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Sūtra of the Prophecy Bestowed upon Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva觀世音菩薩授記經
来源:净心之旅 更新日期: 2016-4-15 浏览次数: 411 字号选择:  





Sūtra of the Prophecy Bestowed upon Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva
觀世音菩薩授記經

Translated from Sanskrit into Chinese in the Liu Song Dynasty
by
The Chinese Śramaṇa Dharmodgata


Thus I have heard:


        At one time the Buddha was in the fairy-frequented Deer Park in Vārāṇasī, together with a multitude of 20,000 bhikṣus and 12,000 Bodhisattvas. Among them were Lion Bodhisattva, Lion Intent Bodhisattva, Peaceful Intent Bodhisattva, Beyond-Analogy Intent Bodhisattva, Upholding the Earth Bodhisattva, Prada Bodhisattva, Divine God Bodhisattva, Actual Fact Bodhisattva, Kahota Bodhisattva, Worthy Strength Bodhisattva, Radiant God Bodhisattva, Loving Joy Bodhisattva, Mañjuśrī Bodhisattva, Knowledge Action Bodhisattva, Dedicated Action Bodhisattva, Display of No Obstruction Bodhisattva, and Maitreya Bodhisattva. Bodhisattvas such these were at the head of 12,000 Bodhisattva-Mahāsattvas. Also present were 20,000 god-sons, and at their head were the god-sons Good Realm and Good Stay, all of them standing firm in the Mahāyāna. At that time the World-Honored One, surrounded by His immeasurable hundreds of thousands of retinues, expounded the Dharma for their sake.

        Meanwhile, in the assembly, a Bodhisattva named Flower Virtue Store rose from his seat, bared his right shoulder, knelt on his right knee, and joined his palms, facing the Buddha. He said, "I pray only that the World-Honored One will bestow upon someone in our midst the wish to ask questions."

        The Buddha said to Flower Virtue Store Bodhisattva, "You may ask any question as you wish. I already know your doubts, and I will resolve them to make you happy."

        Then, Flower Virtue Store Bodhisattva asked the Buddha, "World-Honored One, how does one avoid regressing from the resolve for anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi or from the five transcendental powers? How does one acquire the Illusion Samādhi, which can transform one's body by skillful means, in order to pronounce the Dharma according to the good roots of various types of sentient beings, so as to enable them to attain anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi?"

        The Buddha told Flower Virtue Store Bodhisattva, "Very good! Very good! You are able to ask about this meaning before the Tathāgata, the Samyak-Saṁbuddha. Flower Virtue Store, you have planted the good roots under past Buddhas, made offerings to hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, and koṭis of Buddha-Bhagavāns, and roused your great compassion-mind for sentient beings. Very good! Hearken! Hearken! Ponder it well. I will explain it to you."

        "Yes, I would be delighted to hear," the Bodhisattva responded.

        The Buddha told Flower Virtue Store Bodhisattva, "If one can accomplish a particular Dharma, one will acquire the Illusion Samādhi. Having acquired this Samādhi, one can transform one's body by skillful means and pronounce the Dharma according to the good roots of various types of sentient beings, so as to enable them to attain anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi. What is this Dharma? It is called Depending on Nothing. One does not depend on the Three Realms, the within, or the without. That there is nothing to depend on is the correct insight. This correct insight leads to the correct cessation [of afflictions], without any impairment to perception. From the true mind that never changes, one's correct wisdom arises. That is, dharmas are born from causality, so their existences are illusory. Since all dharmas are born from causes and conditions, the birth of dharmas is impossible without causes and conditions. Although dharmas appear to be born from causes and conditions, nothing actually comes into being. One who can penetrate the no-birth of dharmas has entered the true Way of Bodhisattvas. It is also called entering the great loving-kind, compassionate mind because one, out of sympathy, will deliver all sentient beings. Having developed a deep understanding of this meaning, one knows that all dharmas are illusory. One simply creates dharmas with one's thoughts and words. Yet these dharmas created by thoughts and words are ultimately empty. This adept penetration of the emptiness of dharmas is called Acquirement of the Illusion Samādhi. Having acquired this Samādhi, one can transform one's body by skillful means and pronounce the Dharma according to the good roots of different types of sentient beings, so as to enable them to attain anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi."

        Then, Flower Virtue Store Bodhisattva asked the Buddha, "In this assembly, are there Bodhisattvas who have acquired this Samādhi?"

        The Buddha replied, "Yes, there are. In this assembly, including Maitreya Bodhisattva and Manjuśrī Bodhisattva, there are 60 upright ones who, adorned with inconceivable great vows, have acquired this Samādhi."

        Flower Virtue Store Bodhisattva then asked the Buddha, "World-Honored One, have Bodhisattvas acquired this Samādhi in this world only? Are there Bodhisattvas in other worlds who have also accomplished this Illusion Samādhi?"

        The Buddha told Flower Virtue Store Bodhisattva, "Going west from here, passing hundreds and thousands of koṭis of lands, there is a world called Peace and Bliss. In that land there is a Buddha named Amitābha, who is the Tathāgata, Arhat, Samyak-Saṁbuddha. He is now expounding the Dharma. He has Bodhisattvas, and among them are two upright ones: one is named Avalokiteśvara and the other Great Might Arrived. Both have acquired this Samādhi. Moreover, Flower Virtue Store, if there are Bodhisattvas who hear and accept this Dharma from those two upright ones for seven days and seven nights, they will then acquire this Illusion Samādhi."

        Flower Virtue Store Bodhisattva said to the Buddha, "World-Honored One, that land should have innumerable Bodhisattvas who have acquired this Samādhi. Why? Because Bodhisattvas who have been reborn in that land should all go to where those upright ones are, and hear and accept this Dharma."

        The Buddha said, "Indeed! Indeed! Indeed it is as you say. Immeasurable asaṁkhyeyas of Bodhisattva-Mahāsattvas have acquired this Samādhi from those upright ones."

        Flower Virtue Store Bodhisattva requested the Buddha, "Very good! World-Honored One, the Tathāgata, Arhat, Samyak-Saṁbuddha, I pray that You will use Your spiritual powers to have those upright ones come to this world and to enable [the inhabitants of] the two worlds to see each other. Why? If those upright ones come to this land, good men and good women who have developed the good roots will hear them pronounce the Dharma and will acquire this Samādhi. I also pray that we will see Amitābha Buddha in that world called Peace and Bliss, so as to enable the good men and women here to activate their anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi mind and the wish to be reborn in that land. Once they are reborn there, they will never regress from their resolve for anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi."

        At that time the World-Honored One accepted his request, and light radiated from the white hair between His eyebrows, illuminating everywhere in this Three-Thousand Large Thousandfold World. The grass, trees, earth, and stones in this world, including the kingly Mount Sumeru, the Mucilinda Mountain, the Great Mucilinda Mountain, the Cakravāla Mountain, and the Great Cakravāla Mountain, and even the dark and hidden places in this world all turned golden color. Even though the glow and awesome light of the sun and the moon no longer appeared, radiance was everywhere. Furthermore, the light even illuminated everywhere in the hundreds, thousands, and koṭis of lands in the west, including the world called Peace and Bliss. This great light circled Amitābha Buddha, the Tathāgata, to the right seven times and then totally vanished before Him. The sentient beings, Bodhisattvas, and voice-hearers in that land could all see this land and see Śākyamuni Buddha pronouncing the Dharma, surrounded by the huge assembly. It was as clear as if they were seeing an amala fruit in their hand. With adoration and joy stirring in their minds, they chanted these words: "Namo Śākya, the Tathāgata, Arhat, Samyak-Saṁbuddha!"

        In this assembly here, the bhikṣus, bhikṣuṇīs, upāsakas, upāsikās, gods, yakṣas, gandharvas, asuras, garuḍas, kiṁnaras, mahoragas, humans, nonhumans, and others, as well as the Brahma-kings, the god-king Śakra, the four god-kings, Bodhisattvas, and voice-hearers, all saw Amitābha Buddha in the world of Peace and Bliss, surrounded by retinues of Bodhisattvas and voice-hearers. He was radiant as an extraordinary high treasure mountain. His glowing awesome light illuminated all lands. All could see Him, just as a clear-eyed person could see without difficulty the features of a person within the distance of eight feet. Having seen Him, they were delighted and exhilarated, and they chanted these words: "Namo Amitābha Buddha, the Tathāgata, Arhat, Samyak-Saṁbuddha!" Meanwhile, 84,000 sentient beings in this assembly all activated their anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi mind, planted the good roots, and wished to be reborn in that land.

        At that time the Bodhisattvas and voice-hearers in the world of Peace and Bliss, having seen this land, marveled at it as something that never existed before. They joyfully joined their palms, made obeisance to Śākyamuni, the Tathāgata, Arhat, Samyak-Saṁbuddha, and spoke these words: "Namo Śākyamuni Buddha! He can pronounce such Dharma to Bodhisattvas and voice-hearers!" At that time the world of Peace and Bliss quaked in six ways: everywhere moving, everywhere equally moving, everywhere shaking, everywhere equally shaking, everywhere quaking, and everywhere equally quaking.

        At that time Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva and Great Might Arrived Bodhisattva said to Amitābha Buddha, "How amazing, World-Honored One! What is the reason why Śākyamuni Buddha manifested such rare events? How did Śākyamuni Buddha, the Tathāgata, Arhat, with hardly any disclosure of His name, cause the earth, which has no perception, to quake in six ways?"

        At that time Amitābha Buddha told those Bodhisattvas, "Śākyamuni has revealed His name not only in this land but also in other innumerable Buddha Lands. Likewise, His shining of great light and the quaking of the earth in six ways are everywhere."

        Immeasurable asaṁkhyeyas of sentient beings in that world, upon hearing the name and epithets of Śākyamuni, developed their good roots. They all would never regress from their resolve for anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi. Meanwhile, 40 koṭi Bodhisattvas in the assembly, upon hearing the name and epithets Śākyamuni, Tathāgata, Arhat, Samyak-Saṁbuddha, made a vow in one voice, dedicating their good roots to the attainment of anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi. Immediately, Amitābha Buddha bestowed upon them the prophecy of attaining anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi.

        At that time Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva and Great Might Arrived Bodhisattva went to where Amitābha Buddha was and bowed down their heads at the feet of the Buddha. Reverently joining their palms and stepping to one side, they asked the Buddha, "For what causes and conditions is Śākyamuni Buddha emitting this bright light?"

        At that time Amitābha Buddha told Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva, "A Tathāgata, Arhat, Samyak-Saṁbuddha would not emit light without causes and conditions. Why? Today, Śākyamuni, who is the Tathāgata, Arhat, Samyak-Saṁbuddha, will pronounce the Sūtra of the Bodhisattva Treasury Samādhi. Hence He first displayed this auspicious sign."

        At that time Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva and Great Might Arrived Bodhisattva said to Amitābha Buddha, "We would like to visit the Sahā World, make obeisance and give offerings to Śākyamuni, and hear Him expound the Dharma."

        Amitābha Buddha said, "Good men, do what you think timely."

        Those two Bodhisattvas said to each other, "Today we will definitely hear the wondrous Dharma pronounced by Śākyamuni Buddha."

        Having received the instruction from Amitābha Buddha, each of those two Bodhisattvas told his retinue of 40 koṭi Bodhisattvas: "Good men, together we should go to the Sahā World to make obeisance and give offerings to Śākyamuni Buddha, and to hear and accept the correct Dharma. Why? Śākyamuni, who is the Tathāgata, Arhat, Samyak-Saṁbuddha, was able to relinquish a pure, wondrous land, so that He could fulfill a difficult mission. By virtue of the power of His primal vows, He has roused his great compassion-mind. He has attained anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi in that turbid and evil world of little virtue and meager merit, but of increasing greed, anger, and delusion. And He is expounding the Dharma there."

        Just as these words were spoken, Bodhisattvas and voice-hearers marveled, saying in one voice, "The sentient beings in that land can receive benefits quickly even from hearing the name Śākyamuni, Tathāgata, Arhat, Samyak-Saṁbuddha. How much more so since they are able to see Him and invoke joy in their mind. World-Honored One, we should all go to that world to make obeisance and give offerings to Śākyamuni Buddha."

        Amitābha Buddha said, "Good men, do what you think timely."

        At that time Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva and Great Might Arrived Bodhisattva in that world were each surrounded by 40 koṭi Bodhisattvas. Using their transcendental powers, they each conjured up 40 koṭi well-adorned treasure platforms for their retinues. Each of these sublime and wonderful treasure platforms is twelve yojanas in length and in width. On each treasure platform, there was gold, silver, vaiḍūrya, crystal, ruby, conch shell, or emerald. Some platforms had two treasures: gold and silver; some had three treasures: gold, silver, and vaiḍūrya; some had four treasures: gold, silver, vaiḍūrya, and crystal; some had five treasures: gold, silver, vaiḍūrya, crystal, and ruby; some had six treasures: gold, silver, vaiḍūrya, crystal, conch shell, and ruby; and some had seven treasures, including emerald. These platforms were also adorned with ruby, sandalwood, and blossoms of utpala, padma, kumuda, and puṇḍarīka. Down from the sky rained flowers of sumana, campaka, pāṭali, atimuktaka, raṇi, gauraṇi, māndarāva, mahā-māndarāva, palāśa, mahā-palāśa, mañjūṣaka, mahā-mañjūṣaka, locana, mahā-locana, cāka, mahā-cāka, suloci-cāka, caṇa, mahā-caṇa, suloci-candana, canuttara, tāla, and mahā-tāla. On each of these treasure platforms was a carnival of colors, splendid, bright, pure, and radiant.

        On these treasure platforms stood 84,000 magically created exquisite maidens, holding fiddles, sitars, lutes, guitars, flutes, violins, drums, or conch shells. They stood elegantly, playing wonderful music on these innumerable jeweled musical instruments. Some exquisite maidens stood elegantly, holding incense of red sandalwood, agalloch sandalwood, or black agalloch sandalwood. Some exquisite maidens stood elegantly, holding blossoms of utpala, padma, kumuda, and puṇḍarīka. Some exquisite maidens stood elegantly, holding flowers of māndarāva, mahā-māndarāva, palāśa, mahā-palāśa, locana, mahā-locana, caṇa, mahā-caṇa, cāka, mahā-cāka, suloci-cāka, dhala, mahā-dhala, and suloci-dhala. Some exquisite maidens stood elegantly, holding flowers and fruits.

        On these treasure platforms were lion thrones adorned with jewels. Seated on each throne was a magically created Buddha, adorned with the 32 major marks and 80 minor signs. Hanging over each treasure platform were 84,000 various precious beads in blue, yellow, red, and white. Placed on each treasure platform were 84,000 wonderful jeweled vases, filled with powdered incense. Covering each treasure platform were 84,000 wonderful jeweled canopies. Hanging over each treasure platform were 84,000 jeweled bells. On each of these treasure platforms stood 84,000 jeweled trees. Among the jeweled trees were pools made of the seven treasures and filled with the water of the eight virtues. In the pools were various jeweled lotus blossoms in blue, yellow, red, and white. Their colors were vibrant and radiant. As breezes blew, the jeweled trees all in lines rustled wonderful tones, the harmony of which surpassed celestial music. On each of these treasure platforms were 84,000 ropes made of wonderful treasures, connecting all the trees. Each treasure platform radiated light, reaching the distance of 84,000 yojanas. Radiance was everywhere.

        At that time Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva and Great Might Arrived Bodhisattva, together with their retinue of 80 koṭi Bodhisattvas on equally sublime treasure platforms, disappeared from that land and arrived in this world. It happened in an instant as quickly as if a strong man bended or extended his arm. Upon arrival, surrounded by 80 koṭi Bodhisattvas, those two Bodhisattvas, using their transcendental powers, made the ground of this world as level as the surface of water. Their accomplishments were adorned with great virtues, and their magnificence and unusual excellence were beyond analogy. Their light illuminated everywhere in this Sahā World. All those Bodhisattvas went to the place where Śākyamuni Buddha was, bowed down their heads at the Buddha's feet, and circumambulated Him to the right seven times.

        Stepping back to one side, those two Bodhisattvas said to the Buddha, "World-Honored One, Amitābha Buddha sends greetings to the World-Honored One. Are Your illnesses few and Your troubles few? Is Your daily life easy and smooth? Are Your activities peaceful and blissful?"

        When that land displayed those sublime, wonderful things, the Bodhisattvas and voice-hearers here, having seen the splendor of the treasure platforms, marveled at them as something that never existed before. They each had this thought: "Those treasure platforms are sublime and wonderful. They have been moved from the land of Peace and Bliss to this world. Was it by the powers of the Buddha or of the Bodhisattvas?"

        At that time Flower Virtue Store Bodhisattva, by virtue of the Buddha's spiritual powers, asked the Buddha, "How amazing, World-Honored One! This has never happened before. By whose awesome powers are these wonderful treasure platforms of such splendor now present in this Sahā World?"

        The Buddha replied, "It is by the transcendental powers of Bodhisattvas Avalokiteśvara and Great Might Arrived that this world is displaying such great splendor."

        "How amazing, World-Honored One! It is inconceivable. Those good men, their vows and actions being pure, can use their transcendental powers to adorn those treasure platforms and to make them appear in this world."

        The Buddha said, "Indeed! Indeed! Indeed it is as you say. Those good men have purified their good roots in innumerable hundreds, thousands, nayutas, and koṭis of kalpas, and have acquired the Illusion Samādhi. Staying in this Samādhi, they can conjure up these things with their transcendental powers. Furthermore, Flower Virtue Store, behold the worlds in the east. What do you see?"

        Then, Flower Virtue Store Bodhisattva used various kinds of God-eye of a Bodhisattva to observe the Buddha Worlds in the east, which are as numerous as the sands of the Ganges. He saw that before each of those Buddhas there, also present were Bodhisattvas Avalokiteśvara and Great Might Arrived, both as sublime as described above. They too paid respects and made offerings [to each Buddha, and] said, "Amitābha Buddha sends greetings to the World-Honored One. Are Your illnesses few and your troubles few? Is Your daily life easy and smooth? Are Your activities peaceful and blissful?" The same display could be seen in all the worlds in the south, west, north, zenith, and nadir.

        At that time Flower Virtue Store Bodhisattva, having seen these things, was delighted and exhilarated as if he had gained something that never existed before. He asked the Buddha, "How amazing! World-Honored One, how did these great ones accomplish such a Samādhi? How do these upright ones adorn those Buddha Lands with their presence?"

        Then the World-Honored One, using his spiritual powers, enabled those who were in this assembly to see these displays. Thirty-two thousand of them activated their anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi mind.

        Flower Virtue Store Bodhisattva asked the Buddha, "World-Honored One, these two upright ones must have activated their anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi mind long ago. In the land of which Buddha? I pray that you will tell us, so as to enable other Bodhisattvas to develop their vows and actions to reach fulfillment."

        The Buddha said, "Hearken! Ponder well! I will explain to you."

        "Very good! World-Honored One, I would be delighted to hear."

        The Buddha said, "Far back in the past innumerable inconceivable asaṁkhyeya kalpas, I had been king hundreds and thousands of times. The first time was near the end of the Great King Kalpa. There was a world named Display of Immeasurable Gathering of Virtue, Peace, and Bliss. In that land, there was a Buddha named Golden Light Lion Frolic, who was the Tathāgata, Arhat, Samyak-Saṁbuddha, Knowledge and Conduct Perfected, Sugata, Understanding the World, Unsurpassed One, Tamer of Men, Teacher to Gods and Humans, Buddha the World-Honored One. I now tell you about the pure and sublime things in this Buddha Land. What is your opinion? Are there not many pure and sublime things in Amitābha Buddha's Land of Peace and Bliss?"

        "A great many! They are so inconceivable that it is too difficult to describe them all."

        The Buddha asked Flower Virtue Store, "Suppose there is one who divides a hair into one hundred pieces. One then takes a piece of this hair to draw water from the great ocean. What is your opinion? Compare the water on the tip of a hair with that in the great ocean. Which has more water?"

        "The ocean has more water. It is beyond comparison," he replied.

        [The Buddha continued,] "Indeed, Flower Virtue Store, you should have this understanding. The sublime things in Amitābha Buddha's land are like the water on the tip of a hair, while those in Golden Light Lion Frolic Buddha's land are like the water in the great ocean. The disparity between voice-hearers and Bodhisattvas is of a similar order. That Golden Light Lion Frolic Tathāgata also expounded the Dharma of the Three Vehicles to sentient beings. For kalpas as numerous as the sands of the Ganges, I cannot even finish describing the virtue and sublimity of this Buddha Land and the joyful things about their Bodhisattvas and voice-hearers.

        "During the Dharma reign of Golden Light Lion Frolic Tathāgata, there was a king named Awesome Virtue. Since he ruled the Thousandfold World with the correct Dharma, he had the epithet Dharma King. That king Awesome Virtue had many sons, each endowed with the twenty-eight marks of a great man. These princes all stood firm in the unsurpassed Way. That king had 76,000 gardens, in which his sons frolicked."

        Flower Virtue Store asked the Buddha, "Were there women in that Buddha Land?"

        The Buddha replied, "That land did not even have the word 'woman,' much less a real one. Sentient beings in that land practiced the Brahma way purely. They all were born through transformation and nourished by the bliss of meditation. That king Awesome Virtue served Golden Light Lion Frolic Tathāgata for 84,000 koṭi years, never pursuing other ways. Then, that Buddha, knowing the king's earnestness, expounded to him immeasurable Dharma Seals.

        "What are immeasurable Dharma Seals? Flower Virtue Store Bodhisattva, one's spiritual progress should all arise from immeasurable vows. Why? As a Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva, one's almsgiving is immeasurable; one's observance of the precepts is immeasurable; one's endurance of adversity is immeasurable; one's energetic progress is immeasurable; one's meditative concentration is immeasurable; and one's wisdom is immeasurable. In other words, one's training in the six pāramitās to transcend the cycle of birth and death is immeasurable. One's lovingkindness and compassion for sentient beings are immeasurable. One's sublimity in the Pure Land is immeasurable. One's voice is immeasurable, and one's eloquence is immeasurable. Flower Virtue Store, even one's transference of the merit of a good breakthrough thought is immeasurable. What is meant by immeasurable transference of merit? Transferring one's merit to all sentient beings, enabling them to verify the no-birth of all dharmas and to enter parinirvāṇa as Buddhas, is called immeasurable transference of merit.

        "Moreover, boundless emptiness is immeasurable; the absence of appearance is immeasurable; and the absence of wish is immeasurable. Also immeasurable are nonaction, true reality, no-birth as the nature of dharmas, liberation without clinging to liberation, and nirvāṇa. Good man, I have only mentioned in brief the immeasurability of dharmas. Why? Dharmas never have limits.

        "Furthermore, Flower Virtue Store, as that king Awesome Virtue entered samādhi in his garden, two lotus blossoms emerged from the ground, one at each side of the king. They had splendid mixed colors, and their scent was as fragrant as celestial sandalwood. Inside each blossom a boy, seated in the lotus posture, was born by transformation. One was named Jewel Intent, and the other Jewel Superior. When the king Awesome Virtue rose from his meditation and saw these two boys sitting in the lotus-blossom wombs, he asked them in verse:

'Are you gods, dragon kings,
Yakṣas, kumbhānḍas,
Humans, or nonhumans?
I hope that you will reveal your names.'

"Then the boy on the king's right answered in verse:

'All dharmas are empty.
Why do you ask for names?
Past dharmas have ceased to be,
Future dharmas have not arisen,
And present dharmas do not stay.
Whose names are you asking for?
Empty dharmas are neither humans
Nor dragons, nor rakṣasas.
Whether humans, nonhumans, or others,
None can be captured.'

"The boy on the king's left spoke in verse:

'Naming a name is empty.
Naming a name cannot be captured.
All dharmas have no names.
Asking for names
In quest of true names
Is something never seen or heard of.
Since dharmas perish as soon as they arise,
Why ask for their names?
Names and words
Are all fabrications.
My name is Jewel Intent.
His is Jewel Superior.'

        "Flower Virtue Store, the two boys, having spoken these verses, together with the king Awesome Virtue, went to the place where Golden Light Lion Frolic Buddha was. They bowed down their heads at the feet of that Buddha and circumambulated Him to the right seven times. They joined their palms respectfully and stood on one side. Then the two boys spoke in one voice, asking that Buddha in verse:

'How does one make offerings
To the Unsurpassed Two-Footed Honored One?
I pray that You will explain the meaning.
The hearer will carry out Your teachings.
Flowers, incense, and music played on instruments,
Apparel, food, medicine, and bedding,
Of offerings such as these,
Which one is supreme?'

"Golden Light Lion Frolic Buddha answered the boys in verse:

'One should activate the bodhi mind
And widely rescue sentient beings.
These are the offerings to the Perfectly Enlightened One
With the thirty-two major marks.
Suppose one offers Tathāgatas
Precious, wonderful, sublime objects,
Filling lands as numerous as the sands of the Ganges,
And carries them joyfully on one's head.
It cannot be compared with transferring merit
With lovingkindness to bodhi.
This merit is the supreme,
Immeasurable, and boundless.
No other offerings can surpass this.
Its supremacy cannot be calculated.
A bodhi mind such as this
Will certainly attain the perfect enlightenment.'

"The two boys spoke again in verse:

'Gods, dragons, ghosts, and spirits,
Listen to my lion's roar!
Now before the Tathāgata,
I solemnly vow to activate my bodhi mind.
The cycle of birth and death turning immeasurable kalpas,
The primal state is unknowable.
Even for only one sentient being,
You have walked the Way for kalpas.
During these kalpas,
You have delivered innumerable multitudes.
Training in the Bodhi Way,
[You never] had mental fatigue.
From now on, if I ever
Allow the greedy mind to arise,
It would be cheating
All Buddhas in the ten directions.
Similarly, with respect to anger and delusion.
Similarly, with respect to stinginess and jealousy.
Now I speak the truth
That I will keep far away from falsehood.
Starting from today, if I ever
Entertain the mind of a voice-hearer,
Not delighting in cultivation of bodhi,
It would be cheating the Tathāgatas.
Nor would I seek to be a Pratyekabuddha,
For helping and benefiting myself only.
I should, for tens of thousands and koṭis of kalpas,
Deliver sentient beings with great compassion.
As this Buddha Land here and now
Is pure, wondrous, and sublime,
May my land, when I accomplish the Way,
Surpass it by hundreds, thousands, and koṭis of times.
There will be no voice-hearers in my land,
Nor the Pratyekabuddha Vehicle,
But Bodhisattvas only.
Their number will be infinite.
All beings will be pure and undefiled.
They all will have superb, wonderful bliss.
They all will attain the perfect enlightenment
And will retain and uphold the Dharma store.
If my vow is sincere,
It should shake the Great Thousandfold World.'

"After these verses were spoken, forthwith quakes were everywhere. Hundreds and thousands of kinds of music played harmonious, exquisite tones. Wonderful celestial apparel with radiant light fell spiraling down. Gods in the sky rained down powdered incense. Its fragrance floated everywhere, delighting sentient beings' hearts."

        The Buddha said to Flower Virtue Store, "What is your opinion? Was the king Awesome Virtue then a different person? He is none other than I. The two boys then are now Bodhisattvas Avalokiteśvara and Great Might Arrived. Good man, it was in the land of that Buddha that these two Bodhisattvas initiated their anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi mind."

        At that time Flower Virtue Store said to the Buddha, "How amazing! World-Honored One, these good men, even before they made their resolve, had already attained such profound wisdom. They thoroughly understood that names could never be captured. World-Honored One, these two upright ones must have made offerings to past Buddhas and carried out virtuous deeds."

        "Good man, you can know the number of grains of sand in the Ganges. However, the Buddhas to whom these great ones had made offerings and the good roots they had planted are beyond calculation. Although they had not yet activated their bodhi mind, they had adorned themselves with what was inconceivable. Among sentient beings, they had been the most valiant and dynamic."

        At that time Flower Virtue Store Bodhisattva asked the Buddha, "World-Honored One, where was that land called Display of Immeasurable Gathering of Virtue, Peace, and Bliss?"

        The Buddha replied, "Good man, this Western World of Peace and Bliss, at that time, was named Display of Immeasurable Gathering of Virtue, Peace, and Bliss."

        Flower Virtue Store Bodhisattva requested the Buddha, "World-Honored One, I pray that You will explain to us, so as to enable innumerable sentient beings to receive great benefits. In what land will Avalokiteśvara attain samyak-saṁbodhi? What will be the name of his world adorned with bright light? What will be the lifespan of the voice-hearers and Bodhisattvas there until they attain Buddhahood? How will these things unfold? If the World-Honored One will tell the primal vows of this Bodhisattva, then other Bodhisattvas, having heard his vows, will definitely train themselves to fulfill them."

        The Buddha replied, "Very good! Hearken! I will tell you."

        "Yes, I would be delighted to hear."

        The Buddha said, "Good man, although the life of Amitābha Buddha will last immeasurable hundreds, thousands, and koṭis of kalpas, it will finally come to an end. Good man, after incalculable distant kalpas to come, Amitābha Buddha will enter parinirvāṇa. After His parinirvāṇa, the correct Dharma will continue as long as His lifespan. The number of sentient beings that will be delivered will equal that during His life. After Amitābha's parinirvāṇa, some sentient beings will not be able to see the Buddha. However, some Bodhisattvas, having achieved the Samādhi of Buddha Remembrance, will constantly see Amitābha Buddha. Furthermore, Good man, after His parinirvāṇa, all the precious things, bathing pools, lotus blossoms, and the jeweled trees in lines will continue to sing Dharma tones, in the same way as during the life of the Buddha.

        "Good man, [the night] the correct Dharma of Amitābha Buddha ends, after the midnight period and when the light of dawn breaks, Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva, seated in the lotus posture under the bodhi tree made of the seven treasures, will attain anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi. His name will be Universal Light Virtue Mountain King, the Tathāgata, Arhat, Samyak-Saṁbuddha, Knowledge and Action Perfected, Sugata, Understanding the World, Unsurpassed One, Tamer of Men, Teacher to Gods and Humans, Buddha the World-Honored One. His Buddha Land will be naturally adorned with wonderful combinations of the seven treasures. For kalpas as numerous as the sands of the Ganges, Buddha-Bhagavāns will not even be able to finish describing its sublimity. Good man, I now give you an analogy. As the land of Golden Light Lion Frolic Tathāgata was sublime, the land of Universal Light Virtue Mountain King Tathāgata will surpass it by hundreds, thousands, and tens of thousands of times, koṭis of times, koṭis of billions of times, even beyond reckoning. The names voice-hearers and Pretyekabuddhas will be nonexistent in that Buddha's Land. Only Bodhisattvas will fill His land."

        Flower Virtue Store Bodhisattva asked the Buddha, "World-Honored One, will that Buddha's land still be named Peace and Bliss?"

        The Buddha replied, "Good man, that Buddha's land will be called Sublime Gathering of Multitudinous Treasure. Good man, during His life until His parinirvāṇa, Universal Light Virtue Mountain King Tathāgata will be attended personally by Great Might Arrived Bodhisattva and will receive his offerings. After His parinirvāṇa, His correct Dharma will be upheld until its end. After the ending of the correct Dharma, Great Might Arrived Bodhisattva will attain anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi. His name will be Good Stay Virtue Treasure King, the Tathāgata, Arhat, Samyak-Saṁbuddha, Knowledge and Action Perfected, Sugata, Understanding the World, Unsurpassed One, Tamer of Men, Teacher to Gods and Humans, Buddha the World-Honored One. His light, His life, His Bodhisattvas, and even the stay of His Dharma will be just like those of Universal Virtue Mountain King Tathāgata. If among good men and good women there are those who have heard the name Good Stay Virtue Treasure King Tathāgata, they will not regress from their resolve for anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi. Moreover, good man, if there are good women who have heard the names of Golden Light Lion Frolic Tathāgata of the past and Good Stay Virtue Treasure King Tathāgata, they will change their female form, and their sins which would entail* 40 koṭi kalpas of birth and death will be expunged. They will never regress from their resolve for anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi. They will constantly see the Buddha, hear and accept the correct Dharma, and make offerings to the Saṅgha. In a life after this one, they can renounce family life, accomplish unimpeded eloquence, and swiftly achieve retention of all Dharmas."

        At that time 60 koṭi attendees in this assembly praised in one voice: "Namo Buddhas in parinirvāṇa in the ten directions!" They unanimously reached the consensus to activate their anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi mind. The Buddha immediately bestowed upon them the prophecy of attaining anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi. Moreover, 84,000 nayuta sentient beings walked away from their emotional defilements and acquired the pure Dharma-eye. Seven thousand bhikṣus ended their discharges of afflictions and liberated their minds.

        At that time Bodhisattvas Avalokiteśvara and Great Might Arrived, using their spiritual powers, enabled all those in this assembly to see innumerable Buddha-Bhagavāns in the ten directions bestowing upon both of them the prophecy of attaining anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi. Having seen this, they all marveled, saying, "How amazing, World-Honored One, those Tathāgatas all bestow such a prophecy upon these two great ones!"

        At that time Flower Virtue Store Bodhisattva said to the Buddha, "World-Honored One, suppose among good men and good women there are those who can accept and uphold this profound Sūtra of the Tathāgata. If they read and recite it, explain and copy it, pronounce and circulate it, how much merit will they gain? I pray only that the Tathāgata will explain in detail. Why? In the evil times to come, sentient beings of little virtue will not believe or accept this profound Sūtra of the Tathāgata. Because of these causes and conditions, they will undergo sufferings through the long night. It will be too difficult for them to achieve liberation. World-Honored One, I pray that You, out of pity, will explain, to benefit sentient beings. Besides, World-Honored One, in this assembly there are good men and good women of keen capacity. They will become the great illuminating ones in future times."

        The Buddha said, "Flower Virtue Store, Very good! Hearken! I will explain to you."

        "Your instruction accepted, I would be delighted to hear," he responded.

        The Buddha said, "Suppose there is a good man who carries on his shoulders all the sentient beings in the Three-Thousand Great Thousandfold World and offers them till the end of his life all that they desire, such as food, clothing, bed, bedding, and medicinal potions. Is the merit he has earned great?"

        "Very great, World-Honored One! If one, with lovingkindness, makes offerings to only one sentient being according to his needs, one's merit will be immeasurable. Not to mention to all sentient beings."

        The Buddha said, "Suppose among good men and good women there are those who accept and uphold this Sūtra. If they, invoking their bodhi mind, read and recite it, explain and copy it, make various kinds of offerings to it, and widely pronounce and circulate it, their merit will be hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands of times greater. It will be beyond analogy."

        Flower Virtue Store Bodhisattva said to the Buddha, "World-Honored One, from today on, I will accept and uphold this Sūtra, which is pronounced by the Tathāgata, and the names of the three Buddhas: one of the past and two of the future. I will read and recite this Sūtra, explain and copy it, and widely pronounce and circulate it. I will keep far away from the mind of greed, anger, and delusion. Never being false, I will activate my anuttara-samyak-sambohi mind. World-Honored One, when I become a Buddha, if there are women who have heard this Dharma, they will change their female form [in a rebirth]. After it is changed, I will bestow upon them the prophecy of attaining anuttara-samyak-saṁbodhi. Their names will be Away from Defilement, Tathāgata, Arhat, Samyak-Saṁbuddha."

        After the Buddha had finished pronouncing this Sūtra, Flower Virtue Store Bodhisattva-Mahāsattva, bhikṣus, bhikṣuṇīs, Bodhisattvas, voice-hearers, as well as gods, dragons, yakṣas, gandharvas, asuras, garuḍas, kiṁnaras, mahoragas, humans, nonhumans, and others, having heard what the Buddha had said, greatly rejoiced.


Sūtra of the Prophecy Bestowed upon Avalokiteśvara Bodhisattva
Translated from the Chinese Canon, Volume 12, Text no. 371


————————————
*The rendition of this clause agrees with the similar passages in J. Takakusu's English translation of the Sūtra of Meditation on Buddha Amitāyus, included in Buddhist Mahāyāna Texts edited by E. B. Cowell (New York: Dover publications, 1969). (Return to text





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