Sūtra of the Prophecy Bestowed upon Avalokiteśvara
Translated from Sanskrit into Chinese in the Liu Song
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
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?"
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
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
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
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
The Buddha said, "Indeed! Indeed! Indeed it is as you
say. Immeasurable asaṁkhyeyas of Bodhisattva-Mahāsattvas have
acquired this Samādhi from those upright ones."
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
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
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
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
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."
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."
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."
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
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."
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."
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
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
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
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."
World-Honored One, I would be delighted to hear."
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
"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.
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.
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,
Humans, or nonhumans?
I hope that you will reveal your
"Then the boy on the king's right answered in verse:
'All dharmas are empty.
Why do you ask for names?
have ceased to be,
Future dharmas have not arisen,
And present dharmas do
Whose names are you asking for?
Empty dharmas are neither
Nor dragons, nor rakṣasas.
Whether humans, nonhumans, or
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.
dharmas have no names.
Asking for names
In quest of true names
something never seen or heard of.
Since dharmas perish as soon as they
Why ask for their names?
Names and words
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
I pray that You will explain the meaning.
The hearer will
carry out Your teachings.
Flowers, incense, and music played on
Apparel, food, medicine, and bedding,
Of offerings such as
Which one is supreme?'
"Golden Light Lion Frolic Buddha answered the boys in verse:
'One should activate the bodhi mind
And widely rescue sentient
These are the offerings to the Perfectly Enlightened One
thirty-two major marks.
Suppose one offers Tathāgatas
Filling lands as numerous as the sands of the Ganges,
carries them joyfully on one's head.
It cannot be compared with transferring
With lovingkindness to bodhi.
This merit is the
Immeasurable, and boundless.
No other offerings can surpass
Its supremacy cannot be calculated.
A bodhi mind such as
Will certainly attain the perfect enlightenment.'
"The two boys spoke again in verse:
'Gods, dragons, ghosts, and spirits,
Listen to my lion's
Now before the Tathāgata,
I solemnly vow to activate my bodhi
The cycle of birth and death turning immeasurable kalpas,
The primal state is unknowable.
Even for only one sentient being,
have walked the Way for kalpas.
During these kalpas,
You have delivered
Training in the Bodhi Way,
[You never] had mental
From now on, if I ever
Allow the greedy mind to arise,
would be cheating
All Buddhas in the ten directions.
with respect to anger and delusion.
Similarly, with respect to stinginess and
Now I speak the truth
That I will keep far away from
Starting from today, if I ever
Entertain the mind of a
Not delighting in cultivation of bodhi,
It would be cheating
Nor would I seek to be a Pratyekabuddha,
helping and benefiting myself only.
I should, for tens of thousands and koṭis
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
There will be no voice-hearers in my land,
Nor the Pratyekabuddha
But Bodhisattvas only.
Their number will be infinite.
beings will be pure and undefiled.
They all will have superb, wonderful
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
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."
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
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
The Buddha replied, "Very good! Hearken! I will
"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
Flower Virtue Store Bodhisattva asked the Buddha,
"World-Honored One, will that Buddha's land still be named Peace and
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
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
"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
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
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
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)