundred (in number), as well as my other disciples, and speak of this matter to the other disciples.
On hearing from the Lord the announcement of their own future destiny, the five hundred Arhats, contented, satisfied, in high spirits and ecstasy, filled with cheerfulness, joy, and delight, went up to the place where the Lord was sitting, reverentially saluted with their heads his feet, and spoke thus: We confess our fault, O Lord, in having continually and constantly persuaded ourselves that we had arrived at final Nirvâna, as (persons who are) dull, inept, ignorant of the rules, For, O Lord, whereas we should have thoroughly penetrated the knowledge of the Tathâgatas, we were content with such a trifling degree of knowledge.
It is, O Lord, as if some man having come to a friend’s house got drunk or fell asleep, and that friend bound a priceless gem within his garment, with the thought: Let this gem be his. After a while, O Lord, that man rises from his seat and travels further; he goes to some other country, where he is befallen by incessant difficulties, and has great trouble to find food and clothing. By dint of great exertion he is hardly able to obtain a bit of food, with which (however) he is contented and satisfied. The old friend of that man, O Lord, who bound within the man’s garment that priceless gem, happens to see him again and says: How is it, good friend, that thou hast such difficulty in seeking food and clothing, while I, in order that thou shouldst live in ease, good friend, have bound within thy garment a priceless gem, quite sufficient to fulfil all thy wishes? I have given thee that gem, my good friend, the very gem I have bound within thy garment. Still thou art deliberating: What has been bound? by whom? for what reason and purpose? It is something foolish, my good friend, to be contented, when thou hast with (so much) difficulty to procure food and clothing. Go, my good friend, betake thyself, with this gem, to some great city, exchange the gem for money, and with that money do all that can be done with money.
In the same manner, O Lord, has the Tathâgata formerly, when he still followed the course of duty of a Bodhisattva, raised in us also ideas of omniscience, but we, O Lord, did not perceive, nor know it. We fancied, O Lord, that on the stage of Arhat we had reached Nirvâna. We live in difficulty, O Lord, because we content ourselves with such a trifling degree of knowledge. But as our strong aspiration after the knowledge of the all-knowing has never ceased, the Tathâgata teaches us the right: ‘Have no such idea of Nirvâna, monks; there are in your intelligence roots of goodness which of yore I have fully developed. In this you have to see an able device of mine that from the expressions used by me, in preaching the law, you fancy Nirvâna to take place at this moment.’ And after having taught us the right in such a way, the Lord now predicts our future destiny to supreme and perfect knowledge.
And on that occasion the five hundred self-controlled (Arhats), Agnata-Kaundinya and the rest, uttered the following stanzas:
34. We are rejoicing and delighted to hear this unsurpassed word of comfort that we are destined to the highest, supreme enlightenment. Homage be to thee, O Lord of unlimited sight!
35. We confess our fault before thee; we were so childish, nescient, ignorant that we were fully contented with a small part of Nirvâna, under the mastership of the Sugata.
36. This is a case like that of a certain man who enters the house of a friend, which friend, being rich and wealthy, gives him much food, both hard and soft.
37. After satiating him with nourishment, he gives him a jewel of great value. He ties it with a knot within the upper robe and feels satisfaction at having given that jewel.
38. The other man, unaware of it, goes forth and from that place travels to another town. There he is befallen with misfortune and, as a miserable beggar, seeks his food in affliction.
39. He is contented with the pittance he gets by begging without caring for dainty food; as to that jewel, he has forgotten it; he has not the slightest remembrance of its having been tied in his upper robe.
40. Under these circumstances he is seen by his old friend who at home gave him that jewel. This friend properly reprimands him and shows him the jewel within his robe.
41. At this sight the man feels extremely happy. The value of the jewel is such that he becomes a very rich man, of great power, and in possession of all that the five senses can enjoy.
42. In the same manner, O Lord, we were unaware of our former aspiration, (the aspiration) laid in us by the Tathâgata himself in previous existences from time immemorial.
43. And we were living in this world, O Lord, with dull understanding and in ignorance, under the mastership of the Sugata; for we were contented with a little of Nirvâna; we required nothing higher, nor even cared for it.
44. But the Friend of the world has taught us better: ‘This is no blessed Rest at all; the full knowledge of the highest men, that is blessed Rest, that is supreme beatitude.’
45. After hearing this sublime, grand, splendid, and matchless prediction, O Lord, we are greatly elated with joy, when thinking of the prediction (we shall have to make to each other) in regular succession.
Source: English Translation is based on Kumarajiva`s Chinese translation from Sanskrit Saddharma Pundarika Sutra, who died in the early 5th century CE