|English translation of |
Holy Saddharma Pundarika
English translation by H.Kern
taken from http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/lotus/
Thus have I heard. Once upon a time the Lord was staying at Râgagriha, on the Gridhrakuta mountain, with a numerous assemblage of monks, twelve hundred monks, all of them Arhats, stainless, free from depravity, self-controlled, thoroughly emancipated in thought and knowledge, of noble breed, (like unto) great elephants, having done their task, done their duty, acquitted their charge, reached the goal; in whom the ties which bound them to existence were wholly destroyed, whose minds were thoroughly emancipated by perfect knowledge, who had reached the utmost perfection in subduing all their thoughts; who were possessed of the transcendent faculties; eminent disciples, such as the venerable Agñâta-Kaundinya, the venerable Asvagit, the venerable Vâshpa, the venerable Mahânâman, the venerable Bhadrikal, the venerable Mahâ-Kâsyapa, the venerable Kâsyapa of Uruvilvâ, the venerable Kâsyapa of Nadi, the venerable Kâsyapa of Gayâ, the venerable Sâriputra, the venerable Mahâ-Maudgalyâyana, the venerable Mahâ-Kâtyâyana, the venerable Aniruddha, the venerable Revata, the venerable Kapphina, the venerable Gavâmpati, the venerable Pilindavatsa, the venerable Vakula, the venerable Bhâradvâga, the venerable Mahâ-Kaushthila, the venerable Nanda (alias Mahânanda), the venerable Upananda, the venerable Sundara-Nanda, the venerable Pûrna Maitrâyanîputra, the venerable Subhûti, the venerable Râhula; with them yet other great disciples, as the venerable Ananda, still under training, and two thousand other monks, some of whom still under training, the others masters; with six thousand nuns having at their head Mahâpragâpatî, and the nun Yasodharâ, the mother of Râhula, along with her train; (further) with eighty thousand Bodhisattvas, all unable to slide back, endowed with the spells of supreme, perfect enlightenment, firmly standing in wisdom; who moved onward the never deviating wheel of the law; who had propitiated many hundred thousands of Buddhas; who under many hundred thousands of Buddhas had planted the roots of goodness, had been intimate with many hundred thousands of Buddhas, were in body and mind fully penetrated with the feeling of charity; able in communicating the wisdom of the Tathâgatas; very wise, having reached the perfection of wisdom; renowned in many hundred thousands of worlds; having saved many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of beings; such as the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Mañgusrî, as prince royal; the Bodhisattvas Mahâsattvas Avalokitesvara, Mahâsthâmaprâpta, Sarvarthanâman, Nityodyukta, Anikshiptadhura, Ratnakandra, Bhaishagyarâga, Pradânasûra, Ratnakandra, Ratnaprabha, Pûrnakandra, Mahivikrâmin, Trailokavikrâmin, Anantavikrâmin, Mahâpratibhâna, Satatasamitâbhiyukta, Dharanîdhara, Akshayamati, Padmasrî, Nakshatrarâga, the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Maitreya, the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Simha.
With them were also the sixteen virtuous men to begin with Bhadrapâla, to wit, Bhadrapâla, Ratnikara, Susârthavâha, Naradatta, Guhagupta, Varunadatta, Indradatta, Uttaramati, Viseshamati, Vardhamânamati, Amoghadarsin, Susamsthita, Suvikrântavikrâmin, Anupamamati, Sûryagarbha, and Dharanidhara; besides eighty thousand Bodhisattvas, among whom the fore-mentioned were the chiefs; further Sakra, the ruler of the celestials, with twenty thousand gods, his followers, such as the god Kandra (the Moon), the god Sûrya (the Sun), the god Samantagandha (the Wind), the god Ratnaprabha, the god Avabhâsaprabha, and others; further, the four great rulers of the cardinal points with thirty thousand gods in their train, viz. the great ruler Virûdhaka, the great ruler Virûpâksha, the great ruler Dhritarâshtra, and the great ruler Vaisravana; the god Îsvara and the god Mahesvara, each followed by thirty thousand gods; further, Brahma Sahdmpati and his twelve thousand followers, the BrahmakAyika gods, amongst whom Brahma Sikhin and Brahma Gyotishprabha, with the other twelve thousand Brahmakdyika gods; together with the eight Nâga kings and many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Nigas in their train, viz. the Nâga king Nanda, the Nâga king Upananda, Sâgara, Vâsuki, Takshaka, Manasvin, Anavatapta, and Utpalaka; further, the four Kinnara kings with many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of followers, viz. the Kinnara king Druma, the Kinnara king Mahâdharma, the Kinnara king Sudharma, and the Kinnara king Dharmadhara; besides, the four divine beings (called) Gandharvakâyikas with many hundred thousand Gandharvas in their suite, viz. the Gandharva Manogña, the Gandharva Manogñasvara, the Gandharva Madhura, and the Gandharva Madhurasvara; further, the four chiefs of the demons followed by many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of demons, viz. the chief of the demons Bali, Kharaskandha, Vemakitri, and Râhu; along with the four Garuda chiefs followed by many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Garudas, viz. the Garuda chiefs Mahâtegas, Mahâkâya, Mahâpûrna, and Mahârddhiprâpta, and with Agâtasatru, king of Magadha, the son of Vaidehi.
Now at that time it was that the Lord surrounded, attended, honoured, revered, venerated, worshipped by the four classes of hearers, after expounding the Dharmaparyâya called 'the Great Exposition,' a text of great development, serving to instruct Bodhisattvas and proper to all Buddhas, sat cross-legged on the seat of the law and entered upon the meditation termed 'the station of the exposition of Infinity;' his body was motionless and his mind had reached perfect tranquillity. And as soon as the Lord had entered upon his meditation, there fell a great rain of divine flowers, Mandâravasâ and great Mandâravas, Mañgûshakas and great Mañgûshakas, covering the Lord and the four classes of hearers, while the whole Buddha field shook in six ways: it moved, removed, trembled, trembled from one end to the other, tossed, tossed along.
Then did those who were assembled and sitting together in that congregation, monks, nuns, male and female lay devotees, gods, Nagas, goblins, Gandharvas, demons, Garudas, Kinnaras, great serpents, men, and beings not human, as well as governors of a region, rulers of armies and rulers of four continents, all of them with their followers, gaze on the Lord in astonishment, in amazement, in ecstasy.
And at that moment there issued a ray from within the circle of hair between the eyebrows of the Lord. It extended over eighteen hundred thousand Buddha-fields in the eastern quarter, so that all those Buddha-fields appeared wholly illuminated by its radiance, down to the great hell Avîki and up to the limit of existence. And the beings in any of the six states of existence became visible, all without exception. Likewise the Lords Buddhas staying, living, and existing in those Buddha-fields became all visible, and the law preached by them could be entirely heard by all beings. And the monks, nuns, lay devotees male and female, Yogins and students of Yoga, those who had obtained the fruition (of the Paths of sanctification) and those who had not, they, too, became visible. And the Bodhisattvas Mahâsattvas in those Buddha-fields who plied the Bodhisattva-course with ability, due to their earnest belief in numerous and various lessons and the fundamental ideas, they, too, became all visible. Likewise the Lords Buddhas in those Buddha-fields who had reached final Nirvâna became visible, all of them. And the Stûpas made of jewels and containing the relics of the extinct Buddhas became all visible in those Buddha-fields.
Then rose in the mind of the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Maitreya this thought: O how great a wonder does the Tathâgata display! What may be the cause, what the reason of the Lord producing so great a wonder as this? And such astonishing, prodigious, inconceivable, powerful miracles now appear, although the Lord is absorbed in meditation! Why, let me inquire about this matter; who would be able here to explain it to me? He then thought: Here is Mañgusrî, the prince royal, who has plied his office under former Ginas and planted the roots of goodness, while worshipping many Buddhas. This Mañgusrî, the prince royal, must have witnessed before such signs of the former Tathâgatas, those Arhats, those perfectly enlightened Buddhas; of yore he must have enjoyed the grand conversations on the law. Therefore will I inquire about this matter with Mañgusrî, the prince royal.
And the four classes of the audience, monks, nuns, male and female lay devotees, numerous gods, Nâgas, goblins, Gandharvas, demons, Garudas, Kinnaras, great serpents, men, and beings not human, on seeing the magnificence of this great miracle of the Lord, were struck with astonishment, amazement and curiosity, and thought: Let us inquire why this magnificent miracle has been produced by the great power of the Lord.
At the same moment, at that very instant, the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Maitreya knew in his mind the thoughts arising in the minds of the four classes of hearers and he spoke to Mañgusrî, the prince royal: What, O Mañgusrî, is the cause, what is the reason of this wonderful, prodigious, miraculous shine having been produced by the Lord? Look, how these eighteen thousand Buddha-fields appear variegated, extremely beautiful, directed by Tathâgatas and superintended by Tathâgatas.
Then it was that Maitreya, the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva, addressed Mañgusrî, the prince royal, in the following stanzas:
Whereupon Mañgusrî, the prince royal, addressed Maitreya, the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva, and the whole assembly of Bodhisattvas (in these words): It is the intention of the Tathâgata, young men of good family, to begin a grand discourse for the teaching of the law, to pour the great rain of the law, to make resound the great drum of the law, to raise the great banner of the law, to kindle the great torch of the law, to blow the great conch trumpet of the law, and to strike the great tymbal of the law. Again, it is the intention of the Tathâgata, young men of good family, to make a grand exposition of the law this very day. Thus it appears to me, young men of good family, as I have witnessed a similar sign of the former Tathâgatas, the Arhats, the perfectly enlightened. Those former Tathâgatas, they, too, emitted a lustrous ray, and I am convinced that the Tathâgata is about to deliver a grand discourse for the teaching of the law and make his grand speech on the law everywhere heard, he having shown such a foretoken. And because the Tathâgata, wishes that this Dharmaparyâya meeting opposition in all the world be heard everywhere, therefore does he display so great a miracle and this fore-token consisting in the lustre occasioned by the emission of a ray.
I remember, young men of good family, that in the days of yore, many immeasurable, inconceivable, immense, infinite, countless Æons, more than countless Æons ago, nay, long and very long before, there was born a Tathâgata called Kandrasûryapradîpa, an Arhat, endowed with science and conduct, a Sugata, knower of the world, an incomparable tamer of men, a teacher (and ruler) of gods and men, a Buddha and Lord. He showed the law; he revealed the duteous course which is holy at its commencement, holy in its middle, holy at the end, good in substance and form, complete and perfect, correct and pure. That is to say, to the disciples he preached the law containing the four Noble Truths, and starting from the chain of causes and effects, tending to overcome birth, decrepitude, sickness, death, sorrow, lamentation, woe, grief, despondency, and finally leading to Nirvâna; and to the Bodhisattvas he preached the law connected with the six Perfections, and terminating in the knowledge of the Omniscient, after the attainment of supreme, perfect enlightenment.
[Now, young men of good family, long before the time of that Tathâgata Kandrasûryapradîpa, the Arhat, there had appeared a Tathâgata, likewise called Kandrasûryapradîpa, after whom, O Agita, there were twenty thousand Tathâgatas, all of them bearing the name of Kandrasûryapradipa, of the same lineage and family name, to wit, of Bharadvâga. All those twenty thousand Tathâgatas, O Agita, from the first to the last, showed the law, revealed the course which is holy at its commencement, holy in its middle, holy at the end]
The aforesaid Lord Kandrasûryapradîpa, the Tathâgata, when a young prince and not yet having left home (to embrace the ascetic life), had eight sons, viz. the young princes Sumati, Anantamati, Ratnamati, Viseshamati, Vimatisamudghâtin, Ghoshamati, and Dharmamati. These eight young princes, Agita, sons to the Lord Kandrasûryapradîpa, the Tathâgata, had an immense fortune. Each of them was in possession of four great continents, where they exercised the kingly sway. When they saw that the Lord had left his home to become an ascetic, and heard that he had attained supreme, perfect enlightenment, they forsook all of them the pleasures of royalty and followed the example of the Lord by resigning the world; all of them strove to reach superior enlightenment and became preachers of the law. While constantly leading a holy life, those young princes planted roots of goodness under many thousands of Buddhas.
It was at that time, Agita, that the Lord Kandrasûryapradîpa, the Tathâgata, after expounding the Dharmaparyâya called 'the Great Exposition,' a text of great extension, serving to instruct Bodhisattvas and proper to all Buddhas, at the same moment and instant, at the same gathering of the classes of hearers, sat cross-legged on the same seat of the law, and entered upon the meditation termed 'the Station of the exposition of Infinity;' his body was motionless, and his mind had reached perfect tranquillity. And as soon as the Lord had entered upon meditation, there fell a great rain of divine flowers, Mandâravas and great Mandâravas, Mañgûshakas and great Mañgûshakas, covering the Lord and the four classes of hearers, while the whole Buddha-field shook in six ways; it moved, removed, trembled, trembled from one end to the other, tossed, tossed along.
Then did those who were assembled and sitting together at that congregation, monks, nuns, male and fe-male lay devotees, gods, Nâgas, goblins, Gandharvas, demons, Garudas, Kinnaras, great serpents, men and beings not human, as well as governors of a region, rulers of armies and rulers of four continents, all of them with their followers gaze on the Lord in astonishment, in amazement, in ecstasy.
And at that moment there issued a ray from within the circle of hair between the eyebrows of the Lord. It extended over eighteen hundred thousand Buddha-fields in the eastern quarter, so that all those Buddha-fields appeared wholly illuminated by its radiance, just like the Buddha-fields do now, O Agita.
[At that juncture, Agita, there were twenty kotis of Bodhisattvas following the Lord. All hearers of the law in that assembly, on seeing how the world was illuminated by the lustre of that ray, felt astonishment, amazement, ecstasy, and curiosity.]
Now it happened, Agita, that under the rule of the aforesaid Lord there was a Bodhisattva called Varaprabha, who had eight hundred pupils. It was to this Bodhisattva Varaprabha that the Lord, on rising from his meditation, revealed the Dharmaparyâya called 'the Lotus of the True Law.' He spoke during fully sixty intermediate kalpas, always sitting on the same seat, with immovable body and tranquil mind. And the whole assembly continued sitting on the same seats, listening to the preaching of the Lord for sixty intermediate kalpas, there being not a single creature in that assembly who felt fatigue of body or mind.
As the Lord Kandrasûryapradîpa, the Tathâgata, during sixty intermediate kalpas had been expounding the Dharmaparyâya called 'the Lotus of the True Law,' a text of great development, serving to instruct Bodhisattvas and proper to all Buddhas, he instantly announced his complete Nirvâna to the world, including the gods, Mâras and Brahmas, to all creatures, including ascetics, Brahmans, gods, men and demons, saying: To-day, O monks, this very night, in the middle watch, will the Tathâgata, by entering the element of absolute Nirvâna, become wholly extinct.
Thereupon, Agita, the Lord Kandrasûryapradîpa, the Tathigata, predestinated the Bodhisattva called Srîgarbha to supreme, perfect enlightenment, and then spoke thus to the whole assembly: O monks, this Bodhisattva Srîgarbha here shall immediately after me attain supreme, perfect enlightenment, and become Vimalanetra, the Tathâgata
Thereafter, Agita, that very night, at that very watch, the Lord Kandrasûryapradîpa, the Tathalgata, became extinct by entering the element of absolute Nirvâna. And the aforementioned Dharmaparyâya, termed 'the Lotus of the True Law,' was kept in memory by the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Varaprabha; during eighty intermediate kalpas did the Bodhisattva Varaprabha keep and reveal the commandment of the Lord who had entered Nirvâna. Now it so happened, Agita, that the eight sons of the Lord Kandrasûryapradipa, Mati and the rest, were pupils to that very Bodhisattva Varaprabha. They were by him made ripe for supreme, perfect enlightenment, and in after times they saw and worshipped many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Buddhas, all of whom had attained supreme, perfect enlightenment, the last of them being Dîpankara, the Tathalgata
Amongst those eight pupils there was one Bodhisattva who attached an extreme value to gain, honour and praise, and was fond of glory, but all the words and letters one taught him faded (from his memory), did not stick. So he got the appellation of Yasaskâma. He had propitiated many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Buddhas by that root of goodness, and afterwards esteemed, honoured, respected, revered, venerated, worshipped them. Perhaps, Agita, thou feelest some doubt, perplexity or misgiving that in those days, at that time, there was another Bodhisvattva Mahâsattva Varaprabha, preacher of the law. But do not think so. Why? because it is myself who in those days, at that time, was the Bodhisattva Mahâsattva Varaprabha, preacher of the law; and that Bodhisattva named Yasaskâma, the lazy one, it is thyself, Agita, who in those days, at that time, wert the Bodhisattva named Yasaskâma, the lazy one.
And so, Agita, having once seen a similar foretoken of the Lord, I infer from a similar ray being emitted just now, that the Lord is about to expound the Dharmaparyâya called 'the Lotus of the True Law.'
And on that occasion, in order to treat the subject more copiously, Mañgusrî, the prince royal, uttered the following stanzas: