The Lotus Sutra

Table of contents
Chapter I IntroductionChapter II Skillful Means
Chapter III A ParableChapter IV Willing Acceptance
Chapter V HerbsChapter VI Prediction
Chapter VII The Apparitional CityChapter VIII The Five Hundred Disciples Receive Their Predictions
Chapter IX The Predictions for Those Who Still Have More to Learn and for Those Who Do NotChapter X The Expounder of the Dharma
Chapter XI The Appearance of a Jewelled StupaChapter XII Devadatta
Chapter XIII PerseveranceChapter XIV Ease in Practice
Chapter XV Bodhisattvas Emerging from the EarthChapter XVI The Lifespan of the Tathāgata
Chapter XVII Description of MeritsChapter XVIII The Merits of Joyful Acceptance
Chapter XIX The Benefits Obtained by an Expounder of the DharmaChapter XX Bodhisattva Never Despising
Chapter XXI The Transcendent Powers of the TathāgataChapter XXII Entrustment
Chapter XXIII Ancient Accounts of Bodhisattva Medicine KingChapter XXIV Bodhisattva Wonderful Voice
Chapter XXV The Gateway to Every Direction
[Manifested by Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World]
Chapter XXVI Dhāraṇī
Chapter XXVII Ancient Accounts of King Wonderful AdornmentChapter XXVIII Encouragement of Bodhisattva Universal Worthy

  The Lotus Sutra
  Chapter I Introduction
  (Translated from the Chinese of Kumārajiva by Tsugunari Kubo and Akira Yuyama)
  (Second Revised Edition) (dBET)
  Edited based on https://www.bdk.or.jp/document/dgtl-dl/dBET_T0262_LotusSutra_2007.pdf

  Thus have I heard. Once the Buddha was staying in the city of Rājagṛha, on the mountain called Gṛdhrakūṭa, together with a great assembly of twelve thousand monks, all of whom were arhats whose corruption was at an end, who were free from all the Vexations, who had achieved their own goals, shattered the bonds of existence, and attained complete mental discipline.
  Their names were Ājñātakauṇḍinya, Mahākāśyapa, Uruvilvakāśyapa, Gayākāśyapa, Nadīkāśyapa, Śāriputra, Mahāmaudgalyāyana, Mahākātyāyana, Aniruddha, Kapphiṇa, Gavāṃpati, Revata, Pilindavatsa, Bakkula, Mahākauṣṭhila, Nanda, Sundarananda, Pūrṇamaitrāyaṇīputra, Subhūti, Ānanda, and Rāhula. All of them were great arhats, known to the assembly. There were in addition two thousand others, both those who had more to learn and those who did not. The nun Mahāprajāpatī was there, together with her six thousand attendants; and also the nun Yaśodharā, Rāhula’s mother, together with her attendants.
  There were also eighty thousand bodhisattva mahāsattvas, all of whom were irreversible from Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi (the highest, complete enlightenment). They had obtained the Dhāraṇīs, were established in eloquence, and had turned the irreversible wheel of the Dharma. Each had paid homage to countless hundreds of thousands of buddhas, planted roots of merit in their presence, and had always been praised by those buddhas. They had also cultivated compassion within themselves, skillfully caused others to enter the wisdom of a buddha, obtained great wisdom, and reached the other shore. All of them were famous throughout countless worlds and had saved innumerable hundreds of thousands of sentient beings.
  They were Bodhisattva Mañjuśrī, Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World (Avalokiteśvara), Bodhisattva Gainer of Great Authority, Bodhisattva Constant Exertion, Bodhisattva Never Resting, Bodhisattva Jewelled Palm, Bodhisattva Medicine King, Bodhisattva Brave Donor, Bodhisattva Jewelled Moon, Bodhisattva Moonlight, Bodhisattva Full Moon, Bodhisattva Great Strength, Bodhisattva Immeasurable Strength, Bodhisattva Transcending the Threefold World, Bodhisattva Bhadrapala, Bodhisattva Maitreya, Bodhisattva Jewelled Accumulation, and Bodhisattva Guiding Leader. There were altogether eighty thousand such bodhisattva mahāsattvas.
  At that time Śakra, king of the devas, was also there, attended by twenty thousand devaputras. The devaputras of Rare Moon, Pervading Fragrance, Jewelled Glow and the great devas of the four quarters were there, together with a retinue of ten thousand devaputras. The devaputras Freedom and Great Freedom were there, attended by thirty thousand devaputras. Brahma, the lord of the sahā world, — namely the great Brahma Śikhin and the great Brahma Light Bright were there, together with a retinue of twelve thousand devaputras. The eight nāga kings—namely, Nanda, Upananda, Sāgara, Vāsukin, Takṣaka, Anavatapta, Manasvin, and Utpalaka—were also there, each of them surrounded by several hundreds of thousands of attendants.
  There were four kings of the kiṃnaras whose names were Dharma, Wonderful Dharma, Great Dharma, and Upholding Dharma, and each had several hundreds of thousands of attendants. The four kings of the gandharvas were there. Their names were Pleasant, Pleasant Sound, Beautiful, and Beautiful Sound, each of them also with several hundreds of thousands of attendants. There, too, were four kings of the asuras, called Baḍin, Kharaskandha, Vemacitra, and Rahu, each with several hundreds of thousands of attendants. There were four garuda kings, the garuda king Great Majesty, the garuda king Great Body, the garuda king Great Fullness, and the garuda king As One Wishes, each together with several hundreds of thousands of attendants. Finally, King Ajātaśatru, Vaidehī’s son, was also there with several hundreds of thousands of his attendants. Each of them, after having bowed at the Buddha’s feet, withdrew and sat to one side.
  At that time the Bhagavat was respectfully surrounded by the fourfold assembly (i.e., monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen), paid homage, honored, and praised. He then taught the bodhisattvas the Mahayana sutra called Immeasurable Meanings, the instruction for the bodhisattvas and the treasured lore of the buddhas. After having taught this sutra, the Buddha sat cross-legged, entered the samādhi called the “abode of immeasurable meanings” and remained unmoving in both body and mind.Māndārava and great māndārava flowers, mañjūṣaka and great mañjūṣaka flowers then fell like rain from the sky, scattering upon the Buddha and all of his attendants; and the whole buddha world quaked in six ways. At that time, that whole assembly of such humans and nonhumans as monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen, the devas, nāgas, yakṣas, gandharvas, asuras, garuḍas, kiṃnaras, mahoragas, kings, and wheel-turning sage kings, having experienced something unprecedented, were filled with joy, and with their palms pressed together they gazed attentively at the Buddha.
  Then the Buddha emitted a ray of light from the tuft of white hair between his eyebrows. It illuminated all the eighteen thousand worlds in the east, down as far as the lowest hell, called Avīci, and up as high as the Akaniṣṭha Heaven. All the sentient beings in those worlds living in the six transmigratory states became visible from this world. The buddhas in those worlds were also seen, and the Dharma they were teaching could be heard. The monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen and those who had practiced and achieved the path were also to be seen, while the bodhisattva mahāsattvas, of various background causes and conditions, endowed in various degrees with the willingness to understand and having various appearances, were also seen practicing the bodhisattva path. All of the relic stupas of the buddhas who had achieved parinirvāṇa, which were made of the seven precious treasures, were seen.
  At that moment it occurred to Bodhisattva Maitreya: “The Bhagavat has now manifested the sign of great transcendent power. What could be the reason for this marvel? The Buddha, the Bhagavat, has now entered samādhi. Whom should I ask about this wonderful marvel? Who would be able to answer my question?”
  Then he thought further: “This Mañjuśrī, Prince of the Dharma, has closely attended and paid homage to innumerable buddhas of the past. He must certainly have seen such a marvellous sign before. I should ask him now.”
  At the same time it occurred to the monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen, devas, nāgas, yakṣas, and others: “Now whom should we ask about the illumination and marvellous sign of this buddha?”
  Then Bodhisattva Maitreya, wanting to clear up his own confusion, and knowing the minds of the fourfold assembly of monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen and of the nāgas, yakṣas, and other beings in that gathering, asked Mañjuśrī: “What is the reason for this marvellous sign, this great ray of light that illuminates the eighteen thousand worlds in the east and renders visible the adornments of all the buddha worlds?”
  Thereupon Bodhisattva Maitreya, wanting to elaborate the meaning of this further, spoke to Mañjuśrī in verse:

  “O Mañjuśrī!
  Why has the Leader
  Emitted this great ray of light far and wide
  From the tuft of white hair
  Between his eyebrows,
  Raining down māndārava and mañjūṣaka flowers,
  And gladdening the people
  With the fragrant winds of sandalwood?
  For this reason
  The earth is completely adorned,
  And this world quakes in six ways.
  And the fourfold assembly
  Is completely enraptured,
  Delighted in body and mind at the experience of
  Such an unprecedented marvel.
  From the depths of the Avīci Hell
  Up to the summit of existence,
  The ray of light from between his eyebrows
  Illuminates the eighteen thousand worlds in the east,
  Which shimmer like gold,
  And, throughout all these worlds,
  The births and deaths of the living beings
  Of the six transmigratory states of existence,
  And the good and bad deeds,
  Through which they have received
  Good and bad consequences,
  Are all to be seen from here.
  The buddhas, the Sage Lord,
  Who teach the subtle and supreme sutra
  Are also seen.
  Uttering soft sounds
  With their pure voices,
  They teach innumerable myriads
  Of koṭis of bodhisattvas.
  With their voices, deep and enticing
  Like the sounds of Brahma
  They make the people eager to hear them.
  In each world they teach the True Dharma;
  They illuminate the Buddha-Dharma
  And enlighten sentient beings
  By means of various explanations
  And innumerable illustrations.
  To those who are suffering
  And are cast down by old age, illness, and death
  They teach nirvana
  To extinguish their sufferings.
  To those who have merit,
  Have paid homage to the buddhas
  And seek the excellent Dharma,
  They teach the ideal of the pratyekabuddha.
  To those heirs of the buddhas
  Who have practiced in various ways
  And are seeking the utmost wisdom,
  They teach the pure path.
  O Mañjuśrī! Abiding here,
  I see and hear
  Thousands of koṭis of things in this way.
  There are many such things.
  I shall now explain them in brief.
  In these worlds I see bodhisattvas,
  Equal in number to the sands of the Ganges River
  Seeking the path of the buddhas
  According to their various situations.
  Some undertake the practice of giving gifts,
  Joyfully giving gold, silver, coral, pearls,
  Jewels, conch shells, agates, diamonds,
  Servants, carts, and ornamented litters—
  They give these things joyfully,
  Transferring the merit
  To the path of the buddhas,
  Wishing to obtain this vehicle
  Which is the highest in the three worlds,
  And praised by all the buddhas.
  Other bodhisattvas give gifts
  Such as ornamented carts yoked with four horses
  And furnished with railings,
  Canopies, and decorated eaves.
  Moreover, I see bodhisattvas
  Who, seeking for the highest path,
  Give gifts such as their bodies, flesh, hands,
  And feet, as well as their wives and children.
  Moreover, I see bodhisattvas
  Who are joyfully giving their heads, eyes, and bodies,
  While searching for the wisdom of the buddhas.
  O Mañjuśrī!
  I see kings making pilgrimages to the buddhas,
  Asking about the highest path,
  Abandoning their prosperous lands,
  Palaces, subjects and harems,
  Shaving their heads and beards,
  And wearing the robes of the Dharma.
  I see some bodhisattvas becoming monks,
  Dwelling apart in tranquility,
  Reciting the sutras with contentment.
  I also see bodhisattvas
  Persistent and courageous,
  Going into remote mountains
  And contemplating the buddha path.
  I see some abandoning worldly desires,
  Dwelling always in lonely places,
  Practicing profound meditations
  And obtaining the five transcendent powers.
  I see bodhisattvas
  Meditating with palms pressed together,
  Praising the Kings of the Dharma
  With thousands of myriads of verses.
  I also see bodhisattvas,
  Profound in wisdom and firm in resolution,
  Asking the buddhas questions,
  Listening carefully and retaining everything.
  Furthermore, I see heirs of the buddhas,
  Endowed with concentration and wisdom,
  Teaching the Dharma by innumerable illustrations
  For the benefit of living beings,
  Leading and inspiring the bodhisattvas
  By joyously teaching the Dharma,
  Destroying Māra and his minions
  And beating the drums of the Dharma.
  I also see bodhisattvas
  Who are tranquil and silent in ease,
  And never exult
  Even in the homage paid by devas and nāgas.
  I see bodhisattvas
  Dwelling in forests, radiating light,
  Alleviating the suffering of beings in the hells
  And causing them to enter the buddha path.
  I also see heirs of the buddhas
  Who have never fallen asleep,
  And are constantly wandering in forests
  In search of the buddha path.
  I see some who are pure like jewels,
  Endowed with integrity
  And faultless in behaviour,
  In search of the buddha path.
  Furthermore, I see heirs of the buddhas
  In search of the buddha path,
  Who have the power of perseverance
  And patiently endure
  Those of excessive pride
  Who abuse them verbally and physically.
  I see bodhisattvas
  Who have been searching for the buddha path
  For thousands of myriads of koṭis of years,
  And who have renounced idlers and foolish companions
  And approached the wise.
  Having single-mindedly rid themselves of inner confusion
  They are meditating in mountain forests.
  I also see bodhisattvas seeking
  For the highest path,
  Who are giving food and drink,
  And a hundred kinds of medicine
  To the Buddha and the sangha.
  They give superb garments and clothing
  Worth thousands of myriads,
  And priceless robes
  To the Buddha and the sangha.
  They give thousands of myriads of koṭis
  Of treasured monasteries made of sandalwood,
  And various kinds of excellent bedding
  To the Buddha and the sangha.
  They give clean garden groves
  Full of flowers and fruits,
  Fountains and bathing pools
  To the Buddha and the sangha.
  Thus they give such various excellent things,
  With joy and vigour,
  Seeking the supreme path.
  There are also bodhisattvas
  Who are teaching innumerable sentient beings
  The Dharma of tranquility
  In various ways.
  Furthermore, I see bodhisattvas
  Who have perceived the essential character
  Of all dharmas (phenomena) to be without duality,
  Just like empty space.
  I also see heirs of the buddhas
  Who are seeking the highest path
  Through this subtle wisdom,
  Their minds free of attachment.
  O Mañjuśrī! There are bodhisattvas
  Who pay homage to the relics of the buddhas
  After their parinirvāṇas.
  I also see heirs of the buddhas
  Who have built stupas
  As numerous as the sands of the Ganges River,
  With which to decorate the buddha worlds.
  These jewelled stupas are magnificent—
  Five thousand yojanas in height and
  Two thousand yojanas in both length and width.
  On each of these stupas
  Are one thousand banners, flags, and canopies,
  And jewelled bells ringing harmoniously.
  And devas, nāgas, humans, and nonhumans
  Constantly give offerings of
  Perfume, flowers, and music to them.
  O Mañjuśrī! The heirs of the buddhas
  Have decorated the stupas
  In order to pay homage to the relics.
  These worlds have been spontaneously
  Made as extraordinarily beautiful
  As the king of the heavenly trees
  When his flowers bloom.
  Because the Buddha has emitted this ray of light,
  I and those with me in the assembly can see
  These worlds of marvellous and varied beauty.
  The wisdom and transcendent powers
  Of all the buddhas are extraordinary;
  By emitting a single ray of light
  He has illuminated innumerable lands.
  Seeing this, we attain
  That which we have not met with before.
  O Mañjuśrī, Heir of the Buddhas!
  We entreat you to rid us of our confusion!
  The fourfold assembly is joyfully
  Looking up at you and me.
  Why did the Bhagavat emit this ray of light?
  O Heir of the Buddhas, now answer!
  Resolve our confusion and gladden us!
  Why is he emitting this ray of light?
  Will the Buddha teach us the True Dharma
  That he obtained while he sat
  On the terrace of enlightenment?
  Will he predict enlightenment to us?
  It is not for a trifling reason
  That all the buddha lands, ornamented
  With various jewels,
  And all the buddhas have been made visible.
  O Mañjuśrī!
  You should know that the fourfold assembly,
  Nāgas, and devas,
  Look forward to hearing
  What you shall reveal.”

  Thereupon Mañjuśrī spoke to Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Maitreya and the other worthy beings: “O sons of a virtuous family! I am very sure that the Buddha, the Bhagavat, will now teach the great Dharma, rain down the great Dharma, blow the conch of the great Dharma, beat the drum of the great Dharma, and reveal the meaning of the great Dharma.
  “O sons of a virtuous family! I have seen buddhas in the past who have shown this marvel and have taught the great Dharma immediately after emitting a ray of light. Therefore, you should know that in the very same way the Buddha has now emitted this light and has shown this marvel in order to cause all sentient beings to hear and understand the Dharma which in all the worlds is difficult to understand.
  “O sons of a virtuous family! In the past, more than innumerable, limitless, unthinkable, Asamkhyeyas of kalpas ago, there was a buddha called Sun Moon Lamp Bright, a Tathāgata, Arhat, Completely Enlightened, Perfect in Knowledge and Conduct, Well Departed, Knower of the World, Unsurpassed, Tamer of Humans, Teacher of Devas and Humans, Buddha, Bhagavat. He taught the True Dharma that was good in the beginning, good in the middle, and good in the end. It was profound in meaning, elegant in speech, and endowed with the character of the pure path of discipline and integrity.
  “To those seeking for the śrāvaka vehicle he taught the Dharma with respect to the Four Noble Truths, causing them to overcome birth, old age, illness, and death and to attain nirvana. He taught the Dharma with respect to Dependent Origination to the pratyekabuddhas; and to the bodhisattvas he taught the Dharma with respect to the Six Perfections, causing them to attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi (the highest, complete enlightenment) and perfect All-Knowledge.
  “Then there was another buddha named Sun Moon Lamp Bright, and after him another buddha also named Sun Moon Lamp Bright. And so in this way twenty thousand buddhas all had the same name Sun Moon Lamp Bright. They also had the same family name Bharadvāja.
  “O Maitreya! You should know that these buddhas, beginning from the first up to the last, all had the same name Sun Moon Lamp Bright, endowed with the ten epithets. The Dharma that they taught was good in the beginning, the middle, and the end.
  “The last buddha fathered eight princes before he renounced household life. The first was called Having Intention, the second Good Intention, the third Immeasurable Intention, the fourth Jewelled Intention, the fifth was called Increased Intention, the sixth Cleansed of Doubt Intention, the seventh Echoing Intention, and the eighth was called Dharma Intention. These eight princes were endowed with dignity and power, and each of them ruled over four great continents. Having heard that their father had renounced household life and obtained Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi (the highest, complete enlightenment), all of them abandoned their kingdoms and also renounced household life. Each caused the spirit of the Mahayana to arise within him, practiced the pure path of discipline and integrity, and became an expounder of the Dharma. They all planted roots of good merit under many thousands of myriads of buddhas.
  “At that time, the Buddha Sun Moon Lamp Bright taught the Mahayana sutra called Immeasurable Meanings, the instruction for the bodhisattvas and treasured lore of the buddhas. Having taught this sutra, he sat down cross-legged, undisturbed in body and mind among the great assembly and entered the samādhi called the ‘abode of immeasurable meanings.’
  “Then māndārava and great māndārava flowers, mañjūṣaka and great mañjūṣaka flowers fell like rain from the sky, scattering over the Buddha and all of his attendants. And the whole buddha world quaked in six ways. At that time all in that assembly of humans and nonhumans—monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen, devas, nāgas, yakṣas, gandharvas, asuras, garuḍas, kiṃnaras, mahoragas, kings, and wheel-turning sage kings—having experienced such an unprecedented marvel, were filled with joy and pressing their palms together they gazed attentively at the Buddha.
  “Then the Buddha emitted a ray of light from the tuft of white hair between his eyebrows which completely illuminated all the eighteen thousand worlds in the east, in the same way that all of these buddha worlds are visible now.
  “O Maitreya! You should know that at that time there were twenty koṭis of bodhisattvas in the assembly who wanted to hear the Dharma. All of these bodhisattvas, having seen all the buddha worlds completely illuminated by this ray of light, were struck with wonder and wanted to know why it was emitted.
  “A bodhisattva named Wonderful Light was there with his eight hundred disciples. At that time the Buddha Sun Moon Lamp Bright, having emerged from samādhi, remained sitting for sixty small kalpas and revealed to Bodhisattva Wonderful Light the Mahayana sutra called White Lotus of the Marvellous Law (hereafter Lotus Sutra), which was the instruction for bodhisattvas and the treasured lore of the buddhas. The assembly also sat there undisturbed in body and mind listening to the Buddha’s exposition for sixty small kalpas as if only a single mealtime had passed; during that time not a single person among them experienced fatigue of body or mind.
  “Having taught this sutra for sixty small kalpas, the Buddha Sun Moon Lamp Bright made this proclamation to the assembly of Brahmas, māras, śrāmaṇas, brahmans, devas, humans, and asuras, saying:

  On this day during the middle watch of the night, the Tathāgata will enter nirvana
  without residue.

  “Then the Buddha Sun Moon Lamp Bright gave this prediction to a bodhisattva called Virtue Treasure House. Addressing the monks, he said:

  This Bodhisattva Virtue Treasure House will become the next buddha after me. He will be called Pure Body, a Tathāgata, Arhat, Completely Enlightened.

  “The Buddha, after having made this prediction, entered nirvana without residue during the middle of the night. After the Buddha passed into extinction, Bodhisattva Wonderful Light, having preserved the Lotus Sutra, taught it to humans for the full period of eighty small kalpas.
  “This Bodhisattva Wonderful Light was made the teacher for the Buddha Sun Moon Lamp Bright’s eight princes. Wonderful Light led and inspired them and caused them to be firm in Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi (the highest, complete enlightenment).
  “After paying homage to innumerable hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of buddhas, all these princes attained the path of the buddhas. The last of these to become enlightened was named Lighting Lamp.
  “Among the eight hundred disciples of Bodhisattva Wonderful Light there was a man named Fame Seeker who was attached to profit. Even though he had repeatedly recited the sutras he never became versed in them and forgot the greater part. That is why he was called ‘Fame Seeker.’ But because he had also planted various roots of good merit, he was able to meet innumerable hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of buddhas whom he rendered homage to, honoured, revered, and praised.
  “O Maitreya! You should know that Bodhisattva Wonderful Light at that time was none other than myself, and Bodhisattva Fame Seeker was none other than you. The marvel we see here is exactly the same as the previous one. Therefore I am certain that today the Tathāgata will teach the Mahayana sutra called the Lotus Sutra, the instruction for bodhisattvas and treasured lore of the buddhas.”
  Thereupon Mañjuśrī, wanting to explain the meaning of this further, spoke to the great assembly in verse:

  I remember that in the past,
  Innumerable incalculable kalpas ago,
  There was a buddha, the Best of Humans,
  Called Sun Moon Lamp Bright.
  This Bhagavat taught the Dharma,
  Leading and inspiring innumerable sentient beings
  And incalculable numbers of bodhisattvas,
  To attain the wisdom of the buddhas.
  Before renouncing household life
  The Buddha fathered eight princes.
  Having seen the Great Sage
  Renounce household life,
  They also followed him
  And practiced the pure path of discipline and integrity.
  At that time the Buddha taught
  And extensively illuminated the Mahayana sutra
  Called Immeasurable Meanings
  To the great assembly.
  After having taught this sutra,
  The Buddha sat down cross-legged
  On the seat of Dharma and entered the samādhi
  Called the “abode of immeasurable meanings.”
  The heavenly māndārava flowers Fell down like rain;
  The heavenly drums resounded spontaneously.
  All the devas, nāgas, and yakṣas
  Paid homage to the Best of Humans.
  All of the buddha worlds suddenly quaked greatly.
  And the Buddha emitted a ray of light
  From the tuft between his eyebrows
  And manifested various marvels.
  This ray of light illuminated
  The eighteen thousand buddha worlds in the east
  And revealed the conditions
  Resulting from the karma of each sentient being.
  Through this light of the Buddha
  All the buddha worlds appeared
  As if they were decorated with various jewels
  Such as lapis lazuli or crystal.
  All the devas, humans, nāgas,
  Yakṣas, gandharvas, and kiṃnaras
  Were each seen paying homage to the buddhas.
  All the Tathāgatas, who had spontaneously attained
  The path of the buddhas,
  Looked majestic and very beautiful
  With bodies like golden mountains.
  Each Bhagavat appeared like a golden image
  In the midst of lapis lazuli,
  Expounding the meaning
  Of the profound Dharma to the great assembly.
  There were innumerable śrāvakas
  In each of the buddha worlds,
  And all the great assemblies were to be seen
  Because of the light of the Buddha.
  There were also monks
  Living in mountain forests,
  Who, through persistence, possessed purity of conduct,
  Which they protected like a precious jewel.
  There were bodhisattvas,
  As numerous as the sands of the Ganges River,
  Practicing by giving, perseverance, and so on,
  Who also became visible through the light of the Buddha.
  There were bodhisattvas, who,
  Having entered deep samādhi,
  Were tranquil and undisturbed in body and mind,
  And who were seen seeking for the highest path.
  There were also bodhisattvas,
  Who, knowing the tranquil character of the Dharma,
  Were seen teaching the Dharma
  And seeking the path of the buddhas
  In each of the buddha worlds.
  At that time the fourfold assembly,
  Having seen the Buddha Sun Moon Lamp Bright
  Manifest these great transcendent powers,
  Became delighted, and asked each other
  What the reason for this could be.
  The Noble One, revered by devas and humans,
  Then emerged from samādhi and
  Praised Bodhisattva Wonderful Light, saying:

  You are the Eye of the World.
  You are believed in by all and
  Possess the treasure house of the Dharma.
  You are the only one who can understand
  The Dharma that I have taught!

  The Bhagavat praised Wonderful Light, delighting him,
  And taught this Lotus Sutra
  For the full period of sixty small kalpas
  Without rising from his seat.
  This expounder of the Dharma,
  Wonderful Light, Firmly and completely
  Preserved this most excellent Dharma
  That was taught by the Buddha.
  After having taught this Lotus Sutra
  And having then gladdened the assembly
  On that very day,
  The Buddha told the assembly of devas and humans:

  I have already taught you the meaning
  Of the essential character of all dharmas.
  Today I will enter nirvana
  In the middle of the night.
  Exert yourselves attentively
  And rid yourselves of negligence!
  The buddhas are extremely hard to meet
  And can be encountered only once
  In koṭis of kalpas!

  All the sons of the Bhagavat,
  On hearing that the Buddha was to enter nirvana,
  Became sad, thinking:

  Why will the Buddha enter nirvana so soon?

  The Noble Lord, the King of the Dharma,
  Consoled the innumerable beings saying:

  Do not fear after
  I enter nirvana!
  This Bodhisattva Virtue Treasure House has fully realized
  The true character of freedom from corruption.
  After me he will become A buddha named Pure Body.
  And then he will bring
  Innumerable sentient beings to the path.

  And that night the Buddha entered nirvana,
  Like a fire that goes out when the wood is exhausted.
  His relics were distributed
  And innumerable stupas were built.
  There were monks and nuns,
  As numerous as the sands of the Ganges River,
  Who increased their efforts
  And sought for the highest path.
  This expounder of the Dharma, Wonderful Light,
  Possessed of the treasure house of the Buddha,
  Extensively proclaimed the Lotus Sutra
  For eighty small kalpas.
  All of the eight princes Led and inspired by Wonderful Light,
  Became firmly established in the highest path,
  And met innumerable buddhas.
  After having paid homage to the buddhas
  And following them in their practice of the great path,
  They all in turn received their predictions,
  Becoming buddhas in succession.
  The last Buddha, the Highest of Devas,
  Was called Lighting Lamp,
  And, as the leader of all the sages,
  Had brought innumerable sentient beings to the path.
  This expounder of the Dharma, Wonderful Light,
  Had one disciple who was lazy
  And attached to fame and fortune.
  This disciple ceaselessly sought these things
  And amused himself from house to house.
  He abandoned recitation of the sutras,
  And, forgetting them,
  Never became versed in them.
  For this very reason he was named Fame Seeker.
  But since he had also performed many good deeds,
  He was able to meet innumerable buddhas.
  He paid homage to all these buddhas
  And having practiced the great path after them,
  Acquired all the six perfections and
  Now meets the Lion of the Śākyas.
  He shall subsequently become a buddha called Maitreya
  Who will extensively bring
  Innumerable sentient beings to the path.
  After the parinirvāṇa of that Buddha Sun Moon Lamp Bright,
  The lazy one was none other than you;
  And the expounder of the Dharma, Wonderful Light,
  Was no one but myself.
  When I saw the Buddha Sun Moon Lamp Bright
  He also revealed this marvel of light.
  That is why I know that this buddha
  Will now teach the Lotus Sutra.
  This sign is just like the previous marvel.
  It is the skillful means of all the buddhas.
  The Buddha has now emitted this ray of light
  In order to reveal the essential character of dharmas.
  Now it should be clear to everyone.
  Wait attentively with palms pressed together!
  Having rained the Dharma,
  The Buddha will satisfy those seeking the path.
  If there is anyone seeking the three vehicles
  Who still has any doubts,
  The Buddha will completely remove them,
  Extinguishing them with none left over.

  The Lotus Sutra
  Chapter II Skillful Means

  (Translated from the Chinese of Kumārajiva by Tsugunari Kubo and Akira Yuyama)
  (Second Revised Edition) (dBET)

  At that time the Bhagavat arose tranquilly with insight out of samādhi and addressed Śāriputra: “Profound and immeasurable is the wisdom of the buddhas. The gate to their wisdom is hard to enter and difficult to understand. None of the śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas may be capable of understanding it. Why is this? The buddhas have closely attended innumerable hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of other buddhas. They have exhaustively carried out practices with courage and persistence under uncountable numbers of buddhas, their names becoming universally renowned. They have perfected this profound and unprecedented Dharma, and their intention in adapting their explanations to what is appropriate is difficult to understand.
  “O Śāriputra! After attaining buddhahood I expounded the teaching extensively with various explanations and illustrations, and with skillful means led sentient beings to rid themselves of their attachments. Why is this? Because all the Tathāgatas have attained perfect mastery of skillful means, wisdom, and insight.
  “O Śāriputra! The wisdom and insight of the Tathāgatas is extensive, profound, immeasurable, and unhindered. They are possessed of power, fearlessness, meditation, liberation, and samādhi that is profound and endless. They have completely attained this unprecedented Dharma.
  “O Śāriputra! The Tathāgatas can, through various methods, skillfully illuminate the Dharma with gentle speech and gladden the hearts of the assemblies.
  “O Śāriputra! To put it briefly, the buddhas have attained this immeasurable, limitless, and unprecedented Dharma. Enough, O Śāriputra, I will speak no further. Why is this? Because the Dharma that the buddhas have attained is foremost, unique, and difficult to understand. No one but the buddhas can completely know the real aspects of all dharmas—that is to say their character, nature, substance, potential, function, cause, condition, result, effect, and essential unity.”
  Thereupon the Bhagavat spoke these verses to explain this meaning again:

  The Heroes of the World are inconceivable,
  Neither devas, humans, nor any other sentient beings
  Are able to comprehend them.
  No one is able to discern the power, fearlessness,
  Liberation, samādhi, and
  Other attributes of the buddhas.
  Formerly, under innumerable buddhas,
  They have fully accomplished their practices
  And the Dharma, which is profound and excellent,
  Hard to perceive and difficult to understand.
  Having pursued these practices
  For innumerable koṭis of kalpas,
  I attained the result on the terrace of enlightenment
  And understood completely.
  I and the buddhas of the ten directions
  Know such matters,
  Such as the great results and rewards,
  And the meaning of various aspects and characteristics.
  It is impossible to explain this Dharma;
  The powers of speech fail.
  No other sentient being is able to understand it,
  Except for those bodhisattvas
  Who, in their belief, are willing to understand.
  Even the multitude of the Buddha’s disciples,
  Who have formerly paid homage to all the buddhas,
  Who have put an end to all their corruption
  And are bearing their last bodies,
  Are not able to understand it.
  Even if this whole world
  Were filled with those such as Śāriputra,
  And they tried together to comprehend it,
  They still would not be able to understand completely
  The wisdom of the buddhas.
  Again, even if the worlds of the ten directions
  Were filled with such disciples
  As Śāriputra,
  And they tried together to comprehend it,
  They still would not be able to completely understand.
  And even if the worlds of the ten directions
  Were filled with pratyekabuddhas,
  As numerous as bamboo trees in a grove,
  Who had keen wisdom
  And were bearing their last bodies,
  Free from corruption,
  Even if they tried together single-mindedly,
  For innumerable kalpas,
  To comprehend the wisdom of the buddhas,
  Still they would not understand it in the least.
  Even if the worlds of the ten directions
  Were packed as thick as stalks of rice,
  Flax, bamboo, and reeds
  With bodhisattvas, recent aspirants to enlightenment,
  Who had paid homage to innumerable buddhas—
  Though they fully understood the meaning
  And could expound the Dharma,
  Even with this subtle wisdom,
  If they tried together single-mindedly to comprehend,
  For as many kalpas as the sands of the Ganges River,
  They still would not be able to know
  The wisdom of the buddhas.
  Even if bodhisattvas,
  As numerous as the sands of the Ganges River,
  Who had reached the stage of non-retrogression,
  Tried together single-mindedly to comprehend it,
  Still they would not be able to know.
  The Buddha, still speaking to Śāriputra, said:

  I have already attained the profound and subtle Dharma
  That is incorruptible
  And beyond all comprehension.
  Only I and the buddhas of the ten directions know this.
  O Śāriputra! You should know that the words
  Of the buddhas are never inconsistent.
  You should trust fully in the Dharma
  That the Buddha expounds;
  The Dharma of the Bhagavat
  Has been in existence for a long time.
  I will now definitely expound the truth.

  I address myself to the śrāvakas
  And those seeking the pratyekabuddha vehicle.
  It was I who caused them to become free
  From the bondage of suffering, and to attain nirvana.
  I have revealed the teaching of the three vehicles
  With the power of the skillful means of the buddhas
  So as to free the sentient beings
  From their various human attachments.

  At that time it occurred to the great assembly of twelve hundred śrāvakas, arhats free from corruption, beginning with Ājñātakauṇḍinya, and the other monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen who had set out to become śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas:
  “Why has the Bhagavat just now so earnestly praised skillful means? For what reason has he declared that the Dharma that the buddhas have attained is very profound and difficult to understand? Why has he said that their intention in adapting their teaching to what is appropriate is so difficult to comprehend that all the śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas are not able to understand it?
  “As long as the Buddha taught the meaning of the single liberation, we thought we had attained that Dharma and achieved nirvana. But now we do not understand what he means.”
  At that time Śāriputra, aware of the confusion of the fourfold assemblies and himself also feeling confused, addressed the Buddha saying:
  “O Bhagavat! For what reason and on what grounds have you so earnestly praised the unique skillful means of the buddhas and the profound and subtle Dharma that is difficult to understand? Never before have I heard such a thing from the Buddha. Now Bhagavat, I entreat you to explain this because the fourfold assemblies are confused. O Bhagavat! Why have you so earnestly praised the Dharma that is profound, subtle, and difficult to understand?”
  Thereupon Śāriputra, wanting to further explain what he meant, spoke these verses:

  O Great Seer, Sun of Wisdom!
  Now, after a long time,
  You have taught this Dharma, saying,

  I have attained the inconceivable Dharma,
  That is to say, power, fearlessness,
  Samādhi, meditation, and liberation.
  No one has ever questioned the Dharma
  That I attained on the terrace of enlightenment.
  No one has ever questioned my intentions,
  So difficult to conceive.

  Without being asked
  You explained it by yourself
  And praised the path you have practiced, saying,
  The wisdom the buddhas have attained
  Is extremely subtle!
  The arhats free from corruption
  And those seeking nirvana
  Have all fallen into confusion.
  Why has the Buddha said this?
  Those seeking to become pratyekabuddhas,
  Monks, nuns, devas, nāgas,
  Yakṣas, gandharvas, and the others
  Glanced at each other in confusion
  And looking toward the Best of Humans asked:
  O Buddha! We entreat you to explain why this is so!
  The Buddha has said that I am the foremost
  Among the śrāvakas, yet now I am confused
  About my own knowledge and unable to understand.
  Is it the ultimate Dharma?
  Is it a path to be practiced?
  The sons born from the mouths of the buddhas
  Stand waiting with palms pressed together,
  Looking at the Buddha.
  I entreat you to proclaim the truth,
  Speaking in the finest voice!
  The devas, nāgas, and others,
  As numerous as the sands of the Ganges River,
  As many as eighty thousand bodhisattvas
  Who are seeking buddhahood, and wheel-turning sage kings
  Who have come from myriads of koṭis of countries,
  Are all standing respectfully with palms pressed together
  Asking how to accomplish the path.

  Then the Buddha addressed Śāriputra, saying: “Enough, enough! Speak no more! If I explained this matter, the devas and humans in all the worlds would be astounded.”
  Then Śāriputra again addressed the Buddha: “O Bhagavat! Please explain it! I entreat you to explain it, because in this assembly there are innumerable hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of Asamkhyeyas of sentient beings, sharp in faculties and possessed of wisdom, who have previously encountered the buddhas. When they hear the teaching of the Buddha they will trust, believe, and accept it.”
  Thereupon Śāriputra spoke in verse to explain this again

  O King of the Dharma, the Best of Humans!
  I entreat you to explain it.
  Please explain it without hesitation!
  In this assembly there are innumerable sentient beings
  Who will trust and accept it.

  Then the Buddha again tried to dissuade Śāriputra, saying: “If I explain it, the devas, humans, and asuras in all the worlds will be astounded, and arrogant monks will certainly go to their downfall.”
  At that time the Bhagavat again spoke in verse:

  Enough, enough! Speak no more!
  The Dharma that I have attained
  Is excellent and incomprehensible.
  Though the arrogant hear it,
  They will never accept it.

  And again Śāriputra addressed the Buddha, saying: “O Bhagavat! Please explain it! Please explain it! In this assembly there are people like me and others, numbering into the hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of beings, who have been led and inspired by the buddhas in their former existences. Such people will certainly trust, believe, and accept it. And they will benefit, profit, and receive solace from it for a very long time.”
  Thereupon Śāriputra spoke these verses to elaborate on what he meant:

  O Best of Humans!
  Please teach the ultimate Dharma!
  I am the eldest son of the Buddha.
  Please illuminate and explain it!
  Innumerable beings in this assembly
  Will certainly trust and accept this Dharma,
  Because the Buddha in former existences
  Led and inspired such people.
  All of them will attentively listen and accept,
  Their palms pressed together,
  To the words of the Buddha.
  I entreat you to illuminate and explain it
  For the assembly of twelve hundred people like me,
  And the others seeking buddhahood.
  When they hear this Dharma
  They will bring forth great joy.

  Then the Bhagavat spoke to Śāriputra, saying: “You have now persistently asked me three times. How could I possibly not explain it to you? Therefore listen carefully and pay close attention! I will now illuminate and explain it.”
  When he said this, five thousand monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen in the assembly immediately got up from their seats, bowed to the Buddha, and left. What was the reason for this? Because the roots of error among this group had been deeply planted and they were arrogant, thinking they had attained what they had not attained and had realized what they had not realized. Because of such defects they did not stay. And the Bhagavat remained silent and did not stop them.
  Then the Buddha addressed Śāriputra: “My assembly here is free of useless twigs and leaves; only the pure essence remains.
  “O Śāriputra! Let the arrogant ones go! Listen carefully and I will explain it to you.”
  Then Śāriputra replied: “Indeed, O Bhagavat, I greatly desire to hear it.”
  Then the Buddha addressed Śāriputra: “Only very rarely do the Buddha Tathāgatas teach such a True Dharma as this, as rarely as the uḍumbara flower blooms.
  “O Śāriputra! Trust and accept what the Buddha teaches! My words are never false.
  “O Śāriputra! The real intention of all the buddhas in adapting their explanations to what is appropriate is difficult to understand. Why is this? Because I have expounded the teachings with innumerable skillful means and various kinds of explanations and illustrations. Yet this Dharma is beyond reason and discernment. Only the buddhas can understand it. Why is this? Because the Buddha Bhagavats appear in this world for one great purpose alone. O Śāriputra! Now I will explain why I said that the Buddha Bhagavats appear in this world for only one great purpose.
  “The Buddha Bhagavat appear in this world to cause sentient beings to aspire toward purity and the wisdom and insight of the buddhas. They appear in this world to manifest the wisdom and insight of the buddhas to sentient beings. They appear in this world to cause sentient beings to attain the wisdom and insight of a buddha’s enlightenment. They appear in this world in order to cause sentient beings to enter the path of the wisdom and insight of a buddha.
  “O Śāriputra! For this one great reason alone the buddhas have appeared in this world.”
  The Buddha addressed Śāriputra, saying: “The Buddha Tathāgatas lead and inspire only bodhisattvas. All the acts of a buddha are always for one purpose. The buddhas manifest their wisdom and insight solely to inspire sentient beings to enlightenment.
  “O Śāriputra! A Tathāgata teaches sentient beings the Dharma only through the single buddha vehicle. There is no other, neither a second nor a third.
  “O Śāriputra! The true nature of all the buddhas of the ten directions is exactly like this.
  “O Śāriputra! All the buddhas of the past expounded the teachings for the sake of sentient beings, using incalculable and innumerable skillful means and various explanations and illustrations. These teachings were all for the sake of the single buddha vehicle. All these sentient beings, hearing the Dharma from the buddhas, finally attained omniscience.
  “O Śāriputra! All the future buddhas who will appear in the world will expound the teachings for the sake of sentient beings, using incalculable and innumerable skillful means and various explanations and illustrations. These teachings will all be for the single buddha vehicle. All sentient beings who hear this Dharma from these buddhas will ultimately attain omniscience.
  “O Śāriputra! All the Buddha Bhagavats of the present, in immeasurable hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of buddha worlds of the ten directions, teach the Dharma to sentient beings using incalculable and innumerable skillful means with various explanations and illustrations to benefit many of them and cause them to feel at peace. These Dharmas are all of the single buddha vehicle. All the sentient beings who hear the Dharma from these buddhas will ultimately attain omniscience.
  “O Śāriputra! These buddhas lead and inspire only bodhisattvas, because they want to teach sentient beings with the wisdom and insight of the Buddha, to enlighten sentient beings with the wisdom and insight of the Buddha, and to cause sentient beings to enter the path of the wisdom and insight of the Buddha.
  “O Śāriputra! I too am now like this. Having understood the various desires and deep-rooted inclinations of sentient beings, I teach the Dharma according to their capacities through the power of skillful means, using various explanations and illustrations.
  “O Śāriputra! I do this in order to cause them to attain the omniscience of the single buddha vehicle.
  “O Śāriputra! Since there is no second vehicle in the worlds of the ten directions, how could there be a third!
  “O Śāriputra! The buddhas appear in the troubled world of the Five Defilements, which are the defilement of the kalpa, the defilement of vexations, the defilement of sentient beings, the defilement of views, and the defilement of lifespan. Therefore, O Śāriputra, in the period of the decadent kalpa, because sentient beings are filthy, greedy, jealous, and develop roots of error, all the buddhas illuminate the three [vehicles] with the power of skillful means in order to teach the single buddha vehicle.
  “O Śāriputra! If any of my disciples declare that they are arhats or pratyekabuddhas, and do not listen or comprehend that all the Buddha Tathāgatas teach only the bodhisattvas, they are not disciples of the buddhas, nor are they arhats or pratyekabuddhas.
  “Again, O Śāriputra! If there are any monks or nuns who would declare that they have attained arhatship, that they are bearing their last bodies and are destined for complete nirvana, and yet who have not sought Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi (the highest, complete enlightenment), they should be considered arrogant people.
  “Why is this? Because there is no case in which a monk who has actually achieved arhatship does not believe in this Dharma, except after the Buddha has entered parinirvāṇa and there is no buddha present.
  “What is the reason for this? Because after the parinirvāṇa of the Buddha it is hard to find people who preserve, recite, and understand the meaning of the sutras like this. But if they should meet other buddhas they will immediately understand this teaching.
  “O Śāriputra! You should wholeheartedly accept and preserve the words of the Buddha. The words of the Buddha Tathāgatas are never false. There are no other vehicles, only the single buddha vehicle.”
  Thereupon the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate the meaning of this further, uttered these verses:

  In the fourfold assembly there were five thousand
  Monks and nuns who were excessively proud,
  Laymen who were arrogant,
  And laywomen who were unaccepting.
  They did not see their own defects,
  Being faulty in self-discipline,
  And clung to their shortcomings;
  These of little wisdom have already left.
  Through the virtuous dignity of the Buddha
  The dregs of the assembly have departed.
  Having little virtue,
  These people were incapable of accepting this Dharma.
  Free of useless twigs and leaves,
  Only the pure essence of this assembly remains.
  O Śāriputra, listen carefully!
  All the buddhas teach the Dharma
  That they have attained
  Through the immeasurable power of skillful means,
  For the sake of sentient beings.
  Completely knowing their intentions,
  Their various ways of practice,
  Their wishes and capacities,
  And the good and bad karma
  Of their previous lives,
  The Buddha gladdens all sentient beings
  With the power of words and skillful means,
  Using examples and illustrations.
  The Buddha teaches by means of sutras, verses,
  Stories of his past deeds, and of past events,
  Miraculous tales, explanatory tales,
  Allegories, poems, and exegeses.
  The Buddha teaches nirvana
  To those with dull faculties,
  Who are satisfied with lowly aspirations
  And attached to birth and death,
  Who have not practiced the profound path
  In the presence of innumerable buddhas
  And are confused by suffering.
  Having devised this skillful means
  I enable them to enter the wisdom of the buddhas.
  But I have never said
  That all of you would attain
  The path of the buddhas.
  I have never said this
  Because the occasion never arose.
  Now is precisely the right time for me
  To teach definitively the Mahayana.
  I apply these nine kinds of teachings
  According to the capacities of sentient beings.
  I teach these sutras
  Because they are the basis for entering the Mahayana.
  I teach the Mahayana sutras
  To those heirs of the buddhas
  Who are pure in mind, mild, and receptive,
  Have keen faculties,
  And who have practiced the profound path
  Under immeasurable buddhas.
  I predict that such people
  Will attain the path of the buddhas
  In their future lives,
  Because they keep the buddhas in mind
  With profound thoughts
  And practice pure conduct.
  Hearing that they shall attain Buddhahood
  They will be filled with great joy;
  Because a buddha knows their intentions
  He teaches the Mahayana.
  Those śrāvakas or bodhisattvas,
  Who have heard even a single verse
  Of the Dharma that I have taught,
  Will all become buddhas.
  There can be no doubt about it.
  In the buddha worlds of the ten directions
  There is only the Dharma of the single vehicle.
  Apart from the skillful means of the buddhas,
  There is neither a second nor a third [vehicle].
  A buddha merely uses provisional words
  In order to lead sentient beings.
  All the buddhas appear in the world
  To teach the wisdom of the buddhas.
  Only this one thing is real,
  The other two are not true.
  In the end,
  A buddha does not save sentient beings
  Through an inferior vehicle.
  The buddhas themselves
  Abide in the Mahayana;
  The Dharma that they have attained,
  Is adorned with meditation, wisdom, and power;
  And through these they save the sentient beings.
  I would be ungenerous
  If I were to lead and inspire even a single person
  Through an inferior vehicle,
  Having attained the highest path,
  The universal Dharma of the Mahayana.
  This is simply not possible.
  If anyone takes refuge in the Buddha,
  The Tathāgata will not deceive him.
  A Tathāgata has neither stinginess nor jealousy
  And has detached himself
  From the evils of the phenomenal world.
  That is why the buddhas of the ten directions
  Are the only ones who have no fear.
  Having a body adorned with the marks of a buddha,
  Emitting a ray of light that illuminates the worlds
  And revered by immeasurable sentient beings,
  I teach the signs of the true aspects
  Of the phenomenal world.
  O Śāriputra! You should now know
  That originally I made a vow
  To make all sentient beings my equal
  Without any difference.
  Now I have already fulfilled this vow
  That I made in the past.
  I will lead and inspire all sentient beings
  And cause them to enter the path of the buddhas.
  If I met sentient beings
  And taught them till the end the path of the buddhas,
  Those with little understanding
  Would be confused and perplexed
  And would not accept the teaching.
  I know that these sentient beings
  Have never cultivated the roots of good merit.
  They are attached to the desires of the five senses,
  Disordered by delusion and passion,
  And have fallen into the three troubled states of being
  Because of these desires.
  They are wandering through
  The six transmigratory states,
  Tormented by every kind of suffering.
  They are continually being born as tiny embryos
  In one life after another.
  These people of few qualities and little merit
  Are afflicted by various sufferings.
  They enter into the jungle of sixty-two false views
  Such as “This exists” or “This does not exist.”
  They are so firmly and deeply attached to false teachings
  That they cannot get rid of them.
  They are arrogant, proud, deceitful, and dishonest.
  They have heard neither the names
  Nor the True Dharma of the buddhas
  For thousands of myriads of koṭis of kalpas.
  Such people are difficult to save.
  That is why, O Śāriputra,
  I devised the method of teaching
  The way to extinguish all suffering through nirvana.
  Even though I taught nirvana,
  It is not the true extinction.
  Every existing thing from the very beginning
  Has always had the mark of quiescence.
  The heirs of the buddhas who practice this path
  Will thereafter become buddhas in the future.
  With the power of skillful means
  I have presented the teachings of the three vehicles.
  Yet all of the Bhagavats
  Teach the path of the single vehicle.
  This great assembly
  Should now rid itself of confusion.
  The words of the buddhas are not inconsistent.
  There is only the single vehicle;
  There is no other.
  In the past innumerable kalpas
  There appeared immeasurable and incalculable buddhas,
  Hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis in number,
  Who have attained parinirvāṇa.
  All the Bhagavats
  Taught the characteristics of all dharmas
  With the power of innumerable skillful means,
  Using various examples and illustrations.
  All these Bhagavats
  Taught the Dharma of the single vehicle,
  Led and inspired immeasurable sentient beings,
  And enabled them to enter the path of the buddhas.
  Understanding the deepest desires of the entire world
  Of the devas, humans, and other beings,
  The Great Sage Lord has illuminated
  The highest meaning
  With diverse skillful means.
  All those sentient beings
  Who encountered and heard the teaching
  Of the buddhas of the past,
  And who accumulated various merits
  Through acts of giving, integrity, perseverance,
  Diligence, meditation, and wisdom (i.e., the Six Perfections)
  Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.
  And after the parinirvāṇa of the buddhas,
  Those sentient beings with well-governed minds
  Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.
  After the buddhas attained parinirvāṇa,
  All those who paid homage to the relics,
  Who made myriads of koṭis of stupas
  Extensively and beautifully adorned with gold, silver,
  Crystal, mother of pearl, agate, ruby,
  Lapis lazuli, and pearl;
  Those who made rock stupas,
  Stupas out of sandal, aloe, deodar, and other woods,
  As well as brick, tile, mud, and other materials;
  All those who made buddha stupas
  Out of piles of earth in desolate places;
  And even children in play
  Who made buddha stupas out of heaps of sand—
  All such people have certainly attained
  The path of the buddhas.
  And all those who made images of the buddhas
  Carved with their extraordinary marks
  Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.
  All those who made buddha images
  Out of the seven treasures,
  Decorated with brass, copper, pewter, lead,
  Tin, iron, wood, mud, glue, lacquer, and cloth,
  Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.
  All those who made or had others make buddha images
  Painted with the one hundred embellishing
  Marks of merit,
  Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.
  This even includes children in play
  Who have drawn a buddha image
  With a blade of grass or a twig,
  Brush or fingernail.
  Such people, having gradually accumulated merit
  And perfected great compassion,
  Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.
  Leading and inspiring the bodhisattvas,
  They save countless sentient beings.
  All those who paid homage to stupas,
  Sculpted or painted images,
  Honouring them with flowers, perfumes,
  Banners, and canopies;
  Those who paid homage with all kinds of sweet music—
  With drums, horns, conches, pipes, flutes, lutes, harps,
  Mandolins, gongs, and cymbals;
  Those who joyfully praised the qualities of the buddhas
  With various songs or
  Even with a single low-pitched sound,
  Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.
  Those who, even with distracted minds
  Have offered a single flower to a painted image
  Will in time see innumerable buddhas.
  Or those who have done obeisance to images,
  Or merely pressed their palms together,
  Or raised a single hand, or nodded their heads,
  Will in due time see immeasurable buddhas.
  They will attain the highest path
  And extensively save innumerable sentient beings.
  They will enter nirvana without residue
  Just as a fire goes out after its wood is exhausted.
  Those who, even with distracted minds,
  Entered a stupa compound
  And chanted but once, “Homage to the Buddha!”
  Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.
  Anyone who heard this teaching,
  Either in the presence of a past Buddha
  Or after their parinirvāṇa,
  Has certainly attained the path of the buddhas.
  The future Bhagavats, Tathāgatas,
  Immeasurable in number,
  Will teach the Dharma with skillful means.
  All the Tathāgatas
  Will save sentient beings
  With immeasurable skillful means,
  Causing them to enter the wisdom of the buddhas
  That is free from corruption.
  Of those hearing this Dharma
  There will be no one
  Who will not become a buddha.
  The original vow of the buddhas
  Was to cause all sentient beings to universally
  Attain the very same buddha path
  That I have practiced.
  Even though the buddhas of the future
  Will teach hundreds of thousands of koṭis
  Of innumerable paths to the Dharma,
  Their teachings will actually be
  For the sake of the single vehicle.
  All the buddhas, the Best of Humans,
  Know that all dharmas are ever without substance
  And that the buddha-seeds germinate
  Through dependent origination.
  That is why they will teach the single vehicle.
  Having realized on the terrace of enlightenment
  That the state of the Dharma
  Is permanent and unchangeable in this world,
  The Leaders will teach with skillful means.
  The present buddhas of the ten directions,
  As numerous as the sands of the Ganges River,
  Revered by devas and humans,
  Appear in the world and teach this Dharma
  To make sentient beings feel at peace.
  They know the utmost tranquility,
  And although they teach various paths
  With the power of skillful means,
  Their teachings are actually for the buddha vehicle.
  Knowing the character of sentient beings—
  Their deep intentions, past acts,
  Wishes, persistence, and strength,
  Their keen or dull faculties—
  The buddhas teach with skillful means
  Using various explanations, illustrations, and words,
  In accordance with the capacities of sentient beings.
  Now I too reveal the path of the buddhas
  Through various paths to the Dharma
  To make sentient beings feel at peace.
  Through the power of my wisdom
  I know the dispositions and desires of sentient beings,
  And explain various teachings with skillful means,
  Enabling them all to obtain joy.
  O Śāriputra! You should know that through the buddha-eye
  I see beings wandering in the six states of existence
  Who are poor, deprived of merit and wisdom,
  Who are entering into the bitter path of birth and death,
  And are suffering repeatedly and without end.
  They are deeply attached to the desires of the five senses,
  Just as yaks are attached to their tails.
  Obstructed by greed, they are blind and cannot see.
  They do not seek the buddha who has great power,
  Nor the Dharma that cuts off suffering.
  Deeply immersed in false views,
  They try to eliminate suffering through suffering.
  I feel great compassion
  For such sentient beings.
  Sitting on the terrace of enlightenment for the first time,
  Looking at the bodhi tree
  And walking about,
  During those twenty-one days
  I was thinking thus:

  The wisdom I have attained
  Is subtle and supreme.
  But the faculties of sentient beings are dull.
  They are attached to pleasures and blinded by delusion.
  How can I save such beings?

  Then Brahma and his devaputras, Śakra,
  The world-protectors of the four quarters,
  Great Freedom and the other devas,
  Together with a retinue of hundreds
  Of thousands of myriads of attendants,
  Paid their respects with palms pressed together
  And begged me to turn the wheel of the Dharma.
  Then I thought:

  If I only praise the buddha vehicles,
  Those beings who are submerged in suffering
  Will not believe this Dharma.
  Because they destroy and do not believe the Dharma,
  They will fall into the three troubled states of being.
  I would rather not teach the Dharma
  And instead immediately enter nirvana.

  Then I thought of the power of skillful means
  Practiced by past buddhas.
  This path that I have attained
  Should now also be taught as the three vehicles.
  When I thought this,
  The buddhas of the ten directions appeared
  And with beautiful voices praised me saying:

  O Śākyamuni! Splendid! O Supreme Leader,
  You have attained the highest Dharma,
  And yet still use the power of skillful means,
  Following all the other buddhas.
  We too have attained the best and utmost Dharma
  And with discretion have explained the three vehicles
  For the sake of sentient beings.
  Those with little wisdom
  Seek inferior teachings
  And do not believe that they will become buddhas.
  That is why we use skillful means
  And with discretion teach of various results.
  Although we teach the three vehicles
  It is just for the instruction of the bodhisattvas!

  O Śāriputra! You should know
  That when I heard this profound
  And beautiful roar of the Noble Lions,
  I chanted with joy, “Homage to the buddhas!”
  And I thought:

  Since I have been born in this defiled world
  I will follow the other buddhas
  And expound what they have expounded.

  After contemplating this
  I set out for Vārāṇasī.
  All dharmas have the tranquil character:
  This could not be expressed in words,
  So I taught the five monks
  Through the power of skillful means.
  This I named: “Turning the Wheel of the Dharma,”
  And immediately the word nirvana appeared in it
  And the different designations for
  Arhat (Buddha), Dharma, and Sangha.
  From a great many kalpas ago
  I have always taught like this:
  I have praised and illuminated
  The teaching of nirvana,
  Saying that it ends the sufferings
  Of birth and death.
  O Śāriputra! You should know that I see
  Immeasurable thousands of myriads of koṭis
  Of the Buddha’s heirs,
  Who, having set out for the buddha path,
  And heard the Dharma explained with skillful means,
  Have respectfully come before the Buddha.
  Then I thought:

  The reason why the Tathāgatas appear is
  To explain the wisdom of the buddhas.
  Now is precisely the right time for this!

  O Śāriputra! You should know that
  Those who have dull faculties and little wisdom,
  And those who are attached to mere signs and
  Are arrogant cannot accept this teaching.
  Now I am happy and fearless.
  Having openly set aside skillful means,
  I will teach only the highest path
  To all the bodhisattvas.
  Having heard this teaching
  The bodhisattvas and twelve hundred arhats,
  Freeing themselves from the web of doubt,
  Will all become buddhas.
  Just as the way the buddhas in the three periods
  Of the past, present, and future,
  Teach the real aspect of the Dharma,
  Now I too will expound the Dharma
  That is beyond discrimination.
  All the buddhas
  Appear in worlds far away
  And are difficult to meet.
  Even if they appear in this world
  It is difficult to hear their teaching.
  Even in immeasurable, innumerable kalpas
  It is difficult to hear this Dharma,
  And those who are able to hear this Dharma
  Are also hard to find.
  They are just like the uḍumbara flower
  Which appears only once in a very long while
  And, beloved by all,
  Is considered a wonder among devas and humans.
  Those who, hearing this teaching,
  Happily praise the buddhas
  By uttering even a single word
  Have already paid homage to all buddhas
  Of the three periods.
  Such people are even more extraordinary
  Than the uḍumbara flower.
  All of you, have no doubts!
  I, the King of the Dharma,
  Now proclaim to the great assembly:
  I lead and inspire the bodhisattvas
  Only with the path of the single vehicle;
  I am here without śrāvaka disciples.
  O Śāriputra and all of you!
  The śrāvakas and bodhisattvas should know
  That this True Dharma is the hidden essence
  Of all the buddhas.
  In the troubled worlds of the five kinds of defilement,
  Sentient beings are only attached to various desires,
  And ultimately do not seek the path of the buddhas.
  In the future the impure will hear
  The Buddha teach the single vehicle,
  But they will be confused and will not accept it.
  They will destroy the Dharma
  And fall into the troubled states of being.
  To those who are modest and pure,
  And seek the path of the buddhas,
  I will praise extensively
  The path of the single vehicle.
  O Śāriputra!
  You should know that the Dharma
  Of all the buddhas is like this.
  They teach the Dharma
  With myriads of koṭis of skillful means,
  According to the capacities of sentient beings;
  The inexperienced cannot understand this.
  You have come to know with certainty the skillful means
  Of the buddhas, the Teachers of the World,
  That are expounded in accordance
  With people’s capacities.
  All of you, have no further doubts!
  Let great joy arise in your hearts
  And know that you will all become buddhas!

  The Lotus Sutra
  Chapter III A Parable

  (Translated from the Chinese of Kumārajiva by Tsugunari Kubo and Akira Yuyama)
  (Second Revised Edition) (dBET)

  Thereupon Śāriputra stood up ecstatic and joyful, pressed his palms together and, gazing at the Buddha, the Bhagavat, said: “Now, hearing the words of this Dharma from the Bhagavat, my heart is full of joy for I have experienced something unprecedented. What is the reason for this? In the past when I heard this Dharma from the Buddha and saw the bodhisattvas receive their predictions, I was not included. I grieved because I thought I had been deprived of the immeasurable wisdom and insight of the Tathāgata.
  “O Bhagavat! While I was dwelling alone under forest trees, whether sitting or walking, I was constantly thinking this: ‘Since we have also realized the true nature of the Dharma, why has the Tathāgata tried to save us with the teachings of the inferior vehicle?’
  “The fault is ours, not the Bhagavat’s. Why is this? If we had waited for your explanation about the way to achieve Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi (the highest, complete enlightenment), we certainly would have been able to save ourselves by means of the Mahayana. However, we did not understand that you were teaching with skillful means, according to what is appropriate to us. When we first heard the Buddha’s teaching, we immediately accepted, contemplated, and understood it.
  “O Bhagavat! Since long ago I have reproached myself incessantly day and night. But now from the Buddha we have heard the unprecedented Dharma that we have never heard before, and it has removed all our doubts.
  “I have obtained peace and tranquility in body and mind. Today I have finally realized that I am truly the heir of the Buddha, born from the mouth of the Buddha, incarnated from the Dharma, and that I have inherited a part of the Buddha-Dharma.”
  Then Śāriputra, wanting to elaborate this meaning, spoke again in verse:

  When I heard the words of this Dharma,
  Experiencing something unprecedented,
  My heart overflowed with joy,
  And I was rid of all my doubts.
  From long ago, ever since I heard
  The teaching of the Buddha,
  I have not lost the Mahayana.
  The words of the buddhas are extremely rare
  And are capable of ridding sentient beings
  Of their suffering.
  Although I had already attained
  Freedom from corruption,
  By hearing the Buddha’s voice,
  I have also been rid of my anxiety.
  Whether I was dwelling
  In mountain valleys or under forest trees,
  Whether I was sitting or walking,
  Grieving and blaming myself deeply,
  I thought incessantly:
  How have I deceived myself!
  I am also the heir of the buddhas,
  Having entered the same incorruptible Dharma.
  Nevertheless, in the future,
  I shall not be able to explain the highest path.
  The golden colour, the thirty-two marks,
  The ten powers, and the liberations
  Are all in the same Dharma;
  And yet I have not attained any of these.
  Moreover, such qualities as
  The eighty excellent and eighteen special characteristics
  Are completely lost to me.
  When I was wandering alone,
  I saw the Buddha in the great assembly
  Filling the ten directions with his fame
  And greatly benefiting sentient beings.
  I then thought:

  I have lost all these benefits
  Because I have been deceiving myself.

  I thought about this constantly day and night
  And wanted to ask the Bhagavat:

  Have I or have I not lost these?

  I always saw the Bhagavat
  Praising the bodhisattvas.
  That is why I pondered over such matters
  As these both day and night.
  Now I have heard the words of the Buddha,
  Explaining to sentient beings
  The incorruptible Dharma,
  Which is difficult to comprehend,
  And making them enter
  The terrace of enlightenment.
  Formerly, I was attached to false views
  And was a teacher of brahmans.
  The Bhagavat, knowing my mind,
  Removed the false views and taught nirvana.
  I got rid of false views completely
  And attained the teaching of emptiness.
  At that time I considered myself
  To have attained nirvana.
  But now I have become aware
  That this was not the real nirvana.
  When I become a buddha
  I shall be endowed with the thirty-two marks,
  And be honoured by devas, humans, yakṣas, and nāgas.
  Only then can it be said that I have
  Permanently attained nirvana without residue.
  Before the great assembly
  The Buddha has proclaimed
  That I will become a buddha.
  After hearing these words of the Dharma,
  I was immediately rid of all my doubts.
  When I first heard this teaching of the Buddha’s,
  I was greatly startled and thought:

  I wonder if Māra, acting like the Buddha,
  Is confusing me!

  But the Buddha, who teaches skillfully
  By means of various explanations and illustrations,
  Has made my mind tranquil like the ocean.
  While listening to him
  I was freed from the web of my doubts.
  The Buddha has said that immeasurable buddhas
  Who have attained parinirvāṇa in the past,
  Established in the use of skillful means,
  Have also taught this Dharma.
  Immeasurable buddhas in the present and future
  Will also teach this Dharma
  With various skillful means.
  The present Bhagavat,
  From the time he was born
  And renounced household life
  Until he obtained the path
  And turned the wheel of the Dharma,
  Has also taught through skillful means.
  The Bhagavat teaches the real path,
  But the Wicked One does not.
  Therefore I know definitely
  That it was not Māra acting like the Buddha.
  Because I fell into a web of doubt,
  I thought that Māra was impersonating the Buddha.
  When I heard the voice of the Buddha,
  Profound and very subtle,
  Fluently explaining the pure Dharma,
  I became full of great joy.
  My doubts are completely and forever exhausted,
  And I have achieved the true wisdom.
  I will definitely become a buddha,
  Honoured by devas and humans.
  I will turn the wheel of the highest Dharma
  And lead and inspire the bodhisattvas.

  At that time the Buddha said to Śāriputra: “I will now reveal to you before the great assembly of devas, humans, śrāmaṇas, and brahmans that in the past, in the presence of two hundred thousand koṭis of buddhas, I led and inspired you constantly for the sake of the highest path. You have followed my instructions for a long time. Because I led you with skillful means, you were born in my Dharma.
  “O Śāriputra! In the past I inspired you to seek the buddha path. Yet just now you had completely forgotten this and considered yourself to have attained nirvana. Now, because I want you to remember the path that you practiced according to your original vow in the past, I will teach the śrāvakas the Mahayana sutra called the Lotus Sutra, the instruction for the bodhisattvas and treasured lore of the buddhas.
  “O Śāriputra! In the future after immeasurable, limitless, and inconceivable kalpas, you will have paid homage to thousands of myriads of koṭis of buddhas, preserved the True Dharma, and mastered the path practiced by the bodhisattvas. You will become a buddha called Flower Glow, a Tathāgata, Arhat, Completely Enlightened, Perfect in Knowledge and Conduct, Well-Departed, Knower of the World, Unsurpassed, Tamer of Humans, Teacher of Devas and Humans, Buddha, Bhagavat.
  “Your land will be called Free from Stain. Its earth will be level and pure, ornamented, peaceful, and rich. The devas and humans will prosper. The earth will be made of lapis lazuli with a well-planned network of roads like a chessboard bordered with golden cords. Rows of seven-jewelled trees, which are always full of flowers and fruits, will line the borders of these roads. The Tathāgata Flower Glow will also lead and inspire sentient beings by means of the three vehicles.
  “O Śāriputra! When that buddha appears, even though his will not be a troubled world, he will teach the three vehicles because of his original vow. This kalpa will be called ‘Adorned with Great Jewels.’ Why will it be called ‘Adorned with Great Jewels’? Because in that world the bodhisattvas will be like great jewels. The number of these bodhisattvas will be immeasurable, limitless, inconceivable, and beyond all comparison, known only by those with the power of the Buddha’s wisdom.
  “When they want to walk jewelled flowers will appear under their feet. And these bodhisattvas will not be those who are just setting out. Over a long time they will have planted roots of good merit and practiced the pure path of discipline and integrity in the presence of immeasurable hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of buddhas. They will always be praised by the buddhas and continually practice the buddha wisdom. They will be endowed with transcendent powers and know well all the teachings of the Dharma. They will be honest, without falsity, and firm in resolution and recollection. That world will be filled with bodhisattvas like these.
  “O Śāriputra! The lifespan of this buddha Flower Glow will be twelve small kalpas, not including the period after he becomes a prince and before he becomes a buddha; and the lifespan of the people in that world will be eight small kalpas.
  “After these twelve small kalpas have passed, the Tathāgata Flower Glow will predict Bodhisattva Firm Full’s attainment of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi (the highest, complete enlightenment) and will address the monks, saying:

  This Bodhisattva Firm Full will become the next buddha after me. His name will be Flower Feet Safely Walking, a Tathāgata, Arhat, Completely Enlightened. His buddha world will also be like this one.

  “O Śāriputra! After the parinirvāṇa of the Buddha Flower Glow the True Dharma will remain in the world for thirty-two small kalpas and the Semblance Dharma will also remain in the world for thirty-two small kalpas.”
  Then the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this again, spoke these verses:

  O Śāriputra! In the future
  You will become a buddha of universal wisdom
  Named Flower Glow,
  Who will save innumerable sentient beings.
  Having paid homage to innumerable buddhas,
  Perfected the bodhisattva practice,
  And the qualities, including the ten powers,
  You will attain the highest path.
  After immeasurable kalpas have passed,
  The kalpa will be called Adorned with Great Jewels,
  And the world will be called Free from Stain,
  Pure and without dirt.
  The earth will be made of lapis lazuli
  And the roads, bordered with golden cords,
  Will be lined with variegated trees of the seven treasures
  Which are always full of flowers and fruits.
  The bodhisattvas in that world
  Will be always firm in resolution and recollection.
  All of them will be completely endowed
  With transcendent powers and the Perfections
  And will have properly practiced the bodhisattva path
  In the presence of innumerable buddhas.
  Such mahasattvas as these
  Will be led and inspired by the Buddha Flower Glow.
  When this buddha becomes a prince
  He will abdicate his kingship
  And give up his worldly fame.
  Bearing his last body,
  He will renounce household life
  And attain the path of the Buddha.
  This Buddha Flower Glow will live in the world
  For twelve small kalpas.
  And the lifespan of the people in this world
  Will be eight small kalpas.
  After the parinirvāṇa of this buddha,
  The True Dharma will last in the world
  For thirty-two small kalpas,
  During which time many sentient beings
  Will be saved.
  After the extinction of the True Dharma,
  The Semblance Dharma will last
  For thirty-two small kalpas.
  The relics of the Buddha
  Will be distributed widely
  And devas and humans will pay them homage.
  All that the Buddha Flower Glow does
  Will be exactly like this.
  That very Best of Humans,
  Who will be foremost and without comparison,
  Is none other than you.
  You should be delighted to hear this!

  At that time the fourfold assembly of monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen and the great assembly of devas, nāgas, yakṣas, gandharvas, asuras, garuḍas, kiṃnaras, and mahoragas saw Śāriputra receive his prediction of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi (the highest, complete enlightenment) in the presence of the Buddha. They rejoiced greatly and became immeasurably happy. All of them removed their outer garments and proffered them to the Buddha as offerings.
  Śakra, the lord of devas, and Brahma, together with innumerable devaputras also made offerings to the Buddha of their heavenly beautiful garments, heavenly māndārava flowers, and great māndārava flowers. Their heavenly garments floated and fluttered in the air, while in the sky the devas played hundreds of thousands of myriads of kinds of music together at one time. They rained down various heavenly flowers and said: “In the past the Buddha turned the wheel of the Dharma for the first time in Vārāṇasī. Now he has turned the wheel of the utmost and greatest Dharma again.”
  Thereupon the devaputras spoke these verses in order to explain this again:

  In the past you turned the wheel of the Dharma
  Of the Four [Noble] Truths in Vārāṇasī;
  And you illuminated and explained the Dharma
  Of the origination and extinction of the five aggregates.
  You have now again turned the wheel
  Of the subtlest, utmost, and greatest Dharma.
  This Dharma is extremely profound;
  Only a few will be able to believe it.
  Since long ago we have frequently heard
  The teaching of the Bhagavat,
  Yet we have never before heard
  Such a profound and supreme teaching.
  When the Bhagavat taught this Dharma
  We were all delighted.
  And now Śāriputra, possessed of great wisdom,
  Has received his prediction from the Bhagavat.
  In the same way, we too,
  Shall certainly become buddhas.
  We shall become peerless,
  Unrivalled in all the world.
  The path of the Buddha,
  Which is difficult to understand,
  Is taught with skillful means
  According to what is appropriate for sentient beings.
  May the merits of our beneficial acts,
  Whether of the past or the present,
  And those acquired in meeting the Buddha,
  Be completely transferred to the buddha path.

  At that time Śāriputra said this to the Buddha: “O Bhagavat! I now have no further doubts. I have received the prediction of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi (the highest, complete enlightenment) in the presence of the Buddha.
  “When all those twelve hundred who have attained complete mental discipline were still under training in the past, the Buddha constantly led and inspired them, saying: ‘My teaching overcomes birth, old age, illness, and death and it leads to nirvana.’ Both those who were still in training and those who were not thought that they were free from false views about the self, existence and nonexistence, and declared that they had attained nirvana. Yet now, in the presence of the Bhagavat, they have heard what they have never heard before and have fallen into doubt.
  “Splendid, O Bhagavat! I entreat you to explain to the fourfold assembly the reason why, and free them from their doubts!”
  Then the Buddha said to Śāriputra: “Did I not previously tell you that all the Buddha Bhagavats explain the Dharma with various explanations and illustrations using skillful means, all for the sake of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi (the highest, complete enlightenment)? All of these teachings are for leading and inspiring the bodhisattvas.
  “Moreover, Śāriputra, I will now clarify what I mean with illustrations. Those with wisdom will be able to understand through these illustrations.
  “O Śāriputra! Suppose there were an aged and extremely affluent man, either in a town, city, or country, who has immeasurable wealth, abundant estates, mansions, and servants. He has a spacious house, yet it only has a single entrance. Suppose many people live there, as many as one, two, or even five hundred people. The buildings are in poor repair, the fences and walls are crumbling, the pillar bases are rotten, and the beams and framework are dangerously tilted.
  “Suddenly and unexpectedly, fires break out everywhere, setting the house swiftly aflame. The children of this man, ten, twenty, or thirty in number are in the house.
  “The affluent man, seeing the fire breaking out everywhere, becomes alarmed and terrified. He thinks:

  I am capable of escaping through the burning entrance in safety, but my children are absorbed in play within the burning house and are not aware [of the fire], do not know, are not alarmed or terrified, and the fire is approaching them! They are not troubled about their suffering nor do they intend to leave the house.

  “O Śāriputra, this affluent man thought:

  Since I am still physically strong I could take the children out of the house in the folds of my garment or on top of a desk.

  “He further thought:

  There is only one entrance to this house and it is very narrow. The children, who are immature and still unaware, are attached to their place of play. They may fall into danger and be burned by the fire. I should now tell them of the danger; this house is already burning! They must escape as quickly as they can to avoid being burned by the fire!

  “After considering this he urged the children according to his thought:

  Children! Run out immediately!

  “Although their father in his concern has given them the proper advice, the children are immersed in their play and do not accept it; they are neither alarmed nor afraid and have no intention of leaving [the burning house]. Moreover, they do not even know what a fire is, the condition of the house, or what they may lose. They merely run about, back and forth, looking at their father.
  “Thereupon the affluent man thought:

  This house is already engulfed in flames. If my children and I do not get out, we shall perish in the fire. I will now use skillful means to help my children escape from this disaster.

  “Since the father already knew that his children were attached to various rare toys and unusual things that each of them liked, he said to them:

  The toys you are fond of are rare and hard to obtain. If you do not take them you will certainly regret it later. Right now, outside the house, there are three kinds of carts. One is yoked to a sheep, one to a deer, and one to an ox. Go play with them. Children! Run out of this burning house immediately and I will give you whatever you want!

  “The children, hearing what their father had said about the rare toys, became excited and, in their eagerness to get to them they pushed each other out of the way in a mad rush out of the burning house.
  “Then the affluent man saw that his children had got out safely and were sitting unharmed in an open area at a crossroad. He was relieved, happy, and joyful. The children said to their father:

  Father, please give us the toys you promised: those [three] carts, one yoked to a sheep, one to a deer, and one to an ox!

  “O Śāriputra, the affluent man then gave each child the same kind of large cart. These carts were tall and spacious, adorned with various jewels, and encircled with railings full of hanging bells. On the tops of the carts were canopies also decorated with various kinds of jewels. These carts were draped with jewelled cords and hung with flower garlands. They were thickly piled with fabrics, and red pillows had been placed about. These carts were each yoked to an ox with a spotlessly white hide. These oxen had beautiful bodies with powerful muscles, even gaits, and were as swift as the wind; and there were many attendants guarding them. Why did the affluent man give these carts? Because the man had great and immeasurable wealth and his abundant storehouses were full. He thus thought further:

  Since my treasure has no limit, I should not give my children inferior carts. These are my children and I love them all equally. I have an immeasurable number of large carts such as these, decorated with the seven treasures. I should equally distribute them to each child without discrimination. Why is this? Even if I gave carts like these to everyone in the country, their number would not be exhausted. Why should I not give them to my own children?

  “At that time, the children each climbed into a great cart and had an unprecedented experience, one beyond their original expectations.
  “O Śāriputra! What do you think about this? This affluent man gave to his children equally a large cart decorated with precious treasures. Has he deceived them or not?”
  Śāriputra replied: “No Bhagavat! The affluent man only tried to help his children escape from the disastrous fire. He saved their lives and did not deceive them. This is by no means a deception. Why? Because by saving their lives they obtained marvelous toys. Moreover, they were saved from the burning house by skillful means.
  “O Bhagavat! If this affluent man had not given them even the smallest cart, it still would not have been a deception. Why is this? Because this affluent man thought before:

  I will help my children escape with skillful means.

  “This is why it was not a deception. How much more so, since the affluent man, knowing that he had immeasurable wealth and wanting to benefit them equally, gave each of his children a large [ox]cart.”
  The Buddha said to Śāriputra: “Splendid, splendid! It is exactly as you have said. O Śāriputra, the Tathāgata is also just like this. That is to say, as the father of the entire world, he permanently dispels fear, distress, anxiety, ignorance, and blindness. He has attained immeasurable wisdom, insight, power, and fearlessness, as well as great transcendent powers and the power of wisdom. He has attained the perfection of skillful means and of wisdom. With his great mercy and compassion he incessantly and indefatigably seeks the welfare of all beings and benefits them all.
  “The Tathāgata appears in the triple world, which is like a decaying old house on fire, to rescue sentient beings from the fire of birth, old age, illness, and death, anxiety, sorrow, suffering, distress, delusion, blindness, and the three poisons of greed, hatred, and ignorance. Thus he leads and inspires sentient beings and causes them to attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi (the highest, complete enlightenment).
  “The Tathāgatas see all sentient beings burning in the fire of birth, old age, illness, and death, anxiety, sorrow, suffering, and distress. Because of the desires of the five senses and the desire for monetary profit they also experience various kinds of suffering. Because of their attachments and pursuits they experience various kinds of suffering in the present; and in the future they will suffer in the states of existence of hell, animals, and hungry ghosts. If they are born in the heavens or in the human world they will experience a variety of sorrows such as suffering from poverty and destitution, separation from loved ones, or suffering from encounters with those they dislike.
  “Although sentient beings are immersed in such sorrows, they rejoice and play. They are not aware, shocked, startled, or disgusted nor do they seek release. Running around in the burning house of the triple world, they experience great suffering and yet they do not realize it.
  “O Śāriputra! Seeing these things the Buddha thought:

  Since I am the father of sentient beings, I must rid them of their immeasurable suffering and distress. I will cause them to rejoice through the immeasurable and limitless pleasure of the buddha wisdom.

  “O Śāriputra! The Tathāgata further thought:

  If I proclaim the Tathāgata’s wisdom, insight, power, and fearlessness to sentient beings with my transcendent powers and the power of my wisdom alone, without using skillful means, it will be impossible to save them. Why is this? Because these sentient beings have not escaped from birth, old age, illness, and death; anxiety, sorrow, suffering, and distress; and are being burned in the blazing house of the triple world. How would they be able to understand the Buddha’s wisdom?

  “O Śāriputra! Although that affluent man had physical strength he did not use it. He only earnestly employed skillful means to save his children from the disaster of the burning house, and later he gave each of them a large cart decorated with precious treasures. The Tathāgata is exactly like this.
  “Although the Tathāgata has power and fearlessness he does not use them, but rescues sentient beings from the burning house of the triple world only through wisdom and skillful means, teaching the three vehicles to the śrāvakas, pratyekabuddhas, and the buddhas, saying:

  Do not take pleasure in living in this burning house of the triple world. And do not thirst after inferior objects, sounds, smells, flavours, and tangibles. If you are attached to these objects and have desires, then you will be burned. Leave the triple world in haste and you will obtain the three vehicles— the vehicles for the śrāvakas, pratyekabuddhas, and buddhas. I definitely guarantee this to you. In the end it will come true. You should be diligent and persistent!

  “The Tathāgata attracts sentient beings through this skillful means, saying further:

  You should know that the Noble Ones praise the teachings of these three vehicles that are self-directed, unrestricted, and independent. When they ride in them, sentient beings will enjoy faculties free from corruption and also powers, paths to enlightenment, meditation, liberation, and concentration. And they themselves will attain immeasurable ease and pleasure.

  “O Śāriputra! Those beings, wise by nature, who accept the Dharma from the Buddha Bhagavat, who are diligent, persistent, and wish to escape from the triple world quickly, and who are seeking nirvana, are all practicing the śrāvaka vehicle. They are like those children who left the burning house seeking the cart yoked to a sheep.
  “Those beings who accept the Dharma of the Buddha Bhagavat, who are diligent and persevere in seeking the wisdom of the Self-generated One and enjoy tranquility for themselves, who profoundly know the causes of and reasons for existence, are all practicing the pratyekabuddha vehicle. They are just like those children who left the burning house seeking the cart yoked to a deer.
  “Those beings who accept the Dharma of the Buddha Bhagavat, who are diligent and persevere in seeking the wisdom of the Omniscient One, the wisdom of the Buddha, the wisdom of the Self-generated One, the wisdom acquired without a teacher, the wisdom and insight, powers, and fearlessness of the Tathāgata; who are compassionate, put immeasurable sentient beings at ease, benefit devas and humans, and save all beings, are all practicing the Mahayana. Bodhisattvas are called mahāsattvas (great beings) because they seek this vehicle. They are just like those children who left the burning house seeking the cart yoked to an ox.
  “O Śāriputra! That affluent man saw his children leave the burning house safely and arrive at a safe place. Knowing that he had immeasurable wealth, he gave a large cart equally to each child. The Tathāgata is exactly like this. As the father of all sentient beings he sees that immeasurable thousands of koṭis of sentient beings escape from the dangers, sufferings, and fears of the triple world through the gates of the Buddha’s teaching and attain the pleasure of nirvana.
  “Then the Tathāgata thought:

  Because I possess the treasure house of the Dharma of all the buddhas, which contains immeasurable limitless wisdom, power, and fearlessness, and because all sentient beings are my children, I will give them equally the Mahayana. I will not let anyone attain nirvana merely for himself but will cause everyone to attain it through the Tathāgata’s nirvana. I will give sentient beings who have escaped from the triple world all the toys of the Buddha’s meditations and liberations, which are of one character and one kind, are praised by the Noble Ones, and which produce pure and supreme pleasure.

  “O Śāriputra! At first that affluent man attracted his children with three kinds of carts, then later gave them only the safest and best large [ox]cart, adorned with jewels. However, that affluent man was never accused of telling a lie. The Tathāgata is exactly like this. He tells no lies.
  “In the beginning the Tathāgata teaches the three vehicles in order to lead sentient beings. And later he saves them through only the Mahayana. Why is this? Because the Tathāgata possesses the treasure house of the Dharma, which contains immeasurable wisdom, power, and fearlessness. And although he is able to give the teaching of the Mahayana to all sentient beings, not all of them can accept it.
  “O Śāriputra! You should know that the buddhas, with the power of skillful means, teach the single buddha vehicle, dividing and teaching it as three.”
  Then the Buddha, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this again, spoke these verses:

  Suppose there were an affluent man
  Who had a large house,
  And this house was very old,
  On the verge of collapsing.
  The halls were extremely dangerous,
  The pillar bases rotten and disintegrating,
  The beams and framework dangerously tilted,
  And the stairways were falling apart.
  The fences and walls were cracked,
  The plaster was peeling off,
  The thatched roof was falling down,
  The rafters and eaves were coming apart,
  The partitions were everywhere askew,
  And the whole place was covered with filth.
  Five hundred people lived there,
  And moving around helter-skelter were
  Kites, owls, hawks, eagles, crows, magpies,
  Doves, pigeons, lizards, snakes, vipers,
  Scorpions, centipedes, millipedes,
  Newts, myriapods, ferrets, badgers, mice,
  Rats, and other harmful creatures.
  It was filled with stench,
  And there were places overflowing with excrement.
  All kinds of bugs
  Had gathered there.
  There were foxes, wolves, and vermin
  Devouring, trampling, and gnawing on corpses,
  Scattering bones and flesh about;
  And a pack of dogs,
  Forcing each other out of the way,
  Rushed to the spot—
  Frightened and exhausted from hunger,
  They were searching everywhere for food,
  Fighting among themselves, snatching at food,
  Biting, snarling, and barking at each other.
  This house was terrifying,
  Corrupted to this grotesque condition:
  Ogres of the mountains and valleys,
  Yakṣas, and demons were everywhere
  Devouring human flesh.
  There were various poisonous insects,
  All kinds of harmful birds of prey,
  And beasts who were producing, rearing,
  And protecting their offspring.
  Yakṣas were scrabbling and fighting to devour them.
  And after sating themselves,
  Evil thoughts would arise in them.
  The sound of their fighting
  Was terrifying.
  The kumbhāṇḍa demons were crouching on the ground,
  Sometimes rising up a foot or two.
  Roaming about, pleasing themselves as they liked,
  They would catch two legs of a dog,
  Beat it until it could not bark
  And grabbing the dog’s neck with their legs,
  Terrify it for their own amusement.
  There were also other demons living there
  With large bodies, naked, dark, and gaunt.
  They were screaming horrifying howls,
  Crying out while searching for food.
  Other demons were there,
  Some with needlelike throats,
  While others had necks
  Like a cow’s head;
  Some had those of human flesh-eaters or dog-devourers.
  Their hair was disheveled like rank weeds
  And they were destructive and malicious.
  Driven by hunger and thirst,
  They were crying and scurrying about.
  Yakṣas, hungry ghosts,
  And various malicious birds and beasts
  Were peering out of the windows
  And running frantically in all directions,
  Driven by hunger.
  In this house, with its immeasurable terrors,
  There were many such horrendous things as these.
  Now suppose this old and decaying house
  Belonged to a man,
  And this man came out from it a short distance.
  Soon after, the house suddenly
  Burst into flames behind him.
  The fire instantly spread in all directions.
  The frame, beams, rafters, and pillars exploded,
  And shaking, split and crashed,
  While the fences and walls collapsed.
  All the demons screamed out loudly.
  The hawks, eagles, other birds,
  And kumbhāṇḍa demons, panicked and terrified,
  Could not get out.
  Malicious beasts and poisonous insects
  Concealed themselves in holes.
  There were also piśāca demons dwelling there
  Who, because of little merit,
  Were chased by the flames.
  They were tearing at each other,
  Drinking blood and eating flesh.
  A horde of vermin had already died off,
  And the large malicious beasts
  Raced to devour them,
  While the smoke of the stench flowed
  And filled everywhere.
  As the centipedes, millipedes,
  And poisonous snakes rushed,
  Burning, out of their holes
  The kumbhāṇḍa demons devoured them
  One after another.
  The hungry ghosts, with their hair on fire,
  Ravenous, thirsty, and suffering from the heat,
  Frantically scurried about.
  In this way, the house was extremely terrifying
  With poison and fire,
  And disasters more than one.
  Then the householder, who was standing
  Outside the entrance of the house,
  Heard someone say:

  Just a moment ago,
  In the midst of their play,
  Your children entered this house.
  Being young and ignorant,
  They are attached to playing games.

  Hearing this, the affluent man was startled
  And went into the burning house
  To save them from the disaster of the fire.
  As he thought fit, he warned the children
  And explained the various dangers:

  There are malicious demons, poisonous insects,
  And the fire is raging everywhere.
  There are endless horrors,
  One right after another.
  There are poisonous snakes, lizards, vipers,
  Yakṣas, kumbhāṇḍa demons, vermin,
  Foxes, dogs, hawks, eagles, kites,
  Owls, and centipedes, all acutely suffering
  From hunger and thirst
  And all extremely terrifying.
  These horrors are difficult to deal with,
  How much more so the conflagration!

  But the children, being ignorant,
  Would not listen to their father’s warning.
  Still attached to their games,
  They kept right on playing.
  Thereupon the affluent man thought:

  My children by doing this
  Increase my distress!
  There is nothing to enjoy now in this house.
  Nevertheless, my children who are absorbed in play
  Will not accept my instructions
  And so will be hurt by the fire.

  Then he immediately thought
  That he should advise his children
  Using various skillful means, and said:

  I have a variety of unusual toys
  Such as fine carts adorned with beautiful treasures,
  Yoked to sheep, deer, and oxen.
  They are just outside the gate.
  O children! Come out of the house!
  I had these carts made for you.
  Play with them as you like!

  Hearing about these carts,
  The children immediately started
  To push each other out of the way
  To get out of the house.
  Arriving at an open area,
  They escaped from the disaster.
  The affluent man, seeing that his children
  Had escaped from the burning house
  And were standing at the crossroads,
  Sat down on his lion seat.
  Then he joyously said:

  Now I am happy!
  It is extremely difficult to raise these children.
  Foolish and ignorant,
  They entered a dangerous house
  Full of various poisonous insects,
  Terrifying ogres from mountains and valleys,
  And a raging fire that broke out in all directions.
  In spite of this,
  These children were attached to playing their games.
  But by causing them to escape from the disaster,
  I have saved them.
  Therefore, my people, I now feel at ease.

  Thereupon the children,
  Seeing their father sitting in peace,
  Approached him saying:

  Please, father,
  Give us the three kinds of carts
  Adorned with treasures
  That you just promised us,
  When you said that if we, your children, came out
  You would give us three kinds of carts
  Just as we like.
  Now is the right time.
  Give them to us right away!

  This affluent man,
  Who was extremely wealthy,
  Had an abundance of treasures.
  He had a number of great carts made,
  Adorned with various precious things
  Like gold, silver, lapis lazuli,
  Mother-of-pearl, and agate.
  They were beautifully decorated,
  Encircled with railings,
  And were covered with hanging bells
  Attached to golden cords.
  Over them was hung a net of pearls
  With golden flower tassels
  Hanging down everywhere.
  They were all completely
  Decorated in a variety of colours.
  The bedding was made of soft silk
  That was covered with
  An extremely fine carpet of spotless white
  Which cost thousands of koṭis.
  There were large white oxen,
  Healthy and powerful with beautiful bodies,
  Yoked to the jewelled carts,
  And they were guarded by many attendants.
  When they were given these fine carts,
  The children were joyful and excited.
  They got on the carts
  And drove delightedly all about.
  Amusing themselves in play,
  They mastered them without difficulties.
  The Buddha said to Śāriputra:
  I am also like this.
  I am the father of the world,
  The best of the sages.
  All sentient beings are my children.
  They are deeply attached to worldly pleasures
  And have no wisdom.
  There is no peace in the triple world,
  Just like in the burning house,
  Which is full of various suffering
  And which is extremely terrifying.
  There are always the sufferings
  Of birth, old age, illness, and death.
  Such fires as these burn endlessly.
  The Tathāgata, who has already left
  The burning house of the triple world,
  Lives in tranquility
  And dwells at ease in the forest.
  Now this triple world is my property
  And the sentient beings in it are my children.
  There are now many dangers here
  And I am the only one who can protect them.
  Although I give them advice,
  They do not accept it,
  Because they are tainted with desires
  And have deep attachments.
  On this occasion
  I teach the three vehicles
  Using skillful means.
  Realizing the sufferings of the triple world,
  I reveal and explain it
  To cause sentient beings to
  Escape from the mundane path.
  If these children are resolute,
  They are endowed with the three knowledges
  And six transcendent powers.
  Or they can become pratyekabuddhas or
  Bodhisattvas who have reached
  The stage of non-retrogression.
  O Śāriputra!
  I explain the single buddha vehicle
  To sentient beings, using this illustration.
  If you are able to accept what I say,
  You will all attain the buddha path.
  This vehicle is subtle, pure, and peerless.
  There is nothing superior to it
  In all the worlds.
  This is what the Buddha enjoys.
  All the sentient beings should praise,
  Honour, and revere it.
  There are immeasurable thousands of koṭis
  Of powers, liberations, meditations,
  Wisdoms, and other attributes of the Buddha.
  I cause my children to obtain such a vehicle
  And let them play continuously,
  Day and night, for kalpas.
  I cause the bodhisattvas as well as the śrāvakas
  To board this jewelled vehicle,
  And lead them directly
  To the terrace of enlightenment.
  For this reason,
  There is no other vehicle but
  The skillful means of the buddhas,
  Even if one seeks in all the ten directions.
  I tell you, O Śāriputra:
  All of you are my children,
  And I am thus your father.
  Since you were burned by the fire
  Of various sufferings for many kalpas,
  I saved you all
  By leading you out of the triple world.
  Although I have previously told you
  About your parinirvāṇa,
  You have only extinguished birth and death
  And have not actually attained nirvana.
  You should now seek only
  The wisdom of the Buddha.
  If there are any bodhisattvas in this assembly,
  They should listen single-mindedly
  To the real teaching of all the buddhas.
  Those sentient beings
  Whom the Buddha Bhagavats
  Lead and inspire with skillful means
  Are all bodhisattvas.
  Because people have little knowledge
  And are deeply attached to pleasures,
  I teach them the truth of suffering.
  And those sentient beings rejoice,
  Having attained
  Such an unprecedented experience.
  The truth of suffering taught by the Buddha
  Is nothing but the truth.
  To those who do not know the origin of suffering,
  Who are deeply attached to its causes
  And unable to abandon them even for a while,
  I teach the truth about the path to its cessation
  Using skillful means.
  All the causes of suffering
  Originate from excessive craving.
  When this craving is extinguished,
  The source is removed.
  The cessation of suffering
  Is called the Third [Noble] Truth.
  One practices the path leading to its cessation
  In order to attain the truth of cessation.
  Removing the bonds of sufferings is called liberation.
  In what sense have these people attained liberation?
  They have merely removed false views
  And called that liberation.
  But actually, they have not yet completely attained it.
  The Buddha has explained that these people
  Have not actually attained nirvana:
  I do not intend to lead them to nirvana
  Because they have not yet attained the highest path.
  I am the Lord of the Dharma
  And have mastered the Dharma.
  I appear in the world
  To cause sentient beings to be at peace.
  O, you, Śāriputra!
  Teach this my Dharma sign
  To benefit the world!
  Wherever you may go,
  Never propagate it recklessly.
  You should know that those who hear,
  Rejoice, and fully accept it
  Have reached the stage of non-retrogression.
  Those who accept the teaching of this sutra
  Have formerly seen the buddhas in the past,
  Honoured, and paid homage to them,
  And also heard this teaching.
  If anyone is able to accept what you teach,
  It is the same as seeing me, you, the monks and the bodhisattvas.
  This very Lotus Sutra shall be taught
  Only to the profoundly wise.
  Those of superficial awareness who hear it
  Will become confused and will not comprehend it.
  This sutra is beyond the comprehension
  Of all the śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas.
  O, you, Śāriputra!
  Even you understood this sutra only through faith;
  It is no wonder that the other disciples cannot.
  They accept this sutra
  Because they believe the Buddha’s teaching,
  But it is beyond their intellectual comprehension.
  O Śāriputra!
  Never teach this sutra
  To those who are arrogant and lazy,
  Or to those who hold
  False views about the self.
  Never teach it to those people
  Of superficial awareness,
  Who are deeply attached
  To the desires of the five senses,
  Since even if they heard it,
  They would not understand.
  Those people who will not accept
  And who disparage this sutra,
  Will consequently destroy the seed of the Buddha
  In the entire world.
  Now listen to what I teach
  About the results of the errors of those people
  Who frown upon and have doubts about this sutra.
  Listen also to what I teach
  Concerning the results of the errors of those people,
  Who, whether at the time
  Of the Buddha’s presence in this world
  Or after his parinirvāṇa, disparage this sutra,
  And despise, hate, and hold grudges
  Against the people who recite, copy, and preserve it.
  When such people die,
  They will go to the Avīci Hell,
  And after spending a kalpa there,
  Will be born in the same way
  Again and again for innumerable kalpas.
  After coming out of this hell,
  They will be reborn as animals.
  If born as dogs or vermin,
  Their bodies will be emaciated, dark-spotted,
  Devoid of hair, with scabies and leprosy.
  Tormented, hated, and despised by people,
  They will constantly suffer from hunger and thirst.
  With withered bones and flesh,
  They will be in anguish while living
  And covered with stones after death.
  Because they destroyed
  The seed of the Buddha,
  They will suffer the consequences
  Of their errors.
  If they are born as camels or mules,
  They will always have heavy burdens to carry.
  They will be whipped repeatedly
  And think of nothing but water and grass.
  It is because they disparaged this sutra
  That they suffer the consequences of their errors in this way.
  If they are born as vermin and enter a village,
  Children will beat them because they have scabies,
  Leprosy, and perhaps a missing eye.
  At times they will be tortured even to death.
  After dying,
  They will be reborn as giant snakes
  With great bodies as long as five hundred yojanas.
  Deaf, dumb, legless, slithering on their bellies,
  Eaten at by small insects,
  They will suffer day and night without respite.
  They suffer the consequences of their errors in this way,
  Because they disparaged this sutra.
  If they are born as humans,
  They will have dull faculties
  And be runts who twitch and are crippled,
  Blind, deaf, and humpbacked.
  No matter what they may say
  People will not believe them.
  Their breath will always be foul.
  They will be snatched at by demons.
  Being poor and degraded and enslaved by others,
  They will be emaciated from many illnesses
  And will have nowhere to turn.
  When they approach others,
  They will be disdained.
  Even if they manage to get something
  They will immediately lose it.
  Even if they study medicine
  And cure themselves according to the correct method,
  They will suffer from other illnesses again
  And may even die.
  When they get sick
  No one will tend to them;
  And even if they take the proper medicine
  Their pain will increase.
  Every hand will be turned against them,
  Threatening them, pilfering and stealing from them.
  They will fall helplessly into this plight
  Because of their transgressions.
  Such erring people will never see
  The Buddha, the king of seers,
  Preaching the Dharma and leading and inspiring people.
  Such people will always be born
  Into difficult circumstances.
  Crazed, unheeding, and unthinking,
  They will never hear the teaching.
  They will be born deaf and dumb,
  With defective faculties
  For as many immeasurable kalpas
  As the sands of the Ganges River.
  They will always find themselves in hell,
  As if they were stuck within a garden.
  They will be living in other troubled states of being,
  As if they were staying in their own home.
  They will live among camels, mules, boars, and dogs.
  These are the results of their error
  In disparaging this sutra.
  If they are born as human beings,
  They will be deaf, blind, mute,
  Impoverished, and decrepit.
  Such will be their adornments.
  They will have dropsy, gonorrhea,
  Scabies, leprosy, and tumors.
  Such diseases as these will be their clothing.
  Their bodies will always be foul, filthy, and impure.
  Their deep attachment to false views
  About the self will cause
  Their anger and passion to increase.
  Their sexual desires will be insatiable,
  With either birds or beasts as their objects.
  These are the results of their
  Errors in disparaging this sutra.
  The Buddha said to Śāriputra:
  If one were to explain
  The consequences of the errors
  Of those who disparage this sutra,
  It would take more than a kalpa.
  For that reason I am now telling you
  Never to expound this sutra
  To those who have little wisdom.
  You should teach it
  Only to those people of sharp faculties
  Who are wise, learned, and understanding,
  Who have good memories and erudition,
  And are seeking the buddha path.
  You should teach it to those who have seen
  Hundreds of thousands of koṭis of buddhas,
  Who have planted good roots, and are resolute.
  Teach it to those who strive,
  Always practice compassion,
  And give unsparingly of their bodies and lives.
  You should teach it to those who are respectful
  And devoid of hypocrisy,
  Who are living alone
  In mountains and valleys away from fools.
  O Śāriputra!
  You should teach it
  To those who have left their bad companions
  And made friends with virtuous people.
  Teach it to the heirs of the Buddha
  Who have good conduct, are as pure as jewels,
  And who are seeking the Mahayana sutras.
  You should teach it
  To those who are free of anger,
  Honest, flexible, always sympathetic to everyone,
  And who honour all the buddhas.
  Teach it to the heirs of the Buddha
  Who have pure thoughts
  And who teach the Dharma in the great assembly,
  Without doubts or obstructions,
  Using various reasonings,
  Illustrations, and explanations.
  You should teach it to those monks
  Who, always and everywhere in search of the Dharma,
  Seek the Omniscient One,
  To whom they press their palms together,
  Respectfully accept it, and preserve
  Only the Mahayana sutras with pleasure,
  Never preserving even a single verse
  Of any other sutra.
  Teach it to those who seek this sutra
  As intently as they seek for the relics of the Buddha,
  Who after obtaining it will accept it
  Respectfully, with bowed heads;
  And will not seek any other sutra
  And will never think about heretical scriptures.
  O Śāriputra! I say to you:
  I have described the characteristics of those
  Who seek the buddha path,
  Though a kalpa would not suffice to do so in full.
  You should teach the Lotus Sutra
  To those who are able to accept it.

  The Lotus Sutra
  Chapter IV Willing Acceptance

  (Translated from the Chinese of Kumārajiva by Tsugunari Kubo and Akira Yuyama)
  (Second Revised Edition) (dBET)

  At that time the noble Subhūti, Mahākātyāyana, Mahākāśyapa, and Mahāmaudgalyāyana, having heard the unprecedented teaching from the Buddha and the Bhagavat’s prediction of Śāriputra’s Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi (the highest, complete enlightenment), were filled with wonder and ecstatic joy. They immediately rose from their seats, straightened their garments, leaving their right shoulders bared, and touched their right knees to the ground. With rapt attention and with palms pressed together they bowed in veneration and, gazing at the Bhagavat’s face, said to the Buddha:
  “We are the seniors of the sangha, old and feeble. We considered ourselves to have attained nirvana and to be incapable of further seeking Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi, so we did not do so.
  “It has been a long time since the Bhagavat taught the Dharma in the past. Now we sit with weary bodies and only contemplate emptiness, signlessness, and wishlessness. Neither the bodhisattva teaching, nor the carefree sporting with transcendent powers, nor the pure buddha worlds, nor helping sentient beings attain enlightenment produced any eager desire in us.
  “Why is this? Because the Bhagavat caused us to leave the triple world and to attain nirvana. But now we are old and feeble. We did not take even a single thought of pleasure in the Buddha’s inspiration of the bodhisattvas to Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi (the highest, complete enlightenment). And now in the presence of the Buddha we have heard the śrāvakas receive their prediction of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi and we are very joyful to have obtained such an unprecedented experience. We never considered that we would suddenly be able to hear this marvellous teaching; and we are overjoyed that we have attained such great benefits—an immeasurable treasure which we attained, though unsought and unawaited.
  “O Bhagavat! We now wish to give an illustration to clarify what we mean: Suppose there were a man who, when he was still a child, left his father and ran away. Living in another region for a long time he passed the age of ten, twenty, even fifty years. The older he got the more impoverished he became. He went searching everywhere for food and clothing, and while he was wandering about he started back by chance in the direction of his native country. From the first the father had looked for his son but in vain; in the meantime, he had stayed in the city and become extremely wealthy, and now possessed uncountable treasures.
  “[The father’s] storehouses were all filled to overflowing with gold, silver, lapis lazuli, coral, amber, crystal, and other such things. He had many servants, subordinates, and clerks as well as innumerable elephants, horses, carriages, cows, and sheep. He profited through lending and his trade with other countries was also great.
  “Then the impoverished son, after wandering through many villages, from one country and city to another, finally reached the city where his father lived. Although the father had constantly thought about the son from whom he had been separated for over fifty years, he nevertheless had spoken to no one about it. He brooded and grieved in his heart, thinking to himself:

  I have become old and feeble; and although I have many treasures, and storehouses filled with gold, silver, and precious jewels, I have no son. When I die my treasures will be scattered and lost for lack of someone to whom to entrust them.

  “It was for this reason that he was always thinking anxiously about his son. He also thought:

  If I could get my son back and leave my fortune to him, I would be relieved and happy, and without further worry.

  “O Bhagavat! At that time the impoverished son, who had been wandering about, taking odd jobs, by chance finally reached his father’s house. Standing at the side of the gate he saw his father in the distance sitting on the lion seat with his feet propped up on a jewelled stool, respectfully surrounded by many brahmans, kṣatriyas, and householders. His body was adorned with pearl necklaces worth thousands of myriads. He was attended on both sides by clerks and servants holding whisker fans. Above was a jewelled canopy with various hanging flowered banners. Perfume was sprinkled on the ground, which was strewn with a variety of beautiful flowers. There were rows of precious objects, and people were coming and going, buying and selling. With various trappings such as these, the father appeared very majestic indeed.
  “The impoverished son, seeing his father wielding such great power, became terrified and regretted that he had ever come to that place. He thought to himself:

  He must be a king or of a similar rank. This is not a place where I can obtain things as a hired worker. It would certainly be better for me to go to a poor village, a place where I can use my ability and easily obtain clothing and food. If I stay here for very long I will be seized and put to forced labor.

  “Thinking this way, he quickly fled. At that time the wealthy man, sitting on the lion seat, realized that he had seen his son and became extremely happy. He then thought:

  Now there is someone to whom I can leave my fortune and treasures. I have been constantly thinking about my son but had no way to meet him, and now suddenly he has come. This is exactly what I wanted. Although I am old I still yearn for him.

  “The man immediately dispatched his attendants to chase his son and bring him back. Then the attendants quickly ran and overtook him. The impoverished son was frightened and cried out in fear:

  I did nothing wrong! Why are you seizing me?

  “The attendants grabbed him more firmly and forced him to return. Then the impoverished son thought:

  They have seized me even though I have done nothing wrong. I shall certainly be killed.

  “He was so terrified that he collapsed unconscious on the ground. His father, seeing this from a distance, told the attendants:

  I don’t need him. Don’t force him to come! Pour cold water on his face and bring him to consciousness. Don’t say anything more to him.

  “What was the reason for this? The father knew that his son was of lowly aspiration, and that his own wealth and position would cause him problems. Although the father knew without doubt that the man was his son, he used skillful means and did not say to others, ‘This is my son.’
  “The attendant then said to the son:

  You are free to go wherever you wish.

  “Then the impoverished son, happy because he had never felt such relief, stood up and went to a poor village to seek for food and clothing.
  “At that time, wanting to get his son back, the wealthy man employed skillful means and secretly dispatched two attendants of wretched and humble appearance. He said to them:

  Approach the impoverished fellow and gently tell him that there is a place for him to work where he will be paid double. If he gives his assent then bring him back to work. If he asks you what kind of work there is for him to do, tell him that he will be employed to sweep dung and that both of you will work with him.

  “Then the two attendants immediately went in search of the impoverished son. When they found him they told him this. At that time he took his pay and immediately went to work sweeping dung.
  “The father, seeing his son, felt pity and wondered what to do. Then one day while looking through the window he saw his son in the distance appearing emaciated and wretched, soiled with dung and dirt. The father took off his necklaces, fine garments, and ornaments and put on torn, filthy clothes. Covering himself with dirt and taking a dung sweeper in his right hand, he made himself look fearsome. He said to his workers: ‘Work hard and don’t be lazy!’
  “Through this kind of skillful means, he was able to approach his son. He spoke to him further saying:

  You! I want you to always work here. Don’t go anywhere else and I will pay you more. There will be no difficulty in getting the things you need, like utensils, rice, noodles, salt, and vinegar. I also have an old servant. If you need him I’ll give him to you. Be at ease! I am just like your father, so don’t worry about anything! Why am I doing this? Because I am old and you are still young. Whenever you work you are never lazy or sullen and never complain. I never see in you the bad qualities the other workers have. From now on you will be just like my own son.

  “Then the wealthy man immediately addressed him as his child. At that time, even though the impoverished son rejoiced at being treated this way, he nevertheless still considered himself a humble employee. For this reason his father let him continue to sweep dung for twenty years. At the end of this period of time each had come to trust the other. Yet even though the son had free access to his father’s house, he still lived in the same place as before.
  “O Bhagavat! One day the wealthy man became ill and knew he was going to die before long. He said to the impoverished son:

  This is what I have been thinking and I want you to understand my intentions: I now have plenty of gold, silver, and precious treasures filling my storehouses. Get to know exactly how much is being taken in and out of them. Why do I want you to do this? Because you and I are one and the same. Take good care of our fortune and don’t let it be lost!

  “Then the impoverished son obeyed his instructions. Although he learned everything about the gold, silver, precious treasure, and the storehouses, he never wanted to take even the least amount. Nevertheless he still lived in the same place as before and was still not able to get rid of his feeling of inferiority.
  “After a short time had passed the father knew that his son’s mind had become composed, that his will had increased, and that he was ashamed of his former feelings. When the father was just on the verge of death, he ordered his son to meet the king, ministers, kṣatriyas, householders, and relatives, who had already assembled there. The father then declared:

  This is my son, my own progeny. When we were in a certain city he left me and fled. He wandered around for more than fifty years undergoing hardships. His original name is Such-and-such, and my name is Such-and-such. Long ago when I was in that city I worried and searched for him. At last and unexpectedly I met up with him. This is my true son and I am, in truth, his father. All of the fortune I now possess belongs to my son. He already knows about our finances.

  “O Bhagavat! At that time the impoverished son, hearing what his father said, became extremely happy at having obtained such an unprecedented experience. Then he thought:

  I never even considered receiving this; nevertheless, this treasure house has come into my possession, though unsought and unawaited.

  “O Bhagavat! This very wealthy man is the Tathāgata, and all of us are the heirs of the Buddha. The Tathāgata has always said that we are his children. Because of the triple sufferings, O Bhagavat, we experienced pain, were confused, ignorant and attached to inferior teachings in life after life. Today the Bhagavat has made us think about getting rid of the dung of fallacies regarding the reality of the world and that, in this respect, we diligently strove to attain the nirvana only as one seeking a salary for a single day’s labor. We had already attained it and were extremely happy and satisfied with it. We said to ourselves:

  Because we have made diligent efforts to comprehend the Buddha’s teaching, we have attained a great deal.

  “But the Bhagavat had formerly perceived that we were attached to desires and content with lowly aspirations. While letting us be so he did not explain that we were to have a portion of the treasure house of the Tathāgata’s wisdom and insight. Through the power of skillful means the Bhagavat has taught the wisdom of the Tathāgatas. Although we had attained nirvana from the Buddha as our salary for one day’s labor, we thought we had attained much and did not seek the Mahayana.
  “Furthermore, we have manifested and explained the wisdom of the Tathāgata for the bodhisattvas; but we ourselves had no aspirations regarding it.
  “Why is this? The Buddha, knowing that we were content with lowly aspirations, taught us according to what is appropriate through the power of skillful means. But we did not know that we really were the heirs of the Buddha.
  “Now we fully know that the Bhagavat is unstinting in regard to the wisdom of the buddhas. What is the reason for this? We have actually been the heirs of the Buddha from long ago, even though we only yearned for the inferior teaching. If we had yearned for the superior teaching, then the Buddha would have taught the teachings of the Mahayana to us. Yet, in this sutra he has taught only the single vehicle.
  “Now, in the past the Buddha reviled the śrāvakas—those who yearned for the inferior teaching—in the presence of the bodhisattvas, but actually the Buddha inspired them also with the Mahayana. That is why we say that though we originally had no desire to seek the great treasure of the King of the Dharma it has now come to us unsought and unawaited. We have all attained what we should attain as the heirs of the Buddha.”
  Thereupon Mahākāśyapa, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  Today we have heard the Buddha’s words,
  And we are joyful and ecstatic
  At having attained such an unprecedented experience.
  The Buddha has said
  That the śrāvakas will be able to become buddhas.
  The most magnificent jewels
  Have been obtained without being sought or awaited.
  Suppose there were a young and inexperienced child
  Who left his father
  And ran away to a distant country.
  He wandered around for more than fifty years.
  And his worried father looked for him everywhere.
  The father, exhausted from searching for him,
  Remained in a city
  Where he had a house built
  And enjoyed the desires of the five senses.
  His family built up a vast wealth of much gold, silver,
  Mother-of-pearl, agate, pearls, lapis lazuli,
  Elephants, horses, cows, sheep, floats, carriages,
  Peasants, servants, and other employees.
  He earned interest through loans and deposits
  And had buyers and sellers
  Throughout all the other regions.
  He was surrounded by thousands of
  Myriads of koṭis of people,
  Who held him in awe;
  Always loved by the king,
  And deeply respected by the subjects
  And powerful families.
  There were many people
  Coming and going on different business.
  He was thus extremely wealthy
  And very powerful.
  And yet as he grew older,
  He increasingly worried about his son.
  Day and night he thought:

  Soon I will die.
  My foolish son has abandoned me
  For over fifty years.
  What should I do with the
  Various goods in my treasure houses?

  At that time the impoverished son
  Was going from town to town,
  From one country to another,
  Seeking food and clothing.
  Sometimes he obtained them,
  And sometimes he did not.
  He was emaciated from hunger,
  And his body was covered with scabies.
  Through his wanderings,
  He gradually reached the city
  Where his father lived,
  And, after having been employed
  At one place after another,
  Finally ended up at his father’s home.
  At that time the wealthy man
  Was sitting within the gate
  On a lion seat, sheltered by
  A huge jewel-covered canopy.
  He was surrounded by his attendants
  And guarded by his men.
  Some were counting gold, silver, and jewels;
  And some were settling the finances,
  While others were keeping the accounts.
  The impoverished son saw his father,
  Who was extremely wealthy and dignified.
  He wondered if this man were a king
  Or someone of equal rank.
  He became intimidated
  And wondered why he had gone there.
  He thought to himself:

  If I stay here for long
  I will be harassed and coerced into working.

  Thinking this, he ran away
  In search of a poor village
  Where he could find employment.
  At that time the wealthy man,
  Who was sitting on the lion seat,
  Saw his son in the distance.
  Though he recognized him he told no one,
  But sent his attendants
  To pursue him and bring him back.
  The impoverished son was terrified,
  Cried out, and collapsed on the ground
  In confusion, thinking:

  Since this man has seized me
  I shall certainly be killed.
  In vain did I come here
  In search of food and clothing.

  The wealthy man knew that his son’s thoughts
  Were humble and foolish,
  And that he would not believe what he said,
  Nor believe that he was his father.
  Then using skillful means,
  He dispatched other men
  With squint eyes, of small stature
  And little dignity, saying to them:

  Tell him:
  We will employ you
  To sweep dung, at double your wages.

  When he heard this
  The impoverished son was overjoyed
  And returned to sweep dung and clean houses.
  The wealthy man
  Constantly watched his son
  Through the window and thought
  That his son was foolish
  And willingly did menial things.
  Then the wealthy man
  Put on torn and filthy clothes,
  And, holding a dung sweeper,
  Went out to his son.
  He approached his son
  Through this skillful means
  And said to him:

  Work hard!
  I have already increased your wages
  And given you more balm for your feet,
  Given you sufficient food
  And warm, thick mats.

  He further advised him, saying sternly:

  You should work diligently.

  Then he gently added:

  I will treat you like my son.

  The wealthy man, being wise,
  Gradually gave him freedom of the house;
  And, after twenty years had passed,
  Let him become involved
  In the family business.
  He showed him the gold,
  Silver, pearls, and crystal,
  And made him learn about
  All aspects of the finances.
  Yet the impoverished son still lived
  In a thatched hut outside the gate,
  And considered himself poor, thinking
  That these things were not his own.
  The father knew that his son
  Was gradually becoming more noble;
  And, wanting to give him his fortune,
  He assembled the king, ministers,
  Kṣatriyas, householders, and relatives.
  He informed this great assembly, saying:

  This is my son.
  He left me and stayed away
  For fifty years.
  Twenty years have already passed
  Since I saw my son return here.
  Long ago I lost my son in a certain city
  And, after wandering around in search of him,
  I ended up staying here.
  I entrust to him all the houses and men
  That I possess.
  They are all at his disposal.

  The son thought:

  Long ago I was poor and of lowly aspiration.
  Now at my father’s place
  I have obtained an immense fortune
  Of such things as precious jewels and houses.
  I am overjoyed at having obtained
  Such an unprecedented experience!

  The Buddha is also like this.
  He knew that we yearned for the inferior teaching,
  So he never taught us
  That we should become buddhas.
  Yet he did tell us that we had attained
  The stage of non-corruption,
  That we had achieved the inferior vehicle,
  And that we were the disciples of the śrāvaka vehicle.
  The Buddha told us to teach that
  Those who practiced the highest path
  Would be able to become buddhas.
  Accepting the Buddha’s teaching,
  We explained the highest path
  For the great bodhisattvas,
  Using various explanations and illustrations,
  And many figures of speech.
  The heirs of the Buddha
  Heard the teachings from us,
  Contemplated day and night,
  And practiced diligently.
  The buddhas instantly made their predictions saying:

  You will all be able to become buddhas in the future.

  We have explained the essence
  Of the treasured teaching of the buddhas
  Only for the sake of the bodhisattvas,
  But did not expound it for ourselves.
  Just as the impoverished son
  Who, after approaching his father,
  Learned of various things
  Yet did not want them,
  So, although we explained the treasure house
  Of the teaching of the buddhas,
  We never aspired to it.
  We thought that we had ourselves attained nirvana
  And considered this enough.
  We understood only this
  And did not think there was anything else.
  Even if we heard
  About the pure buddha lands
  And leading and inspiring sentient beings,
  We never rejoiced in it.
  Why is this?
  Because we thought thus:

  Every existence is quiescent,
  Neither produced nor extinguished,
  Neither large nor small,
  Incorrupted and unconditioned,

  We felt no eagerness.
  For days and nights we neither craved for
  Nor were attached to the wisdom of the buddhas,
  Neither did we aspire to it.
  Furthermore, we ourselves thought,
  With regard to the Dharma itself,
  That this was the ultimate goal.
  After practicing the teaching
  Of emptiness day and night,
  We were able to shake off
  The suffering of the triple world,
  And, bearing our last bodies,
  Abided in the nirvana with residue.
  We were led and inspired by the buddhas
  And our attainment of the path was not in vain,
  Which means we have already repaid
  The Buddha’s benevolence.
  Although we have expounded
  The teaching of the bodhisattvas
  To the heirs of the Buddha
  To seek the buddha path,
  We never longed for this teaching.
  Because he knew our minds
  The Leader turned away from us.
  At first he did not arouse our zeal
  With the explanation that there exists
  Real profit in the teaching.
  Just as the wealthy man,
  Who, knowing that his son was of lowly aspiration,
  Broadened his son’s mind using
  The power of skillful means,
  And only then entrusted his entire fortune to him.
  The Buddha is also exactly like this.
  He has manifested marvellous things
  But perceiving that we were content
  With lowly aspirations.
  He brought control to our minds using
  The power of skillful means,
  And only then taught us the great wisdom.
  Thus today we have obtained
  An unprecedented experience.
  The fact that we have now spontaneously obtained
  What we had not longed for
  Is just like the impoverished son
  Who obtained innumerable jewels.
  O Bhagavat!
  We have now obtained the path and its fruit
  And have obtained pure sight
  Into the incorruptible Dharma.
  For a long while we have maintained
  The pure conduct of the Buddha;
  Today for the first time
  We have obtained the results.
  For a long time we have practiced
  The pure path of discipline and integrity
  Based on the teaching of the Dharma King,
  And now we have attained
  The supreme fruit of non-corruption.
  We are now real śrāvakas
  And cause everyone to hear the words “buddha path.”
  We are now real arhats and shall be revered
  Among the devas, humans, māras, and Brahmas
  In all the worlds.
  The Bhagavat, the Great Benefactor,
  Benefits us with marvellous things
  By his inspiration and compassion.
  Who can repay him for it
  Even in immeasurable koṭis of kalpas!
  Even if one were to serve him
  With one’s hands and feet,
  Bow one’s head in reverence,
  And give all kinds of offerings,
  One could not repay him.
  Even if one were to bear him
  On one’s head and shoulders
  Out of deep respect, for as many kalpas
  As there are sands in the Ganges River,
  One could not repay him.
  Or even if one were to honour him
  With delicious food,
  Uncountable jewelled garments,
  Beddings, various medicines,
  Famed sandalwood from Mount Oxhead,
  And various precious jewels;
  Or by building temples,
  Spreading jewelled clothing and other such things
  For as many kalpas as there are sands in the Ganges River,
  One could not repay him.
  The buddhas have marvellous, immeasurable,
  Limitless, inconceivable great transcendent powers.
  They are the Kings of the Dharma.
  Without depravities and unconditioned,
  They are patient in all matters,
  For the sake of the humble ones.
  They teach the common people,
  Who are attached to tangible things,
  According to what is appropriate to them.
  All of the buddhas having attained
  Complete mastery over the Dharma,
  Perceive the various desires and intentions
  Of sentient beings and explain the teachings
  With innumerable illustrations,
  According to what is appropriate to them.
  Judging from the roots of good merit
  That sentient beings have planted in former lives,
  The buddhas perceive who are mature
  And who are not.
  Considering this in various ways
  And understanding the distinctions completely,
  The buddhas teach the single path,
  Explaining it as three
  In accordance with what is appropriate.

  The Lotus Sutra
  Chapter V Herbs

  (Translated from the Chinese of Kumārajiva by Tsugunari Kubo and Akira Yuyama)
  (Second Revised Edition) (dBET)

  Thereupon the Bhagavat addressed Mahākāśyapa and other great disciples saying: “Splendid! Splendid! O Kāśyapa! You have skillfully explained the real merit of the Tathāgata. It is exactly as you have said. The Tathāgata has immeasurable, unlimited Asamkhyeyas of merits. Thus even in a period of immeasurable koṭis of kalpas you will never fully be able to explain all of his merits.
  “O Kāśyapa! You should know that the Tathāgata is the king of all the teaching. What he teaches is never false. He explains all the teaching using his wisdom and skillful means and what he teaches leads everyone to the stage of omniscience.
  “The Tathāgata perceives the goal of all teachings and knows the underlying mental disposition of all sentient beings, perceiving all with no obstructions. He completely understands all teachings and displays omniscience to all sentient beings.
  “O Kāśyapa! Suppose in the great manifold cosmos there are mountains, rivers, valleys, and plains where many kinds of grasses, trees, shrubs, and herbs of different names and colours grow. Dense clouds thoroughly cover this great manifold cosmos and rain falls at the same time everywhere, moistening the small, medium, and large roots, stems, branches, and leaves of all the grasses, trees, shrubs, and herbs.
  “The sizes of all the trees depend on whether their capacities are superior, mediocre, or inferior; and the rain falling from the same cloud makes them grow according to the nature of their various seeds. Flowers blossom in the same place and fruit ripens in the same place moistened by the same rain, yet there are differences among these grasses and trees.
  “O Kāśyapa! You should know that the Tathāgata is exactly like this. He appears in this world like a great overspreading cloud. His great voice resounds over the devas, humans, and asuras in the world, just as the great cloud thoroughly covers the great manifold cosmos. He declares to the assembly:

  I am the Tathāgata, Arhat, Completely Enlightened, Perfect in Knowledge and Conduct, Well-Departed, Knower of the World, Unsurpassed, Tamer of Humans, Teacher of Devas and Humans, Buddha, Bhagavat. I set free those who have not been freed. I enlighten those who have not been enlightened and bring calm to those who have not been calmed. I cause those to obtain nirvana who have not yet obtained it. I am the one who knows the present and future worlds exactly as they are. I am the All-Knower, the All-Seer, the Knower of the Path, the One who discloses the path and explains it. All of you devas, humans, and asuras! Come and listen to my teachings.

  “At that time innumerable thousands of myriads of koṭis of sentient beings approach the Buddha and listen to his teaching. Then the Tathāgata, perceiving the faculties of sentient beings—whether they are sharp or dull, diligent or idle — explains the teachings according to their capacities in a variety of immeasurable ways, gladdening and benefiting them all.
  “Having heard his teaching, all of these beings are at peace in this world and are born into a good existence in the future. Through this they will receive peace of mind and be able to hear the teaching. Having already heard the teaching they will become free from obstructions and be able to gradually enter the path to the Dharma according to their capacities.
  “Just like the great cloud that rains upon all the grasses, trees, shrubs, and herbs, whose seeds are watered and which grow according to their capacities, the Tathāgata teaches the Dharma of one aspect and character; that is to say, the character of liberation, dispassion, and cessation which ultimately leads to omniscience.
  “Those sentient beings who hear, hold, and recite the teachings of the Tathāgata and practice it accordingly will nevertheless not perceive the merit that they have obtained.
  “Why is this? Only the Tathāgata knows the seed, character, disposition, and capacity of sentient beings. Only he knows what they contemplate, think, and practice; how they contemplate, think, and practice; what teachings they contemplate, think, and practice; and what teaching they obtain through what teaching. Only the Tathāgata exactly perceives and knows without obstructions the various states in which sentient beings reside.
  “It is just like the grasses, trees, shrubs, and herbs that do not know their own natures, whether they are superior, mediocre, or inferior. Yet the Tathāgata knows the teachings of one aspect and character, the character of liberation, dispassion, cessation, complete nirvana, and eternal tranquility which ultimately leads to emptiness.
  “The Buddha knows this and perceives the aspirations of sentient beings. For this reason, in order to protect them, he does not immediately teach omniscience.
  “O Kāśyapa! It is a rare thing that all of you know that the Tathāgata teaches according to your capacities and that you believe and accept it.
  “Why is this? Because the Dharma taught by all the Buddha Bhagavats, according to what is appropriate to sentient beings, is difficult to understand and difficult to know.”
  Thereupon the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  The King of the Dharma,
  The destroyer of delusive existence,
  Appears in the world
  And keeping in mind the aspirations of sentient beings
  Teaches the Dharma in various ways
  According to the wishes of sentient beings.
  The Tathāgata is greatly distinguished,
  And his wisdom is profound.
  He has been silent for a long time
  And intentionally has not taught the essential in haste.
  Those who are wise
  Will be well convinced when they hear it;
  Those who are not wise will have doubts
  And remain confused for a long time.
  That is why, O Kāśyapa, the Tathāgata teaches
  According to the capacities of sentient beings,
  And enables them to attain the correct perspective
  By using various illustrations.
  O Kāśyapa, you should know
  That it is as if a great cloud
  Arises in the world
  And covers everything.
  This beneficent cloud contains moisture
  And bright lightning flashes from it.
  The sound of its thunder shakes the earth afar
  And gladdens the people.
  It conceals the sun
  And cools the earth.
  The spreading cloud hangs so low,
  As if it could be touched.
  Everywhere, equal, and immeasurable
  The rain pours down and moistens the earth.
  Grasses, herbs, large and small trees,
  All kinds of crops, seedlings, sugarcane, and grapes
  Growing in the depths of the mountains,
  In rivers and in precipitous valleys,
  Are all watered and completely nourished by the rain.
  The dry earth is moistened everywhere
  And the herbs and trees grow up thickly.
  Out of this cloud the same rain
  Waters these grasses, trees, and shrubs
  Each according to their capacities.
  All the trees, small, medium, or large
  Are able to grow in accordance with their capacities.
  The luster and colours of the roots, stems,
  Branches, leaves, and flowers
  Are all freshened by the same rain.
  Each of these, although receiving the same moisture,
  Reaches a greater or lesser size
  In accordance with their different
  Dispositions, characteristics, and natures.
  The Buddha is exactly like this.
  He appears in the world
  As a great cloud
  Which covers everything universally.
  Once appearing in this world
  He illuminates and explains
  The essence of the teachings
  For the sake of sentient beings.
  The Great Seer, the Bhagavat, expounds this
  To the assembly of all the devas and humans.
  I am the Tathāgata, the Best of Humans.
  I appear in the world to nourish sentient beings
  Just as the great cloud
  Moistens all the withered trees.
  I cause everyone to be rid of suffering
  And attain ease of heart,
  Worldly happiness, and the joy of nirvana.
  So, devas and humans, listen carefully!
  Come, all of you,
  And look at the Highest One!
  I am the Bhagavat.
  No one is equal to me.
  I appear in this world
  To bring peace of mind to sentient beings
  And to teach the Dharma of immortality
  To the great assembly.
  This Dharma has a single flavour
  Of liberation and nirvana.
  I expound its meaning with the same subtle voice,
  Always making the Mahayana
  The subject of my illustrations.
  I see everywhere, and regard all as equal.
  I have no feelings of like or dislike;
  For me there is no this or that.
  Nor do I have either love or hate.
  I have no attachments and make no distinctions,
  And so always teach the Dharma equally to all;
  And teach the same thing to one person
  As I teach to everyone else.
  I always teach the Dharma and nothing else.
  Going or coming, sitting or standing,
  I never tire of satisfying the world,
  Just like the rain that gives nourishment universally.
  I tirelessly pour down the rain of the Dharma
  Equally on those who are noble or humble,
  Superior or inferior, who keep or break the precepts,
  Who have good or bad conduct, right or wrong views,
  Sharp or dull faculties.
  According to their power to understand,
  All sentient beings who hear my teaching
  Dwell in various stages.
  Those living among humans, Devas,
  Wheel-turning sage kings, Śakra, and Brahma kings
  Are like the small herbs.
  Those who know the incorruptible Dharma,
  Who are able to attain nirvana,
  Have the six transcendent powers, and
  Have attained the three sciences.
  Those who live alone in mountain forests
  Always practicing meditation, and
  Who attain the enlightenment of the pratyekabuddhas
  Are like the medium-sized herbs.
  Those who seek the stage
  Of the Bhagavat, thinking that
  They will become buddhas,
  And practice persistence and meditation,
  Are like the large herbs.
  The heirs of the buddhas
  Who concentrate on the path of the Buddha,
  Who always cultivate compassion within themselves
  And know definitely without a doubt
  That they will become buddhas,
  Are like the small trees.
  Those who are comfortable with transcendent powers,
  Who turn the irreversible wheel [of the Dharma]
  And save innumerable hundreds
  Of thousands of koṭis of sentient beings,
  Are the bodhisattvas
  Who are like the large trees.
  The Buddha’s equal teaching
  Is like the rain of one flavour.
  The sentient beings accept it
  According to their different capacities,
  Just as the grasses and trees
  Each differently absorb the rain.
  The Buddha reveals the single teaching
  With illustrations, using skillful means
  And explains it with various explanations,
  And yet it is just a drop in the ocean
  Compared to the Buddha’s wisdom.
  I pour down the rain of the Dharma,
  Fulfilling the world,
  And the sentient beings
  Practice the Dharma of one flavour
  According to their capacities.
  Just as the shrubs, herbs, and trees
  Flourish in accordance with their capacities,
  Reaching either a greater or lesser size,
  The teaching of the buddhas
  Is always of one flavour
  And fulfills the entire world.
  Anyone who practices it little by little
  Obtains the fruit of the path.
  The śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas
  Living in mountain forests,
  Who, in their last bodies,
  Hear the Dharma and attain its fruit,
  Are just like the flourishing herbs.
  The bodhisattvas who are firm in wisdom,
  Who completely understand the triple world,
  And seek the highest vehicle,
  Are just like the flourishing small trees.
  Those who abide in meditation,
  Attain transcendent powers,
  Listen to the teaching regarding the emptiness
  Of every existence with great joy,
  And save sentient beings
  By emitting innumerable rays of light,
  Are just like the flourishing large trees.
  In this way, O Kāśyapa
  The Dharma that the Buddha teaches
  Is just like the great cloud that enriches human flowers
  With the rain of one flavour,
  So that each attains its fruits.
  O Kāśyapa!
  You should know that I reveal the buddha path
  Using various explanations and illustrations
  And that this is my skillful means.
  All of the buddhas are just like this.
  I will now teach the highest truth for your sake:
  There are no śrāvakas who attain nirvana.
  What you practice is the bodhisattva path;
  And if you practice step by step,
  You will all become buddhas.

  The Lotus Sutra
  Chapter VI Prediction

  (Translated from the Chinese of Kumārajiva by Tsugunari Kubo and Akira Yuyama)
  (Second Revised Edition) (dBET)

  At that time, after the Bhagavat had spoken these verses, he addressed the great assembly, proclaiming: “This disciple of mine, Mahākāśyapa, in the future will be able to meet three hundred myriads of koṭis of Buddha Bhagavats to whom he will pay homage, respect, veneration, and praise; and he will extensively expound the immeasurable great teachings of these buddhas. In his last body he will become a buddha called Light Bright, a Tathāgata, Arhat, Completely Enlightened, Perfect in Knowledge and Conduct, Well-Departed, Knower of the World, Unsurpassed, Tamer of Humans, Teacher of Devas and Humans, Buddha, Bhagavat.
  “His world will be called Light Bright in the kalpa called Great Adornment. The lifespan of this Buddha will be twelve small kalpas. The True Dharma will last in the world for twenty small kalpas and the Semblance Dharma will also last for twenty small kalpas.
  “His world will be adorned and there will be no dirt, shards, thorns, excrement, or other impurities. The earth will be level without irregularities, hollows, or hills. The earth will be made of lapis lazuli with jewelled trees in rows. Golden cords will line the borders of these roads, which will be scattered with precious flowers, and everywhere will be pure.
  “In his world there will be immeasurable thousands of koṭis of bodhisattvas as well as innumerable śrāvakas. All malice will be far removed; and even though Māra and his minions will be there, they will all protect the Buddha-Dharma.”
  Thereupon the Bhagavat, wanting to explain the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  I tell you, O monks,
  That I see with the buddha-eye
  That Kāśyapa in the future
  Will become a Buddha
  After innumerable kalpas have passed.
  In the future he will meet and pay homage
  To three hundred myriads of koṭis of Buddha Bhagavats
  And practice the pure path of discipline and integrity,
  Seeking for the wisdom of the buddhas.
  Having offered respect to the highest and best of humans
  And having completely grasped the ultimate wisdom,
  He will become a buddha while in his last body.
  His land will be pure.
  The earth will be made of lapis lazuli,
  And many jewelled trees will be in rows
  Along roads bordered with golden cords,
  And those who see it will be gladdened.
  The air will be always filled
  With a pleasant fragrance,
  And many beautiful flowers
  Will be strewn about.
  Various wonderful things
  Will adorn this earth,
  Which will be level
  Without hills or hollows.
  There will be an incalculable number
  Of bodhisattvas there
  Who will have the power of self-control,
  Be versed in transcendent powers,
  And who will preserve the sutras of the Mahayana
  Taught by the buddhas.
  The multitude of śrāvakas,
  Bearing their last bodies, free from corruption,
  Heirs of the Dharma King,
  Will also be unreckonable;
  Their number will be impossible to calculate
  Even with the divine eye.
  The lifespan of this Buddha
  Will be twelve small kalpas.
  The True Dharma will last in the world
  For twenty small kalpas.
  And the Semblance Dharma will also last
  For twenty small kalpas.
  Thus will things be with
  The Bhagavat Light Bright.

  At that time Mahāmaudgalyāyana, Subhūti, and Mahākātyāyana were all charged with excitement, and with palms pressed together they attentively gazed at the Bhagavat, never turning their eyes from him.
  They immediately spoke these verses in unison:

  O Bhagavat, Great Hero!
  O King of the Dharma of the Śākyas!
  Bestow the Buddha’s words upon us
  Out of your compassion for us.
  If, knowing the depths of our hearts,
  You give us your predictions,
  It will be like cooling our fevers
  By sprinkling us with the Dharma of immortality.
  It is as though someone coming
  From a country suffering from famine
  Were suddenly to find
  A great king’s feast spread before him,
  Yet is stricken with doubt
  And does not venture to eat,
  Until, being instructed by the king,
  He dares at last to do so.
  We are exactly like this.
  We have been constantly thinking
  About the faults of the inferior vehicle,
  And so we had no knowledge of the way
  To obtain the highest wisdom of the Buddha.
  Although we hear the Buddha’s voice
  Saying that we will become buddhas,
  We still have doubt in our minds
  As if we dare not eat the meal.
  If we receive the Buddha’s prediction
  It will immediately put us at ease.
  The Bhagavat, the Great Hero,
  Always wants to put the world at ease;
  And so we entreat you to bestow
  Upon us your predictions,
  As though to starving people
  Waiting for permission to eat.

  Then the Bhagavat, knowing what lay in the thoughts of the great disciples, addressed the monks saying: “This Subhūti in the future will meet, respect, venerate, praise, and pay homage to three hundred myriads of koṭis of nayutas of buddhas; and he will always practice the pure path of discipline and integrity, and complete the bodhisattva path. In his last body he will become a buddha called Rare Form, a Tathāgata, Arhat, Completely Enlightened, Perfect in Knowledge and Conduct, Well-Departed, Knower of the World, Unsurpassed, Tamer of Humans, Teacher of Devas and Humans, Buddha, Bhagavat.
  “His land will be called Jewel Born in the kalpa called Possessed of Jewels. The land will be even and the earth will be made of crystal and adorned with jewelled trees. It will be without pits, pebbles, thorns, or the filth of excrement. The earth will be covered with precious flowers and will be everywhere pure.
  “The people in this world will all live in wonderful towers with jewelled terraces. The śrāvakas, the disciples there will be innumerable and limitless, beyond calculation and metaphor, and there will also be innumerable thousands of myriads of koṭis of nayutas of bodhisattvas.
  “The lifespan of this buddha will be twelve small kalpas. The True Dharma will last in the world for twenty small kalpas and the Semblance Dharma will also last for twenty small kalpas. This Buddha will always dwell in the air, teaching the Dharma for the multitude, and he will save incalculable bodhisattvas and śrāvakas.”
  Thereupon the Bhagavat, wanting to explain the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  O monks!
  I shall now make something known to you.
  You should attentively listen
  To what I have to say.
  My great disciple Subhūti
  Will become a buddha called Rare Form.
  He will pay homage to innumerable
  Myriads of koṭis of buddhas,
  And, following the Buddha’s practice,
  He will gradually come to complete the great path.
  He will attain the thirty-two marks
  In his last body,
  And his form will be fine and beautiful
  Just like a jewelled mountain.
  His buddha world will be ultimately pure.
  Of the sentient beings who see it
  There will be none who do not rejoice.
  There the Buddha will bring
  Incalculable sentient beings to enlightenment.
  In the midst of his Dharma
  There will be many bodhisattvas
  With keen faculties,
  Who turn the irreversible wheel [of the Dharma].
  This world will always
  Be graced with bodhisattvas.
  There will also be
  Incalculable numbers of śrāvakas.
  All of them will have perfected the three sciences,
  And the six transcendent powers,
  Will abide in the eight liberations,
  And have great dignity and virtue.
  The Buddha will expound the Dharma
  And reveal immeasurable,
  Unthinkable, transcendent powers.
  All the devas and humans,
  As numerous as the sands of the Ganges River,
  Will listen to the Buddha’s words
  With palms pressed together.
  The lifespan of this Buddha
  Will be twelve small kalpas.
  The True Dharma will last in the world
  For twenty small kalpas,
  And the Semblance Dharma will also last
  For twenty small kalpas.

  Thereupon the Bhagavat addressed the monks, saying: “I will now tell you that this Mahākātyāyana in the future will honour, respect, and pay homage to eight thousand koṭis of buddhas with offerings. After the parinirvāṇas of these buddhas, he will erect stupas, each of which will be one thousand yojanas in height and five hundred yojanas in both width and depth. These stupas will all be constructed of the seven precious treasures—gold, silver, lapis lazuli, mother-of-pearl, agate, pearls, and rubies. He will pay homage to these stupas with many flowers and necklaces, fragrant ointments, scented powders, burning incense, canopies, flags, and banners.
  “After this he will also pay homage to two myriads of koṭis of buddhas in exactly the same way and, having done so, he will perfect the bodhisattva path and become a buddha called Jambunada Gold Light, a Tathāgata, Arhat, Completely Enlightened, Perfect in Knowledge and Conduct, Well-Departed, Knower of the World, Unsurpassed, Tamer of Humans, Teacher of Devas and Humans, Buddha, Bhagavat.
  “His land will be level. The earth will be made of crystal and it will be adorned with jewelled trees. The roads will be bordered with golden cords and beautiful flowers will cover the earth. It will be pure everywhere and those who see it will rejoice.
  “There will be none of the four troubled states of being, namely the hells, hungry ghosts, animals, and asuras. There will be many devas and humans, and immeasurable myriads of koṭis of śrāvakas and bodhisattvas will grace this world.
  “The lifespan of this buddha will be twelve small kalpas. The True Dharma will last in the world for twenty small kalpas and the Semblance Dharma will also last for twenty small kalpas.”
  At that time the Bhagavat, wanting to explain the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  O monks, listen carefully!
  What I shall say
  Is nothing but the truth.
  This Kātyāyana
  Will pay homage to the buddhas
  With various wonderful offerings.
  After the parinirvāṇas of those buddhas,
  He will erect stupas constructed
  Of the seven precious treasures
  And offer respect to their relics
  With flowers and incense.
  In his last body
  He will attain the wisdom of the Buddha
  And will achieve complete enlightenment.
  His world will be pure
  And he will save incalculable
  Myriads of koṭis of sentient beings.
  He will be venerated in the ten directions.
  There is nothing that surpasses
  This Buddha’s ray of light,
  So this Buddha
  Will be called Jambunada Gold Light.
  There will be innumerable, uncountable
  Bodhisattvas and śrāvakas gracing this world,
  Who have shaken free from every state of being.

  Thereupon the Bhagavat again addressed the assembly saying: “I will now tell you that this Mahāmaudgalyāyana will respect, venerate, and pay homage to eight thousand buddhas with various offerings; and after the parinirvāṇas of these buddhas, he will erect stupas, each of which will be one thousand yojanas in height and five hundred yojanas in both depth and width. These stupas will be constructed with the seven precious treasures— gold, silver, lapis lazuli, mother-of-pearl, agate, pearls, and rubies. He will offer them various flowers, necklaces, fragrant ointments, scented powders, burning incense, canopies, flags, and banners.
  “After this he will pay homage to two hundred myriads of koṭis of buddhas in exactly the same way, and will become a buddha called Tamalapatra Sandalwood Fragrance, a Tathāgata, Arhat, Completely Enlightened, Perfect in Knowledge and Conduct, Well-Departed, Knower of the World, Unsurpassed, Tamer of Humans, Teacher of Devas and Humans, Buddha, Bhagavat.
  “His world will be called Mind Delight in the kalpa called Joy Replete. The land will be level. The earth will be made of crystal, adorned with jewelled trees, and strewn with flowers of pearls. It will be pure everywhere and those who see it will rejoice. There will be many devas and humans, innumerable bodhisattvas, and śrāvakas.
  “The lifespan of this buddha will be twenty-four small kalpas. The True Dharma will last in this world for forty small kalpas and the Semblance Dharma will also last for forty small kalpas.”
  Then the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate on this meaning, spoke these verses:

  This disciple of mine, Mahāmaudgalyāyana,
  Having abandoned this body,
  Will meet eight thousand and then two hundred
  Myriads of koṭis of Buddha Bhagavats.
  For the sake of the buddha path
  He will pay them homage and respect them,
  And always practice holy conduct
  Of discipline and integrity
  In the presence of these buddhas.
  He will uphold the Buddha-Dharma
  For immeasurable kalpas.
  After the parinirvāṇas of these buddhas
  He will erect stupas
  Constructed with the seven precious treasures
  On which golden banners
  Will be long displayed.
  He will pay homage to
  These stupas of the buddhas
  With flowers, incense, and music.
  After having mastered
  The bodhisattva path step by step,
  In a land called Mind Delight,
  He will become a Buddha
  Called Tamalapatra Sandalwood Fragrance.
  The lifespan of this Buddha
  Will be twenty-four small kalpas.
  He will always expound the buddha path
  For the sake of devas and humans.
  There will be countless śrāvakas,
  As numerous as the sands of the Ganges River,
  Who will have perfected the three sciences,
  And six transcendent powers
  And have great dignity and virtue.
  There will be innumerable bodhisattvas,
  Resolute and persevering, who will never turn away
  From the wisdom of the buddhas.
  After the parinirvāṇa of this Buddha
  The True Dharma will last
  For forty small kalpas,
  And the Semblance Dharma
  Will also be like this.
  All of my disciples,
  Five hundred in number,
  Who are endowed with dignity and virtue,
  Will also receive my prediction.
  In the future they will all become buddhas.
  I will now explain the relationships
  That you and I have formed in past lives.
  All of you, listen carefully!

  The Lotus Sutra
  Chapter VII The Apparitional City

  (Translated from the Chinese of Kumārajiva by Tsugunari Kubo and Akira Yuyama)
  (Second Revised Edition) (dBET)

  The Buddha addressed the monks, saying: “Once upon a time, immeasurable, limitless, inconceivable Asamkhyeyas of kalpas ago, there was a Buddha called Great Universal Wisdom Excellence Tathāgata, an Arhat, Completely Enlightened, Perfect in Knowledge and Conduct, Well Departed, Knower of the World, Unsurpassed, Tamer of Humans, Teacher of Devas and Humans, Buddha, Bhagavat. His land was called Well Constituted in the kalpa called Great Form.
  “O monks, it has been an extremely long time since this buddha entered nirvana. Suppose there were a man who ground the earth of the entire great manifold cosmos into powdered ink, and he were to then pass through a thousand worlds to the east, where he let fall a single particle of ink, the size of a speck of dust.
  “After passing through another thousand worlds, he let fall another particle; and he continued in this way until he had completely used all the ink.
  “What do you think about this? Do you think that a mathematician or a mathematician’s pupil would be able to count those worlds to the last particle or not?”
  “O Bhagavat! No, they could not.”
  “O monks! Suppose that all the worlds this man passed through, whether letting fall a particle or not, were all ground into dust, and one speck of this dust were equal to one kalpa. The time since the parinirvāṇa of this Buddha surpasses this number by immeasurable, limitless hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of Asamkhyeyas of kalpas; and through the power of the Tathāgata’s wisdom and insight, I can see his distant past, as if it were today.”
  Thereupon the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  I recall that in the past,
  Immeasurable kalpas ago,
  There was a buddha, the most honoured among two-legged beings,
  Called Great Universal Wisdom Excellence.
  Suppose there was a man
  Who vigorously ground up in its entirety
  The earth of the great manifold cosmos
  And turned it all to powdered ink.
  After passing through one thousand worlds,
  He let fall one particle of ink;
  And in this way
  He continued to let fall particles
  Until he had used up all the ink.
  If all these worlds,
  Those where he let fall a particle
  And those where he did not,
  Were to be ground into specks of dust,
  And one speck of dust were equal to a single kalpa,
  Their number would be surpassed
  By the number of kalpas
  That have passed since that buddha’s parinirvāṇa,
  So incalculable has this number of kalpas been.
  With the Tathāgata’s unobstructed wisdom,
  I know of those bodhisattvas and śrāvakas
  And the parinirvāṇa of this buddha;
  It is as if I see his parinirvāṇa today.
  O monks, you should know
  That with the knowledge of the Buddha,
  Which is pure and subtle,
  Incorrupted and without obstructions,
  I perceive what happened immeasurable kalpas ago.

  The Buddha addressed the monks, saying: “The lifespan of this Buddha Great Universal Wisdom Excellence was five hundred and forty myriads of koṭis of nayutas of kalpas. When that buddha was seated on the terrace of enlightenment after having defeated Māra’s army, he was about to obtain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi, yet the Dharma of the buddhas did not appear to him. In this way, even after having sat cross-legged for one to ten small kalpas, undisturbed in body and mind, the Dharma of the buddhas still did not appear to him.
  “At that time a group of Thirty-Three devas first prepared for that Buddha a lion seat one yojana in height under the bodhi tree, for this buddha was to attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi on that seat. As soon as the Buddha sat on this seat, all the Brahmas rained down various heavenly flowers for a hundred yojanas around; periodically a fragrant breeze would blow away the withered flowers and they would rain down fresh ones.
  “In this way they unceasingly paid homage to the Buddha for a full ten small kalpas, raining down these flowers continuously until his parinirvāṇa. The devas of the four quarters constantly struck heavenly drums to honour the Buddha, and in the same way all the other devas made divine music for a full ten small kalpas until his parinirvāṇa.
  “O monks! The Dharma of the buddhas appeared to the Buddha Great Universal Wisdom Excellence after ten small kalpas had passed, and he attained Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi.
  “This Buddha had had sixteen children before he renounced household life. The eldest child was called Jñānākara. Each child had various kinds of rare toys. After hearing about their father’s attainment of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi, they all put aside their toys and set out for where the Buddha was. Weeping sad tears, their mothers saw them off. Their grandfather, the wheel-turning sage king, went with them, along with a hundred ministers and hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of people.
  “When they arrived at the terrace of enlightenment, they all wanted to approach the Tathāgata Great Universal Wisdom Excellence, and pay homage and respect, honour, and praise him. They came up to him and bowed until their foreheads touched his feet, and then circled around him. Attentively, with palms pressed together, they gazed at the Bhagavat and spoke these verses:

  The Bhagavat of great, virtuous dignity,
  In order to bring sentient beings to the path,
  After immeasurable koṭis of kalpas
  And perfecting all the vows,
  Finally became a buddha.
  How wonderful!
  There is nothing more auspicious!
  The Bhagavat is truly extraordinary!
  He sat tranquil for ten small kalpas
  With his body and limbs immobile.
  His mind was always calm and never distracted.
  He has attained ultimate, eternal tranquility,
  And is firmly established
  In the incorruptible Dharma.
  Now seeing the Bhagavat,
  Who has serenely attained the buddha path,
  We receive benefit and celebrate
  With great joy.
  Sentient beings, ever suffering,
  Are blind and without a teacher.
  They are unaware of the path that leads
  To the extinction of suffering,
  Ignorant of the way to seek liberation.
  From one blind state to the next,
  Those in the troubled states of being daily increase
  While the devas decrease.
  They never hear the Buddha’s name.
  Now the Buddha has attained the highest,
  Serene, and incorruptible Dharma.
  Thus we and the devas and humans,
  Shall obtain the greatest benefit.
  Therefore we all bow and pay homage
  To the highest Lord.

  “At that time the sixteen princes, having praised the Buddha in verse, requested that the Bhagavat turn the wheel of the Dharma, saying:

  O Bhagavat, teach the Dharma! Put all the devas and people at ease and benefit them through your compassion!

  “They spoke further in verse, saying:

  O Hero of the World,
  The One Who Has No Equal,
  Who is adorned with a hundred merits,
  And has attained the highest wisdom!
  We entreat you to teach
  For the sake of the world,
  And bring us and all the other
  Sentient beings to the path.
  Illuminate and reveal this wisdom
  So that we may attain it.
  If we can become buddhas,
  So can the other sentient beings.
  The Bhagavat knows
  The deep-seated intentions of sentient beings
  And the paths they practice,
  As well as the power of their wisdom.
  May the Bhagavat, being wholly aware
  Of their positive intentions,
  Accumulated merits, and past deeds,
  Turn the highest wheel of the Dharma.

  The Buddha addressed the monks, saying: “When the Buddha Great Universal Wisdom Excellence attained Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi, five hundred myriads of koṭis of buddha worlds in each of the ten directions quaked in six ways. The dark places between the worlds, where the rays of the sun and moon had been unable to penetrate, were brightly illuminated. The sentient beings there were able to see each other and said:

  How is it possible that sentient beings have suddenly appeared here?

  “Moreover, those worlds from the heavenly palaces up to the palaces of the Brahmas, also quaked in six ways. The great ray of light shone everywhere, filling the worlds with a radiance that surpassed the light of the devas.
  “At that time the palaces of Brahmas in the five hundred myriads of koṭis of worlds in the east were illuminated twice as brightly as usual. The great Brahmas each thought:

  The palaces are illuminated now as never before. What has caused this phenomenon?

  “At that time all of the great Brahmas approached each other to discuss this matter. In that assembly there was a great Brahma called Save All who spoke to the assembly of Brahmas in verse, saying:

  This illumination of our palaces
  Has never occurred before!
  Let us find out
  The reason for this!
  This great ray of light
  Has illuminated the ten directions.
  Has a deva of great merit been born,
  Or has a buddha appeared in the world?

  “Then the great Brahmas of the hundred myriads of koṭis of worlds went toward the west with their palaces to enquire about this phenomenon, carrying heavenly flowers in their robes. They saw the Tathāgata Great Universal Wisdom Excellence on the terrace of enlightenment, sitting on the lion seat under the bodhi tree. He was respectfully surrounded by humans and such nonhumans as devas, nāga kings, gandharvas, kiṃnaras, and mahoragas. They also saw the sixteen princes requesting the Buddha to turn the wheel of the Dharma. Then the great Brahmas bowed until their foreheads touched the Buddha’s feet and then circled around him one hundred thousand times. They scattered heavenly flowers on the Buddha, and the flowers they scattered were piled as high as Mount Sumeru. They also paid homage to the Buddha’s bodhi tree, which was ten yojanas in height. Having reverently offered him flowers, they presented their palaces to the Buddha, saying:

  Please accept the palaces we now offer you, and benefit us through your compassion!

  “Then the great Brahmas spoke these verses wholeheartedly and in unison before the Buddha:

  The Bhagavat, who is truly extraordinary,
  Is extremely difficult to meet.
  He is endowed with immeasurable qualities
  And seeks to protect all.
  The Great Teacher of Devas and Humans
  Feels compassion for the world
  And causes all sentient beings
  In the ten directions
  To be universally benefited.
  All of us, who have come from
  Five hundreds of myriads of koṭis of worlds,
  Have given up the pleasure of deep meditation
  In order to pay homage to the Buddha.
  To the Bhagavat we now present our palaces,
  Which the merits of our previous lives
  Have caused to be completely adorned.
  Please accept them through your compassion!

  “Thereupon, having praised the Buddha in verse, the great Brahmas each said this:

  O Bhagavat! We entreat you to turn the wheel of the Dharma, open the path to nirvana, and guide sentient beings to it.

  “Then the great Brahmas attentively spoke these verses in unison:

  O Hero of the World, the Best of Humans!
  We entreat you to expound the Dharma
  And bring the suffering beings to the path
  Through the power of your great compassion.

  “Then the Tathāgata Great Universal Wisdom Excellence silently consented.
  “Furthermore, O monks, the great Brahmas in the five hundred myriads of koṭis of worlds in the southeast saw their palaces illuminated with a ray of light that had never occurred before. Joyful and ecstatic, they were struck with wonder. They assembled to discuss this matter. At that time there was a great Brahma called Great Compassion. He spoke to the assembly of Brahmas in verse saying:

  What is the reason
  That this phenomenon has appeared?
  Even since the olden times,
  This illumination of all of our palaces
  Is without precedent.
  Has a deva of great merit been born,
  Or has a buddha appeared in the world?
  Since we have never seen such a phenomenon,
  We should seek thoroughly for its source.
  Even if we have to pass
  Through thousands of myriads of koṭis of worlds,
  We should seek together for the source of this light.
  Possibly a buddha has appeared in the world
  To save suffering sentient beings.

  “Thereupon five hundred myriads of koṭis of great Brahmas went toward the northwest with their palaces, carrying heavenly flowers in their robes, to enquire about this phenomenon. They saw the Tathāgata Great Universal Wisdom Excellence on the terrace of enlightenment, sitting on the lion seat under the bodhi tree. He was respectfully surrounded by humans and such nonhumans as devas, nāga kings, gandharvas, kiṃnaras, and mahoragas. They also saw the sixteen princes requesting the Buddha to turn the wheel of the Dharma.
  “Then all the Brahmas bowed until their foreheads touched the Buddha’s feet and then circled around him one hundred thousand times. They scattered heavenly flowers on the Buddha, and the flowers they scattered were piled up as high as Mount Sumeru. They also paid homage to the Buddha’s bodhi tree. Having reverently offered the Buddha flowers, they presented their palaces to him, saying:

  Please accept the palaces we now offer you and benefit us through your compassion!

  “Then the great Brahmas spoke these verses wholeheartedly and in unison before the Buddha:

  O Great Sage, Deva of Devas!
  We now bow to the one
  Whose voice is as beautiful as the kalaviṅka bird’s
  And who has compassion for sentient beings.
  The Bhagavat is truly extraordinary
  And can only be seen once
  In an extremely long time.
  One hundred and eighty kalpas
  Have passed away fruitlessly,
  And no buddhas have appeared during this time.
  The worlds have been filled
  With people in the three troubled states of being,
  And the devas have decreased.
  The Buddha has now appeared in the world
  To be the eyes of sentient beings.
  He will be the refuge of the world
  And will seek to protect all.
  As the father of sentient beings,
  He is the compassionate benefactor.
  Because of our past merits,
  We now have the good fortune to be able
  To meet the Bhagavat!

  “Thereupon, having praised the Buddha in verse, the great Brahmas said this:

  O Bhagavat! We entreat you to turn the wheel of the Dharma out of your compassion for all and save sentient beings.

  “Then the great Brahmas spoke these verses wholeheartedly and in unison:

  O Great Sage! Make us very happy!
  Turn the wheel of the Dharma,
  Reveal the character of all dharmas,
  Save the suffering beings!
  If sentient beings hear this Dharma
  They will attain the path and be born as devas.
  The beings in the troubled states of being will decrease
  While those who persevere in the good will increase.

  “Then the Tathāgata Great Universal Wisdom Excellence silently consented.
  “Furthermore, O monks, the great Brahmas in the five hundreds of thousands of koṭis of lands in the south each saw their palaces illuminated as they had never been before. Joyful and ecstatic, they were struck with wonder. They immediately assembled to discuss this matter together, asking:

  Why have our palaces been illuminated?

  “At that time there was a great Brahma, called Wonderful Dharma. He spoke to the assembly of Brahmas in verse saying:

  Our palaces are illuminated
  With brilliant light.
  There must be a reason for this,
  And we should seek its source.
  We have not seen such a phenomenon
  During the past hundreds of thousands of kalpas.
  Has a deva of great merit been born,
  Or has a buddha appeared in the world?

  “Thereupon five hundred myriads of koṭis of great Brahmas went toward the north with their palaces, to enquire about this phenomenon, carrying heavenly flowers in their robes. They saw the Tathāgata Great Universal Wisdom Excellence on the terrace of enlightenment, sitting on the lion seat under the bodhi tree. He was respectfully surrounded by humans and such nonhumans as devas, nāga kings, gandharvas, kiṃnaras, and mahoragas. They also saw the sixteen princes requesting the Buddha to turn the wheel of the Dharma.
  “Then all the great Brahmas bowed until their foreheads touched the Buddha’s feet and then circled around him one hundred thousand times. They scattered heavenly flowers on the Buddha, and the flowers they scattered piled up as high as Mount Sumeru. They also paid homage to the Buddha’s bodhi tree. Having revered the Buddha with flowers, they offered their palaces to him, saying:

  Please accept the palaces we now offer you, and benefit us through your compassion!

  “Then the great Brahmas spoke these verses wholeheartedly and in unison before the Buddha:

  O Destroyer of Vexations!
  It is extremely difficult to meet a Bhagavat.
  We are now meeting the Buddha for the first time
  Since one hundred and thirty kalpas have passed away.
  Please satisfy sentient beings,
  Who are suffering from hunger and thirst,
  By pouring down the rain of the Dharma!
  O One Possessed of Immeasurable Wisdom,
  Whom we have never met before!
  Today we have encountered
  The one who appears as rarely
  As the uḍumbara flower blooms.
  Our palaces are beautifully adorned
  By this ray of light.
  We entreat you to accept them
  Out of your great compassion!

  “Thereupon, having praised the Buddha in verse, the great Brahmas said this:

  O Bhagavat! We request that you turn the wheel of the Dharma, thus causing the devas, māras, Brahmas, śrāmaṇas, and brahmans to be at ease and saving them all!

  “Then the great Brahmas spoke these verses wholeheartedly and in unison:

  We entreat you, O Best of Devas and Humans,
  To turn the wheel of the highest Dharma,
  Beat the drum of the great Dharma,
  Blow the conch of the great Dharma,
  Rain the rain of the great Dharma everywhere,
  And save incalculable sentient beings!
  We have all come to request
  That you expound it
  With your profound voice!

  “Then the Tathāgata Great Universal Wisdom Excellence silently consented.
  “The very same thing happened in the worlds from the southwestern to the lower regions, as well as those in other directions.
  “Then all the great Brahmas in the five hundred myriads of koṭis of lands in the upper region saw their palaces illuminated with a light that had never existed before. Joyful and ecstatic, they were struck with wonder. They immediately assembled to discuss this matter together, asking:

  Why have our palaces been illuminated?

  “There was a great Brahma in that assembly called Śikhin. He spoke to the assembly of Brahmas in verse, saying:

  Why have all our palaces
  Been brilliantly illuminated
  With this light of virtuous dignity
  And adorned in this unprecedented way?
  We have never seen such a wonderful phenomenon!
  Has a deva of great merit been born,
  Or has a buddha appeared in the world?

  “Thereupon five hundred myriads of koṭis of great Brahmas went into the lower regions with their palaces to enquire about this phenomenon, carrying heavenly flowers in their robes. They saw the Tathāgata Great Universal Wisdom Excellence on the terrace of enlightenment sitting on the lion seat under the bodhi tree. He was respectfully surrounded by humans and such nonhumans as devas, nāga kings, gandharvas, kiṃnaras, and mahoragas. They also saw the sixteen princes requesting the Buddha to turn the wheel of the Dharma.
  “Then all the great Brahmas bowed until their foreheads touched the Buddha’s feet and then circumambulated him one hundred thousand times. They scattered heavenly flowers on the Buddha, and the flowers they scattered were piled up as high as Mount Sumeru. They also paid homage to the Buddha’s bodhi tree. Having reverently offered him flowers, they presented their palaces to the Buddha saying:

  Please accept the palaces we now offer you, and benefit us through your compassion!

  “Then all the great Brahmas spoke these verses wholeheartedly and in unison before the Buddha:

  How splendid it is to meet the buddhas,
  The Great Sages who deliver the world,
  Who diligently work to get sentient beings
  Out of the hell of the triple world!
  The Best of Devas and Humans,
  Who has universal wisdom,
  Out of compassion for everyone
  Opens the gate to immortality
  And extensively saves all.
  Since olden times, immeasurable kalpas
  Have passed away in vain
  Without the presence of the Buddha.
  In the time before the Bhagavat appears,
  The ten directions are in constant darkness.
  Those in the three troubled states of being increase
  And the asuras also flourish.
  The devas decrease all the more,
  And when they die
  Many of them fall into those troubled states.
  Having never heard the teaching from the Buddha,
  All of them always behave badly,
  And their physical power and wisdom decreases.
  Because of their erring deeds
  They lose happiness or any notion of it.
  Abiding in the teaching of false views
  They know nothing of good conduct.
  Deprived of the buddhas’ inspiration,
  They always fall into the troubled states of being.
  After a very long time, the Buddha has now
  Appeared as the Eye of the World.
  It is out of compassion for sentient beings
  That the Buddha appears in the world.
  Transcending everything, the Buddha
  Has attained complete enlightenment.
  We are all extremely happy,
  And all the other beings joyfully acclaim
  This unprecedented experience.
  All our palaces are beautifully adorned
  By this ray of light.
  We now offer them to the Bhagavat.
  Please accept them out of your compassion!
  By the universal transference of this merit,
  May we and all other beings
  Together attain the buddha path!

  “Thereupon the five hundred myriads of koṭis of great Brahmas, having praised the Buddha in verse, each spoke to him, saying:

  O Bhagavat! We strongly entreat you to turn the wheel of the Dharma, give ease to many, and enable them to attain the path.

  “Then all the great Brahmas spoke these verses:

  O Bhagavat! Turn the wheel of the Dharma,
  Beat the drum of the Dharma of immortality,
  Save the suffering sentient beings,
  And reveal the path to nirvana!
  We strongly entreat you to accept our request;
  And out of your compassion
  And with your wonderful voice,
  Expound the Dharma
  That you have perfected
  Over immeasurable kalpas.

  “And then the Tathāgata Great Universal Wisdom Excellence acceded to the request made by all the great Brahmas from the ten directions and the sixteen princes. He then immediately turned three times the Dharma wheel of Twelve Spokes that no śrāmaṇas, brahmans, devas, māras, Brahmas, or any other being in the world could turn. He taught:

  This is suffering. This is the origination of suffering. This is the cessation of suffering, and this is the path that leads to the cessation of suffering. (i.e., the Four Noble Truths)

  “He also extensively taught the Dharma of the twelve-linked chain of dependent origination, saying:

  Conditioned states are dependent on ignorance. Consciousness is dependent on conditioned states.
  Name and form are dependent on consciousness. The six sense fields are dependent on name and form.
  Contact is dependent on the six sense fields. Feelings are dependent on contact.
  Craving is dependent on feelings. Grasping is dependent on craving.
  Becoming is dependent on grasping. Birth is dependent on becoming.
  And old age, illness, death, anxiety, sorrow, suffering, and distress are dependent on birth.
  When ignorance ceases, then conditioned states cease.
  When conditioned states cease, then consciousness ceases.
  When consciousness ceases, then name and form cease.
  When name and form cease, then the six sense fields cease.
  When the six sense fields cease, then contact ceases.
  When contact ceases, then feelings cease.
  When feelings cease, then craving ceases.
  When craving ceases, then grasping ceases.
  When grasping ceases, then becoming ceases.
  When becoming ceases, then birth ceases.
  When birth ceases, then old age, illness, death, anxiety, sorrow, suffering, and distress cease.

  “When the Buddha explained this Dharma to the great assembly of the devas and humans, at that time six hundred myriads of koṭis of nayutas of people, because they were not attached to any existent thing, became free of all corruption. All of them perfected profound meditations, the Three Sciences, the Six Transcendent Powers, and were endowed with the Eight Liberations.
  “When he taught the Dharma for the second, third, and fourth time, countless sentient beings, equal in number to the sands of thousands of myriads of koṭis of nayutas of Ganges Rivers, detached from any existent thing and became free of all corruption. From then on, there were innumerable immeasurable, incalculable śrāvakas.
  “At that time the sixteen princes who were still young renounced household life and became śrāmaṇeras. All their faculties were sharp, and their wisdom was penetrating. They had paid homage to hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of buddhas, practiced the pure path of discipline and integrity, and sought Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi.
  “They all spoke to the Buddha, saying:

  O Bhagavat! All of these immeasurable thousands of myriads of koṭis of śrāvakas of great merit have all attained perfection. O Bhagavat! You should also expound the teaching of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi to us! Hearing it, we shall all practice it. O Bhagavat! We aspire for the wisdom and insight of the Tathāgata. The Buddha himself knows what is deep in our minds.

  “At that time eight myriads of koṭis of people in the assembly who served the wheel-turning sage king saw the sixteen princes renounce household life and appealed to the emperor to allow their own renunciation. The king immediately gave his permission.
  “Then the Buddha accepted the request of the śrāmaṇeras. After twenty thousand kalpas had passed he taught to the fourfold assembly this Mahayana sutra called the Lotus Sutra, the instruction for bodhisattvas and treasured lore of the buddhas.
  “After the Buddha taught this sutra, all the sixteen śrāmaṇeras preserved, recited, and understood it in order to achieve Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. When the Buddha taught this sutra, all the sixteen śrāmaṇeras, the bodhisattvas, completely accepted it. There were also some among the śrāvakas who believed it. But all the other thousands of myriads of koṭis of sentient beings became confused.
  “The Buddha continuously taught this sutra for eight thousand kalpas without stopping. After teaching this sutra, he immediately entered a quiet place and abided in meditation for eighty-four thousand kalpas.
  “At that time each of the sixteen śrāmaṇeras, the bodhisattvas, knowing that the Buddha had entered the quiet place and was abiding tranquilly in meditation, ascended the Dharma seat and extensively taught and explained the Lotus Sutra to the fourfold assembly for eighty-four thousand kalpas. Each of them saved countless sentient beings equal in number to the sands of six hundred myriads of koṭis of nayutas of Ganges Rivers. By revealing and teaching it, they gladdened these sentient beings and awoke in them the thought of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi.
  “Having arisen from samādhi after eighty-four thousand kalpas had passed, the Buddha Great Universal Wisdom Excellence approached the Dharma seat and sat down with complete mindfulness. He addressed everyone in the great assembly, saying:

  These sixteen śrāmaṇeras, bodhisattvas, are extraordinary. All their faculties are sharp and their wisdom is penetrating. In times past they have paid homage to immeasurable thousands of myriads of koṭis of buddhas and have constantly practiced the pure path of discipline and integrity under them. They preserved the wisdom of the buddhas and revealed it to sentient beings, causing them to enter into it. All of you should approach and pay them homage again and again. Why is this? If there are any śrāvakas, pratyekabuddhas, and bodhisattvas who are able to believe and preserve the teaching in this sutra expounded by these sixteen bodhisattvas and not disparage it, they will all attain the wisdom of the Tathāgata, Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi.

  The Buddha addressed the monks, saying: “These sixteen bodhisattvas always willingly taught this Lotus Sutra. Each bodhisattva has inspired sentient beings equal in number to the sands of six hundred myriads of koṭis of nayutas of Ganges Rivers. In life after life, they remained with these bodhisattvas and, hearing this teaching from them, they believed and understood. For this reason they were able to meet four myriads of koṭis of Buddha Bhagavats during a period uninterrupted up to the present.
  “O monks! I shall now tell you that these sixteen śrāmaṇeras, disciples of that buddha Great Universal Wisdom Excellence, have now attained Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi and presently teach the Dharma in the lands of the ten directions. There are immeasurable hundreds of thousands of myriads of bodhisattvas and śrāvakas who have become their attendants.
  “Two of these śrāmaṇeras have become buddhas in the east. One is called Akṣobhya in the land called Joy and the other is called Sumeru Peak. In the southeast there are two buddhas. One is called Lion Voice and the other is called Lion Appearance. In the south there are two buddhas called Void-Dwelling and Ever Extinguished. There are also two buddhas in the southwest. One is called Emperor Appearance and the other is called Brahma Appearance. In the west there are two buddhas called Amitāyus and Saving All from Worldly Suffering. There are two buddhas in the northwest. One is called Tamalapatra Sandalwood Fragrance Transcendent Power. The other is called Sumeru Appearance. In the north there are two buddhas. One is called Cloud Freedom and the other is called Cloud Freedom King. In the northeast there is a buddha called Destroying All Worldly Fears. And the sixteenth one is myself, Buddha Śākyamuni, who in this sahā world achieved Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi.
  “O monks! When we were śrāmaṇeras, each of us inspired sentient beings equal in number to the sands of immeasurable hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of Ganges Rivers. Those sentient beings who heard the teaching from me were to attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. There are sentient beings who still abide in the stage of a śrāvaka and whom I will inspire to attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. By means of this teaching, they will gradually enter the buddha path. Why is this?
  “The wisdom of the Tathāgatas is hard to believe and hard to understand. Those incalculable sentient beings equal in number to the sands of innumerable Ganges Rivers who were inspired at that time were you, O monks, and those disciples who will be śrāvakas in the future after my parinirvāṇa.
  “After my parinirvāṇa there will be disciples who will not hear this sutra and will neither know nor understand the bodhisattva practice; through the merit they have acquired, the thought of extinction will awake in them and they will enter parinirvāṇa.
  “I will become a buddha in another land with a different name. Although the idea of extinction has awoken in these disciples and they have entered parinirvāṇa, in that land they will still seek the wisdom of the buddhas and will then be able to hear this sutra. They can obtain parinirvāṇa only through the buddha vehicle. There are no other vehicles except the one taught through the skillful means of the Tathāgatas.
  “O monks! When the Tathāgata realizes that the time of his parinirvāṇa is approaching, knowing that the assembly is pure, firm in belief and understanding, has penetrated the teaching of emptiness, and has deeply entered meditation, he will then gather the assembly of bodhisattvas and śrāvakas together and teach this sutra to them. In this world there is no second vehicle through which one can attain parinirvāṇa; only through the single Buddha vehicle can one attain it.
  “You should know, O monks, that the Tathāgata through skillful means deeply penetrates the dispositions of sentient beings. Knowing their inclination toward the inferior teachings and that they are deeply attached to the desires of the five senses, he teaches nirvana for their sake. If they listen, they will accept it.
  “Suppose in a desolate, fearful place there were a dangerous road five hundred yojanas long. There is a large group that wants to travel along this road to reach a place where there is great treasure. They have a leader who is wise and penetrating and who knows the passable and impassable parts of this dangerous road very well. Although he wants to guide these people past the danger, they become exhausted along the way. Addressing the leader they say:

  We are extremely tired and frightened. We cannot go any further. We are still far away from our destination, and we want to turn back.

  “The leader, knowing many skillful means, thinks:

  These people are to be pitied. How could they want to turn back and abandon the great treasure?

  “After thinking this the leader, through his skillful means, magically creates a city three hundred yojanas away along the dangerous road. He addresses the people, saying:

  Do not be frightened. Do not turn back! You may now stay in this great city and be at your leisure. If you enter this city, you can be comfortable and at ease. Once you are able to go on and reach the treasure site, then you can depart once more.

  “Then the exhausted people rejoice greatly and praise this unprecedented experience, saying:

  We are now free of this evil road and will be comfortable and at ease.

  “Then they proceed to the apparitional city and enter it. They believe that their hardships are over and feel at ease. Then the leader realizes that they are rested and their fatigue has gone. He immediately makes the apparitional city vanish and says to the people:

  All of you, come along! The treasure site is near. I made that great apparitional city only in order to let you rest.

  “O monks! The Tathāgata is exactly like this. Now for your sake he has become a great leader who knows the long, dangerous, and evil road of birth, death, and desire’s confusion. You should leave it and be saved.
  “If sentient beings hear only about the single buddha vehicle they will then want neither to see nor approach a buddha. They will think that the Buddha path is long and attainable only after enduring severe and protracted suffering. The Buddha, knowing their minds, knowing that they are weak-willed and of lowly aspiration, teaches them the two nirvanas through skillful means in order to let them rest halfway to the goal. If there are sentient beings who abide in either of these two stages, the Tathāgata immediately teaches:

  What you have accomplished is not complete. The stage you abide in is close to the wisdom of the buddhas. You should observe and consider that the nirvana you have obtained is not the true one. It is only through the power of the Tathāgata’s skillful means that the single buddha vehicle is explained as three.

  “The Buddha is just like that leader who conjured a great apparitional city to let the people rest. Knowing that they were rested, he addressed them, saying:

  The treasure site is near. This city is not real. It is only my invention.

  Thereupon the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  The Buddha Great Universal Wisdom Excellence sat
  On the terrace of enlightenment for ten kalpas,
  But still the Dharma of the buddhas
  Did not appear to him,
  And he did not attain the buddha path.
  The devas, nāga kings, asuras, and others
  Constantly rained down heavenly flowers
  In order to pay homage to that buddha.
  The devas beat heavenly drums
  And played various kinds of music.
  The fragrant winds blew the withered flowers away
  And then they rained down fresh, beautiful ones.
  After ten small kalpas had passed,
  He then attained the buddha path;
  And all the devas and humans
  Became joyful and ecstatic.
  The sixteen princes of that buddha,
  Surrounded by thousands of
  Myriads of koṭis of attendants,
  Came to the place where the Buddha was.
  Having bowed until their foreheads touched his feet,
  They requested him to turn the wheel of the Dharma
  Saying: O Noble Lion!
  Fill us and everyone else with the rain of the Dharma!
  It is extremely difficult to meet a Bhagavat,
  Since he appears only once in a very long time!
  To get the attention of the beings,
  The Buddha shook the entire world.
  The palaces of the Brahmas in the five hundred
  Myriads of koṭis of lands in the east
  Were illuminated as never before.
  All of the Brahmas, seeing this phenomenon,
  Came to the place where the Buddha was.
  They reverently scattered flowers
  And offered him their palaces.
  Requesting the Buddha
  To turn the wheel of the Dharma,
  They praised him in verse.
  The Buddha knew that the right time
  Had not yet arrived,
  And although he had been asked,
  He sat in silence.
  The other three directions, the four remaining quarters,
  And the upper and lower regions were all like this.
  All the Brahmas scattered flowers,
  Offered their palaces, and requested the Buddha
  To turn the wheel of the Dharma,
  Saying:

  It is extremely difficult to meet a Bhagavat.
  We entreat you to open wide the gate to immortality
  And turn the wheel of the highest Dharma
  Through your great compassion!

  The Bhagavat, having immeasurable wisdom,
  Accepted their request
  And expounded various teachings,
  Such as the Four [Noble] Truths
  And the twelve-linked chain of dependent origination, saying:

  Beginning with ignorance
  And ending with old age and death,
  All these derive from birth.
  You should know about such miseries!

  When the Buddha expounded this teaching,
  Six hundred myriads of koṭis of trillions of people
  Attained the complete extinction of all suffering,
  And became arhats.
  At the time of the second teaching,
  Thousands of myriads of people,
  Equal in number to the sands of the Ganges River,
  Unattached to any existent thing,
  Also attained arhatship.
  After that an incalculable number
  Of beings attained the path.
  Even if one were to count
  For myriads of koṭis of kalpas,
  One could not finish counting their number.
  Then the sixteen princes renounced
  Household life and became śrāmaṇeras.
  They all asked the Buddha to expound
  The teaching of the Mahayana, saying:

  Let us and all of our attendants
  Attain the buddha path!
  We entreat you to let us obtain
  The Bhagavat’s eye of wisdom, supreme in purity!

  The Buddha, knowing the minds of his children
  And their past conduct, taught the six perfections
  And various transcendent powers
  Through incalculably numerous explanations
  And various illustrations.
  Explaining the true teaching
  And the path to be practiced by the bodhisattvas,
  He taught this Lotus Sutra in verses
  Equal in number to the sands of Ganges Rivers.
  After the Buddha taught this sutra,
  He entered meditation in a quiet place
  And sat with complete concentration in the same spot
  For eighty-four thousand kalpas.
  Those śrāmaṇeras, knowing that the Buddha
  Had not arisen from meditation,
  Taught the highest wisdom of the buddhas
  To immeasurable koṭis of beings.
  Each sat on the Dharma seat
  And explained this Mahayana sutra.
  After the great parinirvāṇa of that buddha,
  They propagated the Dharma and inspired others.
  Each śrāmaṇera saved
  Six hundred myriads of koṭis of sentient beings,
  Equal in number to the sands of Ganges Rivers.
  Those who heard the teaching
  After the Buddha’s parinirvāṇa
  Were always born together with their teachers
  In various other buddha lands.
  These sixteen śrāmaṇeras
  Completely cultivated the buddha path
  And now, in the ten directions,
  They have attained Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi.
  Then those who heard the Dharma
  In the presence of each of these buddhas
  And those who are in the śrāvaka stage
  Will gradually be taught the buddha path.
  I am one of the sixteen.
  I have also taught you in the past.
  Therefore through skillful means
  I will now also lead you to the goal
  Which is the wisdom of the buddhas.
  Through these former causes and conditions,
  I will now teach the Lotus Sutra
  In order to let you enter the buddha path.
  Do not be worried or frightened!
  Suppose there were a dangerous road
  In a deserted wasteland far away,
  Where there are many harmful beasts.
  There is neither water nor grass.
  It is a fearful place for human beings.
  Innumerable thousands of myriads of beings
  Wish to pass along this dangerous way.
  But that road is very long,
  Some five hundred yojanas.
  Then there is a leader,
  Endowed with deep wisdom and knowledge,
  Discerning and resolute,
  Who saves the people from various calamities
  When they meet with danger.
  The people all get tired
  And address the leader, saying:

  We are all now totally exhausted.
  We want to turn back from here!

  The leader thinks:

  These people are really to be pitied.
  How could they possibly want to return
  And lose the great treasure!

  He immediately thinks of skillful means
  And how he should now use his transcendent powers;
  And he makes a great apparitional city
  With houses adorned and surrounded
  With gardens, moats, and ponds.
  There are fortified gates and tall towers,
  And it is full of men and women.
  When the apparition is complete,
  He immediately consoles the people, saying:

  Do not be afraid!
  When you enter the city,
  You can each do as you please.

  All the people enter the city.
  They are very happy and feel at ease,
  Thinking they have been saved.
  When the leader knows they are rested,
  He gathers them together and addresses them, saying:

  You should now proceed,
  For this is just an apparitional city!
  Seeing that you were extremely fatigued
  And that you wanted to turn back
  After coming halfway,
  I made this apparitional city through skillful means.
  You should now strive
  To reach the treasure site together.

  I am exactly like this.
  I am the leader of all.
  Perceiving that those seeking the way
  Have become timid, have stopped halfway,
  And are unable to walk to the end of the dangerous road
  Of birth, death, and desire’s confusion,
  I use skillful means and teach nirvana
  So that they may rest, saying:

  You have extinguished suffering,
  And you have completed what must be done.

  Knowing that they have reached nirvana
  And attained arhatship, the Buddha immediately
  Gathers the great assembly together
  And teaches the True Dharma.
  All the buddhas explain and teach
  The three vehicles through skillful means.
  Although there is only the single buddha vehicle,
  They teach two in order to provide a place of rest.
  For your benefit I now teach the truth:
  What you have attained is not the ultimate goal.
  You must call forth great efforts
  In order to obtain the omniscience of a buddha.
  If you attain omniscience
  And the qualities of the Buddha,
  Such things as the ten powers,
  And become endowed with the thirty-two marks,
  Then you will have attained the ultimate goal.
  The buddhas, the Leaders, teach nirvana
  In order to let beings rest in comfort.
  When they know that they have rested,
  They lead them to the wisdom of the buddhas.

  The Lotus Sutra
  Chapter VIII The Five Hundred Disciples Receive Their Predictions

  (Translated from the Chinese of Kumārajiva by Tsugunari Kubo and Akira Yuyama)
  (Second Revised Edition) (dBET)

  At that time, Pūrṇa, the son of Maitrāyaṇī, after hearing the Buddha teach the Dharma according to what is appropriate to sentient beings through the wisdom of skillful means and bestow the prediction of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi on all the great disciples, and then hearing stories about past causes and conditions and that all the buddhas have obtained perfect mastery of transcendent powers, obtained an unprecedented experience and became pure in mind and joyful. He immediately rose from his seat, went into the presence of the Buddha, bowed until his forehead touched the Buddha’s feet, and then stood to one side gazing unwaveringly at the Buddha and thought this:

  The Bhagavat is truly marvellous. His actions are rare. He teaches the Dharma according to the natural capacities of the beings in the world through skillful means, wisdom, and insight. He leads sentient beings away from their various attachments. We have no words to describe the Buddha’s qualities. Only the Buddha, the Bhagavat, is able to know our deep intentions and original vow.

  Then the Buddha addressed the monks, saying: “Do you see Pūrṇa, the son of Maitrāyaṇī? I always praise him as the foremost among the teachers of the Dharma. I also always praise his various qualities. He diligently maintains and propagates my teaching and is able to gladden and benefit the fourfold assembly. He interprets the True Dharma of the buddhas perfectly and greatly benefits those who practice the pure path of discipline and integrity together with him. With the exception of the Tathāgata no one else explains the doctrine more eloquently.
  “You must not think that Pūrṇa is only now able to protect and propagate my teaching. He also protected and propagated the True Dharma of the buddhas in the presence of ninety koṭis of buddhas in the past when he was always the foremost among the teachers of the Dharma. Moreover, he was completely versed in the teaching of emptiness that the buddhas taught, and attained the fourfold unobstructed wisdom. He has always been able to teach the Dharma clearly and purely. He never had any doubts and was endowed with the transcendent powers of the bodhisattvas.
  “Throughout each life he always practiced the pure path of discipline and integrity. The people who lived in the same buddha world all thought he really was a śrāvaka, yet Pūrṇa benefited immeasurable hundreds of thousands of sentient beings through this skillful means and also led and inspired immeasurable Asamkhyeyas of of beings and caused them to awake the thought of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. In order to purify the buddha land he always did what the buddhas have done and led and inspired sentient beings.
  “O monks! Pūrṇa also was able to become the foremost among the teachers of the Dharma under the past seven buddhas; and he is also the foremost of those who preach the Dharma under me. He will also be the foremost among the teachers of the Dharma under the future buddhas in this auspicious kalpa. He will protect and propagate the BuddhaDharma; and also in the future he will protect and propagate the Dharma of incalculable limitless buddhas. He will lead, inspire, and benefit incalculable sentient beings and cause them to attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. In order to purify the buddha lands he will always be diligent and persevering, leading and inspiring sentient beings.
  “He will gradually perfect the bodhisattva path and, after immeasurable Asamkhyeyas of kalpas, he will attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi in this land. He will be called Dharma Bright, a Tathāgata, Arhat, Completely Enlightened, Perfect in Knowledge and Conduct, Well-Departed, Knower of the World, Unsurpassed, Tamer of Humans, Teacher of Devas and Humans, Buddha, Bhagavat. That Buddha’s land will consist of all the worlds in the great manifold cosmos, equal in number to the sands of the Ganges River. The earth will be made of the seven treasures and it will be level, just like the palm of one’s hand. There will be no mountains, valleys, or hollow places. This land will be filled with towers of the seven treasures. The heavenly palaces will be in the sky close at hand, and the humans and devas will come and go between them, so that they will be able to see each other. There will be no troubled states of being nor any women. All the sentient beings will be born here spontaneously, without any sexual desires. They will attain great transcendent powers, emit rays of light from their bodies, and fly freely through the air.
  “These beings will be firm in resolution and recollection, persevering, and wise. They will all be of golden hue and adorned with the thirty-two marks. The sentient beings in that land will always eat two meals: one being the meal of delight in the Dharma, and the other the meal of pleasure in meditation.
  “There will be immeasurable Asamkhyeyas of thousands of myriads of koṭis of nayutas of bodhisattvas who have attained great transcendent powers and the fourfold unobstructed wisdom. They will be able skillfully to lead and inspire sentient beings. The number of śrāvakas there will be impossible to calculate. They will all perfect the six transcendent powers, the three sciences, and the eight liberations.
  “Such will be the immeasurable merits of this buddha’s land, being perfect in adornment. The kalpa will be called Treasure Bright and his land will be called Good and Pure. This buddha’s lifespan will last for immeasurable Asamkhyeyas of kalpas, and the Dharma will abide for a very long time. After the parinirvāṇa of that buddha, stupas of the seven treasures will be erected everywhere throughout the land.”
  Then the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  O monks! Listen carefully!
  The path that the heir of the buddhas
  Has practiced by learning skillful means
  Cannot be conceived.
  Because the bodhisattvas know
  That sentient beings long for inferior teachings
  And are afraid of great knowledge,
  They make themselves either śrāvakas
  Or pratyekabuddhas.
  They inspire those sentient beings
  Using innumerable skillful means, saying:

  We are śrāvakas and still very far away
  From attaining the buddha path.

  They save immeasurable sentient beings,
  All of whom they cause to attain perfection;
  And they even cause those who are lazy,
  Or who have lowly intentions,
  Gradually to become buddhas.
  These beings secretly carry out the bodhisattva practice
  While outwardly calling themselves śrāvakas.
  Having little desire, disrelishing birth and death,
  They in fact purify the buddha lands.
  These bodhisattvas show sentient beings
  That they have the three poisons
  And further they reveal the mark of false views.
  In this way my disciples save
  Sentient beings through skillful means.
  If I fully disclosed
  That they had taken on various forms,
  The sentient beings hearing this
  Would immediately become doubtful.
  This Pūrṇa has now practiced the path
  Under thousands of koṭis of buddhas in the past,
  And he has propagated and protected
  The teaching of these buddhas.
  Seeking the highest wisdom
  Under all these buddhas,
  He showed that he was the foremost
  Among the disciples,
  And that he was knowledgeable and wise.
  Fearless in his teaching,
  He was able to gladden the people.
  He never tired in performing
  The actions of a buddha.
  He has already attained the great transcendent powers
  And is endowed with the fourfold unobstructed wisdom.
  Knowing whether the faculties
  Of sentient beings are sharp or dull,
  He always teaches the pure Dharma.
  Expounding such doctrines as these,
  He has taught thousands of koṭis of beings
  And, by making them abide in the Mahayana teaching,
  He himself has purified his buddha land.
  In the future he will also pay homage to
  Incalculable innumerable buddhas,
  Protect and propagate the True Dharma,
  And also purify his buddha land.
  He will always fearlessly teach the Dharma
  Using his skillful means,
  Save incalculable sentient beings,
  And enable them to achieve omniscience.
  Paying homage to all the Tathāgatas
  And preserving the treasure house of the Dharma,
  He will eventually become the Buddha
  Called Dharma Bright.
  His land will be called Good and Pure
  Which will consist of the seven treasures;
  His kalpa will be called Treasure Bright.
  There will be a large number of bodhisattvas there
  Numbering immeasurable koṭis.
  His buddha land will be filled
  With bodhisattvas who have attained
  Great transcendent powers,
  And are endowed with dignity.
  There will also be innumerable śrāvakas
  Who have perfected the three sciences,
  The eight liberations,
  And the fourfold unobstructed wisdom.
  Such beings as these will form the sangha.
  The sentient beings in his land
  Will have already cut themselves off from sexual desires.
  Everyone there will thus be pure and born spontaneously,
  With bodies adorned with the thirty-two marks.
  They will feast on delight in the Dharma
  And pleasure in meditation,
  Never thinking of eating anything else.
  There will be neither women
  Nor troubled states of existence.
  The qualities of the monk Pūrṇa
  Will be completely perfected
  And there will be many wise people
  In this pure land.
  I am now only briefly explaining
  These immeasurable things.

  Thereupon there were twelve hundred arhats, who had attained complete mental discipline, who thought this: “We have joyfully attained an unprecedented experience. If the Bhagavat would give each of us a prediction like those he has given the other great disciples, we would be overjoyed!”
  The Buddha, knowing their minds, addressed Mahākāśyapa, saying: “I shall now bestow the prediction of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi one by one on these twelve hundred arhats who are in my presence.
  “My great disciple, the monk Ājñātakauṇḍinya who is in this assembly, will pay homage to sixty-two thousands of koṭis of buddhas. He will thereafter become the buddha called Universal Brightness, a Tathāgata, Arhat, Completely Enlightened, Perfect in Knowledge and Conduct, Well-Departed, Knower of the World, Unsurpassed, Tamer of Humans, Teacher of Devas and Humans, Buddha, Bhagavat.
  “The five hundred arhats beginning with Uruvilvakāśyapa, Gayākāśyapa, Nadīkāśyapa, Kālodāyin, Udāyin, Aniruddha, Revata, Kapphiṇa, Bakkula, Cunda, Svāgata, and the others will all attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. They will all have the same name, that of Universal Brightness.”
  Then the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  The monk Kauṇḍinya
  Will meet immeasurable buddhas
  And, after Asamkhyeyas of kalpas have passed,
  He will attain perfect enlightenment.
  He will always emit a great ray of light
  And will be endowed with transcendent powers.
  His fame will spread universally
  Throughout the ten directions.
  He will be honoured by all beings
  And will always teach the highest path;
  He will therefore be called Universal Brightness.
  His land will be pure,
  And the bodhisattvas there
  Will all be of great vigour.
  They will all ascend marvellous towers
  And roam in the lands of the ten directions;
  They will present the most excellent offerings
  To all of the buddhas.
  After having shown their reverence in this way,
  They will be full of great joy
  And immediately return to their own lands.
  Such will be their transcendent powers.
  The lifespan of this Buddha
  Will be sixty thousand kalpas
  And the True Dharma will last
  Twice as long as his lifespan.
  The Semblance Dharma
  Will last twice as long as this.
  When the Dharma disappears,
  The devas and humans will grieve.
  Those five hundred monks
  Will become buddhas each in their turn,
  All having the same name Universal Brightness.
  They will give predictions
  One after the other, saying:

  After my parinirvāṇa
  So-and-so will become a buddha.
  The world he inspires
  Will be exactly like mine today.

  The embellishments of their lands,
  All the transcendent powers,
  The assembly of bodhisattvas and śrāvakas,
  The True and Semblance Dharma,
  The lifespan and duration of the kalpa,
  Will be just as I explained before.
  O Kāśyapa! You now know
  That the five hundred arhats
  Whose minds are free,
  And the remaining śrāvakas
  Will also be exactly like this.
  You should teach those
  Who are not in this assembly!

  Thereupon the five hundred arhats, having obtained their predictions from the Buddha, were joyful and ecstatic. They rose from their seats, approached the Buddha, bowed until their foreheads touched his feet, repented of their faults, and reproached themselves, saying:
  “O Bhagavat! We have always thought we had attained complete nirvana. We now realize that we were ignorant. Why is this? We should have attained the wisdom of the Tathāgatas. Yet we were satisfied with little wisdom!
  “O Bhagavat! Suppose there were a man who came to the house of a close friend and went to sleep after becoming intoxicated with wine. The intimate friend, having to go out on official business, sews a priceless jewel into the inside of his friend’s garment and, giving it to him, leaves. But the man who was drunk and asleep is totally unaware of this. After getting up he leaves and roams around until he arrives in another country. Although he diligently seeks for food and clothing, they are very difficult to obtain. He is satisfied if he just obtains a very meager amount. Later on, the intimate friend happens to meet this man. Seeing him, he says:

  O poor fellow! How have you come to this state through lack of food and clothing? Once, on such-and-such a day in such-and-such a month and year, I sewed a priceless jewel into the inside of your garment, wanting to make things easier for you and to let you enjoy the desires of the five senses as much as you wished. It is still there, although you aren’t aware of it, and you seek your livelihood with great effort and hardship! You have been very foolish. Sell this jewel and use it to buy what you need. From now on you will know neither poverty nor want and can live as you wish.

  “The Buddha is exactly like this. When he was a bodhisattva he aroused in us the aspiration for omniscience. Nevertheless we forgot, we did not know or understand. We attained the path of the arhats and considered that we had attained nirvana. It was very hard for us to support ourselves and we were satisfied with little. But we never fully lost our wish for all-knowledge. Now the Bhagavat, perceiving our minds, has said this:

  O monks! What you have attained is not the complete nirvana. For a long time I have made you plant the various roots of good merit of a buddha and shown you the marks of nirvana through skillful means. That is why you consider yourselves to have actually attained nirvana!

  “O Bhagavat! We now know that we are actually bodhisattvas and will obtain a prediction of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. For this reason we are extremely happy at having obtained such an unprecedented experience.”
  At that time Ājñātakauṇḍinya and the others, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  We have heard his voice
  Giving the prediction of utmost ease.
  Rejoicing in this unprecedented experience,
  We bow to the Buddha whose wisdom is immeasurable.
  We now repent of our faults
  In the presence of the Bhagavat.
  Although we had attained
  Only a small measure of nirvana,
  Out of the immeasurable treasures of the Buddha,
  We were self-satisfied,
  Just like ignorant fools!
  Suppose there were a poor man
  Who went to the house of a close friend
  Whose family was very wealthy.
  He was entertained with a feast
  And had a priceless jewel sewn
  To the inside of his garment.
  The wealthy friend made him this gift
  Without saying anything, and went away.
  The poor man had fallen asleep
  And did not know of this.
  Shortly afterward this man gets up,
  And after wandering around
  Arrives in another country.
  He manages to seek out
  Enough food and clothing to live
  But has great difficulty in supporting himself.
  Yet he is satisfied to obtain a little
  And does not desire anything better.
  He is still unaware of the priceless jewel
  Sewn inside his garment.
  The intimate friend who gave him the jewel
  Meets this poor man later
  And bitterly reproaches him,
  Showing him the jewel
  That had been sewn into his garment.
  The poor man, seeing this jewel, rejoices greatly
  And with this rich treasure he enjoys
  To his satisfaction the desires of the five senses.
  We are exactly like this.
  For a long time, the Bhagavat
  Has led and inspired us
  Through his compassion,
  And planted in us the highest aspiration.
  Because we were ignorant
  We neither noticed nor knew;
  We were satisfied with attaining
  Only a small measure of nirvana
  And did not seek for the rest.
  Now the Buddha has enlightened us, saying:

  This is not the real nirvana.
  Attaining the highest wisdom of the buddhas
  Is indeed the only real nirvana.

  Now, having heard the predictions from the Buddha
  And of the adorned lands,
  And the subsequent predictions,
  We universally rejoice in body and mind!

  The Lotus Sutra
  Chapter IX The Predictions for Those Who Still Have More to Learn and for Those Who Do Not

  (Translated from the Chinese of Kumārajiva by Tsugunari Kubo and Akira Yuyama)
  (Second Revised Edition) (dBET)

  At that time Ānanda and Rāhula thought this: “The delight we would feel if we were to receive our predictions is constantly before our minds!”
  Then arising from their seats and going into the presence of the Buddha, they bowed until their foreheads touched his feet, and spoke to him in unison, saying:“O Bhagavat! We should also be qualified to receive our predictions! Both of us take refuge only in the Tathāgata. Moreover, we are well known by the devas, humans, and asuras throughout the entire world! Ānanda has always attended the Tathāgata, preserving the treasure house of the Dharma; and Rāhula is the son of the Buddha. If the Buddha would bestow upon us the prediction of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi then our vows would be fulfilled and our wishes also realized!”
  Then two thousand disciples, śrāvakas, some who still had more to learn, and some who did not, all arose from their seats and with their right shoulders bared went into the presence of the Buddha. Attentively, with palm pressed together, they gazed at the Bhagavat, all having the same wish as Ānanda and Rāhula, and stood to one side.
  Then the Buddha addressed Ānanda, saying:
  “In the future world you will become a buddha called Mountain Sea Wisdom Unrestricted Power King, a Tathāgata, Arhat, Completely Enlightened, Perfect in Knowledge and Conduct, Well-Departed, Knower of the World, Unsurpassed, Tamer of Humans, Teacher of Devas and Humans, Buddha, Bhagavat. You will pay homage to sixty-two koṭis of buddhas, preserve the treasure house of the Dharma and ultimately attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi.Further, you will inspire bodhisattvas equal in number to the sands of twenty thousands of myriads of koṭis of Ganges Rivers, causing them to attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi.
  “Your land will be called Ever Standing Victory Banner. It will be pure and the earth will be made of lapis lazuli. The kalpa will be called Wonderful Sound Filling Everywhere. The lifespan of this buddha will be for immeasurable thousands of myriads of koṭis of Asamkhyeyas of kalpas. Their number would be incalculable even if one were to count for immeasurable thousands of myriads of koṭis of Asamkhyeyas of kalpas. The True Dharma will abide in the world twice as long as his lifespan and the Semblance Dharma will abide in the world twice as long as the True Dharma.
  “O Ānanda! The virtues of this buddha Mountain Sea Wisdom Unrestricted Power King will be praised by Buddha Tathāgatas in the ten directions, equal in number to the sands of immeasurable thousands of myriads of koṭis of Ganges Rivers.”
  Thereupon the Tathāgata, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  I now tell the assembly
  That Ānanda, the preserver of the Dharma,
  Will pay homage to the buddhas
  And ultimately attain complete enlightenment.
  He will be called the Buddha
  Mountain Sea Wisdom Unrestricted Power King.
  His land will be pure
  And called Ever Standing Victory Banner
  He will lead and inspire bodhisattvas
  In numbers equal to the sands of Ganges Rivers.
  This buddha will be endowed
  With great virtue and dignity, and his fame
  Will fill the ten directions.
  His lifespan will be immeasurable
  Due to his compassion for sentient beings.
  The True Dharma will abide
  Twice as long as his lifespan
  And the Semblance Dharma will abide
  Twice as long as the True Dharma.
  Countless sentient beings
  Within the Dharma of this buddha,
  Equal in number to the sands of Ganges Rivers,
  Will plant the seed of the buddha path.”

  At that time the eight thousand bodhisattvas in the assembly, in whom the thought of enlightenment had recently awakened, all thought this: “Since we have never heard the great bodhisattvas receive predictions like this, why should the śrāvakas now obtain it?”
  Then the Bhagavat, knowing what the bodhisattvas were thinking, spoke to them, saying:
  “O sons of a virtuous family! The thought of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi once awoke simultaneously in Ānanda and myself in the presence of the Buddha called Void King. Ānanda always wanted to hear a great deal about the Dharma, and I always made diligent efforts. For this reason, I was shortly able to attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi, whereas Ānanda preserves my teaching and in the future will uphold the treasure house of the Dharma of all the buddhas. He will lead, inspire, and perfect the bodhisattvas. Since this was his original vow, he has obtained this prediction!”
  Ānanda, while facing the Buddha, heard his own prediction and about the adornments of his land. His vow fulfilled, he rejoiced greatly at attaining such an unprecedented experience. With his unobstructed penetration he immediately remembered the treasure house of the Dharma of the past immeasurable thousands of myriads of koṭis of buddhas as if he had just heard of it today; and he also became aware of his original vow.
  Thereupon Ānanda spoke these verses:

  The Bhagavat is truly extraordinary.
  He has enabled me to recollect the Dharma
  Of incalculable numbers of buddhas of the past,
  Just as if I had first heard of the matter today.
  I now have no further doubts.
  I am established in the buddha path.
  I have become an attendant of the Tathāgata
  And, as an attendant, I will preserve
  The Dharma of all the buddhas, using skillful means.

  Then the Buddha addressed Rāhula, saying: “In the future you will become a buddha called Stepping on Seven Treasure Flowers, a Tathāgata, Arhat, Completely Enlightened, Perfect in Knowledge and Conduct, Well-Departed, Knower of the World, Unsurpassed, Tamer of Humans, Teacher of Devas and Humans, Buddha, Bhagavat. You will pay homage to the Buddha Tathāgatas, whose number is equal to that of the grains of dust of ten worlds; and you will always become the eldest son of all the buddhas just as you are my eldest son now.
  “The adornments of the land, the number of disciples led and inspired, the duration of the True and Semblance Dharma of this buddha Stepping on Seven Treasure Flowers will be just like those of the Buddha Mountain Sea Wisdom Unrestricted Power King, without the slightest difference. You will also become the eldest son of this buddha and after that attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi.”
  At that time the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  When I was a prince,
  Rāhula was my eldest son.
  And now that I have perfected the buddha path,
  He accepts my teaching as the heir of the Dharma.
  In the future he will meet
  Immeasurable koṭis of buddhas.
  Becoming the eldest son of all these buddhas,
  He will wholeheartedly seek
  The buddha path.
  Only I am able to discern
  Rāhula’s unseen practice.
  But now that he has become my eldest son,
  He reveals it to the sentient beings.
  His thousands of myriads
  Of koṭis of merits are uncountable and incalculable;
  He will become established in the Buddha-Dharma
  And seek the highest path.

  Then the Bhagavat perceived that the minds of those two thousand people, some of whom had more to learn and some of whom did not, were serene, sincere, mild, and receptive. They were all attentively gazing at the Buddha. The Buddha said to Ānanda: “Do you not see these two thousand people, some of whom have more to learn and some of whom do not?” Ānanda replied: “Yes, I see them.”
  The Buddha said: “O Ānanda! All of these people will pay homage to the Buddha Tathāgatas, whose number is equal to that of the grains of dust of fifty worlds. They will respect, honour, and preserve the treasure house of the Dharma and will later all become buddhas simultaneously in the worlds of the ten directions. They will all have the same name, Jewel Sign, a Tathāgata, Arhat, Completely Enlightened, Perfect in Knowledge and Conduct, Well-Departed, Knower of the World, Unsurpassed, Tamer of Humans, Teacher of Devas and Humans, Buddha, Bhagavat. Their lifespans will last one kalpa. The adornments of their lands, the number of śrāvakas and bodhisattvas, and the duration of the True and Semblance Dharma will be the same for all.”
  Thereupon the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  Now in my presence
  These two thousand śrāvakas
  Have all received their predictions.
  In the future they will all become buddhas.
  The buddhas they will revere
  Will be equal to the number of grains of dust,
  Just as mentioned above.
  Preserving this treasure house of the Dharma,
  They will later attain complete enlightenment.
  They will all have the same name
  And dwell in the lands of the ten directions.
  All sitting at the exact same time,
  On the terrace of enlightenment,
  They will attain the highest wisdom.
  All of them will be called Jewel Sign.
  Their lands, the number of disciples,
  Duration of the True and Semblance Dharma
  Will all be the same without any difference.
  Moreover, through their transcendent powers,
  They will save sentient beings
  Throughout the ten directions.
  Their fame will spread universally
  And they will gradually enter nirvana.

  Then the two thousand people, some of whom had more to learn and some of whom did not, having heard their predictions from the Buddha, rejoiced ecstatically and spoke in verse:

  O Bhagavat, the Light of Wisdom!
  We have just heard you give us our predictions
  And our minds are full of joy,
  Just as if we had been sprinkled
  With the Dharma of immortality.

  The Lotus Sutra
  Chapter X The Expounder of the Dharma

  (Translated from the Chinese of Kumārajiva by Tsugunari Kubo and Akira Yuyama)
  (Second Revised Edition) (dBET)

  Thereupon the Bhagavat by addressing Bodhisattva Medicine King, through him addressed eighty thousand mahāsattvas, saying: “O Medicine King! In this assembly do you see innumerable humans and nonhumans such as devas, nāga kings, yakṣas, gandharvas, asuras, garuḍas, kiṃnaras, mahoragas, monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen, those seeking the śrāvaka vehicle, the pratyekabuddha vehicle, and the buddha path? If, in the presence of the Buddha any beings such as these hear a single verse or line of the Lotus Sutra, and thereupon have even one thought of rejoicing in it, I will bestow upon them my prediction that they will attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi.”
  The Buddha addressed Medicine King, saying: “If, after the parinirvāṇa of the Tathāgata, any being hears even a single verse or line of the Lotus Sutra, and thereupon has even one thought of rejoicing in it, I will bestow upon them the prediction that they will attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi.
  “If there is anyone who preserves, recites, explains, or copies even a single verse of the Lotus Sutra, or who respects this sutra as if it were a buddha, or who reverently offers it various flowers, perfumes, necklaces, fragrant ointments, scented powders, burning incense, canopies, flags, banners, clothing, or music, or who simply honours it with his palms pressed together, know, O Medicine King, that this person has already paid homage to tens of myriads of koṭis of buddhas of the past! Such people have completed their great vow in the presence of all the buddhas and yet they have been born as humans out of their compassion for sentient beings.
  “O Medicine King! If anyone should ask you what kind of sentient being will become a buddha in the future, you should inform them that it is those of this kind who will definitely become buddhas in the future. Why is this?
  “If there are any sons or daughters of a virtuous family who preserve, recite, explain, and copy even a single line of the Lotus Sutra, or who pay homage to this sutra with various offerings of flowers, perfumes, necklaces, scented powders and ointments, burning incense, canopies, flags, banners, clothing, or music, or who honour it with their palms pressed together, such people should be respected by the entire world. They should be revered in the same way as the Tathāgata is revered. Know that these people are great bodhisattvas who are to attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. Out of their compassion for sentient beings they wish to be born among them in order to expound and explain the Lotus Sutra far and wide. How much more to be honoured are those who completely preserve the entire sutra and pay homage to it with various offerings!
  “O Medicine King! You should know that after my parinirvāṇa these people will set aside the rewards of their pure karma and be born in the troubled world out of their compassion for sentient beings, and in order to expound this sutra far and wide. After my parinirvāṇa, if there are any sons and daughters of a virtuous family who expound even a single line of the Lotus Sutra in private to even a single person, they should be acknowledged as the ambassadors of the Tathāgata. They have been dispatched by the Tathāgata and carry out the Tathāgata’s work. As for those who extensively teach among the common people, know that they are yet greater ambassadors.
  “O Medicine King, if there are erring people during a kalpa, those with troubled thoughts who always disparage the Buddha in his presence, their fault is nonetheless slight. Yet if there are those who disparage the laity or ordained people who recite the Lotus Sutra even with a single evil word, their fault is extremely grave.
  “O Medicine King! Know that those who recite this Lotus Sutra adorn themselves with the adornments of a buddha and are carried by the Tathāgata on the shoulders. Wherever they go they should be respected, revered, honoured, and praised wholeheartedly with palms pressed together, through offerings of flowers, perfumes, necklaces, scented powders, ointments, burning incense, canopies, flags, banners, clothing, delicious food, music, and the best offerings that people can make. They should have heavenly jewels scattered upon them and offered to them. Why is this? Because these people joyfully expound the Dharma and those who hear it even for an instant will fully attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi.”
  Thereupon the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate upon the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  Those who want to abide in the buddha path
  And perfect the wisdom of the Self-generated One,
  Should always diligently pay homage
  To those who preserve the Lotus Sutra.
  Those who want to quickly attain omniscience
  Should hold to this sutra
  And pay homage to those who preserve it.
  Know that anyone who preserves the Lotus Sutra
  Is an ambassador of the Buddha
  Who feels compassion for sentient beings.
  Those who preserve the Lotus Sutra
  Were born here in this world,
  Withholding themselves from the Pure Land
  Out of their compassion for sentient beings.
  Know that such people are born
  Where and when they will.
  They are born in this troubled world
  To extensively expound the highest Dharma.
  Such expounders of the Dharma should be revered
  With offerings of divine flowers, perfumes,
  Heavenly jewelled clothing, and exquisite celestial jewels.
  Those who preserve this sutra
  In the troubled world after my parinirvāṇa,
  Should be paid homage with palms pressed together
  Just as one pays homage to the Bhagavat.
  These heirs of the buddhas should be revered
  With delicious food, various delicacies,
  And a variety of clothing, in the hope of hearing
  The teaching even for an instant.
  If in the future there is anyone
  Who preserves this sutra,
  I will dispatch him to the world of humans
  To carry out the Tathāgata’s task.
  If throughout one entire kalpa
  There is anyone with erring thoughts
  Who always disparages the Buddha
  With an angry countenance, the consequences of
  His grave errors will be incalculable.
  If there is anyone who speaks
  A hostile word even for an instant
  About those who recite and preserve this Lotus Sutra,
  His fault will be even greater.
  If throughout one entire kalpa
  There are people seeking for the buddha path
  Who praise the Buddha in my presence
  With incalculable numbers of verses
  And with palms pressed together,
  The merits they attain will be immeasurable
  Because of praising this buddha.
  If there are people who praise
  Those who preserve the sutra,
  Their merit will be even greater.
  You must pay tribute to those who preserve the sutra
  Throughout eighty koṭis of kalpas
  With the best objects, sounds,
  Fragrances, flavours, and materials.
  If you are able to hear the teaching for even a moment,
  After having paid tribute in this way,
  You will then become delighted, thinking:

  I have now attained great benefits.

  O Medicine King! I now tell you that
  I have taught many sutras;
  Among these sutras, however,
  The Lotus Sutra is the utmost and best.

  Then the Buddha spoke further to Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Medicine King, saying: “There are immeasurable thousands of myriads of koṭis of sutras I have taught in the past, which I teach now, and which I will teach in the future. Among them, however, this Lotus Sutra is the most difficult to accept and to understand.
  “O Medicine King! This sutra is the treasure house of the hidden essence of all the buddhas. It must not be distributed or heedlessly bestowed upon the people. Since times long past all the Buddha Bhagavats have protected it and have never openly taught it. Moreover, people show great hostility to this sutra, even in the presence of the Tathāgata. How much more so after the parinirvāṇa of the Tathāgata!
  “O Medicine King! You should know that after the parinirvāṇa of the Tathāgata, those who copy, preserve, recite, and revere this sutra and expound it for the sake of others will be clothed with the Tathāgata’s garments and treasured by the present buddhas of the other directions. Such people will have the power of great faith, the power of aspiration, as well as the power of the roots of good merit. You should know that these people have dwelled together with the Tathāgata, and his hand has caressed their heads.
  “O Medicine King! Wherever this sutra is taught, read, recited, copied, or wherever it is to be found, one should build a seven-jewelled stupa of great height and width and richly ornamented. There is no need to put a relic inside. Why is this? Because the Tathāgata is already in it. This stupa should be respected, honoured, praised and rendered homage with offerings of all kinds of flowers, perfumes, necklaces, canopies, flags, banners, music, and songs. If there is anyone able to see this stupa and to pay it homage and honour it, know that such a one is nearing Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi.
  “O Medicine King! Among the many people, either among the laity or the ordained, who practice the bodhisattva path, if they are unable to see, hear, recite, copy, preserve, and pay homage to this Lotus Sutra, know that they are people who are not yet properly practicing the bodhisattva path. If anyone is able to hear this sutra, such a one is skillfully practicing the bodhisattva path. Among sentient beings seeking the buddha path, if there are those who see or hear this Lotus Sutra and, after hearing it, are drawn to it and preserve it, know that they are those who are approaching Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi.
  “O Medicine King! Suppose there were a thirsty man seeking water. He drills in search of water on a high plain, yet he sees only dry earth and thus realizes that water is still far away. But he does not cease his efforts until he turns up moist earth and gradually reaches mud. Now he is sure that water must be near.
  “The bodhisattvas are exactly like this. If they have not yet heard, understood, or been able to practice this Lotus Sutra, they should be known as people who are still far away from Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. If they hear, understand, contemplate, and are able to practice it, they realize that they are certainly nearing Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. Why is this? Because the Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi of all the bodhisattvas is within this sutra. This sutra opens the gate of skillful means and reveals the marks of the truth. The treasure house of this Lotus Sutra is deep and remote. No one is able to discover its depths. That is why the Buddha now reveals it, inspiring and perfecting the bodhisattvas.
  “O Medicine King! If there are bodhisattvas who hear this Lotus Sutra and are confused and frightened, know that they are bodhisattvas in whom the thought of enlightenment has only recently awakened. If there are śrāvakas who hear this sutra and are confused and frightened, know that they are people who have excessive pride.
  “O Medicine King! If there are any sons and daughters of a virtuous family who, after the parinirvāṇa of the Tathāgata, want to teach this Lotus Sutra to the fourfold assembly, how should they teach it? These sons and daughters of a virtuous family, after entering the abode of the Tathāgata, wearing the Tathāgata’s garments, and sitting on his seat, should then extensively teach this sutra to the fourfold assembly. The Tathāgata’s chamber is nothing but the great compassion toward all sentient beings. The Tathāgata’s garments are the thoughts of gentleness and perseverance, and the Tathāgata’s seat is the very emptiness of all existing things. After settling among them one should tirelessly and extensively expound this Lotus Sutra for the sake of the bodhisattvas and the fourfold assembly.
  “O Medicine King! When I am in other land, I will dispatch transformed beings to gather the people together to hear the teaching. I will also dispatch transformed monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen to hear this teaching. All these transformed beings will hear the Dharma, believe and accept it, and not reject it.
  “If an expounder of the Dharma resides in a secluded place, I will then dispatch many devas, nāgas, yakṣas, gandharvas, and asuras to hear his teaching. Although I will be in a different land, I will periodically let the expounders of the Dharma see me. If they forget a line of this sutra I will explain it again, enabling them to master it.”
  Thereupon, the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  If you wish to rid yourself of idleness,
  You should listen to this sutra.
  This sutra is rarely heard,
  And it is also difficult to accept.
  Suppose there were a thirsty man
  Seeking for water by drilling
  Into the earth on a high plain.
  He sees only dry earth and knows
  That water is still far away.
  He gradually sees
  The moist earth turn into mud
  And knows with certainty
  That water is near.
  O Medicine King!
  You should know that those people
  Who do not hear the Lotus Sutra
  Are very far away
  From the Buddha’s wisdom.
  If they hear this profound sutra
  Which brings resolution to the śrāvakas
  And if they hear this King of Sutras
  And attentively contemplate it,
  Know that these people
  Are close to the Buddha’s wisdom.
  If people want to expound this sutra,
  They should enter the Tathāgata’s chamber,
  Put on the Tathāgata’s garments,
  And sit on the Tathāgata’s seat.
  They then should face the people without fear,
  So that they may extensively
  Illuminate and explain it to the assembly.
  The Tathāgata’s chamber is great compassion,
  His garments are gentleness and perseverance,
  And his seat is the emptiness of all existent things.
  After settling among them,
  They should expound the Dharma.
  Even if, when they expound this sutra,
  People disparage them with evil words,
  Or attack them with swords, sticks, tiles, or stones,
  Being mindful of the Buddha,
  They should persevere.
  I will manifest my pure and solid form
  In thousands of myriads of koṭis of lands
  And teach the Dharma to sentient beings
  For immeasurable koṭis of kalpas.
  If after my parinirvāṇa
  There is someone who is able to teach this sutra,
  I will dispatch a transformed fourfold assembly
  Of monks, nuns, laymen and laywomen
  To pay homage to this expounder of the Dharma.
  I will lead the sentient beings
  And gather them together
  To let them hear the teaching.
  If anyone wishes to do ill to them
  With swords, sticks, tiles, or stones,
  Then I will dispatch those transformed ones
  In order to guard them.
  If there is any expounder of the Dharma
  Who recites this sutra
  In a secluded, tranquil place
  Where there is no sound of human beings,
  I will then manifest my body of pure light.
  If they forget a chapter or a verse,
  I will teach it to them,
  Enabling them to master it.
  If anyone perfects these qualities
  If he teaches the fourfold assembly
  Or, in a solitary place, recites this sutra,
  Such a person will be able to see me.
  If anyone abides in a secluded place
  I will dispatch devas, nāga kings,
  Yakṣas, and rākṣasas
  To be an audience to their teaching.
  Such people teach the Dharma willingly
  And explain it without obstruction.
  Because all the buddhas protect them
  They gladden the great community of people.
  Anyone who closely attends an expounder of the Dharma
  Will quickly attain the bodhisattva path.
  Anyone who follows this expounder’s instructions,
  Will be able to meet buddhas
  Equal in number to the sands of the Ganges River.

  The Lotus Sutra
  Chapter XI The Appearance of a Jewelled Stupa

  (Translated from the Chinese of Kumārajiva by Tsugunari Kubo and Akira Yuyama)
  (Second Revised Edition) (dBET)

  At that time there appeared before the Buddha a seven-jewelled stupa, five hundred yojanas in height and two hundred and fifty yojanas both in length and width, which emerged from the ground and hovered in the air. It was adorned with various jewels, had five thousand railings, and thousands of myriads of chambers. It was decorated with innumerable flags and banners and hanging jewelled necklaces, and myriads of koṭis of jewelled bells hung from the top. The fragrance of tamāla leaves and sandalwood trees exuded from all sides of the stupa, covering the world. The banners and umbrellas were composed of the seven jewels such as gold, silver, lapis lazuli, mother-of-pearl, agate, pearl, and ruby; and they rose as high as the palaces of the world-protectors of the four quarters.
  The Thirty-Three devas rained down heavenly māndārava flowers in homage to the jewelled stupa. The other thousands of myriads of koṭis of humans, and such nonhumans as devas, nāgas, yakṣas, gandharvas, asuras, garuḍas, kiṃnaras, and mahoragas also respected, honoured, revered, and praised the precious stupa by offering all kinds of flowers, perfumes, necklaces, flags, banners, and music.
  Then a tremendous voice issued forth in praise from the jewelled stupa, saying: “Splendid, splendid! O Śākyamuni! With the great wisdom of equality, the Bhagavat teaches the Lotus Sutra to the great assembly, the instruction for bodhisattvas and treasured lore of the buddhas! Just so! Just so, O Śākyamuni Bhagavat! What you teach is true!”
  Thereupon the fourfold assembly saw the great jewelled stupa hovering in the air and also heard the voice that issued forth from the stupa. They all were pleased with the teaching and marvelled at this unprecedented experience. They stood up from their seats, honoured Śākyamuni with their palms pressed together, and withdrew to one side.
  At that time there was a bodhisattva mahāsattva called Great Joy of Preaching who, realizing that the devas, humans, and asuras of the entire world were puzzled, addressed the Buddha saying: “O Bhagavat! Why has this jewelled stupa emerged from the earth? And why has this voice come forth from it?”
  Then the Buddha told Bodhisattva Great Joy of Preaching: “A Tathāgata is in this jewelled stupa. In the remote past, immeasurable thousands of myriads of koṭis of Asamkhyeyas of worlds away in the east there was a land called Treasure Purity. In that land there was a buddha called Many Treasures. When this buddha was practicing the bodhisattva path in his previous lives he made a great vow, saying:

  If I become a buddha, after my parinirvāṇa if the Lotus Sutra is being taught anywhere in all the lands of the ten directions, my stupa shall appear there so that this sutra may be heard, and in order that I may bear testimony to it and praise it with the word “Splendid!”

  “After the Buddha had perfected the path and immediately before his parinirvāṇa, he addressed the monks among the great assembly of devas and humans, saying:

  After my parinirvāṇa anyone who wishes to pay me homage should build a great stupa!

  “If there is anyone teaching the Lotus Sutra anywhere in the worlds of the ten directions, this buddha makes a jewelled stupa emerge out of the ground in that place through his transcendent powers and the power of his vow. He is in the stupa giving praise with the words, ‘Splendid, splendid!’
  “O Great Joy of Preaching! The Tathāgata Many Treasures has now emerged from the earth, within his stupa, so that he may hear the Lotus Sutra and give praise with the words, ‘Splendid, splendid!’”
  At that time Bodhisattva Great Joy of Preaching spoke to the Buddha through the Tathāgata’s transcendent powers, saying: “O Bhagavat! We all want to see this buddha’s form.”
  The Buddha answered Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Great Joy of Preaching, saying: “This Buddha Many Treasures made a great vow, saying:

  Whenever my jewelled stupa appears in the presence of a buddha in order to hear the Lotus Sutra, if that buddha wants to show my form to the fourfold assembly he should gather into one place all his magically created forms that are teaching the Dharma in the worlds of the ten directions. After that my form will appear.

  “O Great Joy of Preaching! I shall now gather all my magically created forms who are teaching the Dharma in the worlds of the ten directions.”
  Great Joy of Preaching spoke to the Buddha, saying: “O Bhagavat! We also strongly wish to see the Bhagavat’s magically created forms, to honour and pay homage to them!”
  Then the Buddha emitted a ray of light from the tuft of white hair between his eyebrows; and they immediately saw the buddhas in the lands of eastern direction equal in number to the sands of five hundred myriads of koṭis of nayutas of Ganges Rivers. In these lands the soil was of crystal and adorned with treasure trees and jewelled garments; and these lands were full of innumerable thousands of myriads of koṭis of bodhisattvas. Jewelled drapes were hung everywhere and were covered with jewelled nets. All the buddhas in these lands were teaching the Dharma in most harmonious voices. They also saw immeasurable thousands of myriads of koṭis of bodhisattvas, filling all the lands and teaching the Dharma to sentient beings.
  The other directions to the south, north, and west, the four intermediary directions, and the upper and lower regions were also illuminated by the ray of light emitted from the tuft of white hair between the Buddha’s eyebrows; and they were also exactly like this.
  Then all the buddhas in the ten directions each addressed their assembly of bodhisattvas, saying: “O sons of a virtuous family! We will now go to the place where Śākyamuni is in the sahā world and pay homage to the jewelled stupa of the Tathāgata Many Treasures.”
  At that time the sahā world was immediately purified; the earth was of lapis lazuli, adorned with jewelled trees, its roads laid out like a chessboard and bordered with golden cords; and there were no villages, towns, cities, oceans, rivers, mountains, streams, forests, or groves. Very precious incense was burning, māndārava flowers were spread everywhere on the earth, and it was covered with jewelled nets and drapes from which jewelled bells hung. With the exception of this assembly the devas and human beings were all moved to other lands.
  Then the buddhas each took one great bodhisattva as an attendant and arrived under a jewelled tree in the sahā world. Each jewelled tree was five hundred yojanas in height and adorned with branches, leaves, blossoms, and fruits in their proper turn. Under all these jewelled trees were lion seats five yojanas in height that were adorned with great jewels. The buddhas each sat cross-legged on these seats. They sat one after another in this way, filling the great manifold cosmos. Yet the separate forms of Śākyamuni Buddha of even one direction had not all arrived yet.
  At that time Śākyamuni Buddha, wanting to be able to receive all of his magically created forms, transformed and purified two hundred myriads of koṭis of nayutas of lands in each of the eight directions. There were no hells, hungry ghosts, animals, or asuras; and all the devas and humans were moved to other lands.
  In these transformed lands the earth was made of lapis lazuli and adorned with jewelled trees. These trees were five hundred yojanas in height and were adorned with branches, leaves, blossoms, and fruits in their proper turn. Under every tree was a jewelled lion seat five yojanas in height which was adorned with various jewels. There were no oceans, rivers, or great mountain kings such as Mount Mucilinda, Mount Mahāmucilinda, Mount Iron Encircling, Mount Great Iron Encircling, or Mount Sumeru. The lands were all made into one buddha world throughout. The jewelled earth was level and covered everywhere with jewel-studded drapes. Banners and umbrellas were set up, precious incense was burning, and heavenly jewelled flowers covered the ground everywhere.
  Then Śākyamuni Buddha again transformed and purified two hundred myriads of koṭis of nayutas of lands in each of the eight directions so that the buddhas could come and sit. There were no hells, hungry ghosts, animals, or asuras; and the devas and humans were moved to other lands.
  In the transformed lands the earth was of lapis lazuli and adorned with jewelled trees. The trees were five hundred yojanas in height and were adorned with branches, leaves, blossoms, and fruits in their proper turn. Under these trees were jewelled lion seats that were five yojanas in height and decorated with great jewels. There were no oceans, rivers, or great mountain kings such as Mount Mucilinda, Mount Mahāmucilinda, Mount Iron Encircling, Mount Great Iron Encircling, or Mount Sumeru. The lands were all made into one buddha world throughout. The jewelled earth was level and covered everywhere with jewel-studded drapes. Banners and umbrellas were set up, precious incense was burning, and heavenly jewelled flowers covered the ground everywhere.
  Then the magically created forms of Śākyamuni Buddha from the eastern direction, which had been teaching the Dharma in the lands equal in number to the sands of hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of nayutas of Ganges Rivers, gathered here.
  In this way all the buddhas in the ten directions gradually came until all were assembled, sitting in the eight directions. At that time these Buddha Tathāgatas filled four hundred myriads of koṭis of nayutas of lands in each direction.
  Then sitting on the lion seats under the jewelled trees, the buddhas each dispatched their attendants with hands full of jewelled flowers to inquire after the Buddha Śākyamuni, saying:
  “O son of a virtuous family! You should approach the Buddha Śākyamuni on Mount Gṛdhrakūṭa and give him a greeting, saying:

  Are you without illness and pain and are you full of vigour and at ease; and are the assemblies of bodhisattvas and śrāvakas all at ease or not?

  “Then, having paid homage to the Buddha by scattering him with these jewelled flowers, say this to him:

  The Buddha So-and-so wishes you to open this jewelled stupa.

  All the other buddhas dispatched their messengers like this.”
  Then the Buddha Śākyamuni saw that his magically created forms had already gathered and were each sitting on a lion seat. And he heard that all the buddhas also wanted him to open the treasured stupa. Immediately rising, he hovered in the air and the entire fourfold assembly rose and gazed attentively at the Buddha with their palms pressed together.
  Thereupon Śākyamuni Buddha opened the entrance to the seven-jewelled stupa with his right finger. There was a tremendous sound as if the bar and lock to the gateway of a large city were being pushed aside. Then immediately the entire gathering saw the Tathāgata Many Treasures in the jewelled stupa sitting on a lion seat as if he were in meditation, his body whole and undecomposed.
  They heard him say: “Splendid, splendid! The Buddha Śākyamuni is teaching the Lotus Sutra and I have come in order to hear it.”
  At that time the fourfold assembly saw the Buddha who had entered parinirvāṇa immeasurable thousands of myriads of koṭis of kalpas ago speaking those words. They praised this unprecedented experience and scattered heavenly jewelled flowers upon the buddhas Many Treasures and Śākyamuni.
  Then from within the stupa the Buddha Many Treasures offered half of his seat to the Buddha Śākyamuni, saying: “O Śākyamuni Buddha, please take a seat here!”
  The Buddha Śākyamuni immediately entered the stupa and sat cross-legged on half of the seat. Thereupon the great assembly saw the two Tathāgatas sitting cross-legged on the lion seat in the seven-jewelled stupa and they each thought thus: “The buddhas are seated far away. O Tathāgata, we entreat you to use your transcendent powers so that we may be in the air together with you.”
  The Buddha Śākyamuni immediately moved the entire fourfold assembly into the air through his transcendent powers and addressed them with a great voice, saying: “Who in the sahā world is able to extensively teach the Lotus Sutra? It is now the right time! The Tathāgata will enter parinirvāṇa before long and the Buddha wants to transmit this Lotus Sutra to you.”
  Thereupon the Buddha, wanting to further elaborate upon the meaning of this, spoke these verses:

  Although the Great Sage, the Bhagavat,
  Entered parinirvāṇa long ago,
  He has been abiding in a jewelled stupa;
  And he has now come for the sake of the Dharma.
  Why is it that people
  Do not strive for the Dharma?
  Although this buddha entered parinirvāṇa
  Incalculable kalpas ago,
  Because it is difficult to encounter,
  He listens to the Dharma
  Wherever it is taught.
  The original vow of this buddha was:

  After my parinirvāṇa
  I will always listen to the Dharma
  Wherever it may be.

  My magically created forms,
  Incalculable as the sands of the Ganges Rivers,
  Have come to hear the Dharma
  And see the Tathāgata Many Treasures,
  Who has entered nirvana.
  Each buddha-form, having abandoned his beautiful land,
  Disciples, devas, humans, nāgas,
  And ritual tributes, has come here
  So that the Dharma may abide forever.
  In order to seat all these buddhas,
  I transferred immeasurable beings
  And purified the lands
  Through my transcendent powers;
  And each of these buddhas
  Settled under a jewelled tree—
  As lotus blossoms
  Adorn a limpid, cool pond.
  Under every jewelled tree was a lion seat
  On which the buddhas sat radiating light—
  As a great bonfire
  Blazes in the dark of the night.
  They emitted a subtle fragrance from their bodies
  Which filled the lands of the ten directions.
  Sentient beings who smelled this fragrance
  Were overcome with unsurpassed joy,
  Like branches of a small tree
  Being blown by a great wind.
  Through this skillful means
  I enable the Dharma to abide forever.
  I tell the great assembly
  That after my nirvana
  Whoever can preserve and recite this sutra
  Should now individually make a declaration
  In the presence of the buddhas.
  Although the Buddha Many Treasures
  Entered parinirvāṇa long ago,
  Through his great vow
  He has roared the lion’s roar.
  The Tathāgata Many Treasures,
  I myself, and all the magically created forms
  Who have gathered here
  Should know this intention.
  O heirs of the buddhas!
  Whoever is able to preserve the Dharma
  Should make a great vow
  So that it may abide forever.
  Whoever is able to preserve
  The teaching of this sutra
  Will thus honour me
  And Many Treasures.
  This Buddha Many Treasures
  Always roams the ten directions
  In a jewelled stupa
  In order to hear this sutra.
  He also honours
  All the transformed buddhas
  Who have come here and who adorn
  All the worlds with light.
  Whoever teaches this sutra will see me,
  The Tathāgata Many Treasures,
  And the transformed buddhas.
  O sons of a virtuous family!
  Each of you must carefully consider this.
  This is indeed a difficult matter.
  Make a great vow accordingly!
  It is not really difficult
  To teach all of the other sutras,
  The number of which is
  Equal to the sands of the Ganges Rivers.
  It is not difficult
  To take Mount Sumeru
  And throw it to another quarter,
  Over innumerable buddha worlds.
  It is also not difficult
  To shake free the manifold cosmos
  With one toe and throw it
  Far into another distant world.
  It is not difficult to stand
  On the highest summit of the world
  And teach the other innumerable sutras
  For the sake of sentient beings.
  However, it will indeed be difficult
  To teach this sutra in the troubled world
  After the Buddha’s nirvana.
  It is not difficult for anyone
  To grasp empty space
  And wander around with it.
  But it will certainly be difficult to copy
  And preserve this sutra
  Or cause others to copy it
  After my nirvana.
  It is not really difficult
  To put the great earth on a toenail
  And ascend with it
  To the world of Brahmas.
  However, it will indeed be difficult
  To recite this sutra,
  Even for a moment,
  In the troubled world
  After the Buddha’s nirvana.
  It is not really difficult
  To enter into the conflagration
  At the time of the close of a kalpa
  Carrying hay on your back
  And yet not be burned.
  It certainly will be difficult
  To hold this sutra
  And teach it to even a single person
  After my nirvana.
  It is indeed not really difficult for anyone to preserve
  The eighty-four thousand treasure houses of the Dharma,
  And the twelvefold scriptures,
  And teach them so that the listeners
  Can attain the six transcendent powers.
  It will indeed be difficult for anyone
  To hear and accept this sutra
  And to ask about its meaning
  After my nirvana.
  It is not really difficult for people to do
  Such beneficial things as teaching the Dharma
  And making thousands of myriads of koṭis of
  Immeasurable, incalculable sentient beings,
  Numbering as many as the sands of the Ganges Rivers,
  Attain arhatship and perfect
  The six transcendent powers.
  It will certainly be difficult
  To preserve such a sutra as this
  After my nirvana.
  I have extensively taught many sutras
  In incalculable lands
  From the beginning until now,
  For the sake of the buddha path;
  And yet among them
  This sutra is the best.
  If anyone preserves it,
  He preserves the form of the Buddha.
  O sons of a virtuous family!
  Those who preserve and recite this [Lotus] Sutra
  After my nirvana
  Must now individually make a declaration
  In the presence of the buddhas.
  It is hard to preserve this sutra.
  If anyone preserves it
  Even for a single moment,
  I shall truly rejoice.
  All of the other buddhas
  Will do so also.
  Such people as these
  Are praised by the buddhas.
  They are courageous.
  They are persevering.
  They are known as those
  Who follow the rules of good conduct
  And carry out ascetic practices.
  Subsequently they quickly attain
  The highest buddha path.
  Those in the future
  Who recite and preserve this sutra,
  Are the true heirs of the Buddha
  And abide in the stage of purity.
  Those who can understand its meaning
  After the Buddha’s nirvana
  Will become the Eyes of the World
  For devas and humans.
  Those who teach it, even for a moment,
  In the fearful world
  Will be revered
  By all the devas and humans.

  The Lotus Sutra
  Chapter XII Devadatta

  (Translated from the Chinese of Kumārajiva by Tsugunari Kubo and Akira Yuyama)
  (Second Revised Edition) (dBET)

  The Buddha then addressed the assembly of bodhisattvas, and also the devas, humans, and the fourfold assembly, saying: “In the past, immeasurable kalpas ago, I tirelessly sought the Lotus Sutra. Throughout many kalpas I always became a king and made a vow to seek highest enlightenment. My mind became irreversible. Wanting to fulfill the six perfections I diligently carried out practices: unstintingly giving elephants, horses, the seven precious treasures, countries and cities, wives and children, male and female servants, my head, eyes, marrow and brains, the flesh of my body, hands, and feet, without stinginess, not even hesitating to give my own life.
  “At that time the lifespan of the people in the world was immeasurable. In order to seek the Dharma I abandoned my kingdom and abdicated my throne to the crown prince. Beating a drum I proclaimed to the four directions that I was seeking the Dharma, saying:

  I will be as a servant for the rest of my life to whosoever can teach me the Mahayana.

  “At that time there was a sage who came to this king and said:

  I possess the Mahayana teaching called the Lotus Sutra. If you faithfully obey me I will expound it to you.

  “Having heard the sage, the king became joyful and ecstatic and, accompanying the sage, he did everything he was asked. He gathered fruits, drew water, collected firewood, and provided meals. He even provided his own body as a bed for the sage. Yet he never tired in either body or mind and in this way served the sage for one thousand years. For the sake of the Dharma he served him diligently, making certain the sage never lacked for anything.”
  At that time the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  I remember that in the past, many kalpas ago,
  Although I became king of the world,
  In order to seek the great Dharma
  I was never attached to the desires of the five senses.
  Striking a bell I declared this
  To the four directions:

  If anyone possesses the great Dharma
  And explains it to me,
  I will become his servant.

  At that time there was a sage called Asita
  Who came to the great king and said:

  I possess a subtle and true Dharma
  That is rare in the world.
  If you are able to practice it,
  I will explain it to you!

  On hearing what the sage said
  The king became overjoyed.
  He immediately accompanied the sage
  And performed whatever he was asked.
  He gathered firewood and various fruits
  And respectfully offered them whenever requested.
  Because he longed for the True Dharma,
  He never tired in body or mind.
  For the sake of sentient beings
  He diligently sought everywhere the great Dharma.
  He never sought it for his own sake
  Nor for the desires of the five senses.
  For this reason, although a great king,
  He diligently sought and attained this Dharma,
  Ultimately becoming a buddha.
  That is why I now tell you this.

  The Buddha addressed the monks, saying: “The king at that time was I myself, and the sage was he who is now Devadatta. Through the virtuous mentor of Devadatta I was able to become endowed with the Six Perfections, benevolence, compassion, sympathetic joy, generosity, the Thirty-Two marks, the Eighty Excellent Characteristics, reddish-gold skin, the Ten Powers, the Four Kinds of Fearlessness, the Four Methods of Gaining Trust, the Eighteen Unique Qualities, the transcendent powers, and the power of the path. It is all due to the good and virtuous mentor of Devadatta that I attained complete enlightenment and extensively saved innumerable sentient beings.”
  The Buddha addressed the fourfold assembly, saying: “After immeasurable kalpas have passed, Devadatta will then become a buddha called Heavenly King, a Tathāgata, Arhat, Completely Enlightened, Perfect in Knowledge and Conduct, Well-Departed, Knower of the World, Unsurpassed, Tamer of Humans, Teacher of Devas and Humans, Buddha, Bhagavat. His world will be called Heavenly Way. At that time the Buddha Heavenly King will abide in the world for twenty intermediate kalpas and extensively teach the True Dharma to sentient beings. Sentient beings equal in number to the sands of the Ganges River will attain arhatship. The thought of a pratyekabuddha will awaken in incalculable numbers of sentient beings. The thought of the highest path will awaken in sentient beings equal in number to the sands of the Ganges River, and they will become convinced of the non-arising of all dharmas and reside in the stage of non-retrogression.
  “Then, after the parinirvāṇa of the Buddha Heavenly King, the True Dharma will abide in the world for twenty intermediate kalpas. A seven-jewelled stupa, sixty yojanas in height and forty yojanas in both length and width, will be built for all his relics; and all the devas and humans will honour and revere this beautiful seven-jewelled stupa with various flowers, scented powders, burning incense, fragrant ointments, clothing, necklaces, banners, flags, jeweled canopies, music, and songs. Incalculable sentient beings will attain arhatship. Innumerable sentient beings will be enlightened as pratyekabuddhas; and the thought of enlightenment will awaken in an inconceivable number of sentient beings, and they will reach the stage of non-retrogression.”
  The Buddha addressed the monks, saying: “If, in the future, there are sons and daughters of a virtuous family who, upon hearing the Devadatta chapter of the Lotus Sutra, accept it with pure minds and without doubt, they shall not fall into the realms of hell or to the states of hungry ghosts or of animals, but will be born in the presence of the buddhas in the ten directions. Wherever they may be, they will always hear this sutra. If they are born among humans or devas, they will enjoy a supreme and delightful contentment; and if in the presence of a buddha, they will be born spontaneously in a lotus flower.”
  At that time, in the lower region there was a bodhisattva called Wisdom Accumulated who was accompanying the Bhagavat Many Treasures. He urged the Buddha Many Treasures to return to their original land.
  The Buddha Śākyamuni addressed Wisdom Accumulated, saying:
  “O son of a virtuous family! Wait for a moment! There is a bodhisattva called Mañjuśrī. Let us meet him together and discuss the wonderful Dharma. After that you can return to your original land.”
  At that time Mañjuśrī, sitting on a thousand-petaled lotus flower as large as a carriage wheel, together with attendant bodhisattvas also seated on jewelled lotus flowers, emerged spontaneously out of the ocean from the palace of the nāga king Sāgara and floated in midair. Arriving at Mount Gṛdhrakūṭa they descended from the lotus flowers and went into the presence of the buddhas, where they bowed until their foreheads touched the feet of both Bhagavats. Having honoured them, Mañjuśrī approached Wisdom Accumulated. They greeted each other and withdrew to sit at one side. Then Bodhisattva Wisdom Accumulated asked Mañjuśrī, saying: “Your Eminence! How many sentient beings did you lead and inspire at the palace of the nāga king?”
  Mañjuśrī answered: “The number is immeasurable and incalculable. It is not possible to express it in words nor is it possible to calculate it with one’s mind. Wait a moment and you will have proof!”
  Before he had finished speaking, innumerable bodhisattvas emerged from the ocean, seated on jewelled lotus flowers. Arriving at Mount Gṛdhrakūṭa they floated in midair. All of these were bodhisattvas who had been led and inspired by Mañjuśrī. Those who had perfected the bodhisattva practices discussed the Six Perfections together. Those who were originally śrāvakas explained the śrāvaka practices in the air; and now they all practiced to understand the meaning of emptiness of the Mahayana.
  Mañjuśrī said to Wisdom Accumulated: “Thus did I lead and inspire people in the ocean!”
  Thereupon Bodhisattva Wisdom Accumulated spoke these verses in praise:

  O One of great wisdom, virtue, and courage!
  This assembly and I have now all witnessed that
  You have led and inspired
  Incalculable numbers of sentient beings.
  You have expounded the essential character of dharmas
  And revealed the teaching of the single vehicle.
  You have extensively led many sentient beings,
  Causing them to quickly attain enlightenment.

  Mañjuśrī said: “In the ocean I always expounded only the Lotus Sutra.”
  Then Wisdom Accumulated questioned Mañjuśrī, saying: “This sutra is profound and subtle. It is a jewel among sutras and rare in the world. If sentient beings diligently strive to practice this sutra, will they immediately become buddhas or not?”
  Mañjuśrī answered: “Yes, they will. There is the daughter of the nāga king Sāgara who is only eight years old. She is wise; her faculties are sharp; and she also well knows all the faculties and deeds of sentient beings. She has attained the Dhāraṇīs. She preserves all the profound secret treasures taught by the buddhas, enters deep meditation, and is well capable of discerning all dharmas. She instantly produced the thought of enlightenment and attained the stage of non-retrogression. She has unhindered eloquence and thinks of sentient beings with as much compassion as if they were her own children. Her virtues are perfect. Her thoughts and explanations are subtle and extensive, merciful, and compassionate. She has a harmonious mind and is able to attain enlightenment.”
  The Bodhisattva Wisdom Accumulated said: “I see the Tathāgata Śākyamuni who has been incessantly carrying out difficult and severe practices for immeasurable kalpas, accumulating merit and virtue while seeking the bodhisattva path. Looking into the great manifold cosmos, there is not a single place even the size of a mustard seed where this bodhisattva has not abandoned his life for the sake of sentient beings. He attained the path to enlightenment only after this. It is hard to believe that this girl will instantly attain complete enlightenment.”
  Before he had finished speaking, the daughter of the nāga king suddenly appeared in their presence. Bowing until her forehead touched their feet, she withdrew to one side and spoke these verses in praise:

  The Buddha is deeply versed
  In the characteristics of good and evil,
  And he completely illuminates the ten directions.
  His subtle and pure Dharma body
  Is endowed with the thirty-two marks;
  With the eighty good characteristics
  Is his Dharma body adorned.
  He is adored by devas and humans,
  And honoured by nāgas.
  There is no sentient being
  Who does not pay him homage.
  Moreover, that I will attain enlightenment
  Upon hearing the teaching
  Can only be known by a buddha.
  I will reveal the teaching of the Mahayana
  And save suffering sentient beings.

  At that time Śāriputra spoke to the daughter of the nāga king, saying: “You say that you will soon attain the highest path. This is difficult to believe. Why is this? The female body is polluted; it is not a fit vessel for the Dharma. How can you attain highest enlightenment?
  “The buddha path is long. One can only attain it after diligently carrying out severe practices, and completely practicing the perfections over immeasurable kalpas. Moreover, the female body has five obstructions. The first is the inability to become a great Brahma. The second is the inability to become Śakra. The third is the inability to become Māra, and the fourth is the inability to become a wheel-turning sage king. The fifth is the inability to become a buddha. How can you with your female body quickly become a buddha?”
  Then the daughter of the nāga king presented to the Buddha a jewel worth the great manifold cosmos, and the Buddha accepted it. The daughter of the nāga king spoke to Bodhisattva Wisdom Accumulated and the noble Śāriputra, saying: “I offered a jewel and the Bhagavat accepted it. Was that done quickly or not?”
  They answered, saying: “It was done extremely quickly!”
  The daughter said: “Through your transcendent powers watch me become a buddha even more quickly than that!”
  Then the assembly there all saw the daughter of the nāga king instantly transform into a man, perfect the bodhisattva practices, go to the Spotless World in the south, sit on a jewelled lotus flower, and attain highest, complete enlightenment, become endowed with the thirty-two marks and eighty excellent characteristics, and expound the True Dharma universally for the sake of all sentient beings in the ten directions.
  Then the bodhisattvas, śrāvakas, eight kinds of devas, nāgas, and so on, humans and nonhumans of the sahā world, all saw in the distance that the daughter of the nāga king had become a buddha and was universally teaching the Dharma for the sake of the humans and devas in that assembly. They rejoiced greatly and honoured her from afar.
  On hearing the Dharma, incalculable numbers of sentient beings became enlightened and attained the stage of non-retrogression. Incalculable numbers of sentient beings received their predictions to the path and the Spotless World quaked in six ways. In the sahā world three thousand sentient beings attained the stage of non-retrogression, and three thousand sentient beings, in whom the thought of enlightenment had awakened, received their predictions. The Bodhisattva Wisdom Accumulated, Śāriputra, and the entire assembly accepted and believed in silence.

  The Lotus Sutra
  Chapter XIII Perseverance

  (Translated from the Chinese of Kumārajiva by Tsugunari Kubo and Akira Yuyama)
  (Second Revised Edition) (dBET)

  At that time Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Medicine King and Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Great Joy of Preaching made this declaration in the presence of the Buddha, together with twenty thousand bodhisattvas: “O Bhagavat! We entreat you not to be concerned since, after the Buddha’s parinirvāṇa we will preserve, recite, and teach this [Lotus] Sutra! In the troubled world to come, sentient beings will have hardly any roots of good merit but will have excessive pride and will be greedy to receive offerings. They will increase their roots of bad merit and thus will be far away from liberation. It will be difficult to lead and inspire them. Therefore, we will produce the power of great patience and recite, preserve, teach, and copy this sutra as well as pay it homage in various ways, even willingly giving up our bodies and lives.”
  Then in the assembly, five hundred arhats who had received their predictions addressed the Buddha, saying: “O Bhagavat! We also declare that in other lands we will extensively teach this sutra.”
  Moreover, eight thousand of those who had received their predictions, including those who had more to learn and those who did not, rose from their seats and with their palms pressed together, faced the Buddha and made this declaration: “O Bhagavat! We also will extensively teach this sutra in other lands. Why is this? Because in the sahā world there are many erring people, with excessive pride and superficial virtue, those who are quick to anger, deceitful, and untrue.”
  Thereupon the Buddha’s aunt, the nun Mahāprajāpatī Gautamī, with six thousand nuns, some of whom had more to learn and some who did not, rose from their seats and with their palms pressed together gazed attentively at the Buddha, never turning their eyes away. Then the Bhagavat spoke to Mahāprajāpatī Gautamī, saying:
  “Why are you anxiously staring at the Tathāgata? Are you thinking that I have not given you your prediction of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi? O Gautamī! I have previously said that all of the śrāvakas would receive their predictions. Now if you wish to know your prediction, I will tell you that in the future you will become a great expounder of the Dharma, taught by sixty-eight thousand koṭis of buddhas. These six thousand nuns, some of whom have more to learn and some who do not, will all become expounders of the Dharma together. In this way you will gradually be able to complete the bodhisattva path and become a buddha called Gladly Seen by All Living Beings, a Tathāgata, Arhat, Completely Enlightened, Perfect in Knowledge and Conduct, Well-Departed, Knower of the World, Unsurpassed, Tamer of Humans, Teacher of Devas and Humans, Buddha, Bhagavat. O Gautamī! This Buddha Gladly Seen by All Living Beings and the six thousand bodhisattvas will give predictions of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi one after the other.”
  Then the nun Yaśodharā, the mother of Rāhula, thought this: “While giving the predictions, the only name the Bhagavat did not mention was mine.”
  The Buddha addressed Yaśodharā, saying: “In the future you will cultivate the bodhisattva practice of the teachings of hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of buddhas. You will become a great expounder of the Dharma, and gradually complete the buddha path. In a land called Good you will become a buddha called Thousand Ten Thousand Glowing Marks Thus Come One, a Tathāgata, Arhat, Completely Enlightened, Perfect in Knowledge and Conduct, Well-Departed, Knower of the World, Unsurpassed, Tamer of Humans, Teacher of Devas and Humans, Buddha, Bhagavat. This buddha’s lifespan will be for immeasurable Asamkhyeyas of kalpas.”
  At that time the nun Mahāprajāpatī Gautamī and the nun Yaśodharā together with their attendants all rejoiced greatly at having attained such an unprecedented experience. In the presence of the Buddha they immediately spoke in verse, saying:

  O Bhagavat! As a great leader
  You bring ease to devas and humans.
  Having heard our predictions,
  Our minds are at peace
  And we are content.

  Having spoken this verse all the nuns addressed the Buddha, saying: “O Bhagavat! We also will extensively expound this sutra in other lands.”
  Then the Bhagavat saw eighty myriads of koṭis of nayutas of bodhisattva mahāsattvas, all of whom were at the stage of non-retrogression. They had turned the irreversible wheel of the Dharma and attained the Dhāraṇīs. Arising from their seats they went before the Buddha with their palms pressed together and with this wholehearted thought: “If the Bhagavat commands us to preserve and teach this sutra, then we will extensively expound this Dharma exactly as the Buddha has taught.”
  They also thought: “The Buddha now keeps silent and does not command us. What should we do?”
  Then all of the bodhisattvas, respecting the Buddha’s intention and also wanting to fulfill their original vow, uttered a lion’s roar in the presence of the Buddha and declared: “O Bhagavat! After the Tathāgata’s parinirvāṇa we will roam throughout the worlds of the ten directions enabling sentient beings to copy, preserve, and recite this [Lotus] Sutra, and to explain its meaning, practice it according to the Dharma, and remember it correctly. This will all be due to the Buddha’s majestic power.
  “O Bhagavat! We entreat you to protect us from afar while in other quarters.”
  Immediately after that, all of the bodhisattvas spoke these verses in unison:

  We entreat you not to be concerned
  Because we will extensively teach
  In the fearful, troubled world,
  After the Buddha’s parinirvāṇa.
  We will be patient
  With those who are ignorant,
  Those who disparage others with evil words,
  Or who attack us with sticks and swords.
  Monks in this troubled world
  Will have false wisdom
  And be deceitful.
  They will think they have attained
  What they have not, and their minds
  Will be full of conceit.
  Then there will be those who dwell
  In tranquil forests wearing rags,
  With the thought that they alone practice the true path,
  And who look down on those who lead worldly lives.
  There will be those who teach the Dharma
  To laypeople only out of greed for offerings,
  Yet they will be respected in the world
  As if they were arhats endowed with
  The six transcendent powers.
  The minds of such people are in error;
  They are always thinking about worldly matters;
  And they enjoy pointing out our faults,
  Playing the role of the forest dwellers,
  Thus they will say such things as:

  All of these monks here
  Teach heretical doctrines
  Because they are greedy for profit!
  They have fabricated this sutra
  To deceive the people of the world,
  And they explain this sutra
  Out of desire for fame!

  They always want to slander us
  In the great assembly;
  They slander us to the kings,
  Ministers, brahmans, laypeople,
  And to other monks, saying that we are evil.
  They say:

  These are people of false views
  Who teach heretical doctrines.

  Since we revere the Buddha,
  We will be patient with their wickedness.
  They will mockingly address us, saying:

  All you buddhas!

  We will be patient with
  These scornful words.
  In the troubled world of the Age of [the Decadent Dharma]
  There are many fearful things.
  People possessed by evil spirits
  Will scorn and slander us.
  But we shall wear the armour of patience
  Because we trust and revere the Buddha;
  And we will persevere under these difficulties
  In order to teach this sutra.
  We will not be attached to our bodies or lives
  We only desire the highest path.
  In the future we will preserve
  What the Buddha has entrusted us with.
  The Bhagavat himself must know
  That the erring monks in the troubled world
  Will not understand the Dharma
  Taught by the Buddha through skillful means,
  According to what is appropriate to sentient beings.
  They will utter evil words with angry countenances,
  And they will repeatedly expel us,
  And keep us away from the monasteries and stupas.
  There will be many evils such as this.
  We will all endure in these matters
  Because we remember the Buddha’s decree.
  If there are any people seeking this Dharma
  In villages or cities, we will all go there
  And teach the Dharma entrusted to us by the Buddha.
  Because we are the Bhagavat’s ambassadors,
  Wherever we go we have nothing to fear.
  We will skillfully teach the Dharma.
  We entreat you, O Buddha, to be at ease.
  In the presence of the Bhagavat,
  And all of the buddhas who have come
  From the ten directions,
  We make this declaration.
  O Buddha! You know our intentions!

  The Lotus Sutra
  Chapter XIV Ease in Practice

  (Translated from the Chinese of Kumārajiva by Tsugunari Kubo and Akira Yuyama)
  (Second Revised Edition) (dBET)

  Thereupon the Prince of the Dharma, Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Mañjuśrī addressed the Buddha, saying: “O Bhagavat! These bodhisattvas are very rare. In respectful obedience to the Buddha they have made this great vow: ‘In the troubled world to come, we will preserve, recite, and teach this Lotus Sutra!’
  “O Bhagavat! How can these bodhisattva mahāsattvas teach this sutra in the troubled world to come?”
  The Buddha addressed Mañjuśrī, saying: “If the bodhisattva mahāsattvas want to teach this sutra in the troubled world to come, they should abide in the four kinds of practices. The first is to establish the sphere of their bodhisattva practice and the sphere of their relationships and thereupon expound this sutra for the sake of sentient beings.
  “O Mañjuśrī! What is the sphere of the practice of the bodhisattva mahāsattva? If a bodhisattva mahāsattva abides in the stage of perseverance, is gentle and receptive, tranquil, nonviolent, and unafraid; and furthermore if he remains unmoved with regard to existent things and perceives them in their true aspect, and neither acts nor discriminates, this is called the sphere of the practice of the bodhisattva mahāsattva.
  “What is the sphere of the relationships of the bodhisattva mahāsattva? The bodhisattva mahāsattva should not consort with kings, princes, ministers, and chief officials. He should not consort with heretics, brahmans, Jains, and others, or with worldly writers, critics of poetry, materialists, or extreme materialists. Nor should he become acquainted with pranksters, boxers, wrestlers, clowns, and various jugglers, nor with Chandalas and people who raise boars, sheep, chickens, and dogs, nor with hunters, fishermen, and those with evil conduct. A bodhisattva should teach such people the Dharma if they come to him, but expect nothing.
  “Nor should a bodhisattva consort with monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen who seek the śrāvaka vehicle. Nor should he greet them. The bodhisattva should avoid their company in chambers, on roads, or while in lecture halls, and not remain with them. If they come, teach them the Dharma according to their capacities, but expect nothing!
  “Moreover, O Mañjuśrī! The bodhisattva mahāsattva should expound the teaching without any thought of desire for, or wish to see, a woman’s body.
  “If a bodhisattva enters someone else’s home, he should not talk to young girls, maidens, and widows. A bodhisattva should also not approach the five kinds of non-men nor be intimate with them. He should not enter someone else’s home alone; and if for any reason he should enter it alone a bodhisattva should do nothing but single-mindedly contemplate the Buddha.
  “If he should teach the Dharma to women, he should not show his teeth when smiling nor reveal his chest. A bodhisattva should not be intimate with them even for the sake of the Dharma. How much less for other things!
  “A bodhisattva should take no pleasure in keeping young disciples, śrāmaṇeras, or young boys. Nor should he take pleasure in having the same teacher as them. He should always take pleasure in meditation and, in a quiet place, practice to control his mind. O Mañjuśrī! This is what is known as the first sphere of relationships.
  “Furthermore, the bodhisattva mahāsattvas perceive the emptiness of all dharmas in their true aspect. All things are unerring, unmoving, non-returning, irreversible, and like empty space which lacks substance. They are beyond all language. They are not produced, nor do they emerge, nor do they arise. They do not have any name or mark, and in reality they have no substance. They are immeasurable, limitless, without obstacles or obstructions. They exist only through dependent origination, arising through error. He should always perceive the aspects of all existent things in this way willingly. This is what is known as the second sphere of relationships of a bodhisattva mahāsattva.”
  At that time the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate upon the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  If, in the troubled world to come,
  A bodhisattva with a fearless mind
  Wants to teach this sutra,
  He should enter the sphere
  Of the bodhisattva practice
  And the sphere of relationships.
  He should always stay away from kings,
  Princes, ministers, chief officials,
  Dangerous pranksters, Chandalas,
  Heretics, and brahmans.
  He should not consort
  With excessively proud scholars,
  Who are attached to scriptures of the inferior vehicle
  Contained in the Three Baskets (Tripiṭaka);
  Nor with monks who violate the precepts,
  With those who call themselves arhats,
  Nor with nuns who like to joke and laugh.
  He should not become acquainted with laywomen
  Who are attached to the desires of the five senses,
  And seek nirvana in their present lives.
  If these people come to the bodhisattva
  With good intentions
  In order to hear about the buddha path,
  The bodhisattva should then fearlessly
  Teach them the Dharma
  Without any expectations.
  A bodhisattva should not
  Become intimately acquainted
  With widows, maidens, or non-men.
  Nor should he consort
  With slaughterers, butchers, hunters,
  Or fishermen who kill for profit.
  He should not consort
  With people such as those
  Who make a living
  From selling meat
  Or from pandering prostitutes.
  He should never become acquainted
  With dangerous wrestlers,
  Or the varieties of jugglers or courtesans.
  He should not teach the Dharma
  To a woman alone in a quiet place.
  When he teaches the Dharma
  He should not joke or laugh.
  If he enters a village to beg for food
  He should be accompanied by a monk.
  If there is no monk he should
  Single-mindedly contemplate the Buddha.
  This is what is known as
  The sphere of the bodhisattva practice
  And the sphere of relationships.
  Within these two spheres
  He can teach at ease.
  He should not practice
  The superior, mediocre, or inferior teachings,
  The conditioned and the unconditioned,
  Or the teaching of the real and the unreal.
  Nor should he discriminate
  Between men and women.
  He should not acquire, comprehend,
  Or perceive any phenomenon.
  This is what is known
  As the sphere of the
  Bodhisattva practice.
  All dharmas are empty and without substance,
  Impermanent, without origination or cessation.
  This is known as the sphere
  Of the relationships of the wise.
  Through the error of discrimination
  One sees all existent things
  As existing or non-existing,
  Real or unreal,
  Produced or unproduced.
  Being in a quiet place, the bodhisattva
  Carries out practices to control his mind
  And remains as firm and unmoved
  As Mount Sumeru.
  He should regard all dharmas
  As being without substance,
  Like empty space
  Which has no firmness.
  All dharmas are neither produced
  Nor do they emerge;
  They are immovable, non-returning,
  And always remain in their single character.
  This is known as the sphere of relationships.
  Any monk after my parinirvāṇa
  Who enters the sphere of practice
  And the sphere of relationships
  Will not be disheartened
  When he teaches this sutra.
  A bodhisattva, at proper times,
  Should enter a quiet chamber
  And contemplate all dharmas
  With correct thoughts,
  According to the meaning.
  Arising from meditation he should reveal
  And expound this sutra
  To kings, princes, ministers, and brahmans.
  Then his mind will be at ease and unafraid.
  O Mañjuśrī!
  This is the first kind of practices
  That a Bodhisattva should abide in
  And in the world to come he will be able
  To teach the Lotus Sutra.

  “Furthermore, O Mañjuśrī, after the Tathāgata’s parinirvāṇa, anyone who wants to teach this sutra in the Age of the Decadent Dharma should abide in ease of practice. When he expounds or recites this sutra he should not take pleasure in talking about the faults of people or of the sutra. Nor should he slander other expounders of the Dharma or talk of the good and bad, strong and weak points of others.
  “As for the śrāvakas, a bodhisattva should not name them and point out their faults, nor name them and praise their virtues. Moreover, he should not feel any hatred; because if he skillfully practices ease of mind in this way, those who listen to him will not oppose his intentions.
  If he is asked difficult questions, he should not answer using the teaching of the inferior vehicle. He should take his explanation only from the Mahayana, which will enable them to attain omniscience.”
  At that time the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  The bodhisattva should always willingly
  Teach the Dharma at ease,
  Establishing his seat in a pure place.
  He should anoint his body with oil
  To cleanse himself of dirt,
  And put on new, clean clothing.
  Both his outer garments and undergarments being pure,
  Sitting comfortably on the Dharma seat,
  He should teach according to the questions.
  If there are any monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen,
  Or kings, princes, subjects, officials, and commoners,
  Using subtle ideas he should teach them
  With a composed countenance.
  If they have difficult questions
  He should answer in accordance with the meaning,
  Expounding and illuminating it
  With various explanations and illustrations.
  Through these skillful means
  He should awaken the thought of
  Enlightenment in them all,
  Gradually benefiting them,
  And causing them to enter the buddha path.
  Ridding them of idle minds
  And lazy thoughts,
  As well as anxieties,
  He should compassionately
  Teach the Dharma.
  He should continuously expound
  The teaching of the highest path
  Both day and night, using various explanations
  And incalculable illustrations.
  Revealing this to sentient beings
  He will cause them all to rejoice.
  He should not expect to receive any clothing,
  Bedding, food and drink, or medicine.
  He should only single-mindedly think
  Of teaching the Dharma,
  Gain mastery of the buddha path,
  And enable sentient beings also to attain it.
  It is exactly this kind of offering
  That brings great benefit and ease.
  After my parinirvāṇa if there is any monk
  Who is able to explain the Lotus Sutra,
  His mind will be free from the obstructions of
  Jealousy, anger, and anxiety.
  He will also be without sorrows
  And no one will slander him.
  He will not be afraid of being
  Attacked with swords and sticks;
  And he will not be expelled from the sangha,
  Because he abides in perseverance.
  The wise skillfully compose
  Their minds in this way
  And can abide in ease,
  As I have described above.
  One would not be able to fully
  Describe the qualities of such a person
  Through calculations and illustrations,
  Though they lasted for
  Thousands of myriads of koṭis of kalpas.

  “Furthermore, O Mañjuśrī, in the future when the Dharma gets close to extinction, any bodhisattva mahāsattva who preserves and recites this sutra should not feel jealous or be deceitful, nor should he insult those who study the Buddha path by pointing out their good qualities or their deficiencies.
  “If there are any monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen who are seeking the śrāvaka vehicle, the pratyekabuddha vehicle, or the bodhisattva path, a bodhisattva should not worry them, causing them to have doubts by saying:

  You are very far away from the path and will never be able to attain omniscience. Why is this? Because you are negligent and idle in the path.

  “Moreover, a bodhisattva also should not devise hollow sophistries concerning the teachings and argue about them. In him the thought of great compassion for all sentient beings should awaken, together with the thought that all Tathāgatas are compassionate fathers and that all bodhisattvas are great teachers. He should always deeply respect and pay homage to all of the great bodhisattvas in the ten directions. He should teach the Dharma equally to all sentient beings in accordance with the Dharma, explaining neither too much nor too little. Nor should he teach too much even to those who are deeply enthusiastic about hearing the Dharma.
  “O Mañjuśrī! In the future world, when the Dharma is about to be extinguished, this bodhisattva mahāsattva, having perfected the third sphere of ease in practice, will not be perplexed when he teaches this Dharma. He will become acquainted with good fellow students who will recite this sutra together. He will also acquire a great following who come to hear his teaching, preserve it after hearing it, recite it after preserving it, teach it after reciting it, copy it after teaching it, or enable others to copy, respect, honour, praise, and pay homage to the [Lotus] Sutra.”
  Thereupon the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  If anyone wants to teach this sutra,
  He should get rid of jealousy, anger,
  Pride, flattery, deceitfulness, and falsity.
  He should always practice honest conduct.
  He should not slander others
  Or make up fallacies about the Dharma.
  Nor should he cause others to be doubtful by saying:

  You will not become a buddha.

  This heir of the Buddha who teaches the Dharma
  Should always be gentle, patient,
  And compassionate to all.
  He should never have lazy thoughts.
  He should respect the great bodhisattvas
  In the ten directions who practice the path
  Out of their compassion for sentient beings,
  And think that they are his great teachers.
  He should think that all the Buddha
  Bhagavats are the most excellent fathers.
  Destroying arrogance, he should teach
  The Dharma without obstructions.
  The third sphere of the teaching
  Of ease in practice is like this.
  The wise should preserve it.
  Those who practice wholeheartedly and at ease
  Will be honoured by innumerable sentient beings.

  “Furthermore, O Mañjuśrī, in the future world when the Dharma is about to be extinguished, any bodhisattva mahāsattva who preserves this Lotus Sutra should awaken the thought of great kindness toward lay Buddhists and renunciants and also awaken the thought of great compassion toward non-bodhisattvas. He should think:

  People like these have really missed the Tathāgata’s teaching of the Dharma according to their capacities through skillful means. They do not hear, know, or realize it. They do not ask, believe, or understand. Although those people do not even ask questions about this sutra, believe it, or understand it, when I attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi, wherever I am, I will lead them and enable them to abide in this teaching through my transcendent powers and power of wisdom.

  “O Mañjuśrī! After the Tathāgata’s parinirvāṇa, this bodhisattva mahāsattva, who has perfected the fourth sphere of the teaching of ease in practice, will be faultless when he teaches this Dharma. He will always be paid homage to, respected, honoured, and praised by monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen, kings, princes, ministers, commoners, brahmans, and householders. The devas in the sky will always accompany him in order to hear the Dharma. If he is in a village, city, secluded spot, or forest and the people want to come and ask difficult questions, the devas will protect him both day and night, always for the sake of the Dharma, and he will cause all of those who listen to him to rejoice. Why is this? Because this sutra is preserved through the transcendent powers of all the buddhas of the past, present, and future.
  “O Mañjuśrī! Even the title of this Lotus Sutra cannot be heard in incalculable lands. How much more is it unable to be seen, accepted, preserved, and recited!
  “O Mañjuśrī! Suppose a very powerful wheel-turning sage king wanted to subdue other countries with his might, but the lesser kings would not obey his command. In such a case the wheel-turning king gathers an army together to overcome them. He recognizes the soldiers who have committed brave deeds in war and, greatly rejoicing, he bestows boons according to their merit, such as estates, villages, cities, garments, ornaments, various treasures, gold, silver, lapis lazuli, mother-of-pearl, agate, coral, amber, elephants, horses, chariots, servants, and subjects, but he never gives them the precious jewel in his topknot. Why is this? Because only the Wheel-turning King has this precious jewel in his topknot. If the king gives it away his attendants would certainly be very surprised and mistrustful.
  “O Mañjuśrī! The Tathāgata is exactly like this. He has attained the land of the Dharma through his powers of concentration and wisdom. Thus he has become the king of the Triple World. Since the māra kings will not obey him, the wise and noble generals of the Tathāgata come to do battle with them. The Tathāgata rejoices at the meritorious ones and teaches various sutras to the fourfold assembly, gladdening them. He bestows upon them the property of all the teachings about concentrations, liberations, faculties without corruption, and powers. He also bestows upon them the city of nirvana. Saying that they have attained nirvana, he leads their minds onward and gladdens them all. And yet he does not teach them the Lotus Sutra.
  “O Mañjuśrī! It is just as if the wheel-turning king finally gives the jewel that has been long concealed in his topknot. Although he perceived the great merit of those soldiers and was deeply pleased, he did not rashly give them the marvellous jewel. The Tathāgata is also exactly like this. Since he is the great King of the Dharma in the Triple World he inspires all the sentient beings through the Dharma. When he sees the wise and noble soldiers who have done battle with the māra of the Five Aggregates, the māra of Vexations, and the māra of death, who have great merit in battle, and have extinguished the Three Poisons, left the Triple World, and broken out of Māra’s net, he then rejoices greatly. He now teaches the Lotus Sutra, which is treated with hostility by the entire world and is difficult to believe in, and which he has never taught before, and enables sentient beings to attain omniscience.
  “O Mañjuśrī! This Lotus Sutra is the ultimate teaching of all the Tathāgatas, the most profound among all the teachings, and conferred at the very end. It was in the same way that the very powerful Wheel-turning King gave the jewel after having preserved it for a long time.
  “O Mañjuśrī! This Lotus Sutra is the secret treasure house of all the Buddha Tathāgatas, and the foremost among all the sutras. The Buddha has preserved it for a long time and he has not taught it indiscriminately. Now, for the first time he teaches it.”
  At that time the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  Always practice patience
  And be compassionate toward all,
  Since only then can one expound
  A sutra praised by the Buddha!
  In the future those who preserve this sutra
  Should be compassionate and kind toward
  Lay Buddhists, renunciants, and non-bodhisattvas,
  Saying:

  Those who have not heard this sutra
  Or who do not believe in it
  Have consequently lost a great opportunity.
  When I attain the buddha path
  I will expound this teaching
  Through various skillful means
  And enable them to abide in it.

  Suppose there was a powerful, wheel-turning king
  Who bestows upon those soldiers meritorious in battle
  Various gifts of elephants, horses, chariots, conveyances,
  Ornaments, estates, villages, cities, garments,
  Various treasures, servants, and wealth.
  He gives these gifts with joy.
  If there is anyone who has been brave
  And has performed difficult deeds,
  The Wheel-turning King gives
  The precious jewel in his topknot.
  The Tathāgata is exactly like this.
  He is the emperor of all the teachings.
  Out of his great compassion,
  And through his treasury of wisdom
  And great power of patience,
  He inspires the world according to the Dharma.
  Seeing all the sentient beings suffering,
  Seeking liberation
  And doing battle with the māras,
  He explains various teachings for the beings
  And teaches various sutras
  With his great skillful means.
  Knowing that the sentient beings have
  Finally attained the power to understand,
  He teaches this Lotus Sutra only at the very end,
  Just like the Wheel-turning King
  Who gave the jewel in his topknot.
  This sutra is the utmost,
  Superior to all the sutras.
  I have constantly preserved it
  And have not revealed it indiscriminately.
  Now is the right time to teach it to you.
  After my parinirvāṇa
  Those seeking the buddha path,
  Who want to attain ease and expound this sutra,
  Should become familiar with these four spheres
  Of the teaching concerning ease in practice.
  Those who recite this sutra will always
  Be free from anxiety and illness,
  And will have a noble countenance.
  They will not be born into poverty,
  Lowliness or ugliness.
  Sentient beings will want to meet them
  Just as they long to meet a wise seer,
  And all of the devaputras will serve them.
  Sticks and swords cannot hurt them,
  And poison cannot harm them.
  If people slander them
  Those slanderers’ mouths will be sealed up.
  They will travel fearlessly
  Like a lion king, and
  The light of their wisdom
  Will illuminate just like the sun.
  If they dream they see only subtle things.
  They see the Tathāgatas seated on lion seats,
  Teaching the Dharma to the assembly
  Of monks surrounding them.
  They see nāgas and asuras,
  As numerous as the sands of the Ganges River,
  Honouring the Tathāgatas
  With their palms pressed together.
  Revealing themselves,
  They teach the Dharma to these beings.
  They also see the buddhas, with golden bodies,
  Emitting immeasurable rays of light
  Which illuminate universally,
  And expounding various teachings
  With beautiful voices like Brahma’s.
  To the fourfold assembly
  The Buddha teaches the highest Dharma.
  Revealing themselves among them,
  They praise the Buddha
  With palms pressed together.
  Hearing the Dharma they rejoice
  And pay homage to the Buddha.
  They attain the Dhāraṇīs,
  And achieve the wisdom of non-retrogression.
  The Buddha, knowing their minds,
  And that they have deeply entered the buddha path,
  Gives them a prediction of the highest,
  Complete enlightenment, saying:

  O son of a virtuous family!
  In the future you will attain immeasurable
  Wisdom and the great path of the Buddha.
  Your land will be pure and vast,
  Beyond all comparison.
  The fourfold assembly will also be there
  Listening to the Dharma with their palms
  Pressed together.

  They who recite this sutra also see themselves
  In mountain forests, practicing excellent teachings,
  Experiencing the real aspect,
  Deeply entering into concentration,
  And meeting the buddhas in the ten directions,
  All of whom have golden bodies
  Adorned with a hundred auspicious marks.
  Hearing the Dharma and teaching it to others,
  They will always have such pleasant dreams
  They will also dream about becoming
  The king of a realm who abandons his palace
  And retinue, and the highly pleasing
  Desires of the five senses,
  Approaches the terrace of enlightenment,
  Sits on the lion seat under the bodhi tree,
  Attains the wisdom of all the buddhas
  After seeking the path for seven days,
  And who, arising, turns the wheel of the Dharma
  After having attained the highest path.
  They will teach the Dharma to the fourfold assembly
  For thousands of myriads of koṭis of kalpas.
  Explaining the true and incorruptible Dharma,
  They will save innumerable sentient beings.
  Later they will enter nirvana
  Just as smoke dies away
  When the flame of a candle is extinguished.
  If anyone in the troubled world to come
  Teaches this highest Dharma
  They will attain great benefits
  Like the merits mentioned above.

  The Lotus Sutra
  Chapter XV Bodhisattvas Emerging from the Earth

  (Translated from the Chinese of Kumārajiva by Tsugunari Kubo and Akira Yuyama)
  (Second Revised Edition) (dBET)

  At that time the bodhisattva mahāsattvas, who had arrived from other lands and whose number exceeded that of the sands of eight Ganges Rivers, stood up in the great assembly, bowed with their palms pressed together, and then spoke to the Buddha, saying: “O Bhagavat! If you give us permission to diligently strive to preserve, recite, copy and pay homage to this [Lotus] Sutra after the parinirvāṇa of the Buddha in this sahā world, then we will extensively teach it in this land.”
  Then the Buddha addressed the assembly of bodhisattva mahāsattvas, saying: “Enough, O sons of a virtuous family! There is no need for you to preserve this sutra. Why is this? In my sahā world there are bodhisattva mahāsattvas, equal to the sands of sixty thousand Ganges Rivers in number; and each of these bodhisattvas, in turn, has a retinue equal to the sands of sixty thousand Ganges Rivers. After my parinirvāṇa they can preserve, recite, and extensively teach this sutra.”
  When the Buddha said this all the lands of the great manifold cosmos in the sahā world quaked and the earth split. From out of this crevice there simultaneously appeared incalculable thousands of myriads of koṭis of bodhisattva mahāsattvas. All of these bodhisattvas had golden bodies endowed with the thirty-two marks and radiating immeasurable rays of light. They had all previously been living in the space under the earth of the sahā world. Having heard the sound of Śākyamuni’s teaching, all of these bodhisattvas emerged from below.
  Each of those bodhisattvas presided over a great assembly and each led a retinue equal to the sands of sixty thousand Ganges Rivers in number. How much more numerous were the bodhisattvas who emerged leading retinues equal in number to the sands of fifty thousand, forty thousand, thirty thousand, twenty thousand, or ten thousand Ganges Rivers! How much more numerous were the bodhisattvas who emerged leading retinues even equal to the sands of one Ganges River, half a Ganges River, a quarter of a Ganges River, or even just one thousandth of a myriad of a koṭi of a nayuta of the sands of a Ganges River! How many more retinues were there numbering thousands of myriads of koṭis of nayutas! How many more retinues were there numbering myriads of koṭis! How many more were those numbering ten million, one million, or even ten thousand! How many more were those numbering one thousand, one hundred, or even ten! How much more numerous were bodhisattvas leading disciples numbering five, four, three, two, or even one! And how many more bodhisattvas were there who had eagerly practiced alone and far from the worldly life! The number of such bodhisattvas as these is incalculable and limitless, beyond all calculation and metaphor.
  Having emerged from the earth, each of these bodhisattvas approached the Tathāgatas Many Treasures and Śākyamuni, still seated in the beautiful seven-jewelled stupa in the air. Going up to them, they bowed until their foreheads touched the feet of both Bhagavats. Then, having bowed to the other buddhas, each sitting on a lion seat under the jewelled trees, they circumambulated them to the right three times, honouring them with their palms pressed together. Having praised them with various bodhisattva eulogies, they withdrew to one side and joyfully gazed at the two Bhagavats. All these bodhisattva mahāsattvas, having emerged from the earth, praised the buddhas with various bodhisattva eulogies. While they did, fifty small kalpas passed. During this time the Buddha Śākyamuni sat in silence; and the fourfold assemblies were also silent while the fifty small kalpas passed. Because of the Buddha’s transcendent powers, the great assemblies believed that the time that had passed was only half a day. Then, through the transcendent powers of the Buddha, the fourfold assemblies also saw the bodhisattvas filling the air throughout immeasurable hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of lands.
  There were four leaders among those bodhisattvas gathered there. They were called Superior Practices, Boundless Practices, Pure Practices, and Firmly Established Practices. These four bodhisattvas were the foremost leaders in the assembly. At the head of the great assembly, they each pressed their palms together, gazed at Śākyamuni Buddha, and inquired of him, saying: “O Bhagavat! Are you without illness or pain? Are you at ease in practice or not? Do those who should be saved accept your teaching easily or not? Do they not make you weary, O Bhagavat?”
  Thereupon the four great bodhisattvas spoke these verses:

  O Bhagavat! Are you at ease?
  Are you without illness or pain?
  Are you fatigued with leading
  And inspiring sentient beings?
  Do the sentient beings accept
  Your guidance easily or not?
  Do they not tire the Bhagavat?

  At that time the Bhagavat spoke to the great assembly of bodhisattvas, saying: “It is exactly like this, O sons of a virtuous family! It is exactly so! The Tathāgata is at ease and without illness or pain. It is easy to save sentient beings, and I am not fatigued. Why is this? Because sentient beings have continually received my guidance throughout many lives, and they have also planted roots of good merit by revering and honouring the buddhas of the past.
  “When these sentient beings first saw me and heard my teaching, all, except for those who had previously practiced and studied the inferior vehicle, immediately believed and accepted it and entered the Tathāgata’s wisdom. Now I enable even such people as these to listen to this sutra and enter the Buddha’s wisdom.”
  Then the great bodhisattvas spoke these verses:

  Splendid, splendid!
  O Bhagavat, Great Hero!
  All the sentient beings
  Can easily be brought to the path.
  They can ask about
  The profound wisdom of the buddhas.
  Hearing about it, they trust and accept it.
  We rejoice about this.

  At that time the Bhagavat praised the foremost of the great bodhisattvas, saying: “Splendid, splendid, O sons of virtuous family! Thoughts of joy regarding the Tathāgata have awakened in you.”
  Then Bodhisattva Maitreya and the assembly of bodhisattvas equal in number to the sands of eight thousand Ganges Rivers thought this:

  Looking far into the past, we have never seen or heard of such an assembly of great bodhisattva mahāsattvas, who have now emerged from the earth and are standing before the Bhagavat with their palms pressed together in reverence, asking the Tathāgata questions.

  Then Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Maitreya, knowing the minds of the bodhisattvas whose number was equal to the sands of eight thousand Ganges Rivers, and wanting to clear up their confusion, faced the Buddha with the palms of his hands pressed together and addressed him in verse, saying:

  We have never seen such a great assembly
  Of incalculable thousands of myriads of koṭis
  Of bodhisattvas before.
  We entreat you, O Best of Humans,
  To explain it to us!
  Where have they come from?
  For what reason have they gathered here?
  They look magnificent
  And have great transcendent powers.
  Their wisdom is beyond our comprehension.
  They are firm in their resolve,
  Have the power of great perseverance,
  And an appearance that sentient beings desire to see.
  Where have they come from?
  Each of these bodhisattvas is leading
  A retinue whose number is incalculable,
  Like the sands of the Ganges River.
  Some great bodhisattvas are leading retinues
  Equal in number to the sands
  Of sixty thousand Ganges Rivers.
  Great are the assemblies,
  Single-mindedly seeking the buddha path.
  These great leaders, equal in number
  To the sands of sixty thousand Ganges Rivers,
  Have come all together to pay homage to the Buddha
  And preserve this sutra.
  The number of bodhisattvas leading retinues
  Equal in number to the sands of fifty thousand
  Ganges Rivers is even greater;
  And the number of bodhisattvas who lead retinues
  Equal in number to the sands of forty thousand,
  Thirty thousand, twenty thousand, ten thousand,
  One thousand, one hundred,
  Even one, one half, one third, one fourth, one myriadth of a koṭi
  Of the sands of a Ganges River exceeds even these.
  There are disciples who number
  Thousands of myriads of nayutas,
  Myriads of koṭis, or even half a koṭi.
  Their numbers also exceed that mentioned above.
  There are also disciples in retinues
  Of one million, ten thousand,
  One thousand, one hundred, fifty, ten,
  Even three, two, or one in number.
  There are also great bodhisattvas
  Who have come without retinues,
  Desiring to be in solitude.
  The number of those who have no retinue
  Is even greater than that mentioned above.
  If anyone counted the number of such a great assembly
  With bamboo counting-sticks, he would not finish
  Even after exhausting kalpas greater in number
  Than the sands of the Ganges River.
  Who has taught the Dharma
  To this assembly of bodhisattvas,
  Endowed with great dignity and perseverance?
  Who has inspired and perfected them?
  Under whom did the thought of enlightenment
  First awaken in them?
  Which Buddha-Dharma do they praise?
  Whose sutra have they preserved and practiced?
  And which buddha path have they followed?
  Such bodhisattvas as these,
  Endowed with transcendent powers
  And the power of great wisdom,
  Have all emerged out of the earth,
  Which quaked in the four directions
  And split asunder.
  O Bhagavat! We have never seen
  Such a thing before.
  We entreat you to tell us the name
  Of the land from where they have come.
  We have been constantly traveling
  In various regions,
  Nevertheless we have never seen
  Such a thing before.
  We do not know even a single person
  In this assembly.
  All of a sudden
  They have emerged from the earth.
  We entreat you to explain the reason why.
  All of the immeasurable hundreds of thousands
  Of koṭis of bodhisattvas in this great assembly
  Now wish to know about this matter.
  There must be underlying causes for this,
  To explain all of these bodhisattvas.
  O Bhagavat, He of Immeasurable Qualities!
  We entreat you to clear up
  The confusion of the assembly!

  Thereupon the buddhas who, the magically created forms of Śākyamuni Buddha, arrived from other incalculable thousands of myriads of koṭis of lands sat cross-legged on lion seats under the jewelled trees in the eight directions. Each attendant of these buddhas had seen the great assembly of bodhisattvas as they emerged from out of the earth and floated in midair in the four directions of the great manifold cosmos. Each of them addressed his Buddha, saying: “O Bhagavat! Where has this great assembly of immeasurable, limitless Asamkhyeyas of bodhisattvas come from?”
  Then the buddhas answered their attendants, saying: “O sons of a virtuous family! Wait a moment! There is a bodhisattva mahāsattva called Maitreya, who has received a prediction from the Buddha Śākyamuni that he will become a buddha after Śākyamuni in the future. Since he has already asked about this, the Buddha will now answer him. You shall be able to hear the reason yourselves.”
  Then the Buddha Śākyamuni addressed Bodhisattva Maitreya, saying: “Splendid, splendid, O Ajita! You have asked the Buddha an important question. You should all single-mindedly don the armour of perseverance and be of firm will. The Tathāgata now wants to reveal the wisdom of the buddhas, the inherent transcendent powers of the buddhas, the lionlike dignified power of the buddhas, the majestic and mighty power of the buddhas.”
  Thereupon the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  You should be persistent
  And wholeheartedly attentive,
  For I want to explain it to you.
  Do not have any doubts, for the wisdom
  Of the Buddha is difficult to comprehend!
  You should now awaken the power of faith,
  And with perseverance abide in the good.
  Now you will all be able to hear
  What you have never heard before.
  I will now put you at ease.
  Have no doubts or fear!
  The Buddha never speaks false words.
  His wisdom is immeasurable.
  The foremost Dharma that he has attained
  Is profound and difficult to explain.
  I will now expound this difficult teaching,
  So you should listen wholeheartedly.

  Then the Bhagavat, after speaking these verses, addressed Bodhisattva Maitreya, saying: “I will now proclaim it to all of you in this assembly. O Ajita! All of you have never seen these immeasurable, innumerable Asamkhyeyas of great bodhisattva mahāsattvas who have emerged from out of the earth. Having attained Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi in this sahā world, I led, inspired, and instructed these bodhisattvas, regulated and subdued their thoughts, and caused the thought of the path to awaken in them. All these bodhisattvas are living in the space under the earth of this sahā world, and they recite various sutras, become well versed in them, and contemplate, analyze, and correctly remember them.
  “O Ajita! All these sons of a virtuous family do not wish to be among the multitude where there is always much discussion. They always want to be in quiet places. They diligently strive without resting and do not live together with devas or humans. They always desire the profound wisdom without obstructions; they always want the Dharma of the buddhas. They strive wholeheartedly in seeking the highest wisdom.”
  At that time the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  O Ajita! You should know
  That all of these great bodhisattvas
  Have practiced the wisdom of the Buddha
  For innumerable kalpas.
  They have all been inspired by me,
  And the thought of the great path
  Has awakened in them.
  They are my heirs.
  Abiding in this world,
  They always cultivate ascetic practices,
  Wishing to be in quiet places.
  Rejecting the clamour of the multitude,
  They do not want to have much discussion.
  All my heirs such as these
  Constantly practice my teaching
  With vigour, day and night.
  In order to seek the buddha path
  They live in the space
  Under the earth of this sahā world.
  They are firm in resolution and recollection,
  And they always diligently sought wisdom.
  Explaining various subtle teachings
  Their minds are free from fear.
  Sitting under the bodhi tree
  In the city of Gayā,
  I attained Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi,
  And turned the wheel of the highest Dharma.
  I then led and inspired them
  So that the thought of the path
  Awakened in them for the first time.
  All of them are now at the stage of non-retrogression,
  And will all certainly become buddhas.
  I now teach the truth.
  You should wholeheartedly believe that
  From long, long ago I have been
  Leading and inspiring all these bodhisattvas.

  Then Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Maitreya and the innumerable other bodhisattvas became doubtful and confused concerning this unprecedented experience. They thought this:

  How is it possible in such a short time for the Bhagavat to have inspired such an immeasurable, limitless Asamkhyeyas of number of great bodhisattvas, enabling them to abide in Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi?

  Immediately they addressed the Buddha, saying:
  “O Bhagavat! When the Tathāgata was a prince he left the palace of the Śākyas, sat on the terrace of enlightenment which is not far from the city of Gayā, and attained Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. Since then more than forty years have passed. How is it possible, O Bhagavat, for you to have done such great buddha acts in such a short period of time? Is it through the might of the Buddha and through the Buddha’s qualities that you have inspired such an assembly of incalculable great bodhisattvas to achieve Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi?
  “O Bhagavat! Even if someone counted the number of the great bodhisattvas for thousands of myriads of koṭis of kalpas they would not be able to finish. There would be no end. From long ago these bodhisattvas have been planting roots of good merit in the presence of immeasurable, limitless buddhas. They have perfected the bodhisattva path and have always practiced the pure path of discipline and integrity. It is, O Bhagavat, difficult to believe such things in this world.
  “Suppose a handsome man with dark hair, twenty-five years of age, were to point to a hundred-year-old man and say:

  He is my son.

  “And the one-hundred-year-old man points to the young fellow and says:

  He is my father and he raised me!

  “This would be difficult to believe; and what the Buddha has now taught is exactly like this. It has not, in fact, been so long since the Buddha attained the path. Yet for the sake of the buddha path this great assembly of bodhisattvas has been diligently striving for innumerable thousands of myriads of koṭis of kalpas. They have skillfully entered, abided in, and emerged from immeasurable thousands of myriads of koṭis of samādhis. They have attained great transcendent powers and practiced the pure path of discipline and integrity for a long time. They have gradually and ably practiced wholesome teachings and are skilled at discussions. They are jewels among humans and a great rarity in the entire world.
  “Today the Bhagavat has correctly said that after he attained the path of the Buddha he caused the thought of enlightenment to awaken in the bodhisattvas for the first time. He then led, inspired, and instructed them to approach Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. O Bhagavat! Although it has not been so long since you attained buddhahood yet you have really done these great meritorious acts.
  “We believe the Buddha’s words, spoken according to our capacities, that what he says is never false, and that the Buddha’s knowledge is all penetrating. However, if the bodhisattvas in whom the thought of enlightenment has recently awakened hear this after the Buddha’s parinirvāṇa, they will not accept it; and this will bring about conditions for erring deeds that destroy the Dharma. That is why, O Bhagavat, we entreat you to explain it to us and remove our doubts. Moreover, in the future, when the sons of a virtuous family hear this, they will also be free from doubt.”
  Thereupon Bodhisattva Maitreya, wanting to elaborate upon the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  Long ago the Buddha left
  The household of the Śākya clan,
  And approached Gayā
  Where he sat under the bodhi tree;
  It has not been so long since that time.
  The number of the Buddha’s heirs
  Is incalculable;
  From long ago they have practiced the buddha path
  And attained transcendent powers and
  The power of wisdom.
  They have thoroughly studied
  The bodhisattva path,
  And are as undefiled by worldly affairs,
  As the lotus blossom in the water.
  They have emerged from out of the earth,
  And all stood respectfully before the Bhagavats.
  It is difficult to comprehend this matter,
  How can we possibly believe it!
  The Buddha attained the path
  Only a short time ago,
  Yet he has accomplished so much.
  We entreat you to remove our doubts
  And give a detailed explanation
  According to the truth.
  Suppose there were a young man
  Just twenty-five years of age
  Who pointed to a one-hundred-year-old man,
  Who was wrinkled and had white hair, saying:

  This is my offspring.

  The son [old man] also says:

  This is my father.

  The father is young, and the son is old.
  No one in the world would believe it.
  The Bhagavat’s teaching is exactly like this.
  He attained the path only a very short time ago,
  Yet these bodhisattvas are firm in resolution
  And without weak will;
  They have been practicing the bodhisattva path
  For immeasurable kalpas.
  They are skilled at difficult discussions,
  And their minds are free from fear.
  They are resolute and persevering.
  They are handsome and dignified,
  Praised by the buddhas in the ten directions.
  They are good at detailed explanations.
  They did not want to be among the multitudes
  For they always liked being in meditation,
  And so they lived in the space under the earth
  In order to seek the buddha path.
  Since we heard about this from the Buddha
  We have no doubts about it;
  But still we entreat you, O Buddha, to expound it
  And make it clear for the future.
  Anyone in whom doubts awaken
  And who does not believe in this sutra
  Will certainly fall into the troubled states of being.
  That is why we now entreat you to explain
  How in such a short time
  You have led and inspired
  These innumerable bodhisattvas
  So that the thought of enlightenment
  Has awakened in them
  And they abide in the stage of non-retrogression.

  The Lotus Sutra
  Chapter XVI The Lifespan of the Tathāgata

  (Translated from the Chinese of Kumārajiva by Tsugunari Kubo and Akira Yuyama)
  (Second Revised Edition) (dBET)

  Thereupon the Buddha addressed the bodhisattvas and the entire great assembly, saying: “O sons of a virtuous family! You should believe the true words of the Tathāgata.”
  He addressed the great assembly again, saying: “You should believe the Tathāgata’s true words.”
  He repeated this to them, saying: “You should believe the Tathāgata’s true words.”
  Then the great assembly of bodhisattvas, headed by Maitreya, addressed the Buddha with their palms pressed together, saying: “O Bhagavat! We entreat you to explain it. We will accept the Buddha’s words.”
  After they had spoken in this way three times, they again said: “We entreat you to explain it. We will accept the Buddha’s words.”
  Then the Bhagavat, realizing that the bodhisattvas continued to entreat him after those three times, addressed them, saying: “Listen carefully to the Tathāgata’s secret and transcendent powers. The devas, humans, and asuras in all the worlds all think that the present Buddha, Śākyamuni, left the palace of the Śākyas, sat on the terrace of enlightenment not far from the city of Gayā, and attained Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. However, O sons of a virtuous family, immeasurable, limitless, hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of nayutas of kalpas have passed since I actually attained buddhahood.
  “Suppose there were a man who ground five hundred thousands of myriads of koṭis of nayutas of Asamkhyeyas of great manifold cosmos into particles. While passing through five hundred thousands of myriads of koṭis of nayutas of Asamkhyeyas of lands to the east, he dropped just a single particle; and in this way he continued to drop the particles as he went toward the east, until they were all gone.
  “O sons of a virtuous family! What do you think about this? Can all of these worlds be calculated or not? Can one imagine all of these worlds, calculate, and know their number or not?”
  Bodhisattva Maitreya and the others together addressed the Buddha, saying: “O Bhagavat! These worlds are immeasurable, limitless, incalculable, and beyond our powers of conception. Even all the śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas, with their knowledge free from corruption, are not able to comprehend them, or know their number. Although we abide in the stage of non-retrogression we cannot understand it. O Bhagavat! Such worlds as these are incalculable and limitless.”
  Then the Buddha addressed the assembly of the great bodhisattvas, saying:
  “O sons of a virtuous family! I will now explain it clearly to you. Suppose all these worlds, whether or not a particle was left in them, were reduced to particles, and each particle represented a kalpa. The period of time since I became a buddha would exceed this by hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of nayutas of Asamkhyeyas of kalpas. Since then I have constantly been residing in the sahā world, teaching the Dharma and inspiring sentient beings. I have also been leading and benefiting sentient beings in hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of nayutas of Asamkhyeyas of other worlds.
  “O sons of a virtuous family! During this interim I explained about the Buddha Lighting Lamp and others. Furthermore, I also said that they had entered parinirvāṇa. I have explained such things through skillful means.
  “O sons of a virtuous family! If any sentient being comes to me, I perceive the dullness or sharpness of his faith and other faculties with my buddha eye. According to the way I should bring them to the path, I, myself, proclaim different names and lifespans in various places. In each case I have also clearly stated that I would enter parinirvāṇa. Through various skillful means I have explained subtle teachings and have made the sentient beings rejoice.
  “O sons of a virtuous family! To those beings whom the Tathāgata perceives as taking pleasure in the inferior teachings, who have few qualities and grave defilements, he teaches that the Buddha attained Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi after he renounced household life in his young age. However, it has been a very long time indeed since I attained buddhahood. I give such an explanation only to lead and inspire the sentient beings to enter the buddha path through skillful means.
  “O sons of a virtuous family! The sutras that the Tathāgata has expounded are all to save the sentient beings. Whether the Tathāgata teaches about himself or others, whether he reveals his form or that of others, whether he shows his acts or those of others, everything he says is true, never false.
  “Why is this? Because the Tathāgata perceives all the marks of the triple world as they really are: that there is no birth and death, coming or going; that there is also no existence or extinction in the world, truth or falsehood, sameness or difference. The Tathāgata does not view the triple world as sentient beings in the triple world see it. The Tathāgata perceives such things clearly and without mistakes.
  “Since sentient beings have various natures, desires, behaviours, thoughts, and distinctions, the Tathāgata, wanting to cause them to plant roots of good merit, has explained various teachings through a variety of examples, explanations, and illustrations. He has not desisted from doing buddha acts even for a single moment and in this way it has been an extremely long time since I attained buddhahood. My lifespan is of immeasurable Asamkhyeyas of kalpas. I abide forever without entering parinirvāṇa.
  “O sons of a virtuous family! The lifespan that I first attained through practicing the bodhisattva path has not yet expired. It is twice as great as the number previously mentioned. Although I do not actually enter parinirvāṇa I proclaim that I do. It is through this skillful means that the Tathāgata leads and inspires sentient beings.
  “Why is this? Because if the Buddha abides a long time in this world, those who have few qualities do not plant roots of good merit, acquire poor and superficial characters, are attached to the desires of the five senses, and enter into the web of illusions and false views. If they see the Tathāgata always existing without extinction, they then become proud, self-willed, and negligent. The thought that the Buddha is difficult to meet and that he is to be respected cannot awaken in them. That is why the Tathāgata teaches through skillful means, saying:

  O monks! You should know that the appearance of the buddhas in the world is very difficult to encounter.

  “Why is this? Because some of those with little merit may not see the Buddha during the passage of immeasurable hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of kalpas.
  “For this reason I say:

  O monks! It is difficult to meet the Tathāgata.

  “Hearing such words, the thought that it is very difficult to meet the Tathāgata will certainly awaken in these sentient beings. Longing and yearning for the Buddha, they will plant roots of good merit. For this reason, although the Tathāgata does not really pass into extinction, he nevertheless says he does.
  “Furthermore, O sons of a virtuous family, the teaching of all the Buddha Tathāgatas is exactly like this. It is entirely true, never false, all for the sake of saving sentient beings.
  “Suppose there were an excellent doctor. He is wise, knowledgeable, his prescriptions are effective, and he has skillfully cured a variety of diseases. This man has many sons, say ten, twenty, or even one hundred in number. For some reason, he has to go far off to another country and, while he is away, his children, whom he has left behind, drink some poison. The poison starts to take effect and they roll on the ground in agony.
  “At this moment their father returns home. Some of the children who have taken the poison are delirious, while others are not. Seeing their father in the distance they all rejoice greatly and kneeling respectfully address him, saying:

  It is good that you have returned safely. In our ignorance we took this poison by mistake. We entreat you to cure and save us, and restore us to life.

  “Seeing his children suffering in this way, the father searches for beneficial herbs possessed of good colour, aroma, and flavour, according to the medical manual. Blending them together after grinding and sifting, he gives the mixture to the children and says:

  This is an extremely beneficial medicine with good colour, aroma, and flavour. All of you take it! It will quickly remove your pain and you will never be afflicted again.

  “Then the children who have not become delirious see this beneficial medicine of good colour and aroma, and immediately take it. The affliction is completely removed and they are cured. The remaining children, those who are delirious, seeing their father coming to them, rejoice and ask him to seek a cure for their illness. Although he offers them the medicine, they will not take it. Why is this? The poison has so deeply penetrated them that they have become delirious. They do not think that the medicine with good colour and aroma is good.
  “The father thinks:

  These children are to be pitied. The poison has completely warped their minds. Although they rejoiced upon seeing me and sought a cure, they will not take this beneficial medicine. I will now cause them to take this medicine through skillful means.

  “Then he says to them:

  You should know that I am now old and feeble, close to death. I will now leave this beneficial medicine here. You should take it. Do not worry about not recovering.

  “Having left these instructions he goes to another country and sends a messenger back home to tell them: ‘Your father has already died.’
  “Upon hearing that their father is dead, the children become very distressed and think:

  If our father had lived he would have taken pity on us and protected us. But now, abandoning us, he has died in a distant country.

  “They now consider themselves orphans having no one to rely upon. Through constant grieving their minds become clear, and only then do they realize that the medicine has fine colour, aroma, and flavour. They immediately take it and the poison is completely driven out. The father, hearing that all his children have completely recovered, immediately returns and makes his appearance.”
  The Buddha then asked the bodhisattvas: “O sons of a virtuous family! Do you think there is anyone who would say that this good doctor is guilty of lying?”
  The bodhisattvas replied: “No, we do not, O Bhagavat!”
  The Buddha said: “I am just like this. Since I became a buddha, immeasurable, limitless, hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of nayutas of Asamkhyeyas of kalpas have passed. Though for the sake of sentient beings, I use skillful means and say that I will enter parinirvāṇa, there is no one who could rightly say that I am guilty of falsehood.”
  Thereupon the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  Since I attained buddhahood,
  Immeasurable hundreds of thousands of myriads
  Of koṭis of Asamkhyeyas of kalpas have passed.
  I have been constantly teaching the Dharma,
  Through these immeasurable kalpas,
  Leading and inspiring
  Innumerable koṭis of sentient beings
  And enabling them to enter the buddha path.
  Using skillful means
  I have manifested the state of nirvana
  To bring sentient beings to this path;
  Yet I have not actually entered nirvana,
  But continually abide here expounding the Dharma.
  Although I am always among these erring beings,
  With my transcendent powers,
  I prevent them from seeing me.
  The sentient beings,
  Seeing me enter perfect extinction
  Earnestly revere my relics
  And, filled with longing,
  Yearn for me.
  When the sentient beings become
  Sincere, mild, and receptive,
  And, wanting wholeheartedly to meet the Buddha,
  Are willing to give unsparingly
  Of their bodies and lives,
  Then I, together with the sangha,
  Will come out from the Mount Gṛdhrakūṭa.
  I will declare this to sentient beings:

  Although I am always here without extinction,
  Through the power of skillful means
  I manifest extinction and non-extinction.

  If there are any sentient beings in other worlds
  Who respect and believe in me,
  I will also teach them the highest Dharma.
  Not knowing this, you only think
  That I have entered parinirvāṇa.
  I see all sentient beings
  Submerged in the ocean of suffering.
  That is why, by not manifesting my form,
  I cause them to yearn for me.
  Then, after awakening this longing,
  I appear and expound the Dharma;
  Such are my transcendent powers.
  For Asamkhyeyas of kalpas
  I have constantly resided
  On Mount Gṛdhrakūṭa and elsewhere.
  When sentient beings see themselves
  Amidst a conflagration
  At the end of a kalpa,
  It is in fact my tranquil land,
  Always full of devas and humans.
  All the gardens and palaces
  Are adorned with various gems.
  The jewelled trees abound with flowers and fruits,
  And the sentient beings are joyful among them.
  The devas beat heavenly drums
  Making constant and varied music.
  They rain down māndārava flowers
  Upon the Buddha and the great assembly.
  Although my Pure Land never decays,
  The sentient beings see it as ravaged by fire
  And torn with anxiety and distress;
  They see it is filled with these things.
  Because of their misdeeds
  These erring sentient beings do not hear
  The name of the Three Treasures
  For Asamkhyeyas of kalpas.
  But all who cultivate merit,
  And are receptive and honest,
  Will see me residing here,
  Expounding the Dharma.
  For the sake of these sentient beings
  I teach that the lifespan
  Of the Buddha is immeasurable.
  To those who, after a long time,
  Finally see the Buddha,
  I teach that it is difficult to meet him.
  Such is the power of my wisdom.
  The light of my wisdom illuminates immeasurably
  And my lifespan is of innumerable kalpas.
  This has been achieved through long practice.
  You wise ones, do not give in to doubt!
  Banish all doubt forever!
  The Buddha’s words are true, never false.
  It is like the physician
  Who proclaimed his own death,
  Although it was untrue.
  He did this to cure his delirious sons,
  Through excellent skillful means;
  So no one could say he really spoke falsehood.
  I, also, being the father of the world,
  Cure those who suffer.
  To the deluded and unenlightened I say that
  I have entered nirvana,
  Although, in fact, I am really here.
  For if they were to see me constantly,
  They would become lazy and arrogant.
  Attached to the desires of the five senses,
  They would fall into the troubled states of being.
  Always aware of which sentient beings
  Practice the path and which do not,
  I teach the Dharma in various ways,
  According to their ability to be saved.
  I am always thinking:
  By what means can I cause sentient beings to be able to
  Enter the highest path
  And quickly attain the Dharma?

  The Lotus Sutra
  Chapter XVII Description of Merits

  (Translated from the Chinese of Kumārajiva by Tsugunari Kubo and Akira Yuyama)
  (Second Revised Edition) (dBET)

  Thereupon, when the great assembly heard the Buddha explain that his lifespan was of such a great number of kalpas, an immeasurable, limitless Asamkhyeyas of sentient beings were greatly benefited.
  Then the Bhagavat addressed Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Maitreya, saying:
  “O Ajita! When I explained the great length of this Tathāgata’s lifespan, sentient beings, equal to the sands of the six hundred and eighty myriads of koṭis of nayutas of Ganges Rivers in number, gained understanding of the truth of the non-origination of all dharmas. Furthermore, a thousand times this number of bodhisattva mahāsattvas attained the power of recollecting what they hear; and bodhisattva mahāsattvas equal to the number of particles of one world attained unhindered eloquence. Moreover, there were bodhisattva mahāsattvas equal to the particles of one world who attained hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of immeasurable Dhāraṇīs of revolving. There were also bodhisattva mahāsattvas equal to the number of particles of the great manifold cosmos who turned the irreversible wheel of the Dharma, and bodhisattva mahāsattvas equal to the number of particles of two medium-sized manifold cosmos who turned the purified wheel of the Dharma.
  “Furthermore, there were bodhisattva mahāsattvas equal to the number of particles of one small-sized cosmos who will be able to attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi after eight births; bodhisattva mahāsattvas equal to the number of particles of four Fourfold Continents who will attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi after four births; bodhisattva mahāsattvas equal to the number of particles of three Fourfold Continents who will attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi after three births; bodhisattva mahāsattvas equal to the number of particles of two Fourfold Continents who will attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi after two births; and bodhisattva mahāsattvas equal to the number of particles of one Fourfold Continent who will attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi after one birth. Moreover there were sentient beings equal to the number of particles of eight worlds, in all of whom the thought of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi had awakened.”
  When the Buddha explained that these bodhisattva mahāsattvas had attained the great benefit of the Dharma, māndārava and great māndārava flowers rained down from the sky, scattering over the buddhas who were seated on lion seats under immeasurable hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of jewelled trees; and they scattered over Śākyamuni Buddha and the Tathāgata Many Treasures, who had attained parinirvāṇa long ago, both of whom were sitting on the lion seat in the seven-jewelled stupa; they also scattered over all of the great bodhisattvas and the fourfold assembly. Finely powdered sandalwood and aloeswood incense also rained down, and heavenly drums resounded in the sky with a deep and beautiful sound. One thousand kinds of heavenly garments, draped with strings of pearl, jewels, and wish-fulfilling gems, rained down, filling the nine directions. Priceless incense burned in various jewelled incense holders, and its fragrance spread spontaneously throughout the great assembly as an offering. Above each buddha there were bodhisattvas holding banners and umbrellas that extended upward to the Brahma world. These bodhisattvas praised the buddhas by singing immeasurable verses with beautiful voices.
  Then Bodhisattva Maitreya rose from his seat, leaving his right shoulder bared, faced the Buddha with the palms of his hands pressed together, and spoke these verses:

  The Buddha has taught this marvellous Dharma
  That we have never heard before.
  The Bhagavat has great powers
  And his lifespan is immeasurable.
  Innumerable heirs of the Buddha
  Attained the benefit of the Dharma
  After hearing the Bhagavat’s explanation,
  And became completely filled with joy.
  Some attained the stage of non-retrogression,
  And others the Dhāraṇīs.
  Some attained unhindered eloquence,
  And others many koṭis of Dhāraṇīs of Revolving.
  There were also bodhisattvas,
  Equal to the number of particles
  Of the great cosmos,
  Who each turned the irreversible wheel
  Of the Dharma.
  There were also bodhisattvas,
  Equal to the number of particles
  Of a medium cosmos,
  Who each turned the purified
  Wheel of the Dharma.
  There were also bodhisattvas,
  Equal to the number of particles
  Of a small cosmos,
  Who after eight births
  Will complete the buddha path.
  There were also bodhisattvas,
  Equal to four times, three times,
  And two times the number of particles
  Of the Fourfold Continent,
  Who after four, three, and two births
  Will attain buddhahood.
  There were also bodhisattvas,
  Equal to the number of particles
  Of one Fourfold Continent,
  Who will obtain omniscience
  After one birth;
  And sentient beings, having heard about
  The great length of the Buddha’s lifespan,
  Attained immeasurable results
  That were pure and without corruption.
  There were also sentient beings,
  Equal to the number of particles
  Of eight worlds,
  In whom, having heard about the lifespan of the Buddha,
  The thought of highest enlightenment awakened.
  The Bhagavat has taught the Dharma
  That is immeasurable and inconceivable,
  And from which come benefits
  As limitless as space.
  Heavenly māndārava
  And great māndārava flowers rained down;
  And Śakras and Brahmas
  Came from innumerable buddha lands,
  Equal in number to the sands of the Ganges River.
  Sandalwood and aloeswood powder,
  Scattered like birds in the sky
  Flying in all directions,
  And rained down over the buddhas.
  Heavenly drums resounded spontaneously
  And beautifully in the air;
  And thousands of myriads of koṭis
  Of heavenly garments floated whirling down.
  Precious incense was burned
  In various jewelled incense holders,
  Its fragrance naturally penetrating everywhere,
  In homage to the Bhagavats.
  The great assembly of these bodhisattvas
  Held myriads of koṭis of tall and beautiful
  Seven-jewelled banners and umbrellas,
  Which extended gradually to the Brahma world.
  They hung jewelled flags and excellent banners
  In the presence of each of these buddhas,
  And chanted thousands of myriads of verses
  In praise of the Tathāgatas.
  Such things had never been
  Experienced before.
  Hearing of the Buddha’s
  Immeasurable lifespan, all rejoiced;
  And, the Buddha’s name being heard
  Throughout the ten directions,
  Sentient beings were greatly benefited.
  Everyone became endowed
  With the roots of good merit,
  And the thought of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi
  Awakened in them.

  At that time the Buddha addressed Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Maitreya, saying: “O Ajita! Those sentient beings who hear about the great length of the Buddha’s lifespan, and can awaken even a single thought of willing acceptance, will all obtain immeasurable merit. If there are sons and daughters of a good family who, for the sake of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi, practice the five perfections of giving, good conduct, perseverance, effort, and meditation, with the exception of the perfection of wisdom, for eighty myriads of koṭis of nayutas of kalpas, their merit is not even a hundredth, a thousandth, a hundred thousandth of a myriad of a koṭi of the former person’s merit. It is so small that it cannot be conceived of through calculation or illustration. If there are sons and daughters of a virtuous family who possess such merit as the former, they will never revert from Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi.”
  Thereupon the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  Those who seek the Buddha’s wisdom
  Will practice the five perfections
  For eighty myriads of koṭis
  Of nayutas of kalpas.
  Throughout these kalpas they will pay homage to
  The buddhas, pratyekabuddhas, śrāvakas,
  And all the bodhisattvas by offering
  Rare delicacies, excellent garments, and beddings,
  Or by building monasteries out of sandalwood
  Which are adorned with gardens.
  Through offering such a variety of precious things
  Throughout all of these kalpas,
  They will transfer the merits to the buddha path.
  Those who further maintain good conduct,
  Which is pure and without corruption,
  Will seek what the buddhas
  Have praised as the highest path.
  Those who further practice perseverance
  And abide in the stage of self-control,
  Will be of constant mind,
  Even if subjected to ill-treatment.
  They will continue to endure
  Even if they are scorned and persecuted
  By those who think, through their excessive pride,
  That they have attained the truth.
  Those who make diligent efforts
  And are firm in their intentions
  For immeasurable koṭis of kalpas
  Will be intent and never lazy;
  And those who abide in tranquil places
  For immeasurable kalpas
  Will always discipline their minds, avoiding sleep,
  While either sitting or wandering.
  For these reasons they will
  Abide in various meditations,
  Their minds firm and unwavering,
  For eighty myriads of koṭis of kalpas.
  Transferring the merit of this concentration,
  They vow as below:
  I will seek the highest path and
  Attain omniscience.
  Then I will achieve
  This perfection of meditation.
  Practicing thus for hundreds of thousands
  Of myriads of koṭis of kalpas,
  Their merits will be as mentioned above.
  If those sons and daughters of a virtuous family,
  Upon hearing me explain about my lifespan
  In this way, are able to awaken
  Even a single thought of willing acceptance,
  Their merit exceeds that of the former.
  Such will also be the merit
  Of those who have no doubts whatsoever
  And believe deeply even for a single moment.
  Those bodhisattvas who practice the path
  For a period of immeasurable kalpas,
  Will be able to fully believe and accept
  My explanation of my lifespan when they hear it.
  People such as these
  Will respectfully uphold this sutra, saying:

  I vow to devote a long life in the future
  To saving sentient beings!
  Just as the present Bhagavat,
  King among the Śākyas, who roars the lion’s roar
  On the terrace of enlightenment,
  Is fearless in teaching the Dharma.
  I vow to be respected by all in the future
  And teach of the lifespan
  While seated upon the terrace of enlightenment.

  Those who have profound thoughts, are pure,
  Honest and learned, have good recollection,
  And understand the Buddha’s words in accordance
  With what is appropriate,
  Will have no doubts regarding this.

  “Furthermore, O Ajita, those who hear of the great length of the Buddha’s lifespan and
  understand the intent of these words will obtain limitless merit that will give rise to the highest wisdom of the Tathāgata. How much more merit will they gain who extensively hear this sutra, move others to listen to it, preserve it, move others to preserve it, copy it, or move others to copy it; and pay homage to the sutra by offering flowers, incense, necklaces, flags, banners, canopies, lamps of scented oil, and ghee! The merit of these people will be immeasurable and limitless. They will be able to achieve omniscience.
  “O Ajita! If sons and daughters of a virtuous family, hearing me teach the great length of the Buddha’s lifespan, totally understand it and wholeheartedly accept it, it is the same as seeing the Buddha, who always dwells on Mount Gṛdhrakūṭa together with the great bodhisattvas and śrāvakas, teaching the Dharma to the assembly. Moreover, they will see the land of this sahā world, which is made of lapis lazuli, level and even. The network of roads is laid out like a chessboard, paved with Jambūnāda gold and bordered with jewelled trees. All its foundations, towers, and balconies will be made of treasures and the multitude of these bodhisattvas will be dwelling in them. Those who can imagine such things should know that to be able to do so is a sign of their full and willing acceptance.
  “Furthermore, after the Tathāgata’s parinirvāṇa, those who hear this sutra do not disparage it and rejoice in their hearts, should know that this is a sign of their full and willing acceptance. How much more do those who recite and preserve this sutra show a sign of full and willing acceptance! Such are the people who hold the Tathāgata in respect.
  “O Ajita! These sons and daughters of a virtuous family do not have to build stupas and monasteries for me, make chambers for the monks, or pay homage to the sangha with the four kinds of offerings. Why is this? Because these sons and daughters of a virtuous family recite and preserve this sutra, which means they have already built stupas, made chambers for the monks, and paid homage to the sangha. They have already erected seven-jewelled stupas for the Buddha’s relics, which are tall and wide, gradually narrowing to a pinnacle that reaches to the Brahma world.
  They have hung various banners, canopies, and variegated jewelled bells; offered flowers, incense, necklaces, scented powder, and ointment; burned incense; played drums, music, flutes, pipes, harps, and various dances; and adorned the stupas and relics of the Buddha by praising with verses and songs in beautiful voices. In this way they have already paid homage for immeasurable thousands of myriads of koṭis of kalpas.
  “O Ajita! After my parinirvāṇa, those who hear this sutra and who can preserve it, copy it and move others to copy it, have already built monasteries of the height of eight tāla trees, each with thirty-two halls made out of sandalwood, wide and fine, housing hundreds of thousands of monks. The monasteries they have built have gardens, ponds, paths for wandering, meditation caves, garments, food and drink, bedding, medicine, and are replete with all other necessities. Such hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of monks’ chambers and towers will be incalculable. With these they pay homage to me and to the assembly of monks.
  “I have explained that, for this reason, after the Tathāgata’s parinirvāṇa those who preserve and recite this sutra, and explain it to others, who copy it or move others to copy it and who pay homage to it no longer have to build stupas, monasteries, or erect chambers for the monks, or revere the sangha. How much less do those who preserve this sutra and practice the perfections of giving, good conduct, perseverance, effort, meditation, and wisdom need to do so! Their merit is the highest, immeasurable and limitless. It is immeasurable and limitless in the same way that space is immeasurable and limitless in the ten directions—east, west, south, north, the four intermediate directions, and the zenith and nadir—and they will thus quickly obtain omniscience.
  “Those who recite and preserve this sutra, who explain it for others, who copy it or move others to copy it, and also build monuments and make chambers for monks, revere and praise the sangha of śrāvakas, and praise the merits of the bodhisattvas in hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of ways; those who explain this Lotus Sutra for the sake of others in accordance with its meaning through various illustrations, who preserve pure conduct and dwell together with gentle people; those who are patient and have no anger, are firm in their intentions and always hold meditation in high regard, who attain profound samādhi and make vigorous efforts, persevere in all good practices, whose wisdom is keen and who answer difficult questions skillfully; O Ajita! Those sons and daughters of a virtuous family, who preserve and recite this sutra after my parinirvāṇa and also carry out all of those good practices as mentioned above, you should know that such people have already set out for the terrace of enlightenment, are near to Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi, and are seated under the bodhi tree.
  “O Ajita! Wherever these sons and daughters of a virtuous family sit, stand, or walk, there a monument should be built; and all of the devas and humans should pay homage to these monuments as they would do to those of the Buddha.”
  Thereupon the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  If after my parinirvāṇa there are people
  Who preserve this sutra,
  They will have immeasurable merits
  As described above.
  Such people have already given
  Various kinds of offerings:
  They have built stupas for the relics,
  Adorned with the seven treasures,
  With a pole on the top which is very tall and thick,
  Gradually tapering upward,
  Until it reaches the Brahma world.
  These stupas have been adorned
  With thousands of myriads of koṭis of jewelled bells
  That ring with beautiful sounds as the wind blows.
  For immeasurable kalpas such people
  Have revered these stupas
  By offering flowers, incense, necklaces,
  Heavenly garments, and various kinds of music,
  While burning scented ointments and butter-oil lamps
  Which illuminate them on all sides.
  In the troubled world of the Decadent Dharma,
  Those who preserve this sutra
  Will have already finished paying homage
  In the way just described.
  If they can preserve this sutra
  It will be as if they had paid homage
  In the time of the Buddha;
  By building monasteries for monks
  Out of sandalwood from Mount Oxhead,
  Each monastery with thirty-two halls
  As tall as eight tāla trees; and by offering delicious food,
  Excellent garments, bedding, hundreds of
  Thousands of dwellings, gardens, ponds,
  Paths for wandering, and meditation caves
  All of fine quality.
  Those who have the thought of willing acceptance,
  Who preserve, recite, copy,
  Or move others to copy this sutra,
  And who pay it homage
  By scattering flowers, incense, and scented powders on it,
  And by constantly lighting lamps of
  Fragrant oil made from sumanas flowers,
  Campaka wood, and atimukta grass;
  Those who pay it homage in this way
  Will attain immeasurable merit.
  Their merit will be as limitless
  As empty space.
  How much more is the merit
  Of those who preserve this sutra,
  And also carry out the practice of giving,
  Good conduct, perseverance, and meditation,
  Who never get angry or slander others,
  Who honour monuments
  And are humble before monks,
  And who are free from pride,
  Always contemplate wisdom,
  Never get angry at difficult questions,
  And teach in accordance
  With the questioner’s capacity!
  If there is anyone
  Who can carry out all of these practices,
  Their merit will be immeasurable.
  If one were to see such an expounder of the Dharma
  Who has perfected merits like these,
  One should scatter heavenly flowers over him
  And provide him with heavenly garments,
  Bow until one’s forehead touches his feet,
  And think of him as if he were a buddha.
  Furthermore, one should think
  That before long the expounder of the Dharma
  Will approach the terrace of enlightenment,
  Attain the unconditioned state of non-corruption,
  And extensively benefit devas and humans.
  Wherever he dwells, walks, or sits,
  Or recites even a single verse,
  A stupa should be built,
  Made beautiful with adornments,
  And paid homage in various ways.
  Wherever the heirs of the Buddha may reside,
  There the Buddha himself will take pleasure in its use
  And will always be dwelling,
  Walking, and sitting within.

  The Lotus Sutra
  Chapter XVIII The Merits of Joyful Acceptance

  (Translated from the Chinese of Kumārajiva by Tsugunari Kubo and Akira Yuyama)
  (Second Revised Edition) (dBET)

  Thereupon Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Maitreya addressed the Buddha, saying: “O Bhagavat! If sons and daughters of a virtuous family rejoice in hearing this sutra, how much merit do they acquire?”
  And he spoke in verse, saying:

  After the Bhagavat’s parinirvāṇa,
  If there is anyone who hears this sutra
  And rejoices in it,
  How much merit do they acquire?

  Then the Buddha addressed Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Maitreya, saying:
  “O Ajita! After the Tathāgata’s parinirvāṇa, suppose those monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen and other wise ones, whether old or young, having rejoiced in hearing this sutra, take leave of the Dharma assembly and go to other places—either dwelling in monasteries or tranquil places, cities, towns, villages, or forests—and teach what they have heard to their parents, relatives, good friends, and acquaintances according to the best of their abilities. Having heard the teaching, they will rejoice and go on to teach it to others. These people having heard it will also joyfully teach it to others in turn, and so it continues in this way until it reaches the fiftieth person.
  “O Ajita! I will now explain about the merit which this fiftieth son or daughter of a virtuous family acquires from joyful acceptance. You should listen attentively!
  “Suppose that in the four hundreds of myriads of koṭis of Asamkhyeyas of worlds, there are sentient beings in the six transmigratory states and of the four modes of birth—born from an egg, born from the womb, from moisture, or born spontaneously— either with or without form, either with or without consciousness, either unconscious or not unconscious, having no legs, two, four, or many legs; and that, among the number of such beings, there is a person who seeks to acquire merit and gives pleasurable things to these beings, according to their desire. He gives each of those sentient beings gold, silver, lapis lazuli, mother-of-pearl, agate, coral, amber, and other treasures such as would fill this continent of Jambudvīpa, as well as elephant carts, horse carts, and palaces and towers made out of the seven treasures. Having performed such acts of giving for a full eighty years, this great donor thinks:

  I have already given these sentient beings such pleasurable things as they wished. Yet now these sentient beings are old and feeble. They are over eighty years old, with white hair and wrinkles, and they will die before long. I should now instruct them by means of the Buddha-Dharma.

  “He immediately gathers these sentient beings together, inspires them by proclaiming the Dharma, and gladdens them by revealing its benefits. In an instant they all successively attain the first stage of the śrāvakas called stream-winner, the second stage called once returner, the third stage called non-returner, and finally the stage of the arhat, free from corruption, entering profound meditations, gaining complete mastery of all, and attaining the eight liberations.
  “What do you think about this? Has this great donor acquired abundant merit or not?”
  Maitreya addressed the Buddha, saying: “O Bhagavat! The donor’s merit is extremely great, immeasurable and limitless. Even if this donor had only given all those pleasurable things to sentient beings, the merit would have been immeasurable. How much greater is this donor’s merit after having caused them to attain arhatship!”
  The Buddha addressed Maitreya, saying: “I will now clarify this for you. This person has given all these pleasurable things to the sentient beings in the six states of existence in four hundreds of myriads of koṭis of Asamkhyeyas of worlds, and enabled them to attain arhatship. The merit he has attained cannot be compared with that of even the fiftieth person who, after hearing even a single verse of the Lotus Sutra, received it with joy. It would be even less than a hundredth, a thousandth, a hundred thousandth of a myriad of a koṭi of that person’s merit.
  “O Ajita! In this way the merit attained by even the fiftieth person who rejoiced in hearing this Lotus Sutra is immeasurable, limitless Asamkhyeyas. How much more so is the merit of the first person who heard it in the assembly and rejoiced in it! His merit is even greater, it is immeasurable, limitless, and incalculable, and is not to be apprehended through metaphor.
  “Furthermore, O Ajita, if anyone approaches the monasteries in order to listen to this sutra and hears it for even a single moment, whether seated or standing, through this merit they will be reborn into a place where they will gain beautiful and excellent elephant carts, horse carts, palanquins made out of rare treasures, and will ride on a heavenly vehicle. Moreover, if anyone sits in a place where the Dharma is taught, and if another comes along and they invite that person to sit down and listen, or if they offer that person part of their own seat, through this merit they will be reborn in the place where Śakra dwells, in the place where Brahmas dwell, or in a place where a wheel-turning sage king dwells.
  “O Ajita! If anyone addresses others, saying:

  There is a sutra called the Lotus Sutra. Let us go together and listen to it!

  “And if their instruction is accepted and the other person listens to it for even a single moment, then through this merit the former person will be reborn in the same place as the bodhisattva who has acquired the dhāraṇīs. They will have keen faculties and wisdom. For hundreds and thousands of myriads of lives they will never be deaf and dumb; nor will they have fetid breath. Their tongues will never be diseased, nor will they have diseases of the mouth. Their teeth will never be dirty, black, or yellow, nor gapped; nor will any be missing, irregular, or crooked. Their lips will not be drooping, pursed, or twisted; and their lips will never have cankers, scabs, be cracked, misshapen, thick or fat, black, or ugly. They will have no disagreeable features. Their noses will never be flat or thin, crooked or twisted. They will never be dark-complected, with a narrow or long face that is hollow cheeked or twisted. They will have no mark that is displeasing to others. Their lips, tongues, and teeth will all be very beautiful. Their noses will be long, high, and straight. Their faces will be round, their eyebrows arched and long. Their foreheads will be broad and even. They will thus have a perfect human countenance. Wherever they may be born, life after life, they will meet a buddha, hear the Dharma, and accept the teaching.
  “Look, O Ajita! The merit of that person who moved others to listen to the Dharma is like this. How much more is the merit of those who single-mindedly listen, teach, and recite the sutra, explain it for others in the great assembly, and practice according to the sutra!”
  Thereupon the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  If anyone hears this sutra
  In the Dharma assembly,
  And joyfully teaches others
  Even a single verse,
  And if in this way it is taught from one person
  To another until it reaches the fiftieth one,
  The merit that this last person will attain
  Shall be as I will now explain:
  Suppose there were a great donor
  Who gave things to an immeasurable number
  Of people as they wished
  For a full eighty years.
  He will see that they are old and feeble,
  With white hair and wrinkled faces,
  With gaps between their teeth and withered bodies,
  And that they will die before long.
  He will think that he should now
  Teach them and enable them
  To attain the fruits
  Of the buddha path.
  He will teach nirvana, the True Dharma,
  Through skillful means, saying:

  The world is impermanent
  Like splashes of water, bubbles, a mirage!
  The feeling of repulsion for it
  Should quickly awaken in you!

  All of them, hearing this teaching,
  Attain arhatship and perfect
  The six transcendent powers, the three sciences,
  And the eight liberations.
  The merit of the fiftieth person
  Who joyfully hears a single verse
  Is so much greater than this great donor’s
  That it is beyond illustration.
  The merit of those who successively hear
  The Lotus Sutra in this way is immeasurable.
  How much more is the merit of the first person
  Who heard it with joy amid the Dharma assembly!
  If there is a person who moves another
  To listen to the Lotus Sutra, saying:

  This sutra is profound and difficult to encounter
  Even in thousands of myriads of koṭis of kalpas.

  And if this person’s urging is accepted
  And the other one goes to hear it
  And listens even for a single moment,
  The merit that the former person will acquire
  Shall be as I will now explain:
  Life after life they will have
  No diseases of the mouth.
  Their teeth will have no gaps,
  Nor be yellow or black.
  Their lips will be neither fat, thick,
  Or thin; nor will they ever have
  A disagreeable countenance;
  And their tongues will never be
  Dry, black, or short.
  Their noses will be high, long, and straight.
  Their foreheads will be broad and even.
  Their faces will be completely handsome,
  Pleasing to others who see them.
  They will never have fetid breath.
  And their mouths will always emit
  The fragrance of a blue lotus flower.
  I will now explain the merit
  Of the one who approaches the monastery
  Wanting to hear the Lotus Sutra,
  And who joyfully listens to it
  Even for a single moment:
  Later they will be born among devas and humans
  And will acquire beautiful elephant and horse carts,
  And palanquins made out of rare treasures,
  And will ride on a heavenly vehicle.
  If one is where the Dharma is taught
  And invites another to sit there
  And listen to the sutra,
  Through the merit which is thus acquired,
  One will attain the seats of Śakra,
  Brahma, or the wheel-turning king.
  How much more is the merit of a person
  Who single-mindedly listens to this sutra,
  Explains its meaning, and practices
  In accordance with its teaching!
  Their merit will thus be limitless.

  The Lotus Sutra
  Chapter XIX The Benefits Obtained by an Expounder of the Dharma

  (Translated from the Chinese of Kumārajiva by Tsugunari Kubo and Akira Yuyama)
  (Second Revised Edition) (dBET)

  Thereupon the Buddha addressed Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Constant Exertion, saying: “If sons or daughters of a virtuous family preserve this Lotus Sutra, recite, explain, and copy it, they will attain eight hundred qualities of the eye, twelve hundred qualities of the ear, eight hundred qualities of the nose, twelve hundred qualities of the tongue, eight hundred qualities of the body, and twelve hundred qualities of the mind. These qualities will adorn the six sense faculties, purifying them all. Through the natural bodily eyes given them by their parents, which are thus purified, those sons and daughters of a virtuous family will see the mountains, forests, rivers, and oceans both within and beyond the great manifold cosmos, all the way from the lowest hell up as far as the highest summit of the universe. They will also see all the sentient beings there, perceive and know the causes and consequences of their deeds and of their states of birth.”
  Then the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate upon the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  Listen to the qualities
  Of those in the great assembly
  Who can fearlessly teach
  This Lotus Sutra!
  Such people will attain
  The eight hundred qualities
  Of the excellent eye.
  Adorned with these qualities
  Their eyes are extremely pure.
  With the eyes given by their parents
  They see both all the manifold cosmos,
  Within and beyond Mount Meru,
  Sumeru, up to Mount Iron Encircling,
  And many other mountains,
  Forests, oceans, rivers, and streams,
  Down to the lowest hell
  And up to the summit of the universe.
  There they see all the sentient beings;
  Although they have not yet
  Attained the divine eyes,
  Their power of sight will be like this.

  “Furthermore, O Constant Exertion, if sons or daughters of a virtuous family preserve, recite, explain, or copy this sutra, they will attain the twelve hundred qualities of the ear. Through their pure ears they will hear both within and beyond the great manifold cosmos, down as far as the lowest hell and up as high as the summit of the universe; they will hear all kinds of voices and sounds, such as the sound of elephants, the neighing of horses, the sound of cows and carts, cries, weeping, the sound of conches and drums, gongs and bells, laughter, talking, male and female voices, the voices of boys and girls, righteous and unrighteous voices, the sounds of suffering and happiness, the voices of common and holy people, pleasant and unpleasant sounds; the voices of devas, nāgas, yakṣas, gandharvas, asuras, garuḍas, kiṃnaras, mahoragas, the sounds of fire, water, wind, beings in the hells, animals, hungry ghosts, monks, nuns, śrāvakas, pratyekabuddhas, bodhisattvas, and buddhas.
  “In short, although they do not have the divine faculty of hearing, they will always hear and know everything both within and beyond the great manifold cosmos, through the purified, natural bodily ears given by their parents. They distinguish all these various sounds and yet their faculty of hearing remains unharmed.”
  Thereupon the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  The ear, given by the parents,
  Is pure and spotless;
  With this natural ear
  They hear the sounds of the manifold cosmos.
  They hear the sounds of elephants,
  Horses, carts and cows;
  The sounds of gongs, bells, conches,
  Drums, and vīṇās;
  The sounds of harps, bamboo pipes, and flutes;
  Pure and pleasing songs.
  And even though they hear these,
  They are not attached to them.
  They hear innumerable kinds of human voices,
  And yet they are able to discriminate them.
  Furthermore, they hear divine sounds,
  Subtle melodies, male and female voices,
  The sounds of boys and girls.
  They also hear the singings of the kalaviṅka
  And jīvakajīvaka birds in the mountains,
  Around the rivers, or in deep valleys.
  They hear as well various sounds of pain
  And suffering from the hells,
  And sounds of hungry ghosts,
  Who, suffering from hunger and thirst,
  Are in search of food and drink.
  When the asuras living along the ocean
  Speak to each other with loud voices,
  Such expounders of the Dharma, living here,
  Hear all of these various voices from afar,
  And yet their faculty of hearing is unharmed.
  Those expounders of the Dharma
  Hear all birds and animals
  In the ten directions calling to each other.
  The expounders of the Dharma dwelling here
  Also hear the voices in the Light Sound Heaven
  And All Pure Heaven above the Brahma Heaven,
  All the way up to the summit of the universe.
  The expounders of the Dharma dwelling here
  Hear all of the monks and nuns
  Either reciting the sutra
  Or explaining it to others.
  They also hear such voices
  As those of the bodhisattvas reciting the sutra
  Teaching it to others, compiling the collections,
  And explaining their meaning to others.
  Those who preserve this Lotus Sutra
  Will all hear the buddhas, the great seers,
  Teaching the subtle Dharma to the great assembly
  And leading and inspiring sentient beings.
  They will hear all the sounds
  Both within and beyond the manifold cosmos,
  Down to the lowest hell
  And up to the summit of the universe;
  And yet their faculty of hearing
  Remains unharmed.
  Because their faculty of hearing is keen,
  They are able to discriminate these sounds.
  Although those who preserve this Lotus Sutra
  Have not yet attained the divine faculty of hearing,
  They can simply use the ears given by their parents.
  Their qualities are exactly like this.

  Furthermore, O Constant Exertion, if sons or daughters of a good family preserve this sutra, recite, explain, or copy it, they will perfect the eight hundred qualities of the nose. With this pure faculty of the nose they will smell all kinds of fragrances both within and beyond the great manifold cosmos, such as the fragrance of sumanas, jāti, mallikā, campaka, pāṭala flowers, and red, blue, and white lotus flowers, the scent of blossoming and fruit-bearing trees like sandalwood, aloeswood, and tagara wood, the aroma of the leaves of the tamāla tree, thousands of myriads of sorts of fragrances of blended incense, either powdered, shaped into balls, or made into scented ointments. Those who preserve this sutra will be able to distinguish all of these fragrances while remaining in a single place. They will be able to distinguish the scents of sentient beings such as elephants, horses, cows, sheep, men and women, boys and girls, grasses, trees, and shrubs or any kind of odour, either nearby or at a distance. They will also be able to unerringly distinguish all kinds of scents.
  “Those who preserve this sutra, although they dwell here, can smell all kinds of divine fragrances in heaven, such as the fragrance of pāracitraka and kovidāra trees; māndārava, great māndārava, mañjūṣaka, and great mañjūṣaka flowers, or the fragrance of sandalwood and aloeswood powder and various kinds of powdered and blended incense. Among these divine fragrances, there is not one whose scent they cannot distinguish.
  “They can smell the fragrance of the bodies of all the devas. They can also smell from afar the fragrance that is emitted when Śakra, the king of devas, is dwelling in his excellent palace, when he is enjoying the desires of the five senses, or the fragrance that is emitted when he is in the wonderful Dharmā Hall teaching the Dharma to the Thirty-Three devas, or the fragrance that is emitted when he plays in the garden, or the fragrance of the bodies of all the other male and female devas.
  “In this way their faculty of smell reaches up to the Brahma world and to the highest summit of the universe, wherein they can smell the bodies of the devas and the incense the devas burn. They can also smell from afar the fragrance of the śrāvakas, pratyekabuddhas, bodhisattvas, and buddhas and know where they are.
  “Although they can smell all these fragrances, their faculty of smell will not be harmed or misled; and if they want to discriminate and explain these different fragrances to others, they remember them without error.”
  At that time the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  Their faculty of smell is pure.
  They can smell and discriminate
  All kinds of good and bad odours
  In this world, such as sumanas
  And jāti flowers, tamāla leaves,
  Sandalwood, aloeswood, and tagara trees,
  And various fruits and flowers.
  And they also know the fragrance
  Of sentient beings, men and women.
  The Dharma teachers, although dwelling afar,
  Know where these fragrances come from.
  They smell the scents of the wheel-turning kings
  Of great dignity, the lesser rulers
  And their children, subjects and attendants,
  And know where they are.
  They can smell the fragrance of the rare jewels
  That they wear, their underground treasuries,
  And the wheel-turning king’s bejewelled queens,
  And also know where they are.
  They can also smell the ornaments, garments,
  And necklaces with which people adorn themselves
  And the fragrances they anoint themselves with,
  And know who wears them.
  Those who preserve this Lotus Sutra can smell
  The fragrance of the devas and tell
  Whether they are walking, sitting,
  Playing, or transforming themselves.
  Although they dwell here,
  Those who preserve this sutra,
  Know the location of the fragrances
  Of various flowers, fruits, and oils in detail.
  They can smell the scent of sentient beings,
  Either deep in dangerous mountains,
  Or where the sandalwood flowers are in bloom,
  And know where they are.
  Those who preserve this sutra
  Can smell the scents of sentient beings,
  Either on Mount Iron Encircling,
  In the ocean or underground,
  And know exactly where they are.
  They can also smell the scents of the male
  And female asuras and their attendants;
  And they can discriminate them,
  When they are fighting or when at play.
  They can also smell the odours of lions,
  Elephants, tigers, wolves, buffaloes,
  And water buffaloes dwelling in dangerous
  Precipitous places in the wilderness,
  And know where they are.
  They can smell and discriminate exactly
  The scent of a pregnant woman
  And determine whether the embryo
  Will be male or female,
  Without sex organs, or nonhuman.
  Through this power of smell
  They know in the first instance
  If the woman is pregnant,
  And whether or not
  It will be carried to full term;
  And if she will give birth easily,
  And to a happy child.
  Through this power of the faculty of smell
  They know what men and women are thinking,
  Their desires, delusions, and anger,
  Or whether they cultivate goodness.
  They can also smell gold, silver,
  And various rare treasures hidden underground,
  As well as the contents of copper vessels,
  And completely distinguish them.
  They can smell various necklaces
  And know whether they are valuable or not,
  Even when their prices are undetermined,
  Where they come from and where they are now.
  They can smell and know all about
  Divine flowers such as māndārava
  And mañjūṣaka flowers and pārijāta trees.
  They can also smell and discriminate
  The difference between superior,
  Mediocre, and inferior fragrances
  Of heavenly palaces adorned
  With various jewelled flowers.
  They can also smell and know exactly
  About those who take pleasure
  In the heavenly gardens, excellent palaces,
  Towers and Dharma halls.
  Moreover, they can smell and know exactly
  Whether the devas are listening to the Dharma,
  Are enjoying the desires of the five senses,
  Or whether they are coming, going,
  Walking, sitting, or lying.
  They can also smell and know every detail of
  The garments worn by the heavenly maidens,
  Giving off the fragrance of beautiful flowers,
  And where those maidens ramble in their play.
  In this way their power of smell reaches
  All the way up to the Brahma world.
  They can smell and know exactly
  The devas entering meditation and
  Emerging from meditation.
  They can also smell
  All the way from the Light Sound Heaven
  And All Pure Heaven
  Up to the highest summit of the universe,
  And know exactly
  Who has been born there
  And who has passed away.
  Those who preserve this sutra can
  Smell the monks and know exactly where they are,
  If they are constantly persevering toward the Dharma,
  If they are either sitting or walking,
  Reciting this sutra;
  Or if they are diligently
  Meditating under forest trees.
  They can also smell and know exactly
  If a bodhisattva is firm in intention,
  Meditating or reciting the sutra,
  Or teaching the Dharma to others.
  They can also smell and know exactly
  If the Bhagavat is being honoured by all,
  And if he is teaching the Dharma
  Out of his compassion for sentient beings.
  Moreover, they can smell and know exactly
  If the sentient beings in the presence
  Of the Buddha are joyfully listening
  To the sutra, and are practicing
  According to the Dharma.
  Those who preserve this sutra
  Will attain a faculty of smell such as this,
  Even before the bodhisattva’s faculty of smell
  That is attained from the incorruptible Dharma.

  “Furthermore, O Constant Exertion, if sons and daughters of a virtuous family preserve, recite, explain, or copy this sutra, they will attain the twelve hundred qualities of the tongue. All that they taste, whether of good or bad flavour, savoury or bland, bitter or astringent, will, through their pure faculty of tongue, come to taste just like the heavenly nectar, and they will find nothing unpleasant.
  “If they expound the teaching to the great multitude with their tongues, their voices will be profound and touch the heart. All those in this multitude will be gladdened and pleased.
  “Furthermore, Śakra, Brahma and other devaputras and heavenly maidens, hearing a sequence of their teaching expounded with such profound voices, will all come to hear it. Nagas, female nāgas, yakṣas, female yakṣas, gandharvas, female gandharvas, asuras, female asuras, garuḍas, female garuḍas, kiṃnaras, female kiṃnaras, mahoragas, and female mahoragas will all approach, respect, and honour them in order to listen to their teaching. The monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen, kings and princes, ministers and their attendants, and the lesser wheel-turning kings and great wheel-turning kings adorned with the seven treasures and their thousand princes and their attendants of the inner and outer households will ride their palaces to listen to the teaching.
  “Since these bodhisattvas expound the teaching skillfully, the brahmans, the laity, and the people of their land will attend and honour such bodhisattvas until the end of their lives. All the śrāvakas, pratyekabuddhas, bodhisattvas, and buddhas will always wish to see them.
  “Wherever this person may be, the buddhas will teach Dharma to him. He will thus be able to preserve the Buddha-Dharma entirely as well as utter the profound word of the Dharma.”
  Whereupon the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  Such people, through their pure faculty of taste,
  Will never taste bad flavours.
  Whatever they eat
  Will all become the nectar.
  With their profound, subtle voice
  They will teach the Dharma to the great assembly.
  With various explanations and illustrations
  Their teaching will touch the hearts of sentient beings.
  All those who hear them will be gladdened
  And honour them with the best offerings.
  All the devas, nāgas, yakṣas, and asuras
  Will come together and listen with respect
  To the Dharma.
  If these expounders of the Dharma want
  Their subtle voice to penetrate
  Throughout the manifold cosmos,
  It will reach wherever they wish.
  The great and lesser wheel-turning kings,
  And their thousand princes and attendants,
  Will always come and listen to the Dharma
  With their palms pressed together
  And with respectful thoughts.
  All the devas, nāgas, yakṣas,
  Rākṣasas, and piśācas
  With joyful minds will also always
  Rejoice to come and honour them.
  All the devas,
  Such as Brahma, Māra, Freedom, Great Freedom,
  Will always come to them.
  All the buddhas and their disciples,
  Hearing the sound of his teaching,
  Will always remember and protect him,
  And at times appear in his presence.

  “Furthermore, O Constant Exertion, those sons and daughters of a virtuous family who preserve, recite, explain, and copy this sutra will attain eight hundred qualities of the body. Their bodies will be as pure as clear lapis lazuli and sentient beings will gladly look upon them. Because of this purity of body, everything will appear therein: the sentient beings in the great manifold cosmos, when they are born or die, whether they are superior or inferior, whether they are fair or ugly, whether they are in the good or bad states of being. The mountain kings, such as Mount Iron Encircling, Mount Great Iron Encircling, Mount Meru, or Mount Mahāmeru, as well as all the sentient beings who dwell there, will all appear in their body. All those who dwell down as far as the lowest hell and up as high as the summit of the universe will appear in their body. Wherever those śrāvakas, pratyekabuddhas, bodhisattvas, or buddhas are teaching the Dharma, their physical images will appear in this pure body.”
  Thereupon the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  Their bodies are extremely pure
  Like clear lapis lazuli
  If they preserve the Lotus Sutra.
  All sentient beings
  Will gladly look upon them.
  Just as all physical images
  Reflect in a clear mirror,
  The bodhisattvas will see in their own bodies
  Everything in this world.
  They alone see it,
  While no one else does.
  All those sentient beings, devas, humans,
  Asuras, hell-dwellers, hungry ghosts,
  Or animals in the manifold cosmos
  Will also appear in this body
  With their physical images.
  All the heavenly palaces
  Which reach as high as the top of the universe,
  Mount Iron Encircling, Mount Meru, Mount Mahāmeru
  And the oceans will appear in their bodies.
  Those buddhas, śrāvakas, or bodhisattvas,
  Heirs of the buddhas,
  Who are either alone
  Or who teach the Dharma to the assembly,
  Will all appear in their body.
  Even though they have not yet attained
  The Dharma body,
  Which is subtle and without corruption,
  Everything in this world
  Will appear in their pure physical bodies.

  “Furthermore, O Constant Exertion, a son or a daughter of a virtuous family who preserves, recites, explains, or copies this sutra, after the parinirvāṇa of the Tathāgata will attain twelve hundred qualities of the mind. Through their pure faculty of mind, on hearing but a single verse or a single line, they will become versed in the immeasurable and limitless meaning.
  “If, after having understood this meaning, they teach a single line or a single verse for the period of one month, four months, or one year, all the teachings they expound will be entirely characterized by the mark of truth, in accordance with its meaning.
  “If they teach the works on worldly affairs, treatises on political science or enterprise, all these will be in harmony with the True Dharma. They will completely know the minds of those sentient beings who wander through the six transmigratory states in the great manifold cosmos—their workings, shifts, and fallacies—even though they have not yet attained the uncorrupted wisdom. Their faculty of mind will be pure just like this.
  “Whatever this person contemplates, judges, or expounds will be nothing but the True Buddha-Dharma, which has also been taught in the sutras by previous buddhas.”
  Thereupon the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  The minds of such people are pure
  And transparent without impurity.
  Through their faculty of intellect
  They will know the superior,
  Mediocre and inferior teachings.
  On hearing a single verse,
  They will thoroughly penetrate
  The immeasurable meaning.
  Thus they will teach the Dharma little by little
  For a period of one month,
  Four months, or one year.
  As the result of preserving the Lotus Sutra,
  They will instantly know
  What all the sentient beings,
  Inside and outside this world,
  Such as devas, nāgas, humans, yakṣas, rākṣasas,
  Dwelling in the six transmigratory states,
  Think in their various ways.
  They will hear and completely preserve the Dharma
  Which the innumerable buddhas in the ten directions,
  Who are possessed of the marks of a hundred merits,
  Teach for the sake of sentient beings.
  They contemplate the immeasurable meaning
  And they teach the Dharma in immeasurable ways;
  They will neither forget nor be confused
  From the beginning to the end
  Because they preserve the Lotus Sutra.
  They will completely know
  All aspects of all dharmas,
  And discern the meaning
  According to the sequence.
  They will be versed in names and words
  And expound in accordance with this knowledge.
  What they teach is the Dharma
  That has all been taught
  By the buddhas of the past.
  Because they expound this Dharma,
  They will have no fear among the people.
  Those who preserve the Lotus Sutra possess
  The pure faculty of mind just like this.
  Even though they have not yet attained
  The stage of non-corruption,
  They will previously have had
  The characteristics described above.
  These people preserve this sutra
  And dwell in the marvellous stage;
  All the sentient beings will rejoice
  And revere them.
  They will illuminate and explain the teaching
  With thousands of myriads of koṭis of skillful words
  Because they preserve the Lotus Sutra.

  The Lotus Sutra
  Chapter XX Bodhisattva Never Despising

  (Translated from the Chinese of Kumārajiva by Tsugunari Kubo and Akira Yuyama)
  (Second Revised Edition) (dBET)

  Thereupon the Buddha addressed Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Gainer of Great Authority: “You should know that, as I have previously explained, those who revile, disparage, or slander monks, nuns, lay men, and laywomen who preserve the Lotus Sutra will reap a bitter harvest; as I have just taught, the merit attained by preserving the Lotus Sutra will result in the pure faculties of the eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind.
  “O Gainer of Great Authority, in the past, immeasurable, limitless, inconceivable Asamkhyeyas of kalpas ago, there was a buddha called Awesome Sound King, a Tathāgata, Arhat, Completely Enlightened, Perfect in Knowledge and Conduct, Well-Departed, Knower of the World, Unsurpassed, Tamer of Humans, Teacher of Devas and Humans, Buddha, Bhagavat. His land was called Great Achievement and the kalpa was named Exempt from Decay. The Buddha Awesome Sound King expounded the Dharma for the devas, humans, and asuras in his world.
  “To those who sought the śrāvaka vehicle he expounded the Dharma in accordance with the Four Noble Truths, ferried them from birth, old age, illness, and death, and ultimately led them to nirvana. To those who sought the pratyekabuddha vehicle, he expounded the Dharma in accordance with the Twelve-Linked Chain of Dependent Origination. To the bodhisattvas he expounded the Dharma in accordance with the Six Perfections, with reference to Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi, and led them to the Buddha’s wisdom.
  “O Gainer of Great Authority, the lifespan of the Buddha Awesome Sound King was as kalpas equal to the sands of forty myriads of koṭis of nayutas of Ganges Rivers. The True Dharma abided for kalpas equal to the number of particles of Jambudvīpa. The Semblance Dharma abided for kalpas equal to the number of particles of the Fourfold Continents. After having benefited the sentient beings, the Buddha entered parinirvāṇa. After the extinction of the True and Semblance Dharmas, there appeared in this land another buddha who was also called Awesome Sound King, a Tathāgata, Arhat, Completely Enlightened, Perfect in Knowledge and Conduct, Well-Departed, Knower of the World, Unsurpassed, Tamer of Humans, Teacher of Devas and Humans, Buddha, Bhagavat. In this way there appeared two myriads of koṭis of buddhas one after another, all of whom had the same name.
  “After the parinirvāṇa of the first Tathāgata Awesome Sound King, there were excessively proud and overbearing monks in the Age of the Semblance Dharma, after the True Dharma had been extinguished. At that time there was also a monk, a bodhisattva, called Never Despising.
  “O Gainer of Great Authority, why was he called Never Despising? Because whenever he saw any monk, nun, layman, or laywoman, he would praise and pay homage to them, saying:

  I deeply respect you. I dare not belittle you. Why is this? Because all of you practice the bodhisattva path, and will become buddhas.

  “Furthermore, this monk did not concentrate himself on reciting the sutras but only paid homage such that, even when he saw the fourfold assembly from afar, he would go up to them, praise, and pay homage to them, saying:

  I dare not belittle you, because you will all become buddhas.

  “In the fourfold assembly there were some whose minds were impure and who became angry, and reviled and disparaged him, saying:

  Where does this ignorant monk come from? He says that he himself does not belittle us and predicts that we shall all become buddhas. We do not need such an idle prediction.

  “In this way he wandered about for many years and was always reviled. But he never got angry and always said, ‘You will become a buddha.’
  “Whenever he spoke these words, people would assail him with sticks or stones; he fled from them yet still proclaimed loudly at a distance:

  I dare not belittle you. You will all become buddhas.

  “Since he always spoke these words, the excessively proud monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen called him Never Despising. When this monk was about to die, he heard in the air twenty thousands of myriads of koṭis of verses of the Lotus Sutra expounded previously by the Buddha Awesome Sound King and, completely preserving them, he attained the purity of the eye, and the purity of the ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind that were described before. After having attained these pure faculties, his lifespan increased two hundreds of myriads of koṭis of nayutas of years and he taught this Lotus Sutra to the people far and wide.
  “Then those excessively proud monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen in the fourfold assembly who had despised him and called him Never Despising saw that he had attained great transcendent powers, the power of joy in eloquence, and the power of great virtuous meditation. Hearing his teaching, all of them believed and followed him.
  “Furthermore, this bodhisattva inspired a thousand myriads of koṭis of sentient beings and caused them to abide in Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. After his death, he met two thousand koṭis of buddhas, all of whom were called Sun Moon Lamp Bright. In accordance with the teaching of these Buddhas, he expounded this Lotus Sutra, and for this reason met another two thousand koṭis of buddhas, all of whom were called Cloud Freedom Lamp King. He preserved and recited this sutra in accordance with the teaching of these buddhas and expounded it for the sake of the fourfold assembly. Thus he attained purity of the natural eye and purity of the ear, nose, tongue, body, and mind, and taught the Dharma to the fourfold assembly without fear.
  “O Gainer of Great Authority, this Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Never Despising respected, honoured, praised, and paid homage to all these buddhas. Having planted roots of good merit, he again met thousands of myriads of koṭis of buddhas; and he expounded this sutra over again in accordance with the teaching of those buddhas. Having perfected his merits he would attain buddhahood.
  “O Gainer of Great Authority, what do you think about this? Was Bodhisattva Never Despising of that time someone unknown to you? He was none other than I myself. If I had not preserved and recited this sutra and taught it to others in my previous lives, I would not have swiftly attained Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. Because I preserved and recited this sutra and taught it to others in the presence of previous buddhas, I swiftly attained Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi.
  “O Gainer of Great Authority, the fourfold assembly of monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen of that time who became angry and disparaged me, did not, as a consequence, meet a buddha for two hundred koṭis of kalpas, nor did they hear the Dharma or see the Sangha. They suffered greatly in the Avīci Hell for a thousand kalpas. After having been freed from the consequences of their errors they finally met Bodhisattva Never Despising, who led and inspired them to Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi.
  “O Gainer of Great Authority, what do you think about this? Were those in the fourfold assembly of that time who disparaged this bodhisattva persons unknown to you? They are the five hundred bodhisattvas in this assembly, beginning with Bhadrapāla, the five hundred nuns beginning with Lion Moon, and the five hundred laymen beginning with Sugatacetanā, all of whom will never turn back on the path to Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi.
  “O Gainer of Great Authority, know that this Lotus Sutra will greatly benefit the bodhisattva mahāsattvas and lead them to Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. For this reason, after the Tathāgata’s parinirvāṇa the bodhisattva mahāsattvas should always preserve, recite, explain, and copy this sutra.”
  Thereupon the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  In the past there was a buddha
  Called Awesome Sound King.
  He had immeasurable transcendent powers,
  Led and guided all sentient beings,
  And was paid homage by devas, humans, and nāgas.
  After the parinirvāṇa of this buddha,
  When the True Dharma faced extinction,
  There was a bodhisattva called Never Despising.
  At that time the fourfold assembly
  Was becoming attached
  To its own interpretation of the Dharma.
  Bodhisattva Never Despising
  Would approach them and say:

  I do not belittle you;
  Practice the path
  And you will all become buddhas.

  After hearing this,
  All the people insulted and disparaged him;
  But Bodhisattva Never Despising
  Patiently bore this.
  As he neared the time of his death,
  When he had expiated his past errors,
  He was able to hear this sutra,
  And his six sense faculties became pure.
  Through his transcendent powers
  He prolonged his life
  And explained this sutra far and wide,
  Acting, once again, for the benefit of others.
  Those who were attached
  To their own interpretations of the Dharma
  Were led and inspired by this bodhisattva
  And were enabled to abide
  Within the buddha path.
  After the end of his life,
  Bodhisattva Never Despising
  Met innumerable buddhas.
  Because he explained this sutra,
  He attained immeasurable merits.
  Gradually accumulating his merits,
  He quickly attained the buddha path.
  The Bodhisattva Never Despising of that time
  Was none other than I.
  Because the fourfold assembly,
  Which was then attached to
  Particular aspects of the Dharma,
  Heard Bodhisattva Never Despising say:

  You will all become buddhas,

  They have since met innumerable buddhas.
  Those people are none other
  Than the five hundred bodhisattvas
  And laymen and laywomen of pure belief
  Who are now gathered before me
  In this assembly to hear the Dharma.
  In my previous lives I taught them
  And led them to hear and accept this sutra,
  Which is the ultimate Dharma.
  I revealed it and taught it to others,
  And caused them to abide in nirvana.
  Throughout many lifetimes they preserved and kept
  A sutra such as this.
  Only after myriads of koṭis of koṭis
  Of kalpas have passed,
  A time inconceivable,
  Can they hear this Lotus Sutra.
  Only after myriads of koṭis of koṭis
  Of kalpas have passed,
  A time inconceivable,
  Do the Buddha Bhagavats
  Expound this sutra.
  For this reason, all you practitioners
  Who hear this sutra
  After the nirvana of the Buddha
  Should feel no doubt about it.
  You must wholeheartedly
  Expound this sutra far and wide.
  You will then meet the buddhas lifetime after lifetime
  And quickly attain the buddha path.

  The Lotus Sutra
  Chapter XXI The Transcendent Powers of the Tathāgata

  (Translated from the Chinese of Kumārajiva by Tsugunari Kubo and Akira Yuyama)
  (Second Revised Edition) (dBET)

  Thereupon the bodhisattva mahāsattvas equal to the number of particles of the great manifold cosmos, who had emerged from the earth, all in the presence of the Buddha gazed single-mindedly at his face with their palms pressed together, and spoke to the Buddha, saying:
  “O Bhagavat, after the parinirvāṇa of the Buddha, we will teach this sutra extensively in the lands of the Bhagavat’s separate forms, after the time of their extinction. Why is this? Because we also wish to attain this true, pure, great Dharma, and to preserve, recite, explain, copy, and make offerings to it.”
  Then the Bhagavat manifested his great transcendent powers in the presence of Mañjuśrī and other immeasurable hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of bodhisattva mahāsattvas who had long lived in this sahā world, and those humans and nonhumans such as monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen, devas, nāgas, yakṣas, gandharvas, asuras, garuḍas, kiṃnaras, and mahoragas.
  He put out his wide and long tongue which reached upward to the Brahma world. He emitted innumerable and immeasurable coloured rays of light from all his pores and universally illuminated the worlds of the ten directions.
  All the buddhas sitting on the lion seats under the jewelled trees also put out their wide and long tongues and emitted immeasurable rays of light in the same way. Śākyamuni Buddha and the other buddhas under the jewelled trees manifested transcendent powers while fully hundreds of thousands of years passed.
  After this they drew back their tongues, coughed, and snapped their fingers together in unison. Those two sounds penetrated throughout the various buddha worlds of the ten directions and the earth quaked in six ways.
  Through the transcendent powers of the Buddha, all the sentient beings in these worlds—humans and such nonhumans as devas, nāgas, yakṣas, gandharvas, asuras, garuḍas, kiṃnaras, and mahoragas—saw all the buddhas sitting on the lion seats under the immeasurable, limitless hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of jewelled trees in this sahā world.
  They saw Śākyamuni Buddha sitting on the lion seat in the jewelled stupa, together with Tathāgata Many Treasures. They also saw immeasurable, limitless hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of bodhisattva mahāsattvas and the fourfold assembly respectfully surrounding Śākyamuni Buddha. After seeing this, they all rejoiced greatly at having attained this unprecedented experience. At the same time all the devas spoke loudly while in the air, saying:
  “Beyond these immeasurable, limitless hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of Asamkhyeyas of worlds, there is a land called Sahā. In it is a buddha called Śākyamuni. For the sake of the bodhisattva mahāsattvas he now teaches the Mahayana sutra called the Lotus Sutra, the instruction for bodhisattvas and treasured lore of the buddhas. You should rejoice deeply. You should also honour and pay homage to Śākyamuni Buddha.”
  Hearing this voice in the air, all those sentient beings pressed their palms together, faced the sahā world and said:
  “We take refuge in Śākyamuni Buddha. We take refuge in Śākyamuni Buddha.”
  All of them scattered various kinds of flowers, incense, necklaces, banners, canopies, ornaments, jewels, and other beautiful things over the sahā world from afar. All that had been scattered formed together from the ten directions like a cloud and was transformed into a jewelled screen that covered all the buddhas. Then the worlds of the ten directions became pellucid, without obstruction, as if they were one buddha land.
  Thereupon the Buddha addressed the great assembly of bodhisattvas, beginning with Superior Practices:
  “The transcendent powers of the buddhas are as immeasurable, limitless, and inconceivable as this. Yet if I were to use these transcendent powers to teach the benefits of this sutra so that it would be entrusted to you for immeasurable, limitless, hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of Asamkhyeyas of kalpas, I would not be able to reach the end of these qualities. To sum up, in this sutra I have clearly revealed and taught all the teachings of the Tathāgata, all the transcendent powers of the Tathāgata, all the treasure houses of the hidden essence of the Tathāgata, and all the profound aspects of the Tathāgata. For this reason, after the parinirvāṇa of the Tathāgata, you should wholeheartedly preserve, recite, explain, and copy it, and practice according to the teaching. For those who accept, recite, explain, and copy it, and practice according to the teaching, in whichever land they may be, in a place where the sutra abides— either in a garden, a forest, under a tree, in a monk’s chamber, in a layman’s house, in a palace, on a mountain, in a valley, or in the wilderness—in all of these places a monument should be erected and paid homage to. Why is this? Because you should know that these places are the terraces of enlightenment where all the buddhas have attained Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi, where all the buddhas have turned the wheel of the Dharma, and where all the buddhas entered parinirvāṇa.”
  Thereupon the Bhagavat, wanting to elaborate on the meaning of this further, spoke these verses:

  The buddhas, world-inspirers,
  Abiding in their great transcendent powers,
  Manifest this immeasurable power
  In order to gladden sentient beings.
  Their tongues reach up to the Brahma world
  And they emit innumerable rays of light
  From their bodies.
  They manifest this marvel
  For those who seek for the buddha path.
  The coughing and snapping sounds
  Of the buddhas are universally heard
  In the lands of the ten directions.
  The earth quakes in six ways in all of their lands.
  Because this sutra can be preserved
  After the nirvana of the Buddha,
  All the buddhas rejoice and manifest
  Their immeasurable transcendent powers.
  Even if, for immeasurable kalpas,
  They praise those who preserve this sutra,
  In order to entrust it,
  They will not reach the limit of their merit.
  The qualities of those people are
  Limitless and endless,
  Just like the boundless sky
  In the ten directions.
  Those who preserve this sutra
  Have already seen me,
  The Buddha Many Treasures,
  The various magically created forms,
  And all the bodhisattvas
  I have led and inspired up until now.
  Those who preserve this sutra
  Will gladden me, my magically created forms,
  As well as the Buddha Many Treasures
  Who has entered nirvana.
  They will also see, gladden, and pay homage to
  The past and future buddhas, and those who are present
  In the ten directions.
  Those who preserve this sutra
  Will before long attain the Dharma,
  The hidden essence,
  Which was attained by the buddhas
  Seated upon the terrace of enlightenment.
  Those who preserve this sutra
  Will explain the meaning of the Dharma,
  The names and phrases, joyfully and with undying vigour,
  Like the wind in the sky
  That has no obstruction whatsoever.
  After the parinirvāṇa of the Tathāgata,
  They will know the causes and conditions
  And the sequences of the sutras
  Taught by the Buddha,
  And will explain the truth
  In accordance with its meaning.
  As the light of the sun and moon
  Eliminates the darkness,
  These people practicing in the world
  Will extinguish the blindness of sentient beings,
  Teaching innumerable bodhisattvas
  To dwell ultimately in the single vehicle.
  For this reason,
  The wise, hearing of the benefits of these merits,
  Should preserve this sutra
  After my nirvana.
  Those people will be resolute and will
  Unwaveringly follow the buddha path.

  The Lotus Sutra
  Chapter XXII Entrustment

  (Translated from the Chinese of Kumārajiva by Tsugunari Kubo and Akira Yuyama)
  (Second Revised Edition) (dBET)

  Thereupon, having arisen from the Dharma seat and manifested his great transcendent powers, Śākyamuni Buddha caressed the heads of the innumerable bodhisattva mahāsattvas with his right hand, and addressed them, saying:
  “For immeasurable hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of Asamkhyeyas of kalpas, I practiced this Dharma of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi, which is hard to attain. I now entrust it to you. You should wholeheartedly spread this teaching and so extensively benefit others.”
  Having caressed the heads of the bodhisattva mahāsattvas three times in this way, he further addressed them, saying: “For immeasurable hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of Asamkhyeyas of kalpas, I practiced this Dharma of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi, which is hard to attain. I now entrust it to you. You should preserve and recite it. You should spread this teaching extensively. You should let all the sentient beings hear and know it. Why is this? Because with his great compassion, unstinting and unafraid, the Tathāgata gives the wisdom of the Buddha, the wisdom of the Tathāgata, and the knowledge of the self-arising one to the sentient beings. The Tathāgata is nothing but the great donor to all the sentient beings. You should accordingly practice the teaching of the Tathāgata. Never allow the thought of avarice to awaken in you! If there are sons and daughters of a virtuous family who believe in the wisdom of the Tathāgata in the future, you should expound this Lotus Sutra; and let them hear and know it so that they may attain the wisdom of the Buddha. If there are sentient beings who do not accept it, you should reveal, teach, benefit, and gladden them with the other profound teachings of the Tathāgata. If you do this, you have repaid your indebtedness to the Buddha.”
  Having heard the Buddha teach this, all the bodhisattva mahāsattvas were filled with joy, inclined their bodies, bowed their heads with increased respect, and, with their palms pressed together, faced the buddhas and uttered these words: “We will certainly do as the Bhagavat directs us. O Bhagavat, we entreat you to feel no anxiety.”
  All the bodhisattva mahāsattvas uttered these words three times in this way, saying: “We will do as the Bhagavat directs us. O Bhagavat, we entreat you to feel no anxiety.”
  At that time, in order to cause all the buddhas who were his magically created forms and who had come from the ten directions to return to their own lands, Śākyamuni Buddha said this: “All the buddhas should be at ease. The Buddha Many Treasures will be restored as before.”
  When he said this, all the innumerable buddhas in their magically created forms from the ten directions sitting on the lion seats under the jewelled trees, the Buddha Many Treasures, the great assembly of the limitless Asamkhyeyas of bodhisattvas beginning with Superior Practices, the fourfold assemblies of the śrāvakas beginning with Śāriputra, and the devas, humans, and asuras in all the worlds, having heard what the Buddha had taught, rejoiced greatly.

  The Lotus Sutra
  Chapter XXIII Ancient Accounts of Bodhisattva Medicine King

  (Translated from the Chinese of Kumārajiva by Tsugunari Kubo and Akira Yuyama)
  (Second Revised Edition) (dBET)

  Thereupon Bodhisattva Constellation King Flower addressed the Buddha, saying: “O Bhagavat, why does Bodhisattva Medicine King wander in this sahā world? O Bhagavat, this Bodhisattva Medicine King has performed hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of nayutas of difficult and arduous practices. Splendid, O Bhagavat! I entreat you to explain it even a little, so that all the devas, nāgas, yakṣas, gandharvas, asuras, garuḍas, kiṃnaras, mahoragas, humans, and nonhumans, and also the assemblies of the bodhisattvas who have come from the other lands and these śrāvakas, will rejoice on hearing it.”
  Then the Buddha spoke to Bodhisattva Constellation King Flower, saying: “In the remote past, beyond kalpas as immeasurable as the sands of the Ganges River, there was a buddha called Sun Moon Pure Bright Virtue, an Tathagata, Arhat, Completely Enlightened, Perfect in Knowledge and Conduct, Well-Departed, Knower of the World, Unsurpassed, Tamer of Humans, Teacher of Devas and Humans, Buddha, Bhagavat. With this buddha were eighty koṭis of great bodhisattva mahāsattvas and an assembly of great śrāvakas, as many as the sands of seventy-two Ganges Rivers. The lifespan of this buddha was forty-two thousand kalpas, and the lifespans of the bodhisattvas were also equal to this. In his land there were no women, no hell-dwellers, no hungry ghosts, no animals, no asuras, and no calamities. The land was level like the palm of one’s hand and was made of lapis lazuli. It was adorned with jewelled trees, and was covered with jewelled canopies with various hanging, flowered banners. This world was filled with jewelled vases and incense burners. There were platforms made of the seven treasures. For each tree there was a platform, and each tree stood away from the platform a distance of no more than a bow-shot. All the bodhisattvas and śrāvakas sat under these jewelled trees. On the top of every jewelled platform were hundreds of koṭis of devas who played divine music and sang in praise and homage to the Buddha. Then the Buddha expounded the Lotus Sutra for Bodhisattva Gladly Seen by All Living Beings and numerous other bodhisattvas and śrāvakas. Bodhisattva Gladly Seen by All Living Beings devoted himself entirely to severe practices. Following the teachings of the Buddha Sun Moon Pure Bright Virtue, he strove and wandered up and down in the single-minded search for enlightenment for a full twelve thousand years; and he attained the samadhi in which one can manifest all physical forms. After having attained this samādhi, he rejoiced a great deal and thought thus:

  I have attained the samadhi in which I can manifest all physical forms entirely because of the power I attained through hearing the Lotus Sutra. I will now pay homage to the Buddha Sun Moon Pure Bright Virtue and the Lotus Sutra.

  “Immediately after he had entered this samādhi, māndārava and great māndārava flowers and finely powdered solid and black sandalwood fell from the sky, filling the air like clouds and raining down upon the earth. It also rained the perfume of sandalwood from the inner seacoast of Mount Sumeru. With this quantity of perfume, six drams of which equal the worth of this sahā world, he paid homage to the Buddha. Having paid homage to the Buddha, he emerged from samādhi and thought this:

  I have paid homage to the Buddha using my transcendent power. This is, however, by no means equal to the tribute of offering my body.

  “For a full one thousand two hundred years, he inhaled the fragrance of sandalwood, olibanum, frankincense, clove, aloeswood, and glue trees and drank the fragrant oil of campaka flowers. He then anointed his body with scented ointment. In the presence of the Buddha Sun Moon Pure Bright Virtue he covered his body with a divine jewelled garment and with the fragrant oil. Through his transcendent power and vows he set his body alight, which illuminated worlds equal in number to the sands of eighty koṭis of Ganges Rivers. At the same time all the buddhas in these worlds praised him, saying:

  Splendid, splendid, O son of a virtuous family! This is the true perseverance. This is called the true Dharma offering to the Tathāgata. It stands no comparison, even if one were to pay tribute with flowers, perfumes, necklaces, burning incense, scented powders, ointments, divine silk banners, canopies, perfumes of sandalwood from the inner seacoast of Mount Sumeru, and various other things like this. It stands no comparison, even if one were to offer one’s kingdom or wife and children. O son of a virtuous family, this is the supreme offering. This is the highest and best of all offerings, because you offer the Dharma to the Tathāgatas.

  “Having spoken these words, all became silent. His body was alight for one thousand two hundred years. After this period passed, his body burned out. Because he had paid tribute to the Tathagatas like this, Bodhisattva Gladly Seen by All Living Beings was reborn after his death in the land of the Buddha Sun Moon Pure Bright Virtue. He was born spontaneously, sitting cross-legged in the house of King Pure Virtue.
  “Then he immediately spoke these verses for the sake of his father, saying:

  O Great King! You should now know
  That I, in an instant, attained
  The samadhi in which I can manifest all physical forms
  In the place where I wandered;
  And, practicing with enthusiasm and perseverance,
  I set aside this, my beloved body.
  I have paid homage to the Bhagavat
  In order to attain the utmost wisdom.

  “After having spoken these verses, he addressed his father, saying:

  The Buddha Sun Moon Pure Bright Virtue is now in this world. Having previously paid homage to the Buddha, I attained the dhāraṇī of understanding the speech of all sentient beings and heard eight hundred thousands of myriads of koṭis of nayutas of verses and tens of billions of verses, hundreds of billions of verses and thousands of billions of verses of the Lotus Sutra. O Great King, I will now once again pay homage to this buddha.

  “Having spoken this, he sat on the seven-jewelled platform and ascended into the air as high as seven tāla trees. Having come before the Buddha, he bowed until his forehead touched the Buddha’s feet. He praised the Buddha in verse with his ten fingers pressed together, saying:

  Your countenance is rare and wonderful.
  Your brilliance illuminates the ten directions.
  Once I paid you homage.
  I now come to behold you again.

  “Thereupon Bodhisattva Gladly Seen by All Living Beings, having spoken this verse, addressed the Buddha, saying:

  O Bhagavat! The Bhagavat is yet in this world!

  “Then the Buddha Sun Moon Pure Bright Virtue said to Bodhisattva Gladly Seen by All Living Beings:

  O son of a virtuous family! The time of my parinirvāṇa has come. The time of extinction has come. I ask you now to prepare my bed. I will enter parinirvāṇa tonight.

  “The Buddha said again to Bodhisattva Gladly Seen by All Living Beings:

  O son of a virtuous family! I entrust you with the Buddha-Dharma, and all the bodhisattvas and great śrāvakas as well as the Dharma for Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. I will also entrust you with the seven jewelled world, all the jewelled trees, jewelled platforms, and the devas who are my servants in the great manifold cosmos. After my parinirvāṇa I will also entrust you with all my relics. You should distribute them far and wide and pay them homage. You should also erect a great many thousands of stupas.

  “Having addressed Bodhisattva Gladly Seen by All Living Beings in this way, the Buddha Sun Moon Pure Bright Virtue entered parinirvāṇa in the last watch of that night.
  “Thereupon, having seen the Buddha’s parinirvāṇa, Bodhisattva Gladly Seen by All Living Beings was grieved and saddened, and longed and yearned for the Buddha. Having prepared a pyre with sandalwood from the inner seacoast of Mount Sumeru, he cremated the Buddha’s body in homage. After the fire had gone out, he collected all the relics. He had eighty-four thousand jewelled urns made and erected eighty-four thousand stupas as high as three worlds. They were adorned with poles from which hung all kinds of banners and canopies and various kinds of jewelled bells.
  “Then Bodhisattva Gladly Seen by All Living Beings thought this:

  Although I have paid tribute in this way, I am not yet satisfied. I will now further pay homage to the relics.

  “Then he spoke to all the great assemblies of bodhisattvas, great śrāvakas, devas, nāgas, and yakṣas, saying:

  You should pay full attention: I will now pay homage to the relics of the Buddha Sun Moon Pure Bright Virtue.

  “Having said these words, he made an offering before the eighty-four thousand stupas by burning his arms adorned with hundreds of merits for seventy-two thousand years. He thus made innumerable śrāvakas and immeasurable Asamkhyeyas of people set forth toward Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. All of them were made to dwell in the samadhi in which one can manifest all physical forms.
  “At that time all the bodhisattvas, devas, humans, and asuras saw that his arms were missing and became grieved and distressed. They said:

  This Bodhisattva Gladly Seen by All Living Beings is our teacher. He has led and inspired us. He has now burned his arms, and his body is deformed.

  “Then Bodhisattva Gladly Seen by All Living Beings made a vow and said to the great assembly:

  I have abandoned both my arms, and I shall definitely attain the golden body of the Buddha. If this is true and not false, then may both arms be restored as before.

  “Because this bodhisattva was endowed with profound merit and wisdom, after he had made this vow his arms recovered spontaneously. At that very time the great manifold cosmos quaked in six ways. It rained jewelled flowers from the heavens and all the devas and humans experienced an unprecedented marvel.”
  The Buddha addressed Bodhisattva Constellation King Flower, saying:
  “What do you think about this? Is Bodhisattva Gladly Seen by All Living Beings someone unknown to you? He is none other than this Bodhisattva Medicine King. He undertook the practice of giving by abandoning his body immeasurable hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of nayutas of times in this way. O Constellation King Flower! If there is anyone who sets forth and wishes to Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi, and is able to pay homage to the stupas of the Buddha by burning either a finger or a toe, he is superior to those who pay homage by giving their countries and cities, their wives and children, and the mountains, forests, rivers, ponds, and many other rare treasures in the great manifold cosmos.
  “If there is anyone who pays homage to the buddhas, great bodhisattvas, pratyekabuddhas, and arhats by filling the great manifold cosmos with the seven precious treasures, the merit of this person will be inferior to the surpassing merit of one who receives and holds to even a single verse consisting of four lines of the Lotus Sutra.
  “O Constellation King Flower! Just as the ocean is the greatest of streams and rivers and of all waters, this Lotus Sutra is the most profound of the sutras taught by the Tathāgatas. Just as Mount Sumeru is the greatest of mountains—greater than Earth Mountain, Black Mountain, Mount Iron Encircling, Mount Great Iron Encircling, and the ten jewelled mountains—this Lotus Sutra is the greatest of the sutras. Just as the moon is the greatest among all the stars, this Lotus Sutra is the most illuminating of the thousands of koṭis of sutras. Just as the sun destroys darkness, in the same way this sutra destroys the darkness of erring thought. Just as the wheel-turning sage king is the best of all the kings, this sutra is the noblest of all the sutras. Just as Śakra is the king of the Thirty-Three devas, this sutra is the King of Sutras. Just as Great Brahma is the father of all the sentient beings, in the same way this sutra is the father of all the wise, the noble, those who have more to learn and those who do not, and those in whom the thought of enlightenment has awakened. Just as those who have entered the stream of the teaching, those who are to return to this world once again, those who are never to return, arhats, and pratyekabuddhas are the best of all the common people, in the same way this is the best of all the sutras taught by all the Tathāgatas, bodhisattvas, or śrāvakas.
  “Those who hold to this sutra are the best of all sentient beings. The bodhisattvas are the best of all śrāvakas and pratyekabuddhas. In the same way, this sutra is the best of all sutras. Just as the Buddha is the King of the Dharma, this sutra is the King of Sutras.
  “O Constellation King Flower! This sutra saves all sentient beings. This sutra makes all sentient beings free from suffering. This sutra greatly benefits all sentient beings and brings their aspirations to fulfillment, just as a clear, cool pond satisfies the thirsty, as a fire satisfies those suffering from cold, as clothes for the naked, as a caravan leader for merchants, as a mother for her children, as a boat for the traveler, as a physician for the sick, as a lamp for the gloom, as a treasure for the poor, as a king for the people, as the sea for traders, and a torch for those in darkness. In the same way, this Lotus Sutra frees sentient beings from every suffering, all the pains and bonds of illness and of birth and death. If there is anyone who hears this Lotus Sutra, copies it, or moves others to copy it, their merit will be limitless even if it is measured through the Buddha’s wisdom. If there is anyone who copies it and pays it tribute with flowers, perfumes, necklaces, burning incense, scented powders, fragrant ointments, banners, canopies, clothes, various kinds of ghee lamps, oil lamps, fragrant oil lamps, lamps of oil made from campaka, sumanas, pāṭala, vārṣika, and navamā likā trees, that person’s merit will also be immeasurable.
  “O Constellation King Flower! If there is anyone who hears this chapter ‘Ancient Accounts of Bodhisattva Medicine King,’ they will attain immeasurable and limitless merit. If there is any woman who hears and holds to this chapter ‘Ancient Accounts of Bodhisattva Medicine King,’ she will never be reborn with a female body. If there is any woman in the last five hundred years after the parinirvāṇa of the Tathāgata who hears this sutra and practices according to the teaching, after her death she will immediately reach the dwelling of the Buddha Amitāyus in the world of Peace, surrounded by great bodhisattvas, and will be born on a jewelled seat in a lotus flower. Never again troubled by the [three poisons] of greed, anger, or ignorance, by arrogance or jealousy, he will attain the bodhisattva’s transcendent powers and the acceptance of the non-origination of all dharmas. After attaining this acceptance, his faculty of sight will be pure; and with this pure eye faculty, he will see all the Buddha Tathāgatas, equal in number to the sands of seventy-two million koṭis of nayutas of Ganges Rivers. At that time all the buddhas will praise him from afar, saying:

  Splendid! Splendid! Son of a virtuous family! You have preserved, recited, and contemplated this sutra from the teachings of the Buddha Śākyamuni and taught it to others. The merit you have obtained is immeasurable and limitless. Even fire cannot burn it. Even water cannot wash it away. Even thousands of buddhas cannot give a complete description of your merit. You have already destroyed the māras. You have already conquered the armies of birth and death. You have defeated all enemies. O son of a virtuous family! Hundreds of thousands of buddhas together protect you with their transcendent powers. There is no one equal to you among the devas and humans of the entire world. With the exception of the Tathāgata, the wisdom and meditation of all śrāvakas, pratyekabuddhas, and bodhisattvas can never equal yours.

  “O Constellation King Flower! Such is the power of the merit and wisdom that this bodhisattva has perfected. If there is anyone who hears this chapter ‘Ancient Accounts of Bodhisattva Medicine King,’ rejoices in it, and praises it well, in his present life he will always exhale the fragrance of blue lotus flowers from his mouth and will always emit the fragrance of the sandalwood on Mount Oxhead from his pores. The benefits of the qualities he has obtained are just as mentioned above. For this reason, O Constellation King Flower, I will entrust you with this chapter ‘Ancient Accounts of Bodhisattva Medicine King.’ During the period of the last five hundred years after my parinirvāṇa you must spread it far and wide in Jambudvīpa and not allow it to be destroyed. You must not give Māra and his men, or the devas, nāgas, yakṣas, and kumbhāṇḍa demons any chance of destroying it. O Constellation King Flower! You should protect this sutra with your transcendent power. Why is this? Because this sutra is good medicine for the ills of the people of Jambudvīpa. If there is any sick person who hears this sutra, his illness will disappear, and he will neither die nor grow old. O Constellation King Flower! If you see anyone who holds to this sutra, you should scatter blue lotus flowers full of scented powder on him. After scattering them, you should think like this:

  This man will before long destroy the army of Māra, sitting on the grass-covered terrace of enlightenment. He will blow the conch of the Dharma, beat the drum of the great Dharma, and ferry all sentient beings across the ocean of birth, old age, illness, and death.

  “Therefore, if those seeking the buddha path see those who hold to this sutra, the thought of respect like this should awaken in them.”
  When this chapter, “Ancient Accounts of Bodhisattva Medicine King,” was being taught, eighty-four thousand bodhisattvas attained the dhāraṇī of understanding the speech of all sentient beings. The Tathāgata Many Treasures in the jewelled stupa praised Bodhisattva Constellation King Flower, saying:
  “Splendid! Splendid! O Constellation King Flower! You have attained marvellous merit, for you have questioned the Buddha Śākyamuni about these things and benefited all of the immeasurable numbers of sentient beings.”

  The Lotus Sutra
  Chapter XXIV Bodhisattva Wonderful Voice

  (Translated from the Chinese of Kumārajiva by Tsugunari Kubo and Akira Yuyama)
  (Second Revised Edition) (dBET)

  Thereupon, the Buddha Śākyamuni emitted a ray of light from his topknot, the mark of a great person, and also from the tuft of white hair between his eyebrows, thus illuminating all the buddha worlds in the east equal to the sands of one hundred and eight myriads of koṭis of nayutas of Ganges Rivers. Beyond this number of worlds was the buddha world called Adorned with Pure Light. In that world was the buddha named Pure Flower Constellation King Wisdom, a Tathāgata, Arhat, Completely Enlightened, Perfect in Knowledge and Conduct, Well Departed, Knower of the World, Unsurpassed, Tamer of Humans, Teacher of Devas and Humans, Buddha, Bhagavat. He was respectfully surrounded by a great assembly of countless, innumerable bodhisattvas, and he expounded his teaching for them. The ray of light emitted from the tuft of white hair between the eyebrows of Śākyamuni Buddha illuminated that entire world.
  At that time, in the buddha world of Adorned with Pure Light there was a bodhisattva whose name was Wonderful Voice. Having planted many roots of good merit over a long period, he paid homage to and closely attended immeasurable hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of buddhas, and accomplished complete and profound wisdom. He attained the samadhi of the wonderful banner mark, the Dharma flower samadhi, the pure virtue samadhi, the samadhi of the constellation king’s sport, the conditionless samadhi, the seal of wisdom samadhi, the samadhi that allows one to understand the words of all living beings, the samadhi that gathers together all benefits, the pure samadhi, the samadhi of the sport of transcendental powers, the wisdom torch samadhi, the adorned king samadhi, the pure light glow samadhi, the pure storehouse samadhi, the unshared samadhi, and the samadhi of the sun’s revolving and so on. He thus attained great samādhis equal in number to the sands of hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of Ganges Rivers. As the light of the Buddha Śākyamuni illuminated his body, he addressed the Buddha Pure Flower Constellation King Wisdom, saying:
  “O Bhagavat! I shall go to the sahā world, approach the Buddha Śākyamuni in homage and reverence, and see Bodhisattva Mañjuśrī, the Prince of the Dharma, as well as Bodhisattva Medicine King, Bodhisattva Brave Donor, Bodhisattva Constellation King Flower, Bodhisattva Superior Practices Intent, Bodhisattva Adorned King, and Bodhisattva Medicine Superior.”
  Then the Buddha Pure Flower Constellation King Wisdom addressed Bodhisattva Wonderful Voice, saying:
  “You must not despise that world nor think it inferior. O son of a virtuous family! The land of that sahā world is uneven and irregular and is filled with mud, stones, mountains, and filth. The Buddha is short of body, as are the bodhisattvas. By contrast, your body is forty-two thousand yojanas tall, and my body is six million eight hundred thousand yojanas tall. Your body is perfect in its bearing and illuminated most beautifully with hundreds of millions of merits. Yet, when you go there you must not despise that country nor think the Buddha, bodhisattvas, or the world itself inferior.”
  The Bodhisattva Wonderful Voice addressed the Buddha, saying:
  “O Bhagavat! I am now going to the sahā world through the power of the Tathāgata, the carefree play of the transcendent powers of the Tathāgata, and the adornment of the qualities and wisdom of the Tathāgata.”
  At that time Bodhisattva Wonderful Voice, without rising from his seat or moving his body, entered samādhi. Through the power of the samādhi he caused eighty-four thousand jewelled lotus flowers to appear on Mount Gṛdhrakūṭa, not far from the seat of the Dharma. The stems were made of Jambūnāda gold, the leaves of silver, the pistils of diamond, and the calyces of ruby.
  On seeing these lotus flowers, Bodhisattva Mañjuśrī, the Prince of the Dharma, addressed the Buddha, saying: “O Bhagavat! Why has this marvel appeared? There are a great many millions of lotus flowers, whose stems are made of Jambūnāda gold, leaves of silver, pistils of diamond, and calyces of ruby.”
  The Buddha Śākyamuni answered Mañjuśrī, saying: “The Bodhisattva Wonderful Voice wishes to come to this sahā world from the buddha world called Pure Flower Constellation King Wisdom, together with eighty-four thousand bodhisattvas as his retinue. He approaches me in homage and reverence, wishing to make offerings and to hear the Lotus Sutra.”
  Mañjuśrī asked the Buddha, saying: “O Bhagavat! What roots of good merit has he planted, and what merits has he practiced to attain his great transcendent powers? What kind of samādhi has he practiced? I entreat you to tell us the name of this samādhi. We wish to practice it with diligence. By practicing this samādhi we wish to see the shape, appearance, size, and manner of this bodhisattva. I entreat you, O Bhagavat, to use your transcendent powers and let us see the appearance of that bodhisattva.”
  Then, the Buddha Śākyamuni spoke to Mañjuśrī, saying: “The Tathāgata Many Treasures, who long ago entered parinirvāṇa, will show you the appearance of that bodhisattva.”
  At that time the Buddha Many Treasures addressed that bodhisattva, saying: “Come, O son of a virtuous family! Mañjuśrī, the Prince of the Dharma, wishes to see you.”
  Thereupon Bodhisattva Wonderful Voice disappeared from his world and arrived together with eighty-four thousand bodhisattvas. In the worlds through which he passed, the land quaked in six ways, seven-jewelled lotus flowers rained everywhere, and hundreds of thousands of heavenly musical instruments sounded spontaneously without being played. The eyes of this bodhisattva were as large as blue lotus leaves. Even if hundreds of thousands of myriads of moons were gathered together, they would not exceed the beauty of his countenance. His body was pure gold in colour, adorned with immeasurable hundreds of thousands of merits, radiant with virtuous dignity, and brilliantly illuminated like the adamantine body of the god Nārāyaṇa. Having entered the seven-jewelled platform and ascended into the air, he flew above the earth at a height of seven tāla trees. Surrounded by respectful bodhisattvas, he arrived at Mount Gṛdhrakūṭa in this sahā world and descended from the seven-jewelled terrace. He came before the Buddha Śākyamuni with a necklace worth hundreds of thousands in his hand and bowed until his forehead reached the Buddha’s feet. He presented the necklace to the Buddha, saying:
  “O Bhagavat! The Buddha Pure Flower Constellation King Wisdom inquires of the Bhagavat:

  Are you without illness or pain? Is your daily life pleasant? Are you at ease in practice? Is the world around you harmonious? Are your worldly affairs bearable? Is it easy to save sentient beings? Are they not filled with greed, anger, foolishness, avarice, and pride? Are they mindful of their parents? Do they respect śrāmaṇas? Do they not have false views or erring thoughts? Do they control the desires of their five senses? O Bhagavat! Do the sentient beings conquer māras? Has the Tathāgata Many Treasures sitting in the seven-jewelled stupa long after his parinirvāṇa come here to hear the Dharma?

  “Furthermore, he inquired of the Tathāgata Many Treasures, saying:

  Are you at ease and without pain? O Bhagavat! Will your life be long and endured with patience?

  “I now wish to see the body of the Buddha Many Treasures. I entreat you, O Bhagavat, to manifest and show it to me.”
  At that time the Buddha Śākyamuni said to the Buddha Many Treasures: “This Bodhisattva Wonderful Voice wants to see you.”
  Then, the Buddha Many Treasures addressed Wonderful Voice, saying:
  “Splendid! Splendid! You have come here in order to pay homage to the Buddha Śākyamuni, to hear the Lotus Sutra, and to see Mañjuśrī and others.”
  Thereupon Bodhisattva Flower Virtue addressed the Buddha, saying:
  “O Bhagavat! What roots of good merit has this Bodhisattva Wonderful Voice planted, and what merits has he practiced to attain these transcendent powers?”
  The Buddha answered Bodhisattva Flower Virtue, saying: “In the past there was the Buddha called Cloud Thunder Sound King, a Tathāgata, Arhat, Completely Enlightened. His world was called Manifesting All Worlds and the kalpa was called Gladly Seen. For a period of twelve thousand years Bodhisattva Wonderful Voice paid homage to the Buddha Cloud Thunder Sound King with a hundred thousand kinds of music and eighty-four thousand seven-jewelled bowls. As a result of his deeds he was born in the world of the Buddha Pure Flower Constellation King Wisdom and has attained his transcendent powers. O Flower Virtue! What do you think about this? Is Bodhisattva Wonderful Voice, who paid homage to the Buddha Cloud Thunder Sound King with music and jewelled vessels, someone unknown? Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Wonderful Voice here present is one and the same. O Flower Virtue! Having closely and respectfully attended innumerable buddhas and planted roots of good merit over a long time, this Bodhisattva Wonderful Voice met hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of nayutas of buddhas equal in number to the sands of the Ganges River. O Flower Virtue! You think that the body of Bodhisattva Wonderful Voice exists only here; however, this bodhisattva manifests himself in various bodies. He has thus taught this sutra in many places for the sake of the sentient beings.
  Sometimes he has appeared in the form of Brahma.
  Sometimes he has appeared in the form of Śakra.
  Sometimes he has appeared in the form of deva Freedom.
  Sometimes he has appeared in the form of deva Great Freedom.
  Sometimes he has appeared in the form of the great commander of the devas.
  Sometimes he has appeared in the form of heavenly king Vaiśravaṇa.
  Sometimes he has appeared in the form of a wheel-turning sage king.
  Sometimes he has appeared in the form of a minor king.
  Sometimes he has appeared in the form of a wealthy man.
  Sometimes he has appeared in the form of laity.
  Sometimes he has appeared in the form of a state official.
  Sometimes he has appeared in the form of a brahman.
  Sometimes he has appeared in the form of a monk, nun, layman, or laywoman.
  Sometimes he has appeared in the form of the wife of a wealthy man or a householder.
  Sometimes he has appeared in the form of the wife of a state official.
  Sometimes he has appeared in the form of the wife of a brahman.
  Sometimes he has appeared in the form of a boy or a girl.
  Sometimes he has appeared in the form of a human, or a nonhuman such as a deva, nāga, yakṣa, gandharva, asura, garuḍa, kiṃnara, or mahoraga.
  “In this way he has expounded this sutra and saved those in the states of being of hell dwellers, hungry ghosts, animals, and those in difficult circumstances. Sometimes he has transformed himself into a female in royal harems and taught this sutra. O Flower Virtue! This Bodhisattva Wonderful Voice saves sentient beings in the sahā world. This Bodhisattva Wonderful Voice has transformed himself into various forms and taught this sutra for the sake of all sentient beings in this saha world. Nevertheless, his transcendent power has never decreased, nor his power of transformation or his wisdom. This bodhisattva illuminates the sahā world with his great wisdom and causes every sentient being to attain what should be known. He does exactly the same in all the worlds of the ten directions, which are equal in number to the sands of the Ganges River. If he is able to save them in the form of a śrāvaka, he teaches the Dharma by changing himself into the form of a śrāvaka. If he is able to save them in the form of a pratyekabuddha, he teaches the Dharma by changing himself into the form of a pratyekabuddha. If he is able to save them in the form of a bodhisattva, he teaches the Dharma by changing himself into the form of a bodhisattva. If he is able to save them in the form of a buddha, he teaches the Dharma by changing himself into the form of a buddha. Thus he transforms himself in various ways according to the capacities of those who are to be saved.If he is able to save them by means of parinirvāṇa, he manifests parinirvāṇa to them. O Flower Virtue! Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Wonderful Voice has achieved his transcendent powers and the power of wisdom in just such a manner.”
  Thereupon, Bodhisattva Flower Virtue addressed the Buddha, saying: “O Bhagavat! Deep are the roots of good merit that this Bodhisattva Wonderful Voice has planted! O Bhagavat! In what samādhi did this bodhisattva dwell, such that he was able to appear in various places in this way, and bring sentient beings to the path?”
  The Buddha answered Bodhisattva Flower Virtue, saying: “O son of a virtuous family! That samādhi is called Manifesting All Kinds of Bodies. Dwelling in this samādhi, Bodhisattva Wonderful Voice has benefited innumerable sentient beings in this way.”
  When this chapter “Bodhisattva Wonderful Voice,” was being taught, those eighty-four thousand people who had come with Bodhisattva Wonderful Voice attained the samadhi in which one can manifest all physical forms. Innumerable bodhisattvas in this sahā world also attained this samādhi and dhāraṇī. Then Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Wonderful Voice paid homage to the Buddha Śākyamuni and the stupa of the Buddha Many Treasures and returned to his own world.
  Those worlds through which he traveled quaked in six ways and it rained jewelled lotus flowers. Hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of variegated music was heard. Having returned to his own world, he approached the Buddha Pure Flower Constellation King Wisdom, surrounded by eighty-four thousand bodhisattvas, and said to him: “O Bhagavat! I have been to the sahā world and benefited the sentient beings. Having seen the Buddha Śākyamuni and the stupa of the Buddha Many Treasures, I paid homage to them and made them offerings. Having seen Bodhisattva Mañjuśrī, the Prince of the Dharma, Bodhisattva Medicine King, Bodhisattva Gaining Diligent Exertion Power, and Bodhisattva Brave Donor, I caused these eighty-four thousand bodhisattvas to attain the samadhi called Manifesting All Kinds of Bodies.”
  When this chapter, “The Coming and Going of Bodhisattva Wonderful Voice,” was taught, forty-two thousand sons of the devas attained the acceptance of the non-origination of all dharmas; and Bodhisattva Flower Virtue attained the Dharma flower samādhi.

  The Lotus Sutra
  Chapter XXV The Gateway to Every Direction [Manifested by Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World]

  (Translated from the Chinese of Kumārajiva by Tsugunari Kubo and Akira Yuyama)
  (Second Revised Edition) (dBET)

  Thereupon arising from his seat with his right shoulder bared, Bodhisattva Inexhaustible Intent faced the Buddha with his palms pressed together, and spoke thus to him: “O Bhagavat! For what reason is Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World (Avalokiteśvara) called Perceiver of the Sounds of the World?”
  The Buddha answered Bodhisattva Inexhaustible Intent, saying: “O son of a virtuous family! If innumerable hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of sentient beings who experience suffering hear of Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World and wholeheartedly chant his name, Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World will immediately perceive their voices and free them from their suffering. Even if those who hold to the name of Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World were to enter a great fire, because of this bodhisattva’s transcendent power, the fire would not be able to burn them. If they were adrift on the great waters, by chanting his name they would reach the shallows. There are hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of sentient beings who enter the great ocean to seek such treasures as gold, silver, lapis lazuli, mother-of-pearl, agate, coral, amber, and pearl. Even if a cyclone were to blow the ship toward the land of rākṣasa demons, they would all become free from the danger of those rākṣasa demons if there were even a single person among them who chanted the name of Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World. For this reason he is called Perceiver of the Sounds of the World.
  “If anyone who is about to be beaten chants the name of Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World, the sticks and swords will immediately be broken into pieces and he will be delivered. If the yakṣas and rākṣasas filling the great manifold cosmos come with the intent to afflict the people but hear them chanting, those demons’ evil eyes will be unable to see them, so how could they possibly hurt them?
  “If anyone, whether guilty or innocent, is bound with fetters or chains, such bonds will be broken into pieces; and those who have been bound will become free by chanting the name of Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World. When a caravan leader travels on a dangerous road together with his fellow merchants, carrying precious treasures in a great manifold cosmos filled with evil robbers, if there be a single person who says:

  O sons of a virtuous family! Do not fear! You should wholeheartedly chant the name of Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World. This bodhisattva bestows fearlessness upon sentient beings. If you chant his name, you will be free from these evil robbers.

  “Now, if those merchants chant loudly in unison, saying:

  Homage to Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World!

  “Then, by chanting his name, the caravan will immediately gain deliverance. O Inexhaustible Intent! The transcendent power of Bodhisattva Mahāsattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World is as great and mighty as this.
  “If there are any sentient beings who are greatly subject to sensual desires, if they contemplate Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World with respect, they will become free from these desires. If there are any sentient beings who often become angry, if they contemplate Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World with respect, they will become free from anger. If there are any sentient beings who are greatly confused, if they contemplate Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World with respect, they will become free from their confusion. O Inexhaustible Intent! Thus Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World greatly benefits sentient beings through his transcendent power. For this reason sentient beings should always turn their thoughts to him.
  “If any woman wanting to have a baby boy pays homage and makes offerings to Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World, she will bear a baby boy endowed with good merit and wisdom. If she wants to have a baby girl, she will bear a beautiful and handsome baby girl who has planted roots of good merit and will have the love of sentient beings. O Inexhaustible Intent! Such are the transcendent powers of Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World that if any sentient being reverently respects him, the merit they achieve will never be in vain. For this reason sentient beings should hold to the name of Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World. O Inexhaustible Intent! What do you think of someone who holds to the names of the bodhisattvas equal in number to the sands of sixty-two koṭis of Ganges Rivers and pays homage to them with drink and food, clothes, bedding, and medicine. Is the merit of this son or daughter of a virtuous family great or not?”
  Inexhaustible Intent answered, saying: “O Bhagavat! It is great.”
  The Buddha said: “If there is anyone who holds to the name of Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World and anyone who pays homage to him and makes offerings even for a moment, the merit of these two people will be equal and the same; it will never be extinguished after hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of kalpas. O Inexhaustible Intent! Those who hold to the name of Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World will attain such benefits of immeasurable and limitless merit.”
  The Bodhisattva Inexhaustible Intent addressed the Buddha, saying: “O Bhagavat! How does Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World wander through this sahā world? How does he teach the Dharma for the sake of sentient beings? What of his power of skillful means?”
  The Buddha said to Bodhisattva Inexhaustible Intent: “O son of a virtuous family! If there is any land where sentient beings are to be saved by the form of a buddha, Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World teaches the Dharma by changing himself into the form of a buddha. To those who are to be saved by the form of a pratyekabuddha, he teaches the Dharma by changing himself into the form of a pratyekabuddha. To those who are to be saved by the form of a śrāvaka, he teaches the Dharma by changing himself into the form of a śrāvaka. To those who are to be saved by the form of Brahma, he teaches the Dharma by changing himself into the form of Brahma. To those who are to be saved by the form of Śakra, he teaches the Dharma by changing himself into the form of Śakra. To those who are to be saved by the form of deva Freedom, he teaches the Dharma by changing himself into the form of deva Freedom. To those who are to be saved in the form of deva Great Freedom, he teaches the Dharma by changing himself into the form of deva Great Freedom. To those who are to be saved by the form of the great commander of the devas, he teaches the Dharma by changing himself into the form of the great commander of the devas. To those who are to be saved by the form of Vaiśravaṇa, he teaches the Dharma by changing himself into the form of Vaiśravaṇa. To those who are to be saved by the form of a minor king, he teaches the Dharma by changing himself into the form of a minor king. To those who are to be saved by the form of a wealthy man, he teaches the Dharma by changing himself into the form of a wealthy man. To those who are to be saved by the form of laity, he teaches the Dharma by changing himself into the form of laity. To those who are to be saved by the form of a state official, he teaches the Dharma by changing himself into the form of a state official. To those who are to be saved by the form of a brahman, he teaches the Dharma by changing himself into the form of a brahman. To those who are to be saved by the form of a monk, nun, layman, or laywoman, he teaches the Dharma by changing himself into the form of a monk, nun, layman, or laywoman. To those who are to be saved by the form of a wife of either a wealthy man, a householder, a state official, or a brahman, he teaches the Dharma by changing himself into the form of such a wife. To those who are to be saved by the form of a boy or a girl, he teaches the Dharma by changing himself into the form of a boy or a girl. To those who are to be saved by the form of a human or of a nonhuman such as a deva, nāga, yakṣa, gandharva, asura, garuḍa, kiṃnara, or mahoraga, he teaches the Dharma by changing himself into any of these forms. To those who are to be saved by the form of Vajrapāṇi, he teaches the Dharma by changing himself into the form of Vajrapāṇi.
  “O Inexhaustible Intent! This Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World displays such qualities, wanders through many lands in various forms, and saves sentient beings. For this reason you should wholeheartedly pay homage to Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World. This Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World bestows fearlessness in times of fearful calamity. For this reason everybody in this sahā world calls him Giver of Fearlessness.
  The Bodhisattva Inexhaustible Intent addressed the Buddha, saying: “O Bhagavat! I shall now pay homage to Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World.”
  He then took from his neck a many-jewelled necklace worth hundreds of thousands of gold coins, gave it to him, and said: “I entreat you to accept this rare-jewelled necklace for the Dharma.”
  At that time Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World did not dare to receive it. Inexhaustible Intent addressed Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World, saying: “I entreat you to accept this necklace out of pity for us.”
  Then the Buddha said to Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World: “You should accept this necklace out of pity for such humans and nonhumans as this Bodhisattva Inexhaustible Intent, the fourfold assembly, devas, nāgas, yakṣas, gandharvas, asuras, garuḍas, kiṃnaras, and mahoragas.”
  The Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World accepted the necklace out of pity for the fourfold assembly, devas, nāgas, humans, nonhumans, and the rest. He then divided it into two parts and gave one part to the Buddha Śākyamuni and the other part to the stupa of the Buddha Many Treasures.
  “O Inexhaustible Intent! With such inherent transcendent powers Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World wanders throughout the sahā world.”
  Thereupon, Bodhisattva Inexhaustible Intent asked a question in verse, saying:

  O Bhagavat, endowed with excellent marks!
  I now wish to ask you about him once again:
  For what reason is the heir of the Buddha
  Named Perceiver of the Sounds of the World?
  The Bhagavat, endowed with excellent marks,
  Answered Inexhaustible Intent in verse:
  Listen to the practices of Perceiver of the Sounds of the World,
  Which have their application to all!
  His vow is deep like the ocean
  And his kalpa is of inconceivable length.
  After having attended
  Many thousands of koṭis of buddhas,
  He made a great, pure vow.
  I will now explain it to you in brief:
  If you hear his name, see his body,
  Or contemplate him in thought,
  Your life will not be in vain;
  And you will extinguish all suffering.
  If anyone wants to hurt you
  And pushes you into a great fire-pit,
  If you contemplate the power of Perceiver of the Sounds of the World,
  The fire-pit will change into a pond.
  If you drift upon the great ocean and meet danger
  From dragons, fish, and demons,
  If you contemplate the power of Perceiver of the Sounds of the World,
  You will not be swallowed by the waves.
  If you are on the peak of Sumeru
  And are pushed by somebody,
  If you contemplate the power of Perceiver of the Sounds of the World,
  You will stay suspended in the air like the sun.
  If any evil one chases you
  And pushes you from Mount Diamond,
  If you contemplate the power of Perceiver of the Sounds of the World,
  Not even a single hair will be hurt.
  If evil robbers surround you
  Each with a sword and the intent to harm,
  If you contemplate the power of Perceiver of the Sounds of the World,
  The thought of mercy will awaken in them.
  If you suffer under the punishment of a king
  And your life is to be ended by execution,
  If you contemplate the power of Perceiver of the Sounds of the World,
  The sword will be immediately broken into pieces.
  If you are imprisoned with a neck chain,
  Your hands and feet fettered,
  If you contemplate the power of Perceiver of the Sounds of the World,
  They will be unlocked and you will be released.
  If anyone wants to hurt your body
  With a curse or poison,
  If you contemplate the power of Perceiver of the Sounds of the World,
  These ills will return and afflict their authors.
  If you meet evil rākṣasas,
  Poisonous dragons, or demons,
  If you contemplate the power of Perceiver of the Sounds of the World,
  They will not dare to hurt you.
  If you are surrounded by evil animals
  Whose teeth and claws are fearfully sharp,
  If you contemplate the power of Perceiver of the Sounds of the World,
  They will run away swiftly
  And to an immeasurable distance.
  If there are lizards, snakes, vipers, or scorpions,
  Whose breath is poisonous like a flaming smoke,
  If you contemplate the power of Perceiver of the Sounds of the World,
  They will turn away swiftly at the sound of your voice.
  If thunder resounds, lightning flashes,
  Hail falls, and a great rain pours out of the clouds,
  If you contemplate the power of Perceiver of the Sounds of the World,
  They will disappear immediately.
  If sentient beings are in great adversity,
  And immeasurable pain afflicts them,
  The wonderful power of the wisdom of Perceiver of the Sounds of the World
  Can relieve the suffering of the world.
  Endowed with transcendent powers
  And having fully mastered wisdom and skillful means,
  In all the worlds of the ten directions,
  There is no place where he will not manifest himself.
  The suffering of those in the troubled states of being:
  Hell-dwellers, hungry ghosts, and animals;
  And the suffering of birth, old age, illness, and death
  Will gradually be extinguished.
  He who perceives the world with truth, purity,
  And vast knowledge,
  And with benevolence and compassion,
  Should be ever longed for and looked up to.
  He is a spotless pure ray of light,
  And a sun of wisdom that destroys the darkness,
  And withstands the flames and winds of calamity.
  He brilliantly illuminates the entire world.
  His will, the essence of which is compassion,
  Shakes like thunder;
  And the mind of mercy
  Is like a beautiful overspreading cloud,
  Which pours the Dharma rain of immortality
  And extinguishes the flame of desires.
  In a dispute before judges,
  Or fearful in the midst of battle,
  If you contemplate the power of Perceiver of the Sounds of the World,
  All enemies will flee away.
  He has a wondrous voice,
  The voice of one who perceives the world,
  A voice like Brahma’s, a voice like the rolling tide,
  A voice unsurpassed in this world;
  For this reason you should always contemplate him.
  You should have no doubt, even for a moment
  The pure seer Perceiver of the Sounds of the World will be a refuge
  When suffering distress or the misery of death.
  He is endowed with every quality,
  Sees the sentient beings with his benevolent eyes,
  And his ocean of merit is immeasurable;
  For this reason you should pay him homage.

  At that time Bodhisattva Earth Holder arose from his seat, went before the Buddha and said to him: “O Bhagavat! If there are any sentient beings who hear of this chapter, ‘Bodhisattva Perceiver of the Sounds of the World,’ and these effortless deeds, the manifestation of the gateway to all directions, and the transcendent powers, know that their merit will not be little!”
  When the Buddha taught the chapter, “The Gateway to Every Direction,” the thought of incomparable Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi awoke in eighty-four thousand sentient beings in the assembly.

  The Lotus Sutra
  Chapter XXVI Dhāraṇī

  (Translated from the Chinese of Kumārajiva by Tsugunari Kubo and Akira Yuyama)
  (Second Revised Edition) (dBET)

  Thereupon, rising from his seat with his right shoulder bared, Bodhisattva Medicine King faced the Buddha with his palms pressed together, and spoke to him, saying: “O Bhagavat! If there is any son or daughter of a virtuous family who preserves the Lotus Sutra and recites it, is versed in it, or copies it, how much merit will he or she attain?”
  Then the Buddha addressed Medicine King, saying: “If there is any son or daughter of a virtuous family who pays homage to buddhas numbering as many as the sands of eight hundred myriads of koṭis of nayutas of Ganges Rivers, what do you think? Will the merit he or she attains be great or not?”
  He answered: “It will be great, O Bhagavat!”
  The Buddha said: “If any son or daughter of a virtuous family preserves a verse of four lines of this sutra, recites it, understands the meaning, or practices what it teaches, his or her merit will be very great.”
  Thereupon, Bodhisattva Medicine King addressed the Buddha, saying: “O Bhagavat! I will now give the dhāraṇīs to the expounders of the Dharma and protect them.”
  He then recited a dhāraṇī:

  Anye manye mane mamane citte carite same samitā viśānte mukte muktatame
  same avisame samasame jaye kṣaye akṣaye akṣiṇe śānte samite dhāraṇi
  ālokabhāṣe pratyavekṣaṇi nidhiru abhyantaranirviṣte
  abhyantarapāriśuddhi mutkule araḍe paraḍe sukāṇkṣi asamasame
  buddhavilokite Dharmaparikśite saṃgha-nirghoṣanirghoṇi
  bhayā-bhayaviśodhani mantre mantrākṣayate rute rutakauśalye
  akṣaye akṣayavanatāye vakkule valoḍa amanyanatāye

  “O Bhagavat! This mantra-dhāraṇī was spoken by buddhas equal in number to the sands of sixty-two koṭis of Ganges Rivers. Anyone who attacks or slanders an expounder of the Dharma also attacks or slanders these buddhas.”
  Thereupon, the Buddha Śākyamuni praised Bodhisattva Medicine King, saying: “Splendid! Splendid! O Medicine King! Out of compassion you have taught this dhāraṇī in order to protect the expounders of the Dharma. It will greatly benefit all sentient beings.”
  Then Bodhisattva Brave Donor addressed the Buddha, saying: “O Bhagavat! I also will teach a dhāraṇī in order to protect anyone who recites and preserves the Lotus Sutra. If expounders of the Dharma attain this dhāraṇī, no yakṣa, rākṣasa, pūtana, kṛtya, kumbhāṇḍa, or hungry ghost will ever have a chance to strike at their weaknesses even if they try to do so.”
  In the presence of the Buddha, he taught a dhāraṇī, saying:

  Jvale mahājvale ukke mukke aḍe aḍāvati nṛtye nṛtyāvati
  iṭṭini viṭṭini ciṭṭini nṛtyani nṛtyāvati

  “O Bhagavat! This mantra-dhāraṇī has been spoken by buddhas equal in number to the sands of the Ganges River and everyone has rejoiced in it. Anyone who attacks or slanders an expounder of the Dharma also attacks or slanders these buddhas.”
  Thereupon, the heavenly king Vaiśravaṇa, a world-protector, addressed the Buddha, saying: “O Bhagavat! I will also teach a dhāraṇī out of pity for sentient beings and in order to protect expounders of the Dharma.”
  He then recited a dhāraṇī, saying:

  Aṭṭe naṭṭe vanaṭṭe anaḍe nāḍi kunaḍi

  “O Bhagavat! With this mantra-dhāraṇī I protect the expounders of the Dharma; I will also protect those who hold to this sutra. All heavy cares shall be banished for a hundred yojanas around.”
  At that time the heavenly king Upholder of the Nation was present in the assembly, respectfully surrounded by thousands of myriads of koṭis of nayutas of gandharvas. He came before the Buddha together with them and addressed the Buddha with his palms pressed together, saying:
  “O Bhagavat! With a mantra-dhāraṇī I will also protect those who hold to the Lotus Sutra.”
  He then recited the dhāraṇī, saying:

  Agaṇe gaṇe gauri gandhāri caṇḍāli mātaṅgi jaṅguli vrūsaṇi agasti

  “O Bhagavat! This mantra-dhāraṇī was spoken by forty-two koṭis of buddhas. Anyone who attacks or slanders an expounder of the Dharma also attacks or slanders these buddhas.”
  At that time there were ten rākṣasīs. Their names were Lambā, Vilambā, Crooked Teeth, Flowery Teeth, Black Teeth, Much Hair, Insatiable, Necklace Bearer, Kuntī, and Stealer of the Vital Spirit of All Living Beings. These ten rākṣasīs, together with the Mother of Ghost Children and their offspring and retinues, came before the Buddha and addressed him in unison, saying:
  “O Bhagavat! We also want to protect those who recite and preserve the Lotus Sutra and rid them of their heavy cares. Those who try to strike at the expounders of the Dharma through their weaknesses shall never be able to do so.”
  They then recited a dhāraṇī in the presence of the Buddha, saying:

  Iti me iti me iti me iti me iti me nime nime nime nime nime
  ruhe ruhe ruhe ruhe stuhe stuhe stuhe stuhe stuhe

  “Let troubles come upon our heads rather than distress the expounders of the Dharma. No yakṣa, no rākṣasa, no hungry ghost, no pūtana, no kṛtya, no vetāla, no skanda, no omāraka, no apasmāraka, no yakṣakṛtya, no manuṣyakṛtya, no fever; no fever for one day, for two days, for three days, for four days or even up to seven days or at any time; no one in the form of a man, no one in the form of a woman, no one in the form of a boy, no one in the form of a maiden, no one who may appear even in a dream, in any of these forms shall cause them distress.”
  They then spoke to the Buddha in verse, saying:

  If anyone breaks my dhāraṇī,
  And troubles one who expounds the Dharma,
  His head will be split into seven pieces
  Just like a branch of the arjaka tree.
  Consider the transgression of parricide,
  Of pressing sesame mixed with impurities,
  Of cheating people with scales;
  Consider the transgression committed by Devadatta
  Who divided the sangha.
  Those who slander this expounder of the Dharma
  Shall suffer consequences such as these.

  After having spoken these verses the rākṣasīs addressed the Buddha, saying: “O Bhagavat! We also want to protect those who preserve, recite, and practice this sutra, and cause them to live at ease, rid them of their weighty cares, and drive out various poisons.”
  The Buddha said to the rākṣasīs:
  “Splendid! Splendid! Even if you protect those who preserve the name of the Lotus Sutra, your merit is immeasurable. How much more merit is there in protecting those who perfectly preserve and revere the sutra in various ways; such as by offering flowers, perfumes, necklaces, fragrant ointments, scented powders, burning incense, banners, canopies, and music, or by lighting ghee lamps, oil lamps, fragrant oil lamps, lamps of oil made from sumanas, campaka, vārṣika, and utpala flowers! How much more merit is there in offering such things in hundreds to thousands of ways! O Kuntī! You and your retinues should protect the expounders of the Dharma in this way.”
  When this chapter, “Dhāraṇī,” was taught, sixty-eight thousand people attained the acceptance of the non-origination of all dharmas.

  The Lotus Sutra
  Chapter XXVII Ancient Accounts of King Wonderful Adornment

  (Translated from the Chinese of Kumārajiva by Tsugunari Kubo and Akira Yuyama)
  (Second Revised Edition) (dBET)

  Thereupon, the Buddha addressed the great assembly, saying: “Once upon a time, immeasurable, limitless, inconceivable Asamkhyeyas of kalpas ago, there was a buddha named Cloud Thunder Sound Constellation King Flower Wisdom, a Tathāgata, Arhat, Completely Enlightened. His land was called Adorned with Light Bright and the kalpa was named Gladly Seen. There was a king practicing the teaching of the Buddha. He was called Wonderful Adornment, and his consort was named Pure Virtue. They had two sons. One was named Pure Storehouse, and the other Pure Eye. These two sons were endowed with great transcendent power, merit, and wisdom, and practiced the bodhisattva path for a long time. They were versed in the perfections of giving, good conduct, perseverance, effort, meditation, wisdom, and skillful means and compassion, benevolence, joy, and generosity; as well as the thirty-seven helpful ways to attain the Dharma. Furthermore, they were also versed in the bodhisattva samādhis, namely, the pure samadhi; sun, star, and constellation samadhi; pure light samadhi; pure colour samadhi; pure illumination samadhi; long adornment samadhi; and great dignity and virtue storehouse samadhi.
  “Then the Buddha, wanting to guide King Wonderful Adornment, and out of compassion for sentient beings, taught this Lotus Sutra. At that time Prince Pure Storehouse and Prince Pure Eye approached their mother and addressed her with their palms and ten fingers pressed together, saying:

  We entreat you, O mother, to go before the Buddha Cloud Thunder Sound Constellation King Flower Wisdom. We shall also go before him together with you, attend him, make offerings to him, and pay him homage. Why is this? Because this buddha teaches the Lotus Sutra amid the assembly of all the devas and humans. Thus we should all listen to him.

  “Their mother answered the sons, saying:

  Your father follows heresies and is deeply attached to the teachings of the brahmans. You should go to your father to ask him to come with us.

  “Pure Storehouse and Pure Eye said to their mother with their palms and ten fingers pressed together:

  We are the children of the King of the Dharma, although we were born in this house of wrong views.

  “The mother replied to her sons, saying:

  You should have compassion for your father and show him great miracles. If he sees them, his mind will certainly be purified. He will then come with us to go before the Buddha.

  “Thereafter the two sons jumped up into the air as high as seven tāla trees and, out of their love for their father, showed him various miracles. They walked, stood, sat, and slept in the air, causing water to flow from their upper bodies and blowing fire out of their lower bodies, causing water to flow from their lower bodies, and blowing fire out of their upper bodies; enlarging their bodies so that they filled the air, making them small and then enlarging them again; disappearing in midair and instantly reappearing on the earth; entering the earth as if it were water and walking on the water as though on the earth. By showing various marvels like these, they purified their father’s mind and caused him to believe them.
  “When their father saw the transcendent powers of his sons, he rejoiced a great deal at his unprecedented experience and addressed his sons with his palms pressed together, saying:

  Who is your teacher? Whose pupils are you?

  “The two sons said:

  O great king! The Buddha Cloud Thunder Sound Constellation King Flower Wisdom is now sitting on the seat of the Dharma under the seven-jewelled bodhi tree and teaching the Lotus Sutra extensively to the assembly of all the devas and humans in this world. He is our teacher. We are his pupils.

  “The father said to his sons:

  I now also wish to see your teacher. Let me go with you!

  “Thereupon, the two sons descended from the air, approached their mother, and addressed her with their palms pressed together, saying:

  Our father believed us and the thought of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi can now awaken in him. We have done the Buddha’s work for the sake of our father. We entreat you, O mother, to allow us to renounce household life and practice the bodhisattva path under the guidance of that buddha.

  “At that time the two sons addressed the mother in verse, wanting to elaborate on this meaning further, saying:

  We entreat you, O mother, to allow us
  To renounce household life
  And to become śrāmaṇas!
  It is extremely difficult to meet buddhas.
  We will learn by following this buddha.
  It is more difficult to meet a buddha
  Than to see uḍumbara flowers.
  It is also difficult to escape from adversity.
  We entreat you to allow us
  To renounce household life.

  “Their mother addressed them immediately, saying:

  I give my consent for you to renounce household life. What is the reason for this? It is because it is difficult to meet a buddha.

  “Then the two sons addressed their parents, saying:

  Splendid! O father and mother! We entreat you now to approach and meet the Buddha Cloud Thunder Sound Constellation King Flower Wisdom and pay homage to him. Why is this? Because it is difficult to meet a buddha, just as it is to see uḍumbara flowers or for a one-eyed turtle to find the hole in a floating piece of wood. Because of our profound merits accumulated in the past, we were born to meet the Buddha-Dharma. For this reason our father and mother should allow us to renounce household life. Why is this? Because it is difficult to meet buddhas and it is also difficult to obtain an opportunity for meeting them.

  “At that time eighty-four thousand women in the palace of King Wonderful Adornment all became capable of preserving this Lotus Sutra. Bodhisattva Pure Eye had already been versed in the samādhi of Dharma flower for a long time and Bodhisattva Pure Storehouse had also been versed in the samadhi of the escape from the evil states of existence for immeasurable hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of kalpas, for he wanted all sentient beings to be separated from evil states of being. The consort of that king attained the samadhi of the Buddhas’ assembly and the secret treasure house of the buddhas was revealed to her. In this way the two sons inspired their father through the power of their skillful means and caused him to have faith and pleasure in the Buddha-Dharma.
  “Then King Wonderful Adornment together with his subjects and retinue, Queen Pure Virtue together with her servants and retinue, and the two princes together with forty-two thousand people came before the Buddha at the same time. Having approached the Buddha, they bowed until their foreheads touched his feet, then circled around him three times and sat to one side.
  “At that time the Buddha expounded and taught the Buddha-Dharma for the king’s sake, greatly benefiting and rejoicing him. Then King Wonderful Adornment and his queen took off their pearl necklaces worth hundreds of thousands and scattered them over the Buddha. In the air they transformed into a four-pillared jewelled platform. On the platform was a great jewelled bed, spread with hundreds of thousands of myriads of heavenly clothes. The Buddha sat cross-legged upon it, emitting great rays of light. Then King Wonderful Adornment thought: The Buddha’s form is marvellous, most superior in dignity, and given perfection by the most delicate countenance.
  “Thereupon the Buddha Cloud Thunder Sound Constellation King Flower Wisdom addressed the fourfold assembly, saying:

  Do you see King Wonderful Adornment standing with his palms pressed together in my presence? This king will become a monk in my Dharma. He will diligently practice the Dharma that aids those on the buddha path, and will become a buddha. He will be called Sal Tree King. His land will be called Great Light and the kalpa Great Lofty King. With this buddha Sal Tree King will be innumerable bodhisattvas and śrāvakas. His land will be level. Such will be his merits.

  “That king immediately gave his kingdom to his younger brother. He renounced household life and practiced the Buddha-Dharma together with his queen, two sons, and their retinue. For a period of eighty-four thousand years after their renunciation, the king continued to make diligent efforts and practiced the Lotus Sutra. After this, he attained the samadhi of the adornment of all pure merits. He ascended instantly into the air to a height of seven tāla trees and addressed the Buddha, saying:

  O Bhagavat! My two sons have done the Buddha’s work. Through their miracles they have reformed my erring mind so that I dwell in the Buddha-Dharma. These two sons are my good mentors; they enabled me to see the Bhagavat. It was because they wanted to nurture the roots of good merit accumulated in my past and benefit me that they were born in my house.

  “Then the Buddha Cloud Thunder Sound Constellation King Flower Wisdom addressed King Wonderful Adornment, saying:

  Exactly! Exactly! It is exactly as you have said. If the sons and daughters of a virtuous family plant roots of good merits, they will meet good mentors throughout many lives; those good mentors will perform the Buddha’s work, illuminating, teaching, benefiting, and gladdening them, and will cause them to enter Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi. O great king! You should know that a good mentor is indeed the great spur that brings inspiration to others, causing them to meet a buddha and the thought of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi to awaken in them. O great king! Do you see these two sons? These two sons have already paid homage to buddhas equal in number to the sands of sixty-five hundred thousands of myriads of koṭis of nayutas of Ganges Rivers, closely attended the buddhas with respect, accepted the Lotus Sutra in their presence, and, in their compassion, caused sentient beings with false views to dwell in right views.

  “Immediately after that, King Wonderful Adornment descended from the air and addressed the Buddha, saying:

  O Bhagavat! The Tathāgata is extraordinary. Because he is endowed with merits and wisdom, his topknot is brilliantly illuminated, his deep blue eyes are long and wide, the tuft of hair between his eyebrows is white like the bright moon, his white teeth are even and always shining, and his scarlet lips are like the bimba fruit in their beauty.

  “At that time King Wonderful Adornment praised immeasurable hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of qualities of the Buddha like these and, again, wholeheartedly addressed the Buddha with his palms pressed together, in the presence of the Tathāgata, saying:

  O Bhagavat! This is unprecedented. The Tathāgata’s Dharma is endowed and perfected with inconceivable subtle qualities. His teaching, integrity, and deeds are serene and comfortable. From today on we shall never act selfishly and the wrongful thoughts of false views, pride and anger shall never awaken in us.

  “Having spoken these words he bowed to the Buddha and went away.”
  The Buddha addressed the great assembly, saying:
  “What do you think about this? Is King Wonderful Adornment someone unknown? He is none other than this Bodhisattva Flower Virtue. His Queen Pure Virtue is none other than this Bodhisattva Light Shining Adornment Marks now in the presence of the Buddha. Because she had compassion for King Wonderful Adornment and his retinue, she was born there. These two sons are none other than Bodhisattva Medicine King and Bodhisattva Medicine Superior. These bodhisattvas Medicine King and Medicine Superior perfected great qualities such as these and, having planted many roots of good merit under the guidance of innumerable hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of buddhas, perfected inconceivable good merit. If anyone holds the names of these two bodhisattvas in memory, the devas and humans in this entire world should pay homage to them.”
  When the Buddha taught this chapter, “Ancient Accounts of King Wonderful Adornment,” eighty-four thousand people removed themselves from impurity, rid themselves of defilement, and attained pure Dharma eyes with which to see the teachings.

  The Lotus Sutra
  Chapter XXVIII Encouragement of Bodhisattva Universal Worthy

  (Translated from the Chinese of Kumārajiva by Tsugunari Kubo and Akira Yuyama)
  (Second Revised Edition) (dBET)

  Thereupon Bodhisattva Universal Worthy (Samantabhadra), illuminated by dignity and fame, through his effortless transcendent power, arrived from the east together with innumerable, limitless, and incalculable numbers of great bodhisattvas. All the lands quaked universally wherever he passed. Jewelled lotus flowers rained down and immeasurable hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of kinds of music were heard. He was surrounded by a great assembly of innumerable beings: humans and such nonhumans as devas, nāgas, yakṣas, gandharvas, asuras, garuḍas, kiṃnaras, and mahoragas, each manifesting dignity and transcendent powers. He then arrived at Mount Gṛdhrakūṭa in the sahā world. He prostrated himself before Śākyamuni Buddha and circled around him to the right seven times. He then addressed him, saying:
  “O Bhagavat! Afar in the land of the Buddha King Above Jewelled Dignity and Virtue, I heard you expound the Lotus Sutra in this sahā world. I have come here to listen to you, together with the assembly of immeasurable and limitless hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of bodhisattvas. I entreat you, O Bhagavat, to teach us how the sons and daughters of a virtuous family may attain the Lotus Sutra after the parinirvāṇa of the Tathāgata.”
  The Buddha said to Bodhisattva Universal Worthy:
  “After the parinirvāṇa of the Tathāgata the sons and daughters of a virtuous family will attain the Lotus Sutra if they achieve the four necessary accomplishments: the first is to be protected by the buddhas; the second is to plant roots of good merit; the third is to enter the right Dhyana; and the fourth is to awaken the thought of saving all sentient beings. Those sons and daughters of a virtuous family will definitely attain this sutra after the parinirvāṇa of the Tathāgata if they perfect these four accomplishments.”
  Then Bodhisattva Universal Worthy addressed the Buddha, saying:
  “O Bhagavat! If there are those who preserve this sutra in the troubled world in the last five hundred years, I will protect them and rid them of their heavy cares, cause them to attain happiness, and allow no one to strike at them through their weaknesses. I will not give Māra any chance to afflict them, nor the sons of Māra, daughters of Māra, minions of Māra, those possessed by Māra, yakṣas, rākṣasas, kumbhāṇḍas, piśācas, kṛtyas, pūtanas, or vetālas. If they recite this sutra, whether walking or standing, I will then come before them on a white elephant king with six tusks, together with the assembly of great bodhisattvas, manifest myself, pay homage and protect them, and console their minds for the sake of revering the Lotus Sutra. If they sit contemplating upon this sutra, I will then manifest myself before them on a white elephant king. If they forget a single line or a verse in the Lotus Sutra, I will teach and recite it with them and cause them to become proficient in it. At that time those who accept, preserve and recite the Lotus Sutra will be able to see me and, greatly rejoicing, will thus make further efforts. As a result of seeing me they will attain the samādhi and dhāraṇīs named Revolving dharani, hundreds of thousands of myriads of kotis of Revolving dharani, Dharma sound expedient dharani and so on. They will attain dhāraṇīs like these. O Bhagavat! In the troubled world, in the last five hundred years, those monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen who seek, preserve, recite, copy, and wish to practice this Lotus Sutra should persevere single-mindedly for twenty-one days. After a full twenty-one days I will appear on a white elephant with six tusks, accompanied by innumerable bodhisattvas who themselves will also be surrounded by their retinues, and manifest myself before sentient beings in whatever form they wish to see. Then I will expound and teach the Dharma to them and gladden them. I will also give them a dhāraṇī-spell. When they attain this dhāraṇī, nonhumans will have no power to destroy them and women no power to trouble them. I myself will also protect these people. I entreat you, O Bhagavat, to allow me to teach this dhāraṇī.”
  Thus he taught the spell in the presence of the Buddha, saying:

  Adaṇḍe daṇḍapati daṇḍāvartani daṇḍakuśale daṇḍasudhāri sudhāri sudhārapati
  buddhapaśyane sarvadhāraṇī āvartani Sarvabhāṣyā-vartane su-āvartane
  saṃghaparīkṣani saṃghanirghātani asaṃge saṃgāpa-gate
  tṛ-adhvasaṃgatulyaprāpte Sarvasaṃgasamatikrānte
  sarvadharmasuparīkṣite sarvasattvarutakauśalyānugate siṃhavikrīḍite

  “O Bhagavat! If there is any bodhisattva who hears this dhāraṇī, he should know it is because of the transcendent power of Universal Worthy. If there is anyone who accepts and holds to the Lotus Sutra practiced in Jambudvīpa, he should think: ‘This is nothing but Universal Worthy’s virtuous power.’ If there is anyone who preserves, recites, correctly remembers, understands this meaning, and practices in accordance with the teaching, know that they are practicing the practice of Universal Worthy. They plant deep roots of good merit in the presence of innumerable and limitless buddhas. The Tathāgatas will caress their heads. If they copy this sutra, after their death they will be born in the Thirty-three Heaven. At that time eighty-four thousand heavenly maidens will welcome them, performing various kinds of music. They will wear seven-jewelled coronets and be happy among their female servants. How much more for those who preserve, recite, remember correctly, understand the meaning, and practice in accordance with the teaching! If there is anyone who preserves, recites, and understands this meaning, at the end of their life a thousand buddhas will offer their hands, so that they will neither be afraid nor fall into the troubled states of being. They will thus arrive in the Tuṣita Heaven of Bodhisattva Maitreya, who is endowed with the thirty-two marks and surrounded by an assembly of great bodhisattvas and a retinue of hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of heavenly maidens. There they will be born and such will be their merit and benefits. For this reason the wise should wholeheartedly copy, move others to copy, preserve, recite, and remember it correctly and practice in accordance with the teaching. O Bhagavat! Through my transcendent powers I will now protect, extensively distribute and keep this sutra from extermination in Jambudvīpa after the parinirvāṇa of the Tathāgata.”
  Thereupon the Buddha Śākyamuni praised him, saying:
  “Splendid! Splendid! O Universal Worthy! You will protect this sutra and bring benefit and happiness to sentient beings in many places. You have already accomplished inconceivable merits and profound compassion. Long, long ago the thought of Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi awakened in you, and you made this vow of transcendent power to protect this sutra. Through my transcendent powers I will protect the one who holds to the name of Bodhisattva Universal Worthy. O Universal Worthy! If there is anyone who preserves, recites, correctly remembers, practices, and copies this Lotus Sutra, they should know that it is the same as meeting the Buddha Śākyamuni and hearing this sutra from the mouth of the Buddha. By this they should know that they are paying homage to the Buddha Śākyamuni. They should know that they will be praised by the Śākyamuni Buddha with the word ‘Splendid!’ They should know that the hand of the Buddha Śākyamuni will caress their heads. They should know that they will be clad in the robe of the Buddha Śākyamuni.Such people are not attached to worldly pleasures. They dislike heretical scriptures and writings. They are not pleased to consort with heretics, wicked people, butchers, those who keep boars, sheep, chickens, or dogs, hunters, or those who make a living by pandering. They will be honest in mind, and will have correct recollection and the power of merit. They will not be troubled by the three kinds of poison. Nor will they be confused by jealousy, selfishness, false pride, or arrogance. Having little desire they can know satisfaction and practice the practice of Universal Worthy. O Universal Worthy! If you meet anyone who preserves and recites the Lotus Sutra in the last five hundred years after the parinirvāṇa of the Tathāgata, you should think like this:

  This man will before long approach the terrace of enlightenment, destroy the hosts of Māra, attain Anuttarā Samyaksaṃbodhi, turn the wheel of the Dharma, beat the drum of the Dharma, blow the conch of the Dharma, pour down the rain of the Dharma, and will sit on the lion seat of the Dharma in the great assembly of devas and humans.

  “O Universal Worthy! Those who preserve and recite this sutra in the future world will not be greedy for clothes, bedding, food and drink, and the necessities of life. Their aspirations will not be unrewarded, and their blessings will be attained in this life. If there is anyone who despises them, saying: ‘You are mad. This practice of yours is in vain and will attain nothing at the end,’ they will have no eyes lifetime after lifetime as a retribution for this wrongdoing. If there is anyone who pays them homage and praises them, he will attain tangible rewards in this life. If anyone sees those who preserve this sutra and speaks maliciously about their faults, whether true or not, such a person will suffer from leprosy in this life. If anyone scorns them, that person’s teeth will be either loose or missing; their lips will be ugly, their nose will be flat, their limbs will be crooked; they will squint; their body will stink and be dirty, suffering from evil tumours, oozing pus; their belly will swell with water; and they will have tuberculosis and other evil and serious illnesses. For this reason, O Universal Worthy, if you see anyone who holds to this sutra, you should stand up and show your respect even from afar, just as you would pay homage to the Buddha.”
  When this chapter, “Encouragement of Bodhisattva Universal Worthy,” was being taught, innumerable and limitless bodhisattvas equal in number to the sands of Ganges Rivers attained hundreds of thousands of myriads of koṭis of dhāraṇīs named Revolving, and bodhisattvas equal to the number of atoms of the manifold cosmos mastered the path of Universal Worthy.
  When the Buddha had taught this sutra, the entire great assembly of bodhisattvas including Universal Worthy, the śrāvakas including Śāriputra, devas, nāgas, humans, and nonhumans rejoiced greatly, accepted the Buddha’s words, bowed to him and departed.

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