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3000 words

17 March 2015

=== LOTUS Expedient Means The true aspect of all phenomena can only be understood and shared between buddhas. This reality consists of the appearance, nature, entity, power, influence, internal cause, relation, latent effect, manifest effect, and their consistency from beginning to end.” The heroes of the world are unfathomable. Among heavenly beings or the people of the world, among all living beings, none can understand the buddhas. The buddhas’ power, fearlessness, emancipation, and samadhis and the buddhas’ other attributes no one can reckon or fathom. (***) Sun of wisdom, great sage and venerable one, at long last you preach this Law. You yourself declare you have attained power, fearlessness, samadhis, concentration, emancipation, and other such attributes, and the Law that is beyond comprehension. This Law attained in the place of enlightenment no one is capable of questioning you about. “My intention is hard to fathom, and no one can question me.” No one questions, yet you yourself preach, praising the path you walk on. Your wisdom is very subtle and wonderful, that which all the buddhas attain. (***) Dharma King, none more highly honored, speak, we beg you, without reserve! In this assembly of numberless beings are those capable of reverent belief. (***) I rejoiced, crying, “Hail to the buddhas!” Then I thought to myself, I have come into this impure and evil world, and as these buddhas have preached, I too must follow that example in my actions. After I had thought of the matter in this way, I set out at once for Varanasi. The marks of tranquil extinction borne by all phenomena cannot be explained in words,and therefore I used the power of expedient means to preach to the five ascetics.This I termed turning the wheel of the Law, and also with regard to “the sound of nirvana,”and “arhat,” “Dharma,” and “Samgha,” I used these terms to indicate distinctions.“From infinite kalpas in the past I have extolled and taught the Law of nirvana,ending the long sufferings of birth and death.”
This is how I customarily preached.Shariputra, you should know this. (***) Shariputra, you should understand this. The Law of the buddhas is like this. Employing ten thousand, a million expedient means, they accord with what is appropriate in preaching the Law. Those who are not versed in the matter cannot fully comprehend this. But you and the others already know how the buddhas, teachers of the world, accord with what is appropriate in employing expedient means. You will have no more doubts or perplexities but, your minds filled with great joy, will know that you yourselves will attain buddhahood. CHAPTER 15 Emerging from the Earth At that time (***) Excellent, excellent, great hero, World-Honored One! The living beings are readily converted and saved. They know how to inquire about the most profound wisdom of the buddhas, and having heard, they believe and understand it. We are accordingly overjoyed. (***) Be diligent and of a single mind, for I wish to explain this affair. Have no doubts or regrets— the buddha wisdom is hard to fathom. Now you must put forth the power of faith, abiding in patience and goodness. A Law that in the past was never heard you will now all be able to hear. Now I will bring you ease and consolation— do not harbor doubts or fears. The Buddha has nothing but truthful words, his wisdom cannot be measured. This foremost Law that he has gained is very profound, incapable of analysis. He will now expound it— you must listen with a single mind. (***) They have no wish to remain among the crowd but constantly favor a state of meditation, and in order to seek the buddha way they have been dwelling in the space under the earth. This we have heard from the Buddha and have no doubts in the matter. But for the sake of future ages we beg the Buddha to explain and bring about understanding. If with regard to this sutra one should harbor doubt and fail to believe, one will fall at once into the evil paths. So we beg you now to explain. These immeasurable bodhisattvas— how in such a short time did you teach them, cause them to have aspiring minds, and to dwell in the stage of no regression? CHAPTER 16 The Life Span of the Thus Come One At that time the Buddha spoke to the bodhisattvas and all the great assembly: “Ever since then I have been constantly in this saha world, preaching the Law, teaching, and converting. And elsewhere I have led and benefited living beings in hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of nayutas and asamkhyas of lands. “Good men, during that time I have spoken about the buddha Burning Torch and others, and described how they entered nirvana. All this I employed as an expedient means to make distinctions. “Good men, if there are living beings who come to me, I employ my buddha eye to observe whether their faith and other faculties are keen or dull, and then depending upon how receptive they are to salvation, I appear in different places and preach to them under different names, and describe my life span as long or short. Sometimes when I make my appearance I say that I am about to enter nirvana, and also employ different expedient means to preach the subtle and wonderful Law, thus causing living beings to awaken joyful minds. “Good men, the thus come one observes how among living beings there are those who delight in lesser teachings, meager in virtue and heavy with defilement. For such persons I describe how in my youth I left my household and attained supreme perfect enlightenment. But in truth the time since I attained buddhahood is extremely long, as I have told you. It is simply that I use this expedient means to teach and convert living beings and cause them to enter the buddha way. That is why I speak in this manner. “Good men, the scriptures expounded by the thus come one are all for the purpose of saving and emancipating living beings. Sometimes I speak of myself, sometimes of others; sometimes I present myself, sometimes others; sometimes I show my own actions, sometimes those of others. All that I preach is true and not false. “Why do I do this? The thus come one perceives the true aspect of the threefold world exactly as it is. There is no ebb or flow of birth and death, and there is no existing in this world and later entering extinction. It is neither substantial nor empty, neither consistent nor diverse. Nor is it what those who dwell in the threefold world perceive it to be. All such things the thus come one sees clearly and without error. “Because living beings have different natures, different desires, different actions, and different ways of thinking and making distinctions, and because I want to enable them to put down good roots, I employ a variety of causes and conditions, similes, parables, and phrases and preach different doctrines. This, a buddha’s work, I have never for a moment neglected. “Thus, since I attained buddhahood, an extremely long period of time has passed. My life span is an immeasurable number of asamkhya kalpas, and during that time I have constantly abided p.268here without ever entering extinction. Good men, originally I practiced the bodhisattva way, and the life span that I acquired then has yet to come to an end but will last twice the number of years that have already passed. Now, however, although in fact I do not actually enter extinction, I announce that I am going to adopt the course of extinction. This is an expedient means that the thus come one uses to teach and convert living beings. “Why do I do this? Because if the Buddha remains in the world for a long time, those persons with shallow virtue will fail to plant good roots but, living in poverty and lowliness, will become attached to the five desires and be caught in the net of deluded thoughts and imaginings. If they see that the thus come one is constantly in the world and never enters extinction, they will grow arrogant and selfish, or become discouraged and neglectful. They will fail to realize how difficult it is to encounter the Buddha and will not approach him with a respectful and reverent mind. (***) Since I attained buddhahood the number of kalpas that have passed is an immeasurable hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions, trillions, asamkhyas. Constantly I have preached the Law, teaching, converting countless millions of living beings, causing them to enter the buddha way, all this for immeasurable kalpas. In order to save living beings, as an expedient means I appear to enter nirvana but in truth I do not pass into extinction. I am always here, preaching the Law. I am always here, but through my transcendental powers I make it so that living beings in their befuddlement do not see me even when close by. When the multitude sees that I have passed into extinction, far and wide they offer alms to my relics. All harbor thoughts of yearning and in their minds thirst to gaze at me. When living beings have become truly faithful, honest and upright, gentle in intent, single-mindedly desiring to see the Buddha, not hesitating even if it costs them their lives, then I and the assembly of monks appear together on Holy Eagle Peak. (***) I am the father of this world, saving those who suffer and are afflicted. Because of the befuddlement of ordinary people, though I live, I give out word I have entered extinction. For if they see me constantly, arrogance and selfishness arise in their minds. Abandoning restraint, they give themselves up to the five desires and fall into the evil paths of existence. Always I am aware of which living beings practice the way, and which do not, and in response to their need for salvation I preach various doctrines for them. At all times I think to myself: How can I cause living beings to gain entry into the unsurpassed way and quickly acquire the body of a buddha? CHAPTER 17 Distinctions in Benefits (***) At that time the Buddha said to the bodhisattva mahasattva Maitreya: “Ajita, if there are living beings who, on hearing that the life span of the Buddha is of such long duration, are able to believe and understand it even for a moment, the benefits they gain thereby will be without limit or measure. Suppose there are good men or good women who, for the sake of supreme perfect enlightenment, over a period of eight hundred thousand million nayutas of kalpas practice the five paramitas—the paramitas of almsgiving, keeping of the precepts, forbearance, assiduousness, and meditation, the paramita of obtaining wisdom being omitted—the benefits they obtain will not measure up to even a hundredth part, a thousandth part, a hundred, thousand, ten thousand, millionth part of the benefits mentioned previously. Indeed, it is beyond the power of calculation, simile, or parable to convey the comparison. For good men who have gained such benefits as those to fall back without reaching the goal of supreme perfect enlightenment is utterly unimaginable.” (***) If there are those profound in mind, pure, honest, and upright, who, hearing much, can retain it all, who follow principle in understanding the Buddha’s words, then people such as this will have no doubts. (***)Before long he will proceed to the place of enlightenment and attain a state of no outflows and no action, bringing wide benefit to heavenly and human beings! In the place where such a person resides, where he walks, sits, or lies down, or recites even one verse of scripture, there you should erect a tower adorned in a fitting and wonderful manner and offer alms of various kinds to it. When a son of the Buddha dwells in such places the Buddha will accept and utilize them, and constantly in their midst will walk, sit, or lie down. CHAPTER 11 The Emergence of the Treasure Tower This holy lord, this world-honored one, though he passed into extinction long ago, still seats himself in the treasure tower, coming here for the sake of the Law. You people, why then do you not also strive for the sake of the Law? This buddha passed into extinction an endless number of kalpas ago, but in many places he comes to listen to the Law because such opportunities are hard to encounter. This buddha originally made a vow, saying, “After I have passed into extinction, wherever I may go, in whatever place, my constant aim will be to hear the Law!” In addition, these emanations of my body, buddhas in immeasurable numbers like Ganges sands, have come, desiring to hear the Law, and so they may see Many Treasures Thus Come One who has passed into extinction. Each has abandoned his wonderful land, as well as his host of disciples, the heavenly and human beings, dragons, and all the offerings they give him, and has come to this place on purpose to make certain the Law will long endure. In order to seat these buddhas I have employed transcendental powers, moving immeasurable multitudes, causing lands to be clean and pure, leading each of these buddhas to the foot of a jeweled tree, adorned as lotus blossoms adorn a clear cool pond. Beneath these jeweled trees are lion seats, and the buddhas seat themselves on them, adorning them with their brilliance like a huge torch burning in the darkness of the night. A wonderful incense exudes from their bodies, pervading the lands in the ten directions. Living beings are wrapped in the aroma, unable to restrain their joy, as though a great wind were tossing the branches of small trees. Through this expedient means they make certain that the Law will long endure. So I say to the great assembly: After I have passed into extinction, who can guard and uphold, read and recite this sutra? Now in the presence of the Buddha let him come forward and speak his vow! This Many Treasures Buddha, though he passed into extinction long ago, because of his great vow roars the lion’s roar. Many Treasures Thus Come One, I myself, and these emanation buddhas who have gathered here, surely know this is our aim. You sons of the Buddha, who can guard the Law? Let him make a great vow to ensure that it will long endure! One who is capable of guarding the Law of this sutra will thereby have offered alms to me and to Many Treasures. This Many Treasures Buddha dwelling in his treasure tower journeys constantly throughout the ten directions for the sake of this sutra. One who guards this sutra will also have offered alms
to the emanation buddhas who have come here adorning and making brilliant all the various worlds. If one preaches this sutra, one will be able to see me and Many Treasures Thus Come One and these emanation buddhas. (***) (***) Summit of Being heaven and for the sake of the assembly preached countless other sutras, that too would not be difficult. But if after the Buddha has entered extinction, in the time of evil, you can preach this sutra, that will be difficult indeed! If there were a person who took the empty sky in his hand and walked all around with it, that would not be difficult. if after I have passed into extinction one can write out and embrace this sutra and cause others to write it out, that will be difficult indeed! If one took the great earth, placed it on one’s toenail, and ascended with it to the Brahma heaven, that would not be difficult. But if after the Buddha has passed into extinction, in the time of evil, one can even for a little while read this sutra, that will be difficult indeed! If, when the fires come at the end of the kalpa, one can load dry grass on one’s back and enter the fire without being burned, that would not be difficult. But after I have passed into extinction if one can embrace this sutra and expound it to even one person, that will be difficult indeed! If one were to embrace this storehouse of eighty-four thousand doctrines, the twelve divisions of the sutras, and expound it to others, causing listeners to acquire the six transcendental powers— though one could do that, that would not be difficult. But after I have entered extinction if one can listen to and accept this sutra and ask about its meaning, that will be difficult indeed! If one expounds the Law, allowing thousands, ten thousands, millions, immeasurable numbers of living beings equal to Ganges sands to become arhats endowed with the six transcendental powers, though one might confer such benefits, that would not be difficult. (***) All you good men, after I have entered extinction who can accept and uphold, read and recite this sutra? Now in the presence of the Buddha let him come forward and speak his vow! This sutra is hard to uphold; if one can uphold it even for a short while I will surely rejoice and so will the other buddhas. A person who can do this wins the admiration of the buddhas. This is what is meant by valor, this is what is meant by diligence. This is what is called observing the precepts and practicing dhuta. This way one will quickly attain the unsurpassed buddha way. And if in future existences one can read and uphold this sutra, one will be a true son of the Buddha, dwelling in a land spotless and good. If after the Buddha has passed into extinction one can understand the meaning of this sutra, one will be the eyes of the world for heavenly and human beings. If in that fearful age one can preach this sutra for even a moment, one will deserve to receive alms from all heavenly and human beings.

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