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by Daisaku Ikeda President, Soka Gakkai International

5 April 2015

In all things patience is the key to victory. Those who cannot endure cannot hope to win. Ultimate triumph belongs to those who can forbear.
Daisaku Ikeda

On the occasion of the fortieth anniversary of the establishment of the Soka Gakkai International (SGI), I would like to offer some thoughts on ways to generate greater solidarity among the people of the world for peace and humane values and for the elimination of needless suffering from the Earth. (…) I wish to emphasize that it is the solidarity of ordinary people that, more than any other force, will propel humankind in our efforts to meet the challenges that face us.

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http://www.sgi.org/buddhism/applying-buddhism/work/

Everyone wants to feel a sense of purpose and achievement in life. If we are lucky, our daily work will provide this, as well as the means to support our lives. (…) As Nichiren said:”Regard your service to your lord as the practice of the Lotus Sutra. This is what is meant by ‘No worldly affairs of life or work are ever contrary to the true reality.'” Reply to a Believer (WND, 905)

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http://www.sgi.org/buddhism/applying-buddhism/health/

Buddhism teaches that illness is one of the four sufferings which cannot be completely avoided in life, whether directly or through the experiences of close family or friends. (…) As Nichiren wrote: “Life is the most precious of all treasures. Even one extra day of life is worth more than ten million ryo of gold.” On Prolonging One’s Life Span (WND, 954)

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Human relationships are at once the greatest treasure and among the greatest challenges we can experience in life. Buddhism teaches that all life is interconnected, and that we share particularly deep bonds with our close family. It also stresses the value of good friends who help us advance in life. (…) As Nichiren said: “When a tree has been transplanted, though fierce winds may blow, it will not topple if it has a firm stake to hold it up. But even a tree that has grown up in place may fall over if its roots are weak. Even a feeble person will not stumble if those supporting him are strong, but a person of considerable strength, when alone, may fall down on an uneven path.” Three Tripitaka Masters Pray for Rain (WND, 598)

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“Human revolution is the work of transforming our lives at the very core. It involves identifying and challenging those things which inhibit the full expression of our positive potential and humanity.” (…) This individual process of human revolution is the very key to sparking change on a global scale. For, as Daisaku Ikeda writes, “A great human revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation and, further, will enable a change in the destiny of all humankind.” Taking responsibility for transforming our own lives is the first step toward creating a human society based on compassion and respect for the dignity of all people’s lives. – http://www.sgi.org/buddhism/buddhist-concepts/human-revolution.html

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IF you wish to free yourself from the sufferings of birth and death you have endured since time without beginning and to attain without fail unsurpassed enlightenment in this lifetime, you must perceive the mystic truth that is originally inherent in all living beings. This truth is Myoho-renge-kyo. Chanting Myoho-renge-kyo will therefore enable you to grasp the mystic truth innate in all life.
The Lotus Sutra is the king of sutras, true and correct in both word and principle. Its words are the ultimate reality, and this reality is the Mystic Law (myōhō). It is called the Mystic Law because it reveals the principle of the mutually inclusive relationship of a single moment of life and all phenomena. That is why this sutra is the wisdom of all Buddhas.
Life at each moment encompasses the body and mind and the self and environment of all sentient beings in the Ten Worlds as well as all insentient beings in the three thousand realms, including plants, sky, earth, and even the minutest particles of dust. Life at each moment permeates the entire realm of phenomena and is revealed in all phenomena. To be awakened to this principle is itself the mutually inclusive relationship of life at each moment and all phenomena. Nevertheless, even though you chant and believe in Myoho-renge-kyo, if you think the Law is outside yourself, you are embracing not the Mystic Law but an inferior teaching. “Inferior teaching” means those other than this [Lotus] sutra, which are all expedient and provisional. No expedient or provisional teaching leads directly to enlightenment, and without the direct path to enlightenment you cannot attain Buddhahood, even if you practice lifetime after lifetime for countless kalpas. Attaining Buddhahood in this lifetime is then impossible. Therefore, when you chant myōhō and recite renge,1 you must summon up deep faith that Myoho-renge-kyo is your life itself.
You must never think that any of the eighty thousand sacred teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha’s lifetime or any of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions and three existences are outside yourself. Your practice of the Buddhist teachings will not relieve you of the sufferings of birth and death in the least unless you perceive the true nature of your life. If you seek enlightenment outside yourself, then your performing even ten thousand practices and ten thousand good deeds will be in vain. It is like the case of a poor man who spends night and day counting his neighbor’s wealth but gains not even half a coin. That is why the T’ien-t’ai school’s commentary states, “Unless p.4one perceives the nature of one’s life, one cannot eradicate one’s grave offenses.”2 This passage implies that, unless one perceives the nature of one’s life, one’s practice will become an endless, painful austerity. Therefore, such students of Buddhism are condemned as non-Buddhist. Great Concentration and Insight states that, although they study Buddhism, their views are no different from those of non-Buddhists.
Whether you chant the Buddha’s name,3 recite the sutra, or merely offer flowers and incense, all your virtuous acts will implant benefits and roots of goodness in your life. With this conviction you should strive in faith. The Vimalakīrti Sutra states that, when one seeks the Buddhas’ emancipation in the minds of ordinary beings, one finds that ordinary beings are the entities of enlightenment, and that the sufferings of birth and death are nirvana. It also states that, if the minds of living beings are impure, their land is also impure, but if their minds are pure, so is their land. There are not two lands, pure or impure in themselves. The difference lies solely in the good or evil of our minds.
It is the same with a Buddha and an ordinary being. When deluded, one is called an ordinary being, but when enlightened, one is called a Buddha. This is similar to a tarnished mirror that will shine like a jewel when polished. A mind now clouded by the illusions of the innate darkness of life is like a tarnished mirror, but when polished, it is sure to become like a clear mirror, reflecting the essential nature of phenomena and the true aspect of reality. Arouse deep faith, and diligently polish your mirror day and night. How should you polish it? Only by chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
What then does myō signify? It is simply the mysterious nature of our life from moment to moment, which the mind cannot comprehend or words express. When we look into our own mind at any moment, we perceive neither color nor form to verify that it exists. Yet we still cannot say it does not exist, for many differing thoughts continually occur. The mind cannot be considered either to exist or not to exist. Life is indeed an elusive reality that transcends both the words and concepts of existence and nonexistence. It is neither existence nor nonexistence, yet exhibits the qualities of both. It is the mystic entity of the Middle Way that is the ultimate reality. Myō is the name given to the mystic nature of life, and hō, to its manifestations. Renge, which means lotus flower, is used to symbolize the wonder of this Law. If we understand that our life at this moment is myō, then we will also understand that our life at other moments is the Mystic Law.4 This realization is the mystic kyō, or sutra. The Lotus Sutra is the king of sutras, the direct path to enlightenment, for it explains that the entity of our life, which manifests either good or evil at each moment, is in fact the entity of the Mystic Law.
If you chant Myoho-renge-kyo with deep faith in this principle, you are certain to attain Buddhahood in this lifetime. That is why the sutra states, “After I have passed into extinction, [one] should accept and uphold this sutra. Such a person assuredly and without doubt will attain the Buddha way.”5 Never doubt in the slightest.
Respectfully.
Maintain your faith and attain Buddhahood in this lifetime. Nam-myoho-renge-kyo, Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.

Nichiren
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p.5Background
This letter was written to Toki Jōnin in the seventh year of Kenchō (1255), two years after Nichiren Daishonin established his teaching of Nam-myoho-renge-kyo. At the time of this letter, the Daishonin was thirty-four years old and was living in Kamakura, the seat of the military government. Toki was a staunch follower of the Daishonin who lived in Wakamiya in Shimōsa Province. He received some thirty letters, including Letter from Sado and one of the major treatises, The Object of Devotion for Observing the Mind. A retainer of Lord Chiba, the constable of Shimōsa, Toki had become a follower of the Daishonin around 1254.
Of all his writings from the mid-1250s, On Attaining Buddhahood in This Lifetime focuses most clearly on the tenets of the Daishonin’s Buddhism; many of the other works of this period are aimed chiefly at refuting the erroneous doctrines of other schools and discussing theoretical questions. This short essay not only reflects the theories T’ien-t’ai formulated based on the Lotus Sutra, but also reveals the concrete practice for attaining Buddhahood—namely, chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo—that is missing in T’ien-t’ai’s theoretical framework.
Myoho-renge-kyo is the title of the Lotus Sutra, but to the Daishonin it is much more; it is the essence of the sutra, the revelation of the supreme Law itself. Apparent in this work are both the depth of his thought and his conviction that Nam-myoho-renge-kyo is the only teaching that can lead people to Buddhahood in this lifetime.
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Notes
1. “Chant myōhō and recite renge” means to chant the daimoku of the Mystic Law, or Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
2. The Annotations on “Great Concentration and Insight.”
3. As used here, “the Buddha’s name” denotes Nam-myoho-renge-kyo.
4. This sentence can also be interpreted to read, “If one understands that one’s life is myō, then one also understands that others’ lives are all entities of the Mystic Law.”
5. Lotus Sutra, chap. 21.

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CHAPTER 1

Virtuous Practices

This is what I heard:
At one time the Buddha was in Rajagriha, staying on Mount Gridhrakuta. Accompanying him were a multitude of leading monks numbering twelve thousand persons. Also accompanying him were eighty thousand bodhisattvas mahasattva; heavenly beings, dragons, yakshas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kimnaras, and mahoragas; and various monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen. Great wheel-turning kings, petty wheel-turning kings, kings of the gold wheel, silver wheel, and other kinds of wheels, kings of states, princes, ministers, subjects, gentlemen and ladies of the state, and rich men of the state, all with followers numbering in the hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, surrounding them, came to the place where the Buddha was, bowed in obeisance before his feet, and circled around him a hundred thousand times, burning incense, scattering flowers, and offering various kinds of alms. This done, they retired to one side and sat down.
The names of the bodhisattvas were Dharma Prince Manjushri, Dharma Prince Great Dignity and Virtue Storehouse, Dharma Prince Without Worry Storehouse, Dharma Prince Great Eloquence Storehouse, Bodhisattva Maitreya, Bodhisattva Guiding Head, Bodhisattva Medicine King, Bodhisattva Medicine Superior, Bodhisattva Flower Banner, Bodhisattva Flower Glow Banner, Bodhisattva Dharani Freedom King, Bodhisattva p.4Perceiver of the World’s Sounds, Bodhisattva Great Power, Bodhisattva Constant Exertion, Bodhisattva Jeweled Seal Head, Bodhisattva Jeweled Accumulation, Bodhisattva Jeweled Staff, Bodhisattva Transcending the Threefold World, Bodhisattva Vimabhara,1 Bodhisattva Scented Elephant, Bodhisattva Great Scented Elephant, Bodhisattva Lion Roar King, Bodhisattva Lion Frolic World, Bodhisattva Lion Swiftness, Bodhisattva Lion Exertion, Bodhisattva Brave Acute Strength, Bodhisattva Lion Fierce Subduer, Bodhisattva Adornment, and Bodhisattva Great Adornment. Eighty thousand bodhisattvas mahasattva such as these accompanied the Buddha.
There were none of these bodhisattvas who were not great men in their Dharma bodies. They were accomplished in matters pertaining to the precepts, meditation, wisdom, emancipation, and the insight of emancipation. Their minds, concentrated and stilled, were at all times in a state of samadhi. They were tranquil and unperturbed, without action, without desire, and no topsy-turvy or confused thoughts could ever reach them. Placid and still, clean and pure, their will was dark, empty, and vast. They maintained this state unmoving for a million hundred thousand kalpas. Immeasurable doctrines were all manifest before them. They had acquired great wisdom, had fully understood all phenomena, perceived and distinguished the truth regarding natures and characteristics, and displayed absolute clarity concerning being and nonbeing, long and short.
They were also skilled in understanding various capacities, natures, and desires, and employing dharanis and unimpeded eloquence, and following in the wake of buddhas who had turned the wheel of the Law, they too skillfully turned it. First they sprinkled tiny drops, wetting down the dust of desire. They opened the gates of nirvana and fanned the wind of emancipation, dispelling the heat of worldly cares and letting in the clear coolness of the Law.
Next they dispensed the profound teachings of the twelve-linked chain of causation, using them to douse the burning rays p.5of compounded suffering, the raging fires of ignorance, aging, sickness, and death. Then they poured forth in abundance the unsurpassed great vehicle to moisten and enrich the good roots possessed by living beings. They sowed the seeds of goodness, spreading them throughout the fields of merit, making it possible for all beings everywhere to put forth the sprouts of enlightenment. The sun and moon of their wisdom, the seasons of their expedient means, support and promote the undertaking of the great vehicle, causing the multitude quickly to attain supreme perfect enlightenment.
These bodhisattvas dwelled constantly in the ease and joy of a subtle and wonderful truth, and in their immeasurably great compassion rescued living beings from suffering. For living beings these were true good friends; for living beings these were great fields of good fortune; for living beings they were teachers who arrived unsummoned; for living beings they were places of tranquillity and joy, saviors, guardians, places of great refuge and repose.
In one place after another for the sake of living beings they acted as great and good guides and teachers, as great guides and teachers. Because living beings are blind, they knew how to act as eyes for them. For the deaf, the noseless, the dumb they acted as ears, nose, and tongue. Where capacities were lacking or defective, they knew how to supply and mend them; where there was disorder, chaos, and confusion, they brought the great remedy of correct thought.
They were helmsmen, great helmsmen, ferrying the many beings over the river of birth and death until they reached the shore of nirvana. They were master physicians, great master physicians, distinguishing the marks of illness, understanding the nature of medicines, applying the medicine that was appropriate to the disease, dispensing medication to the multitude. They were trainers, great trainers, curbing all wild and eccentric behavior. They were like trainers of elephants or horses, able to train them till none were untrained. They had the brave fierceness of the lion, which overawes all the other beasts and is scarcely to be challenged.
p.6They diverted themselves with the paramitas of the bodhisattvas, and stood firm and unmoving on the ground of the thus come one. They abided secure in the power of their vows, purified the buddha lands far and wide, and before long will succeed in gaining supreme perfect enlightenment. These bodhisattvas mahasattva all possessed inconceivable virtues such as these.
The names of the monks were Great Wisdom Shariputra, Transcendental Power Maudgalyayana, Life of Wisdom Subhuti, Mahakatyayana, Purna, son of Maitrayani, Ajnata Kaundinya, Heavenly Eye Aniruddha, Keeper of the Precepts Upali, Attendant Ananda, Rahula, son of the Buddha, Upananda, Revata, Kapphina, Bakkula, Chunda, Svagata, Dhuta Great Kashyapa, Uruvilva Kashyapa, Gaya Kashyapa, and Nadi Kashyapa, twelve thousand monks such as these. All were arhats who had exhausted all ties and outflows and had no further bonds or attachments, having attained true and correct emancipation.
At that time the bodhisattva mahasattva Great Adornment, gazing all around at the seated multitude and seeing that each member of the group had had time to compose his mind, accompanied by the others of the eighty thousand bodhisattvas mahasattva in the assembly, rose from his seat and proceeded to where the Buddha was. They bowed their heads to the ground in obeisance before the Buddha’s feet and circled around him a hundred thousand times, burning heavenly incense and scattering heavenly flowers, heavenly robes, heavenly necklaces, and priceless heavenly jewels and gems over him. These revolved in the midst of the sky and drifted down on four sides in cloudlike masses, an offering to the Buddha. Heavenly bowls and vessels from heavenly kitchens brimmed and overflowed with a hundred heavenly flavors; just observing their forms and smelling their aroma was enough to make one feel naturally satisfied. Heavenly banners, heavenly streamers, heavenly canopies, wonderful heavenly playthings were ranged here and there, and heavenly instruments played music for the amusement and pleasure of the Buddha.
Then the bodhisattvas, advancing, kneeling on one knee, and p.7pressing their palms together, single-mindedly joined their voices together in speaking these verses of praise:

Great indeed, great sage lord of great enlightenment,
without defilement, without stain, without attachment,
trainer of heavenly and human beings, elephants and horses,
scenting all with the wind of the way, the incense of virtue,
calm in wisdom, vast in feeling, still and concentrated in thought,
will extinguished, consciousness gone, mind tranquil,
eternally cut off from dreamlike deluded thoughts and ponderings,
no more elements, components, sense fields, or realms,
his body neither existing nor not existing,
neither caused nor conditioned, neither self nor other,
neither square nor round, neither short nor long,
neither appearing nor disappearing, neither born nor extinguished,
neither created nor arising, neither acted nor made,
neither sitting nor lying down, neither walking nor standing,
neither moving nor turning, neither idle nor still,
neither advancing nor retreating, neither in safety nor danger,
neither right nor wrong, neither gaining nor losing,
neither that nor this, neither departing nor coming,
neither blue nor yellow, neither red nor white,
neither crimson nor purple nor any other sort of color,
born in precepts, meditation, wisdom, emancipation, insight,
setting out from samadhis, six transcendental powers, aids to the way,
arising from pity, compassion, the ten powers, fearlessness,
emerging because of the good actions of living beings.
p.8He displays his sixteen-foot body, gleaming like purple gold,
trim and upright, shining with great penetrating brilliance;
characteristic tuft curled like a moon, sun rays behind his neck;
his coiled hair deep blue, a knob of flesh on his crown;
pure eyes, bright mirrors, gazing up and down;
eyebrows and lashes blue and lengthy, mouth and cheeks shapely;
lips and tongue red and comely as crimson flowers;
forty white teeth like snowy agate;
forehead broad, nose long, an open countenance;
breast displaying a fylfot pattern, lion-chested;
hands and feet soft and supple, marked with thousand-spoked wheels;
armpits and palms crossed with lines, inside and out well molded,
long upper and lower arms, fingers straight and slim;
skin delicate and soft, hair curling to the right;
anklebones and knees well exposed, male member hidden like a horse;
slim muscles, well-locked bones, deer-like legs;
front and back radiant, pure, without defilement,
unstained by turbid water, untouched by dust,
the thirty-two features all like this,
the eighty characteristics plain to see.
Yet in truth there is no form that is with or without features;
he is cut off from all eyes that look for features.
With features that are featureless he bears a featured body,
and the features of living beings with their featured bodies are likewise.
He can cause living beings to rejoice and do obeisance,
to give their hearts to him, show reverence, be diligent.
Because he has put aside pride and haughtiness,
he has achieved a wonderfully formed body such as this.
Now we, a multitude of eighty thousand,
p.9have all come together to bow our heads, dedicate our lives,
to one who has extinguished thought, mind, will, and consciousness,
trainer of elephants and horses, sage free of attachments.
We bow heads, give ourselves to his Dharma body and manifested body,
his aggregate of precepts, meditation, wisdom, emancipation, insight.
We bow heads, give ourselves to his wonderful characteristics,
we bow heads, give ourselves to one difficult to conceive.
His brahma sounds thunder and shake, echoing in eight varieties,
subtle, wonderful, pure, extremely profound and far-reaching.
The four noble truths, six paramitas, twelve-linked chain of causation,
are set forth, depending on the workings of the minds of living beings.
Of those who hear, there are none whose mind is not opened;
they cut off the immeasurable entanglements of birth and death.
Of those who hear, some reach the stage of stream-winner, of once-returner, non-returner, or arhat,
the state of the cause-awakened one, free of outflows, free of action,
the bodhisattva stage, free of birth, free of extinction.
Some gain immeasurable dharanis,
unimpeded delight in preaching, great eloquence,
expounding profoundly deep, subtle, and wonderful verses,
diverting themselves by bathing in clear channels of the Law,
some leap or fly up, display transcendental powers,
go in and out of water and fire, their bodies completely free.
p.10In such manner does the thus come one turn the wheel of the Law,
pure, unbounded, difficult to conceive.
We are moved, and all together bow our heads,
dedicating our lives to the timely turning of the wheel of the Law,
bow our heads, dedicate ourselves to the brahma sounds,
bow our heads, dedicate ourselves to the chain of causation, truths, paramitas.
The world-honored one immeasurable kalpas in the past
diligently carried out numerous virtuous practices
for our sake, human and heavenly beings, dragon kings,
for all living beings everywhere.
He was willing to discard all things difficult to discard,
wealth, riches, wife, child, country, and capital,
begrudging nothing inside or outside his dharma,
donating all to others, his head, eyes, marrow, and brains.
He honored and upheld the pure prohibitions of the buddhas,
never violating them even though it might cost him his life.
Though men came with swords and staves to do him harm,
with foul mouths cursed and insulted him, he never showed anger.
For successive kalpas he sacrificed his body, never slacking,
day and night disciplined in mind, in constant meditation.
He studied all the various ways and doctrines,
in his profound wisdom penetrated the capacities of living beings.
For this reason now he can exercise his powers freely,
free in command of the Law, the king of the Law.
We are moved, and all together bow our heads,
dedicating ourselves to one who has accomplished what is hard to accomplish.
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Notes

1. This is a reconstruction of the Sanskrit from the Chinese transliteration.

CHAPTER 1

Introduction

This is what I heard:
At one time the Buddha was in Rajagriha, staying on Mount Gridhrakuta. Accompanying him were a multitude of leading monks numbering twelve thousand persons. All were arhats whose outflows had come to an end, who had no more earthly desires, who had attained what was to their advantage and had put an end to the bonds of existence, and whose minds had achieved a state of freedom.
Their names were Ajnata Kaundinya, Mahakashyapa, Uruvilva Kashyapa, Gaya Kashyapa, Nadi Kashyapa, Shariputra, Great Maudgalyayana, Mahakatyayana, Aniruddha, Kapphina, Gavampati, Revata, Pilindavatsa, Bakkula, Mahakaushthila, Nanda, Sundarananda, Purna, son of Maitrayani, Subhuti, Ananda, and Rahula. All were like these, great arhats who were well known to others.
There were also two thousand persons some of whom were still learning and some who had completed their learning.
There was the nun Mahaprajapati with her six thousand followers. And there was Rahula’s mother, the nun Yashodhara, with her followers.
There were bodhisattvas mahasattva, eighty thousand of them, none of them ever regressing in their search for supreme perfect enlightenment. All had gained dharanis, delighted in preaching, were eloquent, and turned the wheel of the Law that knows no p.36regression. They had made offerings to immeasurable hundreds and thousands of buddhas, in the presence of various buddhas had planted numerous roots of virtue, had been constantly praised by the buddhas, had trained themselves in compassion, were good at entering the buddha wisdom, and had fully penetrated the great wisdom and reached the farther shore. Their fame had spread throughout immeasurable worlds and they were able to save countless hundreds of thousands of living beings.
Their names were Bodhisattva Manjushri, Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World’s Sounds, Bodhisattva Gainer of Great Authority, Bodhisattva Constant Exertion, Bodhisattva Never Resting, Bodhisattva Jeweled Palm, Bodhisattva Medicine King, Bodhisattva Brave Donor, Bodhisattva Jeweled Moon, Bodhisattva Moonlight, Bodhisattva Full Moon, Bodhisattva Great Strength, Bodhisattva Immeasurable Strength, Bodhisattva Transcending the Threefold World, Bodhisattva Bhadrapala, Bodhisattva Maitreya, Bodhisattva Jeweled Accumulation, and Bodhisattva Guiding Leader. Bodhisattvas mahasattva such as these numbering eighty thousand were in attendance.
At that time the heavenly king Shakra with his followers, twenty thousand sons of gods, also attended. There were also the sons of gods Rare Moon, Pervading Fragrance, Jeweled Glow, and the four great heavenly kings, along with their followers, ten thousand sons of gods.
Present were the sons of gods Freedom and Great Freedom and their followers, thirty thousand sons of gods. Present were King Brahma, lord of the saha world, the great Brahma Shikhin, and the great Brahma Light Bright, and their followers, twelve thousand sons of gods.
There were eight dragon kings, the dragon king Nanda, the dragon king Upananda, the dragon king Sagara, the dragon king Vasuki, the dragon king Takshaka, the dragon king Anavatapta, the dragon king Manasvin, and the dragon king Utpalaka, each with several hundreds of thousands of followers.
There were four kimnara kings, the kimnara king Law, the kimnara king Wonderful Law, the kimnara king Great Law, and p.37the kimnara king Upholding the Law, each with several hundreds of thousands of followers.
There were four gandharva kings, the gandharva king Pleasant, the gandharva king Pleasant Sound, the gandharva king Beautiful, and the gandharva king Beautiful Sound, each with several hundreds of thousands of followers.
There were four asura kings, the asura king Balin, the asura king Kharaskandha, the asura king Vemachitrin, and the asura king Rahu, each with several hundreds of thousands of followers.
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 with several hundreds of thousands of followers. And there was King Ajatashatru, the son of Vaidehi, with several hundreds of thousands of followers.
Each of these, after bowing in obeisance before the Buddha’s feet, withdrew and took a seat to one side.
At that time the world-honored one, surrounded by the four kinds of believers, received offerings and tokens of respect and was honored and praised. And for the sake of the bodhisattvas he preached the great vehicle sutra entitled Immeasurable Meanings, a teaching to instruct the bodhisattvas, one that is guarded and kept in mind by the buddhas.
When the Buddha had finished preaching this sutra, he sat with his legs crossed in the lotus position and entered into the samadhi of the origin of immeasurable meanings, his body and mind never moving. At that time heaven rained down mandarava flowers, great mandarava flowers, manjushaka flowers, and great manjushaka flowers, scattering them over the Buddha and over the great assembly, and everywhere the buddha world quaked and trembled in six different ways.
At that time the monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen, the heavenly beings, dragons, yakshas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, kimnaras, mahoragas, the human and nonhuman beings in the assembly, and the petty kings and wheel-turning sage kings—all these in the great assembly, having gained what they had never p.38had before, were filled with joy and, pressing their palms together, gazed at the Buddha with a single mind.
At that time the Buddha emitted a ray of light from the tuft of white hair between his eyebrows, one of his characteristic features, lighting up eighteen thousand worlds in the eastern direction. There was no place that the light did not penetrate, reaching downward as far as the Avichi hells and upward to the Akanishtha heavens.
From this world one could see the living beings in the six paths of existence in all of those other lands. One could likewise see the buddhas present at that time in those other lands and could hear the sutra teachings that those buddhas were expounding. At the same time one could see the monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen who were carrying out religious practices and attaining the way. One could also see the bodhisattvas mahasattva who, through various causes and conditions and various types of faith and understanding and in various forms and aspects, were carrying out the way of the bodhisattva. And one could also see the buddhas who had entered parinirvana, and could also see how, after the buddhas had entered parinirvana, towers adorned with the seven treasures were being erected for the buddha relics.
At that time Bodhisattva Maitreya had this thought: Now the world-honored one has manifested these miraculous signs. But what is the cause of these auspicious portents? Now the Buddha, the world-honored one, has entered into samadhi. An unfathomable event such as this is seldom to be met with. Whom shall I question about this? Who can give me an answer?
And again he had this thought: This Manjushri, son of a Dharma king, has already personally attended and given offerings to immeasurable numbers of buddhas in the past. Surely he must have seen these rare signs before. I will now question him.
At this time the monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen, and the heavenly beings, dragons, spirits, and others all had this thought: This beam of brightness from the Buddha, these signs of transcendental powers—now whom shall we question about them?
p.39At that time Bodhisattva Maitreya wished to settle his doubts concerning the matter. And in addition he could see what was in the minds of the four kinds of believers, the monks, nuns, laymen, and laywomen, and the heavenly beings, dragons, spirits, and others who made up the assembly. So he questioned Manjushri, saying, “What is the cause of these auspicious portents, these signs of transcendental powers, this emitting of a great beam of brightness that illumines the eighteen thousand lands in the eastern direction so we can see all the adornments of the buddha worlds there?”
Then Bodhisattva Maitreya, wishing to state his meaning once more, asked the question in verse form:

Manjushri,
why from the white tuft between the eyebrows
of our leader and teacher
does this great light shine all around?
Why do mandarava
and manjushaka flowers rain down
and breezes scented with sandalwood
delight the hearts of the assembly?
Because of these
the earth is everywhere adorned and purified
and this world
quakes and trembles in six different ways.
At this time the four kinds of believers
are all filled with joy and delight,
they rejoice in body and mind,
having gained what they never had before.
The beam of brightness from between the eyebrows
illumines the eastern direction
and eighteen thousand lands
are all the color of gold.
From the Avichi hells
upward to the Summits of Being,
throughout the various worlds
the living beings in the six paths,
p.40where their births and deaths are tending,
their good and bad deeds,
and the pleasing or ugly recompense they receive—
all these can be seen from here.
We can also see buddhas,
those sage lords, lions,
expounding and preaching sutras
that are subtle, wonderful, and foremost.
Their voices are clear and pure,
issuing in soft and gentle sounds,
as they teach bodhisattvas
in numberless millions.
Their brahma sounds are profound and wonderful,
making people delight in hearing them.
Each in his own world
preaches the correct teaching,
following various causes and conditions
and employing immeasurable similes,
illuminating the Buddhist Law,
guiding living beings to enlightenment.
If a person should encounter troubles,
loathing aging, sickness, and death,
the buddhas preach to him on nirvana,
explaining how he may put an end to all troubles.
If a person should have good fortune,
having in the past made offerings to the buddhas,
determined to seek a superior teaching,
the buddhas preach the way of the cause-awakened one.
If there should be buddha sons
who carry out various religious practices,
seeking to attain the unsurpassed wisdom,
the buddhas preach the way of purity.
Manjushri,
I have been dwelling here,
seeing and hearing in this manner
many things numbering in the thousands of millions.
Numerous as they are,
p.41I will now speak of them in brief.
I see in these lands
bodhisattvas numerous as Ganges sands,
according with various causes and conditions
and seeking the way of the buddha.
Some of them give alms,
gold, silver, coral,
pearls, mani jewels,
seashell, agate,
diamonds, and other rarities,
men and women servants, carriages,
jeweled hand carriages and palanquins,
gladly presenting these donations.
Advancing toward the buddha way,
their desire is to achieve this vehicle
that is foremost in the threefold world
and praised by the buddhas.
There are some bodhisattvas
who give jeweled carriages drawn by teams of four,
with railings and flowered canopies
adorning their tops and sides.
Again I see bodhisattvas
who give their own flesh, hands, and feet,
or their wives and children,
seeking the unsurpassed way.
I also see bodhisattvas
who happily give
heads, eyes, bodies, and limbs
in their search for the buddha wisdom.
Manjushri,
I see kings
going to visit the place of the buddha
to ask him about the unsurpassed way.
They put aside their happy lands,
their palaces, their men and women attendants,
shave their hair and beards
and don the clothes of the Dharma.
p.42Or I see bodhisattvas
who become monks,
living alone in quietude,
delighting in chanting the sutras.
Again I see bodhisattvas
bravely and vigorously exerting themselves,
entering the deep mountains,
their thoughts on the buddha way.
And I see them removing themselves from desire,
constantly dwelling in emptiness and stillness,
advancing deep into the practice of meditation
till they have gained the five transcendental powers.
And I see bodhisattvas
resting in meditation, palms pressed together,
with a thousand, ten thousand verses
praising the king of the doctrines.
Again I see bodhisattvas,
profound in wisdom, firm in purpose,
who know how to question the buddhas
and accept and abide by all they hear.
I see buddha sons
proficient in both meditation and wisdom,
who use immeasurable numbers of similes
to expound the Law to the assembly,
delighting in preaching the Law,
converting the bodhisattvas,
defeating the legions of the devil,
and beating the Dharma drum.
And I see bodhisattvas
profoundly still and silent,
honored by heavenly beings and dragons
but not counting that a joy.
And I see bodhisattvas
living in forests, emitting light,
saving those who suffer in hell,
causing them to enter the buddha way.
And I see buddha sons
p.43who have never once slept,
who keep circling through the forest
diligently seeking the buddha way.
And I see those who observe the precepts,
no flaw in their conduct,
pure as jewels and gems,
and in that manner seeking the buddha way.
And I see buddha sons
abiding in the strength of fortitude,
taking the abuse and blows
of persons of overbearing arrogance,
willing to suffer all these,
and in that manner seeking the buddha way.
I see bodhisattvas
removing themselves from frivolity and laughter
and from foolish companions,
befriending persons of wisdom,
unifying their minds, dispelling confusion,
ordering their thoughts in mountain and forest,
and for a million, a thousand, ten thousand years
in that manner seeking the buddha way.
Or I see bodhisattvas
with delicious things to eat and drink
and a hundred kinds of medicinal potions,
offering them to the buddha and his monks;
fine robes and superior garments
costing in the thousands or ten thousands,
or robes that are beyond cost,
offering them to the buddha and his monks;
a thousand, ten thousand, a million kinds
of jeweled dwellings made of sandalwood
and numerous wonderful articles of bedding,
offering them to the buddha and his monks;
immaculate gardens and groves
where flowers and fruit abound,
flowing springs and bathing pools,
offering them to the buddha and his monks;
p.44offerings of this kind,
of many different wonderful varieties
presented gladly and without regret
as they seek the unsurpassed way.
Or there are bodhisattvas
who expound the doctrine of tranquil extinction,
giving different types of instruction
to numberless living beings.
Or I see bodhisattvas
viewing the nature of all phenomena
as having no dual characteristics,
as being like empty space.
And I see buddha sons
whose minds have no attachments,
who use this wonderful wisdom
to seek the unsurpassed way.
Manjushri,
there are also bodhisattvas
who after the buddha has passed into extinction
make offerings to his relics.
I see buddha sons
building memorial towers
as numberless as Ganges sands,
ornamenting each land with them,
jeweled towers lofty and wonderful,
five thousand yojanas high,
their width and depth
exactly two thousand yojanas,
each of these memorial towers
with its thousand banners and streamers,
with curtains laced with gems like dewdrops
and jeweled bells chiming harmoniously.
There heavenly beings, dragons,
human and nonhuman beings,
with incense, flowers, and music
constantly make offerings.
Manjushri,
p.45these buddha sons
in order to make offerings to the relics
adorn the memorial towers
so that each land, just as it is,
is as outstandingly wonderful and lovely
as the heavenly king of trees
when its flowers open and unfold.
When the Buddha emits a beam of light
I and the other members of the assembly
can see these lands
in all their various outstanding wonders.
The supernatural powers of the buddhas
and their wisdom are rare indeed;
by emitting one pure beam of light,
the buddhas illuminate countless lands.
I and the others have seen this,
have gained something never known before.
Buddha son, Manjushri,
I beg you to settle the doubts of the assembly.
The four kinds of believers look up in happy anticipation,
gazing at you and me.
Why does the world-honored one
emit this beam of brightness?
Buddha son, give a timely answer,
settle these doubts and occasion joy!
What rich benefits will come
from the projecting of this beam of brightness?
It must be that the Buddha wishes to expound
the wonderful Law he gained
when he sat in the place of enlightenment.
He must have prophecies to bestow.
He has showed us buddha lands
with their adornment and purity of manifold treasures,
and we have seen their buddhas—
this is not done for petty reasons.
Manjushri, you must know.
The four kinds of believers and the dragons
p.46gaze at you in surmise,
wondering what explanation you will give.

At that time Manjushri said to the bodhisattva mahasattva Maitreya and the other great men: “Good men, I suppose that the Buddha, the world-honored one, wishes now to expound the great Law, to rain down the rain of the great Law, to blow the conch of the great Law, to beat the drum of the great Law, to elucidate the meaning of the great Law. Good men, in the past I have seen this auspicious portent among the buddhas. They emitted beams of light like this, and after that they expounded the great Law. Therefore we should know that now, when the present Buddha manifests this light, he will do likewise. He wishes to cause all living beings to hear and understand the Law, which is difficult for all the world to believe. Therefore he has manifested this auspicious portent.
“Good men, once, at a time that was an immeasurable, boundless, inconceivable number of asamkhya kalpas in the past, there was a buddha named Sun Moon Bright, thus come one, worthy of offerings, of right and universal knowledge, perfect clarity and conduct, well gone, understanding the world, unexcelled worthy, trainer of people, teacher of heavenly and human beings, buddha, world-honored one, who expounded the correct teachings. His exposition was good at the beginning, good in the middle, good at the end. The meaning was profound and far-reaching, the words were skillful and wondrous. It was pure and without alloy, complete, clean, and spotless, and bore the marks of brahma practice.
“For the sake of those seeking to become voice-hearers he responded by expounding the doctrine of the four noble truths, so that they could transcend birth, aging, sickness, and death, and attain nirvana. For the sake of those seeking to become pratyekabuddhas he responded by expounding the doctrine of the twelve-linked chain of causation. For the sake of the bodhisattvas he responded by expounding the six paramitas, causing them to gain supreme perfect enlightenment and to acquire the wisdom that embraces all species.
p.47“Then there was another buddha who was also named Sun Moon Bright, and then another buddha also named Sun Moon Bright. There were twenty thousand buddhas like this, all with the same appellation, all named Sun Moon Bright. And all had the same surname, the surname Bharadvaja. Maitreya, you should understand that from the first buddha to the last, all had the same appellation, all were named Sun Moon Bright. They were worthy of all the ten epithets and the teachings they expounded were good at the beginning, in the middle, and at the end.
“The last buddha, when he had not yet left family life, had eight princely sons. The first was named Having Intention, the second Good Intention, the third Immeasurable Intention, the fourth Jeweled Intention, the fifth Increased Intention, the sixth Cleansed of Doubt Intention, the seventh Echoing Intention, and the eighth Law Intention. Dignity and virtue came easily to them, and each presided over a four-continent realm.
“When these princes heard that their father had left family life and had gained supreme perfect enlightenment, they all cast aside their princely positions and followed him by leaving family life. Conceiving a desire for the great vehicle, they constantly carried out brahma practices, and all became teachers of the Law. They had already planted good roots in the company of a thousand, ten thousand buddhas.
“At that time the buddha Sun Moon Bright preached the great vehicle sutra entitled Immeasurable Meanings, a teaching to instruct the bodhisattvas, one that is guarded and kept in mind by the buddhas. When he had finished preaching the sutra, he sat cross-legged in the midst of the great assembly and entered into the samadhi of the origin of immeasurable meanings, his body and mind never moving. At this time heaven rained down mandarava flowers, great mandarava flowers, manjushaka flowers, and great manjushaka flowers, scattering them over the buddha and over the great assembly, and everywhere the buddha world quaked and trembled in six different ways.
“At that time the monks, nuns, laymen, laywomen, the heavenly beings, dragons, yakshas, gandharvas, asuras, garudas, p.48kimnaras, mahoragas, the human and nonhuman beings in the assembly, and the petty kings and wheel-turning sage kings—all these in the great assembly gained what they had never had before and, filled with joy, pressed their palms together and gazed at the buddha with a single mind.
“At that time the thus come one emitted a ray of light from the tuft of white hair between his eyebrows, one of his characteristic features, lighting up eighteen thousand buddha lands in the eastern direction. There was no place that the light did not penetrate, just as you have seen it light up these buddha lands now.
“Maitreya, you should understand this. At that time in the assembly there were twenty million bodhisattvas who were happy and eager to hear the Law. When these bodhisattvas saw this beam of light that illumined the buddha lands everywhere, they gained what they had never had before. They wished to know the causes and conditions that had occasioned this light.
“At that time there was a bodhisattva named Wonderfully Bright who had eight hundred disciples. At this time the buddha Sun Moon Bright arose from his samadhi and, because of the bodhisattva Wonderfully Bright, preached the great vehicle sutra called the Lotus of the Wonderful Law, a teaching to instruct the bodhisattvas, one that is guarded and kept in mind by the buddhas. For sixty small kalpas the buddha remained in his seat without rising, and the listeners in the assembly at that time also remained seated there for sixty small kalpas, their bodies and minds never moving. And yet it seemed to them that they had been listening to the buddha preach for no more than the space of a meal. At this time in the assembly there was not a single person who in body or mind had the least feeling of weariness.
“When the buddha Sun Moon Bright had finished preaching this sutra over a period of sixty small kalpas, he spoke these words to the Brahmas, devils, shramanas, and Brahmans, and to the heavenly and human beings and asuras in the assembly, saying, ‘Tonight at midnight the thus come one will enter the nirvana of no remainder.’
p.49“At this time there was a bodhisattva named Virtue Storehouse. The buddha Sun Moon Bright bestowed a prophecy on him, announcing to the monks, ‘This bodhisattva Virtue Storehouse will be the next to become a buddha. He will be called Pure Body, tathagata, arhat, samyak-sambuddha.’
“After the buddha had finished bestowing this prophecy, at midnight he entered the nirvana of no remainder.
“After the buddha had passed away, Bodhisattva Wonderfully Bright upheld the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law, for a period of fully eighty small kalpas expounding it for others. The eight sons of the buddha Sun Moon Bright all acknowledged Wonderfully Bright as their teacher. Wonderfully Bright taught and converted them and roused in them a firm determination to gain supreme perfect enlightenment. Those princely sons gave offerings to immeasurable hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of buddhas, and after that all were able to achieve the buddha way. The last to become a buddha was named Burning Torch.
“Among the eight hundred disciples of Wonderfully Bright was one named Seeker of Fame. He was greedy for gain and support, and though he read and recited numerous sutras, he could not understand them, but for the most part forgot them. Hence he was called Seeker of Fame. Because this man had in addition planted various good roots, however, he was able to encounter immeasurable hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of buddhas, to make offerings to them, revere, honor, and praise them.
“Maitreya, you should understand this. Bodhisattva Wonderfully Bright who lived then—could he be unknown to you? He was no other than I myself. And Bodhisattva Seeker of Fame was you.
“Now when I see this auspicious portent, it is no different from what I saw before. Therefore I suppose that now the thus come one is about to preach the great vehicle sutra called the Lotus of the Wonderful Law, a teaching to instruct the bodhisattvas, one that is guarded and kept in mind by the buddhas.”
p.50At that time Manjushri, wishing in the presence of the great assembly to state his meaning once more, spoke in verse form, saying:

I recall that in a past age
immeasurable, innumerable kalpas ago
there was a buddha, most honored of men,
named Sun Moon Bright.
This world-honored one expounded the Law,
saving immeasurable living beings
and numberless millions of bodhisattvas,
causing them to enter the buddha wisdom.
The eight princely sons whom this buddha sired
before taking leave of family life,
when they saw that the great sage had left his family,
did likewise, carrying out brahma practices.
At that time the buddha preached the great vehicle,
a sutra named Immeasurable Meanings,
and in the midst of a great assembly
for the sake of the people broadly made distinctions.
When the buddha had finished preaching this sutra
he sat in the seat of the Law,
sitting cross-legged in the samadhi
called the origin of immeasurable meanings.
The heavens rained mandarava flowers,
heavenly drums sounded of themselves,
and the heavenly beings, dragons, and spirits
made offerings to the most honored of men.
All the buddha lands
immediately quaked and trembled greatly.
The buddha emitted a light from between his eyebrows,
manifesting signs that are rarely seen.
This light illumined the eastern direction,
eighteen thousand buddha lands,
showing how all the living beings there
were recompensed in birth and death for their past deeds.
That one could see how these buddha lands,
p.51adorned with numerous jewels,
shone with hues of lapis lazuli and crystal
was due to the illumination of the buddha’s light.
One could also see the heavenly and human beings,
dragons, many yakshas,
gandharvas, and kimnaras,
each making offerings to his respective buddha.
One could also see thus come ones
naturally attaining the buddha way,
their bodies the color of golden mountains,
upright, imposing, very subtle and wonderful.
It was as though in the midst of pure lapis lazuli
there should appear statues of real gold.
In the midst of the great assembly the world-honored ones
expounded the principles of the profound Law.
In one after another of the buddha lands
the voice-hearers in countless multitudes
through the illumination of the buddha’s light
all became visible with their great assemblies.
There were also monks
residing in the midst of forests,
exerting themselves and keeping the pure precepts
as though they were guarding a bright jewel.
One could also see bodhisattvas
carrying out almsgiving, forbearance, and so forth,
their number like Ganges sands,
due to the illumination of the buddha’s light.
One could also see bodhisattvas
entering deep into meditation practices,
their bodies and minds still and unmoving,
in that manner seeking the unsurpassed way.
One could also see bodhisattvas
who knew that phenomena are marked by tranquillity and extinction,
each in his respective land
preaching the Law and seeking the buddha way.
At that time the four kinds of believers,
p.52seeing the buddha Sun Moon Bright
manifest his great transcendental powers,
all rejoiced in their hearts,
and each one asked his neighbor
what had caused these events.
The one honored by heavenly and human beings
just then arose from his samadhi
and praised Bodhisattva Wonderfully Bright, saying,
“You are the eyes of the world,
one whom all can take faith in and believe,
able to honor and uphold the storehouse of the Law.
The Law that I preach—
you alone can understand and grasp it.”
The world-honored one, having bestowed this praise,
causing Wonderfully Bright to rejoice,
preached the Lotus Sutra
for fully sixty small kalpas.
He never rose from this seat,
and the supreme and wonderful Law that he preached
was accepted and upheld in its entirety
by the teacher of the Law Wonderfully Bright.
After the buddha had preached the Lotus,
causing all the assembly to rejoice,
on that very same day
he announced to the assembly of heavenly and human beings,
“I have already expounded for you
the meaning of the true aspect of all phenomena.
Now when midnight comes
I will enter nirvana.
You must strive with all your heart
and remove yourselves from indulgence and laxity.
It is very difficult to encounter a buddha—
you meet one once in a million kalpas.”
When the children of the world-honored one
heard that the buddha was to enter nirvana,
each one was filled with sorrow and distress,
p.53wondering why the buddha should so quickly seek extinction.
The sage lord, king of the Law,
comforted and reassured the countless multitude,
saying, “When I enter extinction
you must not be concerned or fearful!
This bodhisattva Virtue Storehouse
has already fully understood in his mind
the true aspect that is without outflows.
He will be next to become a buddha,
bearing the name Pure Body,
and he too will save immeasurable multitudes.”
That night the buddha entered extinction,
as a fire dies out when the firewood is exhausted.
They divided and apportioned his relics
and built immeasurable numbers of towers,
and the monks and nuns
whose number was like Ganges sands
redoubled their exertions,
thereby seeking the unsurpassed way.
This teacher of the Law Wonderfully Bright
honored and upheld the buddha’s storehouse of the Law
throughout eighty small kalpas,
broadly propagating the Lotus Sutra.
These eight princely sons
whom Wonderfully Bright converted
held firmly to the unsurpassed way
and were thus able to encounter innumerable buddhas.
And after they had made offerings to these buddhas
they followed them in practicing the great way
and one after the other succeeded in becoming a buddha,
each in turn bestowing a prophecy on his successor.
The last to become a heavenly being among heavenly beings
was named the buddha Burning Torch.
As leader and teacher of seers
he saved immeasurable multitudes.
p.54This teacher of the Law Wonderfully Bright
at that time had a disciple
whose mind was forever occupied with laziness and sloth,
who was greedy for fame and profit.
He sought fame and profit insatiably,
often amusing himself among clansmen and those of other surnames.
He threw away what he had studied and memorized,
neglected and forgot it, failed to understand it.
Because of this
he was named Seeker of Fame.
But he had also carried out many good actions
and thus was able to meet with innumerable buddhas.
He made offerings to the buddhas
and followed them in practicing the great way,
carrying out all the six paramitas,
and now he has met the lion of the Shakyas.
Hereafter he will become a buddha
whose name will be Maitreya,
who will save living beings extensively
in numbers beyond calculation.
After that buddha passed into extinction,
that lazy and slothful one—he was you,
and the teacher of the Law Wonderfully Bright—
that was the person who is now I myself.
I saw how the buddha Torch Bright [Sun Moon Bright]
earlier manifested an auspicious portent like this.
And so I know that now the Buddha
is about to preach the Lotus Sutra.
The signs now are like those of the earlier auspicious portent,
this is an expedient means used by the buddhas.
Now when the Buddha emits this beam of brightness
he is helping to reveal the meaning of the true aspect of phenomena.
Human beings now will come to know it.
p.55Let us press our palms together and wait with a single mind.
The Buddha will rain down the rain of the Law
to fully satisfy all seekers of the way.
You who seek the three vehicles,
if you have doubts and regrets,
the Buddha will resolve them for you,
bringing them to an end so that nothing remains.

Sutra on How to Practice Meditation on Bodhisattva Universal Worthy
This is what I heard:
At one time, when the Buddha was in the double-storied hall in the Great Forest Monastery in Vaishali, he announced to the monks, “Three months from now I will enter parinirvana.”
The venerable Ananda thereupon rose from his seat, straightened his robe, brought his hands together so the palms were touching, and walked three times around the Buddha. Bowing in obeisance to the Buddha, he knelt on one knee, with his palms pressed together, and gazed intently at the thus come one, not turning his eyes aside for an instant. The elder Mahakashyapa and the bodhisattva mahasattva Maitreya also rose from their seats, pressed their palms together, and bowed in obeisance, gazing up in reverence at the face of the honored one.
Then these three great men, three mouths speaking in one voice, addressed the Buddha, saying: “World-Honored One, after the thus come one has entered extinction, how can living beings nurture the bodhisattva mind, practice the great vehicle broad and impartial sutra, and employ correct thoughts in pondering the realm of the single truth? How can they be certain of attaining the mind of unsurpassed enlightenment? How, without cutting off earthly desires or separating themselves from the five desires, can they purify their senses and wipe away their offenses? How, with the pure everyday eyes they received from their fathers and mothers at birth, and without cutting off the p.370five desires, will they be able to see what lies beyond obstacles?”
The Buddha said to Ananda: “Listen with attention, listen with attention, and consider the matter carefully. In the past I, the thus come one, on Mount Gridhrakuta and in other places, have already widely explained in detail the way of the single truth. Now in this place, for the sake of living beings of ages to come who wish to practice the unsurpassed Law of the great vehicle, and who wish to study the practice of Universal Worthy and to carry out Universal Worthy’s practice, I will now explain the method that they should hold in mind. Whether you have already seen Universal Worthy or have not yet seen him, I will now explain for you the steps to be observed in order to reduce the number of your offenses.
“Ananda, the bodhisattva Universal Worthy was born in the land Pure and Wonderful in the east. The characteristics of that land I have already explained in detail in the Miscellaneous Flower Sutra. Now in this sutra I will explain the matter in brief.
“Ananda, if there are monks, nuns, laymen, or laywomen, heavenly beings, dragons, or others of the eight kinds of beings, or any living beings who intone the great vehicle, practice the great vehicle, set their minds on the great vehicle, wish to see the form and body of Bodhisattva Universal Worthy, wish to see the tower of Many Treasures Buddha, wish to see Shakyamuni Buddha and the many buddhas that are emanations of his body, or wish to attain purification of the six sense organs—they should study this meditation.
“The benefits of this meditation remove obstacles and impediments so they can see the finest, the most wonderful forms. They need not enter a samadhi, but merely by reciting and upholding it [the great vehicle] they can practice with their entire minds, from one instant of mind to the next never departing from the great vehicle, and by the time they have done so for one day and on up to three times seven days, they will be able to see Universal Worthy.
“Those who are impeded by heavy obstacles will have to do so for seven times seven days before they can see him. Those who p.371have even heavier obstacles will take a lifetime to see him. Those with even heavier obstacles will take two lifetimes to see him. And those with even heavier will take three lifetimes to see him. Because the effects of karma differ in these various cases, it is necessary to explain the matter in different ways.
“Bodhisattva Universal Worthy is boundless in the volume of his body, boundless in voice, boundless in form and shape. Wishing to come to this land, he employs his freely exercised transcendental powers to shrink his body, making it small. Because the people of Jambudvipa are impeded by the three obstacles, he employs the power of wisdom, transforming himself and riding on a white elephant. The elephant has six tusks and seven legs that support it on the ground, and under the seven legs grow seven lotus blossoms.
“The elephant is pure white in color, the finest of all whites. Even the crystal hue of the Snow Mountains cannot compare to it. The body of the elephant is 450 yojanas in length and 400 yojanas in height. At the tips of its six tusks are six ponds, and in each of these ponds there grow fourteen lotus blossoms that are as big as the pond itself. When these blossoms open and unfold, they are like the king of heavenly trees. On each blossom there is a lovely woman whose face is a crimson-like hue and who shines more brightly than a heavenly maiden. In each hand are five harps that have appeared as though of themselves, and each harp is accompanied by five hundred other musical instruments as its attendants. Five hundred kinds of birds, ducks, wild geese, mandarin ducks, all with the colors of various treasures, spring up in the spaces between the blossoms and the leaves. There is also a blossom on the elephant’s trunk. Its stem is the color of a pure red pearl. The blossom is a golden color and is closed and not yet unfolded.
“Once you have seen these things, then if you carry out further repentance, meditate intensively with all your mind, and ponder the great vehicle, not permitting your mind to rest or to wander, then the blossom will unfold and shine with a golden hue. The dais or calyx of the lotus blossom is composed of kimshuka jewels and wonderful pure mani jewels, and diamond p.372jewels make up the stamens of the blossom. You will see a conjured buddha sitting on the dais of the lotus blossom, and a host of numerous bodhisattvas sitting on the stamens of the lotus blossom.
“From the space between the eyebrows of this conjured buddha a beam of golden light will shine forth and will enter the elephant’s trunk. Taking on the color of a red lotus blossom, it will emerge from the elephant’s trunk and enter the elephant’s eyes. Emerging from the elephant’s eyes, it will enter the elephant’s ears. Emerging from the elephant’s ears, it will illuminate the crown of the elephant’s head, where it will be transformed into a golden dais.
“On top of the elephant’s head there will be three conjured persons, one grasping a golden wheel, one holding a mani jewel, and one wielding a diamond-pounder. When the last raises the diamond-pounder and signals to the elephant, then the elephant is allowed to begin walking. His feet do not touch the ground, but he treads on empty air and moves about freely. He is elevated seven feet above the ground, but his footprints appear on the ground. In every footprint there is a thousand-spoked wheel, and in each of these wheels a large lotus blossom springs up. On each of these lotus blossoms there appears a conjured elephant, which also has seven feet and follows along after the big elephant. Each time these elephants raise and lower their feet, seven thousand other elephants appear to act as their attendants, all following along after the big elephant.
“The elephant’s trunk is the color of a red lotus blossom, and on top of it is a conjured buddha who emits a light from the area between his eyebrows. This light is golden in color. As before, it enters the elephant’s trunk, emerges from the elephant’s trunk to enter the elephant’s eyes, emerges from the elephant’s eyes to enter the elephant’s ears, and emerges from the elephant’s ears to reach to the elephant’s crown. There it gradually extends until it reaches the elephant’s back, where it is transformed and becomes a golden saddle adorned with the seven treasures. On the four sides of the saddle are pillars made of the seven treasures and with many different treasures adorning them, which serve to p.373form a jeweled dais. In the center of the dais or calyx is a single lotus blossom stamen made of the seven treasures, and that lotus blossom stamen is made up of a hundred different treasures. This calyx of the lotus blossom is a great mani jewel.
“There is a bodhisattva who sits cross-legged there, named Universal Worthy. His body is the color of white jade and it shines with fifty kinds of light. These lights are of fifty different colors, forming a light about his head. From the pores of his body a golden light streams out, and at the tips of these golden beams appear immeasurable numbers of conjured buddhas, with conjured bodhisattvas to act as attendants.
“The elephant moves forward at a slow and dignified pace, raining down great jeweled lotus blossoms, until it arrives in front of the practitioner. Then the elephant opens its mouth, and the lovely women in the pools on the elephant’s tusks play their musical instruments and sing. Their voices are subtle and wonderful as they praise the way of the single truth of the great vehicle.
“Once the practitioner has seen these things, he will be filled with joy and will make reverent obeisance. In addition he will read and recite the profound sutra, pay obeisance to all the immeasurable buddhas of the ten directions, pay obeisance to the tower of Many Treasures Buddha and to Shakyamuni Buddha, and likewise pay obeisance to Universal Worthy and the other great bodhisattvas, pronouncing this vow: ‘If I have acquired good fortune in past existences, I should be able to see Universal Worthy. I beg that the Venerable One of Universal Blessing will show me the form of his body!’
“After the practitioner has made this vow, then at six times in the day and night he should pay obeisance to the buddhas of the ten directions, practice the method of repentance, read the great vehicle sutra, recite the great vehicle sutra, ponder the meaning of the great vehicle, keep in mind the concerns of the great vehicle, and reverently offer alms to those who uphold the great vehicle. He should view all people with the thought that they are buddhas, and all living beings with the thought that they are his father and mother.
p.374“Once he has embraced this thought, then Bodhisattva Universal Worthy will emit a bright light from the tuft of white hair between his eyebrows, which is the mark of a great man. When this light appears, the body of Bodhisattva Universal Worthy will be upright, imposing, like a mountain of purple gold, stately, subtle, wonderful, complete with all the thirty-two features.
“The pores of his body will emit a great light that will illuminate the big elephant and cause it to take on a golden color. All the conjured elephants likewise will become golden, and the conjured bodhisattvas too will turn gold. The rays of golden light will illuminate the immeasurable worlds in the eastern region, so that they all become golden as well, and the same will occur in the southern, western, and northern regions, in the four intermediate directions, and in the upper and lower regions.
“At that time in each of the ten directions there will be a bodhisattva riding on a kingly white elephant with six tusks who is like Universal Worthy, not differing from him in the slightest. And the conjured elephants that fill the immeasurable and boundless worlds in the ten directions will all become visible to the upholder of the sutra through the transcendental power of Bodhisattva Universal Worthy.
“At that time the practitioner, seeing these bodhisattvas, will rejoice in body and mind and, making obeisance to them, will say: ‘You beings of great compassion and great pity, because you are kind and thoughtful of me, preach the Law for my sake!’ And when he has spoken these words, the bodhisattvas, different mouths speaking with a single sound, will each one preach the pure Law of the great vehicle sutra, and will fashion verses and hymns in praise of the practitioner. This is called the first realm in the meditation on Bodhisattva Universal Worthy.
“At that time, once the practitioner has seen these things, if he keeps his mind fixed on the great vehicle, day and night never letting go, then when he is asleep he will dream he sees Universal Worthy preaching the Law for him just as if he were awake, bringing ease to his mind and speaking these words: ‘In what you have been reciting and upholding, you have forgotten this phrase, you have forgotten this verse!’
p.375“At that time the practitioner, hearing Universal Worthy preach the profound Law, will come to understand its meaning and purport, will retain it firmly in his memory without forgetting, and in this manner his mind day by day will become more acute.
“Bodhisattva Universal Worthy will teach him to consider and keep in mind the buddhas of the ten directions. By following Universal Worthy’s instructions, with correct mind and correct thought, gradually he will be able to employ his mind’s eye to see the buddhas of the eastern direction, their bodies a golden hue, upright, imposing, subtle, and wonderful.
“Having seen one buddha, he will then see another buddha, and so on step by step until he has seen all the buddhas everywhere in the eastern direction. Because the ponderings of his mind are acute, he will be able to see all the buddhas of the ten directions.
“When he has seen these buddhas, his mind will be filled with joy and he will say to himself: ‘Thanks to the great vehicle, I have been able to see this great man [Universal Worthy]. And thanks to the power of this great man, I have been able to see these buddhas. But though I have seen these buddhas, I have not done so with complete clarity. When I close my eyes, I see them, but when I open my eyes, they vanish!’
“Having spoken these words, he should fling his body and limbs to the ground and make obeisance to the buddhas of the ten directions everywhere. Having made obeisance to the buddhas, he should kneel on one knee, press his palms together, and speak these words: ‘You buddhas, world-honored ones, with the ten powers, fearlessness, the eighteen unshared properties, great compassion, great pity, and the three types of tranquillity. You are constantly in the world, your forms are the finest of all forms. What guilt do I possess, that I am not able to see you?’
“When he has spoken these words, he should carry out further repentance. Once he has purified himself through repentance, then Bodhisattva Universal Worthy will appear before him again, and whether he is walking, standing, sitting, or lying down, will never leave his side. Even when he is dreaming, the bodhisattva p.376will constantly preach the Law for him, and when the practitioner wakes from his dream, he will experience the joy and delight of the Law.
“If he does this day and night for three times seven days, he will thereafter be able to acquire the dharani of repetitions. And because he has acquired the dharani of repetitions, he will be able to remember and uphold the wonderful Law preached by the buddhas and bodhisattvas without forgetting anything. In addition, in his dreams he will constantly see the seven buddhas of the past. Of these, Shakyamuni Buddha alone will preach the Law for him, while the other world-honored ones will one by one praise the great vehicle sutra.
“At that time the practitioner, having gained a renewed sense of joy, will make obeisance to the buddhas of the ten directions. When he has made obeisance to the buddhas of the ten directions, Bodhisattva Universal Worthy will remain in his presence and will teach and explain to him all the deeds and causes from his past existences, enabling him to confess all the sins that blacken his past. He will then confront the various world-honored ones and with his own mouth will confess them.
“Once he has confessed them, he will immediately gain the samadhi in which the buddhas are present before him. Having gained this samadhi, in the eastern region he will see Akshobhya Buddha and his land, Wonderful Joy, all perfectly clear and visible. In this way in the ten directions he will be able to see each of the various buddhas and their supremely wonderful lands, all perfectly clear and visible.
“After he has seen the buddhas of the ten directions, he will dream that on top of the elephant’s head there is a diamond man holding a diamond-pounder who uses it everywhere to point to the six sense organs. When he has finished pointing to the six sense organs, then Bodhisattva Universal Worthy will expound for the practitioner the method of repentance and the purification of the six sense organs.
“He should carry out repentance in this manner for one day and on up to three times seven days. Because he has the power of the samadhi in which the buddhas are present before him, p.377and because Bodhisattva Universal Worthy’s preaching of the Law adorns him, his ears will bit by bit come to hear sounds without impediment, his eyes will bit by bit see events without impediment, his nose will bit by bit smell scents without impediment, and his preaching far and wide will be in accordance with the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law. Having attained the purification of the six sense organs, he will rejoice in body and mind and will be free of all evil imaginings. His mind will be wholly imbued with the Law and will respond in accord with the Law.
“Once more he will gain hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of dharanis of repetition and far and wide will see immeasurable hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of buddhas. Each of these world-honored ones will stretch out his right hand, pat the practitioner’s head, and speak these words: ‘Excellent, excellent! You practice the great vehicle, you have set your mind on great adornment, you keep the great vehicle in your thoughts. In the past, when we set our own minds on the attainment of enlightenment, we were all like this. You must be diligent and attentive and never falter.
“‘Because in previous existences we practiced the great vehicle, we have now acquired pure bodies of right and universal knowledge. You must now pursue your efforts without slackening. This great vehicle sutra is the treasure storehouse of the buddhas, the eye of the buddhas of the ten directions and the three existences, the seed from which spring the thus come ones of the three existences.
“‘One who upholds this sutra upholds the body of a buddha and practices the deeds of a buddha. You should know that such a person is an envoy sent by the buddhas. The buddhas, world-honored ones, clothe him with their robes. He is a true son of the Law of the buddhas, the thus come ones. You should practice the great vehicle and never cut off the seed of the Law. Now you must meditate attentively on the buddhas of the eastern region.’
“When these words have been spoken, the practitioner will at once see all the immeasurable worlds of the eastern region. The p.378ground in them will be flat as the palm of a hand, without knolls or peaks or thorny groves. The ground will be of lapis lazuli, with gold marking the boundaries. The worlds in all the other of the ten directions will be the same as this.
“After seeing these things, he will see jeweled trees. The jeweled trees will be tall and wonderful, five thousand yojanas high. From the trees will emerge a constant flow of gold and silver, and they will be adorned with the seven treasures. Underneath the trees, jeweled lion seats will appear of themselves. These lion seats will be twenty yojanas high, and from the surface of the seats will radiate the bright light of a hundred treasures. There will be these trees and their jeweled seats, and each of these jeweled seats will be bathed in the bright light of a hundred treasures. There will be these trees and their jeweled seats, and in each of these jeweled seats five hundred white elephants will appear of themselves, and on the back of all of these elephants will be a bodhisattva Universal Worthy.
“At that time the practitioner will do obeisance to these Universal Worthies and say to them: ‘What guilt do I possess, that I can see only the jeweled ground, the jeweled seats, and the jeweled trees, but cannot see the buddhas?’
“When he has spoken these words, on each one of the seats a world-honored one will appear, upright, imposing, subtle, and wonderful, seated on the jeweled seat. Having seen these buddhas, his mind will be filled with great joy and he will devote himself once more to reciting and studying the great vehicle sutra.
“Through the power of the great vehicle, a voice will sound in midair, speaking these words of praise: ‘Excellent, excellent, good man. You practice the great vehicle, and the causes and conditions deriving from its benefits have enabled you to see these buddhas. But although you have now been able to see these buddhas, the world-honored ones, you cannot see Shakyamuni Buddha, the buddhas that are emanations of his body, or the tower of Many Treasures Buddha.’
“When the practitioner has heard this voice from midair, he will once more diligently recite and study the great vehicle sutra. p.379And because he recites and studies the great vehicle broad and impartial sutra, immediately in a dream he will see Shakyamuni Buddha and the members of the great assembly on Mount Gridhrakuta, the Buddha preaching the Lotus Sutra and expounding the principle of the single truth.
“Having received instruction, he will carry out repentance and, eager and thirsting for a further sight, will press his palms together, kneel on one knee, face Mount Gridhrakuta, and speak these words: ‘Thus Come One, hero of the world, you are constantly in this world. Because you pity and take thought for me, for my sake make yourself manifest.’
“Having spoken these words, he will see Mount Gridhrakuta adorned with seven treasures, the great assembly of countless monks and voice-hearers, the rows of jeweled trees, the jeweled ground level and smooth, the wonderfully jeweled lion seats spread there, and Shakyamuni Buddha emitting a light from the space between his eyebrows. This light will illuminate the worlds everywhere in the ten directions and will pass through the immeasurable worlds in the ten directions. In the places where the light reaches, the emanations of Shakyamuni Buddha in the ten directions will in one instant gather together like clouds and will preach the wonderful Law far and wide as it is set forth in the Lotus Sutra of the Wonderful Law.
“Each of these emanation buddhas will have a body the hue of purple gold. Their bodies will be boundless in volume, and they will be seated on lion seats. Hundreds, millions, an immeasurable number of great bodhisattvas will attend them as followers, and each of these bodhisattvas will carry out practices identical to those of Universal Worthy. In all the ten directions, the immeasurable buddhas and their bodhisattva followers will be like this.
“When these great assemblies have gathered together like clouds, the practitioner will see Shakyamuni Buddha emit a golden light from all the pores of his body, and in each ray of light there will be hundreds and millions of conjured buddhas. The emanation buddhas will emit a light from the tuft of white hair between their eyebrows, the mark of a great man, and these p.380beams of light will flow up to and enter the crown of Shakyamuni Buddha’s head. When the practitioner sees this sign, the emanation buddhas will emit rays of golden light from all their pores, and in each ray of light there will be conjured buddhas as numerous as the finest particles of sand in the Ganges.
“At that time Bodhisattva Universal Worthy will once more emit a light from the space between his eyebrows, the mark of a great man, which will enter the mind of the practitioner. As soon as it has entered his mind, the practitioner will of his own accord recall how in the past under countless hundreds and thousands of buddhas he accepted and upheld, read and recited the great vehicle sutra. Of his own accord he will see himself as he was in past existences, all perfectly clear and visible. It will be exactly as though he possessed the power of knowing past lives. He will attain a sudden burst of great enlightenment and will gain the dharani of repetitions and hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of dharani teachings.
“Rising from his samadhi, he will see before him all the emanation buddhas seated on lion seats underneath the many jeweled trees. And he will see the lapis lazuli ground spring up from a space in the lower region like a mass of lotus blossoms, and within each blossom there will be bodhisattvas, as numerous as dust particles, sitting cross-legged. He will also see the bodhisattvas who are emanations of Universal Worthy in the midst of this throng, praising and preaching the great vehicle.
“At that time the bodhisattvas, different mouths speaking in a single voice, will teach the practitioner how to purify his six sense organs. Some will say, ‘You must keep the Buddha in mind!’ Some will say, ‘You must keep the Law in mind!’ Some will say, ‘You must keep the Order in mind!’ Some will say, ‘You must keep the precepts in mind!’ Some will say, ‘You must keep almsgiving in mind!’ Some will say, ‘You must keep heaven in mind!’ ‘These six rules constitute the mind that aspires to enlightenment; they are the rules that produce the bodhisattva. Now in the presence of the buddhas you must confess your former offenses and sincerely carry out repentance.
“‘Over an immeasurable number of existences, because of the p.381organ of your eye you have been greedily attached to forms. Because of this attachment to forms, you have been greedy for and coveted mere dust. And because you coveted dust, you have taken on female form, being born in existence after existence with this deluded attachment to forms. Forms have destroyed your eyes, making you the slave of sexual desire. Hence forms cause you to keep passing through the threefold world. Driven on by these evil forces, you have been blinded and made incapable of sight.
“‘Now you recite the great vehicle broad and impartial sutra, and this sutra preaches that the buddhas of the ten directions have forms and bodies that never pass into extinction. Now can you see the truth of that statement or not? Your eye organ is faulty and has caused you great injury. You must follow our instructions and take refuge in the buddhas and Shakyamuni Buddha, describing the offenses that your eye organ has led you to commit. Say, “The buddhas and bodhisattvas with their eyes of wisdom possess the water of the Law. I beg them to wash me and cause me to be pure!”
“‘When you have spoken these words, make obeisance to the buddhas of the ten directions everywhere. Then turn toward Shakyamuni Buddha and the great vehicle sutra and say: “I now repent the grave offenses of my eye organ, which has impeded and sullied me, made me blind and unable to see. I beg the Buddha in his great compassion to pity and protect me. Bodhisattva Universal Worthy rides in the ship of the great Law and ferries all the immeasurable bodhisattvas of the ten directions across the water. I beg him to pity me and forgive me as I acknowledge my errors, the badness of my eye organ, the obstructions caused by evil deeds.”’
“He should repeat this three times and then fling his body and limbs to the ground, keeping the great vehicle correctly in his thoughts, never letting his mind forget it. This is called the method for repenting the offenses of the eye organ.
“A person who recites the names of the buddhas, burns incense, scatters flowers, sets his thoughts on the great vehicle, hangs up silken banners and canopies, describes the faults of his p.382eyes, and repents his offenses—such a person will in his present existence see Shakyamuni Buddha and the immeasurable number of other buddhas who are emanations of his body, and for asamkhya kalpas he will not fall into the evil paths. Thanks to the power of the great vehicle and to the vow taken to the great vehicle, he will constantly be numbered among the companions of the dharani bodhisattvas. While he keeps this in mind, this will be correct mindfulness, but if he keeps anything else in mind, that will be erroneous mindfulness. This is called the mark of the first stage of the eye organ.
“Having purified the eye organ, the practitioner should once more read and recite the great vehicle sutra, and six times in the day and night should kneel on one knee, repent, and speak these words: ‘Why is it now that I see only Shakyamuni Buddha and the buddhas that are emanations of his body, but do not see the tower of Many Treasures Buddha with the relics from his whole body? The tower of Many Treasures Buddha is constantly present and never passes into extinction. But my eyes are defiled and evil and therefore I cannot see it.’ Having spoken these words, he should carry out further repentance.
“After seven days have passed, the tower of Many Treasures Buddha will spring up out of the ground. Shakyamuni Buddha will immediately open the door of the tower with his right hand and the practitioner will see Many Treasures Buddha. He will be immersed in the samadhi on his physical forms manifested everywhere, and from each of his pores will flow forth rays of light as numerous as the finest particles of sand in the Ganges. And in each of these rays there will be hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of conjured buddhas.
“When this sign becomes manifest, the practitioner, filled with joy, should recite verses of praise and circle around the tower. When he has finished circling the tower a full seven times, Many Treasures Thus Come One will praise him in a loud voice, saying, ‘Son of the Law, now you are in truth able to practice the great vehicle. Following the instructions of Universal Worthy, you have carried out the repentance of the eye organ. For this reason I have come to the place where you are and will bear p.383witness for you.’ Having spoken these words, he will then say in praise, ‘Excellent, excellent, Shakyamuni Buddha! You are able to preach the great Law, to rain down the rain of the great Law, and to bring to fulfillment living beings, defiled and evil as they are.’
“At that time the practitioner, having seen the tower of Many Treasures Buddha, should go once more to the place of Bodhisattva Universal Worthy, press his palms together, make reverent obeisance, and say, ‘Great teacher, teach me how to repent my faults.’
“Then Universal Worthy will speak once more: ‘Over a period of many kalpas, because of the organ of your ear you have chased about after external sounds. When you heard some wonderful sound, your mind was roused to delusion and attachment, and when you heard an evil sound, your mind gave way to eight hundred varieties of earthly desires that plagued you. These bad ears of yours have brought you bad consequences as their reward. Constantly you heard bad sounds and these gave rise to entanglements. And because you heard in a topsy-turvy manner, you fell into the evil paths of existence, or were born in remote regions or places of erroneous views where you were unable to hear the Law.
“‘Today you recite and uphold the great vehicle with its ocean storehouse of benefits. As a result of this action, you have seen the buddhas of the ten directions, and the tower of Many Treasures Buddha has appeared to be your witness. Now you should describe your faults and repent your offenses.’
“At that time the practitioner, having heard these words, should once more press his palms together, fling his body and limbs to the ground, and say this: ‘World-Honored One of right and universal knowledge, manifest yourself and be my witness. The broad and impartial sutra is the lord of compassion and pity. I beg that you will look upon me and listen to my recital. Over many kalpas in the past and down to the time of my present form, I have through this ear organ listened to sounds with delusion and attachment, like glue sticking to a plant. When I heard evil, I responded with the poison of earthly desire. In place p.384after place I gave way to delusion and attachment, never ceasing for a moment. Wearied by these sounds, I have exhausted consciousness and spirit and fallen into the three evil paths. Now for the first time I wake to and understand this, and turning to the world-honored ones, I confess and repent.’
“Having carried out repentance, he will see Many Treasures Buddha emit a great beam of light. The light, golden in color, will illuminate the eastern region and all the other worlds of the ten directions, and their immeasurable numbers of buddhas the color of pure gold. In midair in the eastern region, a voice will speak, saying, ‘Here is a buddha, world-honored one, named Good Virtue. He too has countless buddhas that are emanations of his body and that sit cross-legged on lion seats under jeweled trees.’
“These world-honored ones will all be immersed in the samadhi on their physical forms manifested everywhere, and all will speak words of praise, saying, ‘Excellent, excellent, good man. You now read and recite the great vehicle sutra. What you recite is the realm of the buddhas.’
“When they have spoken these words, Bodhisattva Universal Worthy will resume his explanation of the method of repentance, saying: ‘During the immeasurable kalpas of your former existences, you were greedy for scents. Because of this, your discrimination and consciousness were dominated by greed and attachment and you fell into the realm of birth and death. Now you must meditate upon the cause of the great vehicle. The cause of the great vehicle is the true aspect of all phenomena.’
“When the practitioner has heard these words, he should fling his body and limbs to the ground and carry out further repentance. Having done so, he should say: ‘Hail Shakyamuni Buddha. Hail Many Treasures Buddha tower. Hail emanation buddhas of Shakyamuni Buddha in the ten directions.’
“When he has said this, he should pay obeisance to the buddhas of the ten directions everywhere, saying, ‘Hail Good Virtue Buddha of the eastern region and his emanation buddhas.’ As though he saw them with his own eyes, he should pay obeisance in his mind to each one, making offerings of incense and p.385flowers. When he has finished these offerings, he should kneel on one knee, press his palms together, and recite various verses in praise of the buddhas. When he has concluded his praises, he should recite the ten evil acts and repent his offenses.
“Having repented, he should speak these words: ‘In the immeasurable kalpas of my former existences I was greedy for scents, flavors, sensations of touch, and committed many evils. As a result of this, for immeasurable existences I have constantly taken on some undesirable forms in the realms of hell, hungry spirits, or beasts, or have been born in remote regions or places of erroneous views. These evil acts I confess today in this manner, throwing myself upon the mercy of the buddhas, the kings of the correct Law, describing my offenses and repenting.’
“After repenting, he should never be neglectful in body or mind but should continue to read and recite the great vehicle sutra. Because of the power of the great vehicle, there will be a voice in midair that will address him in these words: ‘Son of the Law, you should now face the buddhas of the ten directions, praise and expound the Law of the great vehicle, and in the presence of the buddhas describe your faults. The buddhas, thus come ones, are like compassionate fathers to you. You should describe the evil and undesirable deeds that you have done through the organ of your tongue, saying: “This tongue organ, roused by thoughts of evil deeds, has spoken baseless words, extravagant words, evil utterances, duplicity, slander, falsehood, words in praise of erroneous views, pronouncements that are without profit. It has committed many kinds of evil deeds such as these that cause contention, injury, and chaos, saying that the Law is not the Law. All these many offenses I now repent.”
“‘After you have spoken these words in the presence of the heroes of the world, you should fling your body and limbs to the ground and pay obeisance to the buddhas of the ten directions everywhere. Pressing your palms together and kneeling on both knees, you should speak these words: “The faults of this tongue are immeasurable and boundless. The thorns of many evil deeds have sprung up from this tongue organ. The cutting off of the wheel of the correct Law has been occasioned by this tongue. In p.386this way my evil tongue has cut off the seed of benefit. In meaningless debate it has tried many approaches and forced arguments, praising erroneous views like someone piling sticks on a fire. It is like a raging fire that injures living beings, like someone who has drunk poison and, though free of boils or tumors, nevertheless dies. As recompense for such offenses, evils, erroneous and undesirable ways, I am certain to fall into the evil paths for a hundred kalpas, a thousand kalpas. Because of my false words I will fall into the great hell. So now I throw myself upon the mercy of the buddhas of the southern region and confess my faults and offenses.”’
“When the practitioner holds this thought in mind, there will be a voice in midair, saying, ‘There is a buddha in the southern region named Sandalwood Virtue. This buddha too has an immeasurable number of emanations. All these buddhas preach the great vehicle and wipe away offenses and evils. Since you have many offenses, you should now face the immeasurable buddhas of the ten directions, world-honored ones of great pity, confess your black evils, and carry out repentance with a sincere mind.’ When the voice has finished speaking, the practitioner should fling his body and limbs to the ground and once more make obeisance to the buddhas.
“At that time the buddhas will emit a bright light that will illuminate the body of the practitioner and cause his body and mind to be naturally infused with joy. He will be moved to great compassion and pity and will be mindful of all beings everywhere. At that time the buddhas will preach to the practitioner in broad terms the Law of great pity and compassion, of joy and impartiality, and will teach him words of loving-kindness and the practice of the six types of harmony and reverence.
“At that time the practitioner, having listened to these teachings and injunctions, will experience great joy in his mind and will renew his recitation and practice, never slackening or giving up. Then in midair there will once more be a subtle and wonderful voice speaking these words: ‘Now you must repent in body and mind! The body kills, steals, is lascivious, and the mind dwells on many matters that are not good. They commit the ten p.387evil acts and the five sins that condemn one to the hell of incessant suffering. Like so many monkeys or like sticky birdlime, they become greedily attached in this place and that, and this penetrates to all the six sense organs. The actions of these six sense organs or roots, their branches, limbs, flowers, and leaves, fill all the threefold world, the twenty-five realms of existence, and all the places where life exists. And they have power to increase and prolong the suffering arising from the twelve-linked chain connecting ignorance to aging and death, so that one cannot escape passing through all the eight errors and eight difficulties. Now you must carry out repentance for evil and undesirable deeds such as these.’
“At that time the practitioner, having heard these words, should question the voice in the air, saying, ‘Where should I carry out this method of repentance?’
“Then the voice in the air will immediately speak these words: ‘Shakyamuni Buddha is called Vairochana Present in All Places. The place where this buddha dwells is called Eternally Tranquil Light. It is a place constituted by the paramita of eternity, a place peacefully established by the paramita of true self, a place in which possession of aspects is wiped out by the paramita of purity, a place where through the paramita of happiness there is no dwelling in the aspects of body or mind, a place where the aspects of all phenomena are seen neither as existing nor not existing. It is tranquil emancipation, it is the paramita of obtaining wisdom. The reason is that these forms represent the Law of eternal abiding. Thus you should meditate upon the buddhas of the ten directions.’
“Then the buddhas of the ten directions will each one stretch out his right hand, pat the head of the practitioner, and speak these words: ‘Excellent, excellent, good man. Now because you read and recite the great vehicle sutra, the buddhas of the ten directions expound the method of repentance. The practice of the bodhisattva is neither to cut off the forces that bind or drive him, nor to abide in the sea of such driving forces. Observing the mind, he sees there is no real mind, arising as it does from topsy-turvy thoughts. A mind with aspects such as this arises p.388from deluded thoughts, like the wind in the sky that has no resting place.
“‘But the true aspect of phenomena is that they are neither born nor pass away. Where then is there any guilt, or where is there any good fortune? My mind of itself is empty—guilt and good fortune are therefore masterless. All phenomena are like this, without any abiding, without any decline. This is how one should carry out repentance, observing how the mind is not a mind. Phenomena too do not abide among phenomena. All phenomena are in a state of emancipation, of the truth of extinction, of quietude. A state such as this is called great repentance. It is called greatly adorned repentance. It is called the repentance that is characterized by no guilt. It is called the destruction of mind consciousness. If you practice this repentance, you will be pure in body and mind, not abiding among phenomena, but resembling flowing water. In each instant of thought you will be able to see Bodhisattva Universal Worthy and the buddhas of the ten directions.’
“At that time the world-honored ones will employ the light of great compassion to preach for the practitioner the Law without aspect, and the practitioner will listen to the preaching of the highest principle of emptiness. Having heard it, the practitioner will not be alarmed or startled in mind, but when the time comes, may enter the true status of bodhisattva.”
The Buddha then said to Ananda, “This is the practice that is called repentance. This repentance is the method of repentance carried out by the buddhas and great bodhisattvas of the ten directions.”
The Buddha said to Ananda, “After the Buddha has passed into extinction, if the disciples of the Buddha wish to repent their evil and undesirable acts, they should simply recite and read the great vehicle sutra. This broad and impartial sutra is the eye of the buddhas. It is through this that the buddhas are able to acquire the five types of vision. A buddha’s three types of bodies are born from this broad and impartial sutra. It is the great seal of the Law that assures entry into the sea of nirvana. It p.389is from this sea that a buddha’s three types of pure bodies are born. These three types of bodies are fields of good fortune for human and heavenly beings and are highest among those worthy of alms. If a person recites and reads the great vehicle broad and impartial sutra, one should know that such a person is endowed with a buddha’s benefits. All his evils wiped out forever, he is born from the buddha wisdom.”
At that time the world-honored one spoke in verse form, saying:

If there are evils in the eye organ,
if karma impedes the eye and the eye is impure,
simply recite the great vehicle,
keep in thoughts the highest principle.
This is called repentance of the eye,
which wipes out all undesirable acts.
If the ear organ hears confused sounds
this will injure and confuse the principle of harmony.
From this arises madness of the mind
and one will behave like a foolish monkey.
One should constantly recite the great vehicle,
meditate on how phenomena are empty and without aspect,
wipe out all evils forever,
and with heavenly ears listen to the ten directions.
If the nose organ is attached to fragrant scents,
their stain will give rise to sensations.
When the nose is maddened and deranged in this manner,
the stain of it will produce various kinds of dust.
But if one recites the great vehicle sutra
and meditates on the truth of phenomena,
one will be released from all evil karma forever
and in future existences will produce it no more.
The tongue organ gives rise to the undesirable acts
of the five types of evil speaking.
If one wishes to control and tame it,
p.390one must diligently practice pity and compassion.
Ponder the principle of the true tranquillity of phenomena,
do away with discriminatory conceptions.
The mind organ is like a monkey,
never still for an instant.
If one wishes to master and subdue it,
one must diligently recite the great vehicle.
Keep in mind the Buddha’s great enlightenment body,
all the power and fearlessness he has won.
The body, this master of motions,
is blown about like dust in the wind.
The six thieves sport and play within it,
free from all hindrance or restraint.
If one wishes to wipe out these evils
and be free forever from the burden of their dust,
to dwell constantly in the citadel of nirvana,
peaceful in mind, calm and placid,
then recite the great vehicle sutra,
keep in mind the mother of bodhisattvas.
Immeasurable numbers of excellent expedient means
arise from pondering the true aspect.
Phenomena such as these six
are called the six sense organs.
All the entire sea of karmic impediments
is born from deluded thoughts.
If one wishes to carry out repentance,
sit upright and ponder the true aspect.
Then the host of sins, like frost or dew,
can be wiped out by the sun of wisdom.
Therefore with the utmost power of one’s mind
one must carry out this repentance of the six sense organs.

When the Buddha had finished speaking these verses, he said to Ananda: “Now you must take this repentance of the six sense organs and the method for meditation on Bodhisattva p.391Universal Worthy and, observing the proper distinctions, preach them far and wide to all the heavenly and human beings of the ten directions everywhere. After the Buddha has entered extinction, if the Buddha’s disciples wish to accept, uphold, read, recite, explain, and preach the broad and impartial sutra, they should select a quiet place such as a graveyard, a spot beneath the trees, or a place in the forest, and there read and recite the broad and impartial sutra and ponder the principle of the great vehicle. And when the power of their meditation is strong, they will be able to see me, as well as the tower of Many Treasures Buddha, the immeasurable emanation buddhas of the ten directions, Bodhisattva Universal Worthy, Bodhisattva Manjushri, Bodhisattva Medicine King, and Bodhisattva Medicine Superior. Because they are reverent and respectful of the Law, these beings will bear various wonderful flowers and, standing in the midst of the air, will praise and pay respects to the practitioners and upholders of the Law. Simply because they recite the great vehicle broad and impartial sutra, these buddhas and bodhisattvas day and night will offer alms to the upholders of the Law.”
The Buddha said to Ananda: “It is because I and the bodhisattvas in the Wise Kalpa, along with the buddhas of the ten directions, pondered the true principle of the great vehicle that we have been able to wipe out the sins accumulated through the births and deaths of a hundred, ten thousand, million asamkhya kalpas. Because we relied on this superb and wonderful method of repentance, now in the ten directions each of us has been able to become a buddha. If there are those who wish to attain supreme perfect enlightenment quickly, if they wish in their present forms to see the buddhas of the ten directions and Bodhisattva Universal Worthy, they should bathe and purify themselves, don pure clean robes, burn many kinds of choice incense, and in some deserted and quiet place should recite and read the great vehicle sutra and ponder the principle of the great vehicle.”
The Buddha said to Ananda: “If there are living beings who wish to meditate on Bodhisattva Universal Worthy, they should p.392carry out this meditation. One who practices this meditation may be said to do correct meditation. But one who practices other meditations will be said to do erroneous meditations.
“After the Buddha has passed into extinction, if the Buddha’s disciples follow the Buddha’s words and practice this repentance, then one should know that such people are carrying out the practices of Universal Worthy. Those who carry out the practices of Universal Worthy will not see any evil signs or receive the recompense of evil karma. If such living beings at six times in the day and night make obeisance to the buddhas of the ten directions, recite the great vehicle sutra, and ponder the profound Law of emptiness that is the highest principle, then in the time it takes to snap one’s fingers they will wipe out the sins accumulated through the births and deaths of a hundred, ten thousand, a million asamkhya kalpas.
“A person who carries out this practice is a true buddha son, born from all the buddhas. The buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions will act as his tutors. He may be called a fulfiller of the bodhisattva precepts. He will have no need of the confession ceremony, but will achieve success on his own and will be worthy to receive alms from all human and heavenly beings.
“At that time if the practitioner wishes to fulfill the bodhisattva precepts, he should press his palms together and in some deserted and quiet place should pay obeisance to the buddhas of the ten directions, carry out repentance for his various offenses, and of his own accord confess his faults. After that in a quiet place he should address the buddhas of the ten directions in these words: ‘The buddhas, world-honored ones, constantly abide in the world. But because of the impediments of my karma, though I put faith in the broad and impartial sutra, I cannot fully see the buddhas. Now I take refuge in the buddhas.
“‘Shakyamuni Buddha, world-honored one of right and universal knowledge, I beg that you will act as my tutor. I beg that Manjushri, endowed with great compassion, will through his wisdom grant me the pure Law of the p.393bodhisattvas. That Bodhisattva Maitreya, excellent sun of great compassion, will take pity on me and for that reason permit me to receive the Law of the bodhisattvas. That the buddhas of the ten directions will manifest themselves in order to bear witness for me, that the great bodhisattvas will each one speak his name, and that these excellent great men will shelter and protect living beings and help me and the others.
“‘Today I receive and uphold the broad and impartial sutra, and though when I lose my life if I should fall into hell and undergo immeasurable sufferings, to the end I will never slander the correct Law of the buddhas. For this reason, and because of the power of benefits, now may Shakyamuni Buddha act as my tutor and Manjushri be my acharya. I beg that Maitreya of the world to come will grant me the Law, that the buddhas of the ten directions will bear witness for me, that the bodhisattvas of great virtue will be my companions. Now, relying upon the profound and wonderful principle of the great vehicle sutra, I take refuge in the Buddha, I take refuge in the Law, I take refuge in the Order.’
“He should say this three times. When he has finished taking refuge in the three treasures, he should next swear to receive the six types of rules.1 Having received the six types of rules, he should then diligently practice brahma practices that are free of impediments, set his mind upon the broad salvation of others, and receive the eight types of rules.2 When he has finished making these vows, then in a deserted and quiet place he should burn various kinds of choice incense, scatter flowers, and offer alms to all the buddhas, the bodhisattvas, and the great vehicle broad and impartial sutra, and speak these words: ‘From today I set my mind upon enlightenment. May these benefits save all beings everywhere.’
“When he has finished speaking these words, he should once more bow his head to the ground, make obeisance to all the buddhas and bodhisattvas, and ponder the principle of the broad and impartial sutra. If he does this for one day and so on for p.394three times seven days, then whether he is a householder or one who has left the household he will not need a tutor, nor will he require teachers or the declarations of the confession ceremony. Through the power acquired by accepting, upholding, reading, and reciting the great vehicle sutra, through the help and encouragement proffered by Bodhisattva Universal Worthy, and because this is the eye of the correct Law of the buddhas of the ten directions, relying on this Law, on his own he will succeed in attaining the fivefold body of the Law, which is made up of the precepts, meditation, wisdom, emancipation, and the insight of emancipation. The buddhas, thus come ones, are born from this Law, and in the great vehicle sutra they receive prophecies of their attainment of buddhahood.
“Therefore, suppose a person of wisdom should be a voice-hearer and fail to observe the three refuges, or the five precepts, the eight precepts, the precepts of a monk, the precepts of a nun, the precepts of a male novice, the precepts of a female novice, the precepts of a shikshamana, or the various rules of proper conduct, or suppose out of ignorance, lack of goodness, or evilness of mind he should violate many of the precepts or rules of conduct. If such a person wishes to wipe these out and cause himself to be free of faults, to become a proper monk once more and observe all the rules as they pertain to the shramana, then he should diligently practice and read the broad and impartial sutra, ponder its highest principle, the profound teaching of emptiness, and cause the wisdom of emptiness to be reflected in his mind. One should understand that a person who does this will in the space of each succeeding instant of thought wipe away, forever and without residue, all offenses and blemish. This is called carrying out to the fullest the rules and precepts of the shramana, and fulfilling all the rules of conduct. Such a person is worthy to receive alms from all human and heavenly beings.
“Suppose a layman should violate the rules of conduct, doing things that are not good. Doing things that are not good means discoursing on the errors and shortcomings of the Law of the buddhas, discussing the evils or offenses committed by the four kinds of believers, or stealing or committing acts of lewdness p.395without any feeling of shame. If such a person wishes to repent and wipe out his offenses, he should diligently read and recite the broad and impartial sutra and ponder its highest principle.
“Suppose a ruler, a high minister, a Brahman, a householder, a rich man, an official, or some other person of this sort in his insatiable greed for gain should commit the five cardinal sins, slander the broad and impartial sutra, or carry out the ten evil acts. As recompense for such acts of great evil, he is certain to fall into the evil paths and be beaten by violent rainstorms. Inevitably he will fall into the Avichi hell. If such a person wishes to wipe out the impediments of such acts, he should summon up feelings of shame and remorse and determine to remedy his offenses.”
The Buddha said, “What is it that is called the Kshatriya and householder’s method of repentance? In the Kshatriya and householder’s method of repentance, you should simply maintain an upright mind, never slander the three treasures, never impede those who wish to leave household life, and never cause harm or difficulty to those who are carrying out brahma practices. Concentrate your thoughts upon the practice of the six rules of thought.3 In addition, you should offer sustenance and alms to those who uphold the great vehicle, and invariably do honor and obeisance to them. You should think upon and keep in mind the profound teaching of the sutra, the highest principle of emptiness. One who keeps these rules in mind may be said to be carrying out the first act of repentance for Kshatriyas and householders.
“The second act of repentance is to be filial and caring toward one’s father and mother, and respectful and reverent toward one’s teachers. This is called the second act in the method of repentance.
“The third act of repentance is to use the correct Law to order the country and not to lead the people astray with erroneous views. This is called the third act of repentance.
“The fourth act of repentance is to issue orders within one’s p.396realm, to all places where one’s authority extends, that on the six days of purification, no acts of killing shall be carried out. One who observes this method may be said to be practicing the fourth act of repentance.
“The fifth act of repentance is that one should simply have profound faith in the workings of cause and effect, have faith in the way of the single truth, and understand that the Buddha never passes into extinction. This is called the fifth act of repentance.”
The Buddha said to Ananda, “In future ages, if there are people who practice and carry out the method of repentance as it has been described, one should understand that these people clothe themselves in the garments of remorse. The buddhas will guard and assist them, and before long they will succeed in attaining supreme perfect enlightenment.”
When the Buddha spoke these words, ten thousand sons of gods attained the pure eye of the Law. Bodhisattva Maitreya, the other great bodhisattvas, and Ananda, hearing the preaching of the Buddha, joyfully honored and practiced it.
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Notes

1. The six types of rules are the five precepts (not to kill, not to steal, not to engage in sexual misconduct, not to lie, and not to consume intoxicants) plus not speaking of other people’s faults.
2. The eight types of rules are the six types of rules plus neither concealing one’s faults nor pointing out others’ faults while concealing their merits.
3. The six rules of thought are keeping the following six in mind: the Buddha, the Law, the Order, the precepts, almsgiving, and heaven.
Ayodhyā [阿踰闍] (Skt; Jpn Ayuja): A city in ancient India. Ayodhyā is thought to have been at the site of present-day Oudh in northeastern Uttar Pradesh, a northern state of India, though there are differing views. It was the capital of the kingdom of Kosala, but later, from the sixth century through the fifth century b.c.e., during Shakyamuni’s time, Shrāvastī became the capital. A prevailing view identifies Ayodhyā with Shāketa, where Shakyamuni often went to preach. Ayodhyā was a center for the activities of Asanga and Vasubandhu, who lived during the fourth or fifth century c.e. It is well known as the birthplace of Rāma, a hero of the Indian epic Rāmāyana. In the seventh century, Hsüan-tsang traveled from China to India and authored The Record of the Western Regions, an account of his travels. In this work, he noted that Ayodhyā was rich in crops and fruit, and that there were approximately three thousand monks studying Mahayana and Hinayana Buddhism at more than one hundred monasteries there.

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