The Lord then rose with recollection and consciousness from his meditation,
and forthwith addressed the venerable S‚riputra: The Buddha knowledge,
S‚riputra, is profound, difficult to understand, difficult to comprehend. It is
difficult for all disciples and Pratyekabuddhas to fathom the knowledge arrived
at by the Tath‚gatas, and that, S‚riputra, because the Tath‚gatas have
worshipped many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Buddhas; because they have
fulfilled their course for supreme, complete enlightenment, during many hundred
thousand myriads of kotis of ∆ons; because they have wandered far, displaying
energy and possessed of wonderful and marvellous properties; possessed of
properties difficult to understand; because they have found out things difficult
The mystery of the Tath‚gatas, is difficult to understand,
S‚riputra, because when they explain the laws (or phenomena, things) that have
their causes in themselves they do so by means of skilfulness, by the display of
knowledge, by arguments, reasons, fundamental ideas, interpretations, and
suggestions. By a variety of skilfulness they are able to release creatures that
are attached to one point or another. The Tath‚gatas, S‚riputra, have
acquired the highest perfection in skilfulness and the display of knowledge;
they are endowed with wonderful properties, such as the display of free and
unchecked knowledge; the powers; the absence of hesitation; the independent
conditions; the strength of the organs; the constituents of Bodhi; the
contemplations; emancipations; meditations; the degrees of concentration of
mind. The Tath‚gatas, S‚riputra, are able to expound various things and
have something wonderful and marvellous. Enough, S‚riputra, let it suffice to
say, that the Tath‚gatas, have something extremely wonderful,
S‚riputra. None but a Tath‚gatha, S‚riputra, can impart to a Tath‚gata those
laws which the Tath‚gata knows. And all laws, S‚riputra, are taught by the
Tath‚gata, and by him alone; no one but he knows all laws, what they are, how
they are, like what they are, of what characteristics and of what nature they
And on that occasion, to set forth the same subject more copiously, the Lord
uttered the following stanzas:
Innumerable are the great heroes in the world that embraces gods and men;
the totality of creatures is unable to completely know the leaders.
None can know their powers and states of emancipation, their absence of
hesitation and Buddha properties, such as they are.
Of yore have I followed in presence of kotis of Buddhas the good course
which is profound, subtle, difficult to understand, and most difficult to
After pursuing that career during an inconceivable number of kotis of
∆ons, I have on the terrace of enlightenment discovered the fruit thereof.
And therefore I recognise, like the other chiefs of the world, how it is,
like what it is, and what are its characteristics.
It is impossible to explain it; it is unutterable; nor is there such a
being in the world.
To whom this law could be explained or who would be able to understand it
when explained, with the exception of the Bodhisattvas, those who are firm in
As to the disciples of the Knower of the world, those who have done their
duty and received praise from the Sugatas, who are freed from faults and have
arrived at the last stage of bodily existence, the Gina-knowledge lies beyond
If this whole sphere were full of beings like S‚risuta, and if they were
to investigate with combined efforts, they would be unable to comprehend the
knowledge of the Sugata.
Even if the ten points of space were full of sages like thee, ay, if they
were full of such as the rest of my disciples,
And if those beings combined were to investigate the knowledge of the
Sugata, they would, all together, not be able to comprehend the Buddha-knowledge
in its whole immensity.
If the ten points of space were filled with Pratyekabuddhas, free from
faults, gifted with acute faculties, and standing in the last stage of their
existence, as numerous as reeds and bamboos in Ganges, with undivided attention
and subtle wit, even then that (knowledge) would be beyond their ken.
And if combined for an endless number of myriads of kotis of ∆ons, they
were to investigate a part only of my superior laws, they would never find out
its real meaning.
If the ten points of space were full of Bodhisattvas who, after having
don their duty under many kotis of Buddhas, investigated all things and preached
many sermons, after entering a new vehicle [or rather a new career];
If the whole world were full of them, as of dense reeds and bamboos,
without any interstices, and if all combined were to investigate the law which the
Sugata has realised;
If they were going on investigating for many kotis of ∆ons, as
incalculable as the sand of the Ganges, with undivided attention and subtle wit,
even then that knowledge would be beyond their understanding.
If such Bodhisattvas as are unable to fall back, numerous as the sand of
the Ganges, were to investigate it with undivided attention, it would prove to
lie beyond their ken.
Profound are the laws of the Buddhas, and subtle; all inscrutable and
faultless. I myself know them as well as the Ginas do in the ten directions of
Thou, S‚riputra, be full of trust in what the Sugata declares. The Gina
speaks no falsehood, the great Seer who has so long preached the highest
I address all disciples here, those who have set out to reach the
enlightenment of Pratyekabuddhas, those who are roused to activity at my
Nirv‚na, and those who have been released from the series of evils.
It is by my superior skilfulness that I explain the law at great length
to the world at large. I deliver whosoever are attached to one point or another,
and show the three vehicles.
The eminent disciples in the assembly headed by ¬gŮ‚ta-Kaundinya, the twelve
hundred Arhats faultess and self-controlled, the other monks, nuns, male and
female lay devotees using the vehicle of disciples, and those who had entered the
vehicle of Pratyeka-buddhas, all of them made this reflection: What may be the
cause, what the reason of the Lord so extremely extolling the skilfulness of the
Tath‚gatas? of his extolling it by saying, 'Profound is the law by me
discovered;' of his extolling it by saying, 'It is difficult for all disciples
and Pratyekabuddhas to understand it.' But as yet the Lord has declared no more
than one kind of emancipation, and therefore we also should acquire the
Buddha-laws on reaching Nirv‚na. We do not catch the meaning of this utterance
of the Lord.
And the venerable S‚riputra, who apprehended the doubt and uncertainty of the
four classes of the audience and guessed their thoughts from what was passing in
his own mind, himself being in doubt about the law, then said to the Lord: What,
O Lord, is the cause, what the reason of the Lord so repeatedly and extremely
extolling the skilfulness, knowledge, and preaching of the Tath‚gata? Why does
he repeatedly extol it by saying, 'Profound is the law by me discovered; it is
difficult to understand the mystery of the Tath‚gatas.' Never before have I
heard from the Lord such a discourse on the law. Those four classes of the
audience, O Lord, are overcome with doubt and perplexity. Therefore may the Lord
be pleased to explain what the Tath‚gata is alluding to, when repeatedly
extolling the profound law of the Tath‚gatas.
On that occasion the venerable S‚riputra uttered the following stanzas:
Now first does the Sun of men utter such a speech: 'I have acquired the
powers, emancipations, and numberless meditations.'
And thou mentionest the terrace of enlightenment without any one asking
thee: thou mentionest the mystery, although no one asks thee.
Thou speakest unasked and laudest thine own course; thou mentionest thy
having obtained knowledge and pronouncest profound words.
To-day a question rises in my mind and of these self-controlled,
faultless beings striving after Nirv‚na: Why does the Gina speak in this
Those who aspire to the enlightenment of Pratyekabuddhas, the nuns and
monks, gods, N‚gas, goblins, Gandharvas, and great serpents, are talking
together, while looking up to the highest of men,
And ponder in perplexity. Give an elucidation, great Sage, to all the
disciples of Sugata here assembled.
Myself have reached the perfection (of virtue), have been taught by the
supreme Sage; still, O highest of men! even in my position I feel some doubt
whether the course (of duty) shown to me shall receive its final sanction by
Let thy voice be heard, O thou whose voice resounds like an egregious
kettle-drum! proclaim thy law such as it is. The legitimate sons of Gina here
standing and gazing at the Gina, with joined hands;
As well as the gods, N‚gas, goblins, Titans, numbering thousands of
kotis, like sand of the of the Ganges; and those that aspire to superior
enlightenment, here standing, fully eighty thousand in number;
Further, the kings, rulers of provinces and paramount monarchs, who have
flocked thither from thousands of kotis of countries, are now standing with
joined hands, and respectful, thinking: How are we to fulfil the course of
The venerable S‚riputra having spoken, the Lord said to him: Enough,
S‚riputra; it is of no use explaining this matter. Why? Because, S‚riputra, the
world, including the gods, would be frightened if this matter were
But the venerable S‚riputra entreated the Lord a second time, saying: Let the
Lord expound, let the Sugata expound this matter, for in this assembly, O Lord,
there are many hundreds, many thousands, many hundred thousands, many hundred
thousand myriads of kotis of living beings who have seen former Buddhas, who are
intelligent, and will believe, value, and accept the words of the Lord.
The venerable S‚riputra addressed the Lord with this stanza:
Speak clearly, O most eminent of Ginas! in this assembly there are
thousands of living beings trustful, affectionate, and respectful towards the
Sugata; they will understand the law by there expounded.
And the Lord said a second time to the venerable S‚riputra; Enough,
S‚riputra; it is of no use explaining this matter for the the world, including
the gods, would be frightened if this matter were expounded, and some monks
might be proud and come to a heavy fall.
And on that occasion uttered the Lord the following stanza:
Speak no more of it that I should declare this law! This knowledge is too
subtle, inscrutable, and there are too many unwise men who in their conceit and
foolishness would scoff at the law revealed.
A third time the venerable S‚riputra entreated the Lord, saying, Let the Lord
expound, let the Sugata expound this matter. In this assembly, O Lord, there are
many hundreds of living beings my equals, and many hundreds, many thousands,
many hundred thousands, many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of other living
beings more, who in former births have been brought by the Lord to full
ripeness. They will believe, value, and accept what the Lord declares, which
shall tend to their advantage, weal, and happiness in length of time.
On that occasion the venerable S‚riputra uttered the following stanzas:
Explain the law, O thou most high of men! I, thine eldest son, beseech
thee. Here are thousands of kotis of beings who are to believe in the law by
And those beings that in former births so long and constantly have by
thee been brought to full maturity and now are all standing here with joined
hands, they, too, are to believe in this law.
Let the Sugata, seeing the twelve hundred, my equals, and those who are
striving after superior enlightenment, speak to them and produce in them an
When the Lord for the third time heard the entreaty of the venerable
S‚riputra, he spoke to him as follows: Now that thou entreatest the Tath‚gata a
third time, S‚riputra, I will answer thee. Listen then, S‚riputra, take well and
duly to heart what I am saying; I am going to speak.
Now it happened that the five thousand proud monks, nuns and lay devotees of
both sexes in the congregation rose from their seats and, after saluting with
their heads the Lord's feet, went to leave the assembly. Owing to the principle
of good which there is in pride they imagined having attained what they had not,
and having understood what they had not. Therefore, thinking themselves
aggrieved, they went to leave the assembly, to which the Lord by his silence
Thereupon the Lord addressed the venerable S‚riputra: My congregation,
S‚riputra, has been cleared from the chaff, freed from the trash; it is firmly
established in the strength of faith. It is good, S‚riputra, that those proud
ones are gone away. Now I am going to expound the matter, S‚riputra. 'Very well,
Lord,' replied the venerable S‚riputra. The Lord then began and said:
It is but now and then, S‚riputra, that the Tath‚gata preaches such a
discourse on the law as this. just as but now and then is seen the blossom of
the glamorous fig-tree, S‚riputra, so does the Tath‚gata but now and then preach
such a discourse on the law. Believe me, S‚riputra; I speak what is real, I
speak what is truthful, I speak what is right. It is difficult to understand the
exposition of the mystery of the Tath‚gata, S‚riputra; for in elucidating the
law, S‚riputra, I use hundred thousands of various skilful means, such as
different interpretations, indications, explanations, illustrations. It is not
by reasoning, S‚riputra, that the law is to be found: it is beyond the pale of
reasoning, and must be learnt from the Tath‚gata. For, S‚riputra, it is for a
sole object, a sole aim, verily a lofty object, a lofty aim that the Buddha, the
Tath‚gata, appears in the world. And what is that sole object, that
sole aim, that lofty object, that lofty aim of the Buddha, the Tath‚gata,
appearing in the world? To show all creatures the sight of
Tath‚gata-knowledge does the Buddha, the Tath‚gata, appear in the
world; to open the eyes of creatures for the sight of Tath‚gata-knowledge does
the Buddha, the Tath‚gata, appear in the world. This, O S‚riputra, is
the sole object, the sole aim, the sole purpose of his appearance in the world.
Such then, S‚riputra, is the sole object, the sole aim, the lofty object, the
lofty aim of the Tath‚gata. And it is achieved by the Tath‚gata. For, S‚riputra,
I do show all creatures the sight of Tath‚gata-knowledge; I do open the eyes of
creatures for the sight of Tath‚gata-knowledge, S‚riputra; I do firmly establish
the teaching of Tath‚gata-knowledge, S‚riputra; I do lead the teaching of
Tath‚gata-knowledge on the right path, S‚riputra. By means of one sole vehicle,
to wit, the Buddha-vehicle, S‚riputra, do I teach creatures the law; there is no
second vehicle, nor a third. This is the nature of the law, S‚riputra,
universally in the world, in all directions. For,Sariputra, all the Tath‚gatas,
who in times past existed in countless, innumerable spheres in all
directions for the weal of many, the happiness of many, out of pity to the
world, for the benefit, weal, and happiness of the great body of creatures, and
who preached the law to gods and men with able means, such as several directions
and indications, various arguments, reasons, illustrations, fundamental ideas,
interpretations, paying regard to the dispositions of creatures whose
inclinations and temperaments are so manifold, all those Buddhas and Lords,
S‚riputra, have preached the law to creatures by means of only one vehicle, the
Buddhavehicle, which finally leads to omniscience; it is identical with showing
all creatures the sight of Tath‚gata-knowledge; with opening the eyes of
creatures for the sight of Tath‚gata-knowledge; with the awakening (or
admonishing) by the display (or sight) of Tath‚gata -knowledge; with leading the
teaching of Tath‚gata-knowledge on the right path. Such is the law they have
preached to creatures. And those creatures, S‚riputra, who have heard the law
from the past Tath‚gatas, have all of them reached supreme, perfect
And the Tath‚gatas, who shall exist in future, Sariputra, in
countless, innumerable spheres in all directions for the weal of many, the
happiness of many, out of pity to the world, for the benefit, weal, and
happiness of the great body of creatures, and who shall preach the law to gods
and men (as above till) the right path. Such is the law they shall
preach to creatures. And those creatures, S‚riputra, who shall hear the law from
the future Tath‚gatas, shall all of them reach supreme, perfect
And the Tath‚gatas, who now at present are staying, living,
existing, S‚riputra, in countless, innumerable spheres in all directions,
and who are preaching the law to gods and men (as above till)
the right path. Such is the law they are preaching to creatures. And those
creatures, S‚riputra, who are hearing the law from the present Tath‚gatas,
shall all of them reach supreme, perfect enlightenment.
I myself also, S‚riputra, am at the present period a Tath‚gata, for
the weal of many (till) manifold; I myself also, S‚riputra, am
preaching the law to creatures (till) the right path. Such is the law I
preach to creatures. And those creatures, S‚riputra, who now are hearing the law
from me, shall all of them reach supreme, perfect enlightenment. In this sense,
S‚riputra, it must be understood that nowhere in the world a second vehicle is
taught, far less a third.
Yet, S‚riputra, when the Tath‚gatas, happen to appear at the decay
of the epoch, the decay of creatures, the decay of besetting sins, the decay of
views, or the decay of lifetime; when they appear amid such signs of decay at
the disturbance of the epoch; when creatures are much tainted, full of greed and
poor in roots of goodness; then, S‚riputra, the Tath‚gatas, use,
skilfully, to designate that one and sole Buddha-vehicle by the appellation of
the threefold vehicle. Now, S‚riputra, such disciples, Arhats, or
Pratyekabuddhas who do not hear their actually being called to the Buddha-vehicle
by the Tath‚gata, who do not perceive, nor heed it, those, S‚riputra, should not
be acknowledged as disciples of the Tath‚gata, nor as Arhats, nor as
Again, S‚riputra, if there be some monk or nun pretending to Arhatship
without an earnest vow to reach supreme, perfect enlightenment and saying, 'I am
standing too high for the Buddha-vehicle, I am in my last appearance in the body
before complete Nirv‚na,' then, S‚riputra, consider such a one to be conceited.
For, S‚riputra, it is unfit, it is improper that a monk, a faultless Arhat,
should not believe in the law which he hears from the Tath‚gata in his presence.
I leave out of question when the Tath‚gata shall have reached complete Nirv‚na;
for at that period, that time, S‚riputra, when the Tath‚gata shall be wholly
extinct, there shall be none who either knows by heart or preaches such SŻtras
as this. It will be under other Tath‚gatas, that they are to be freed
from doubts. In respect to these things believe my words, S‚riputra, value them,
take them to heart; for there is no falsehood in the Tath‚gatas, S‚riputra.
There is but one vehicle, S‚riputra, and that the Buddha-vehicle.
And on that occasion to set forth this matter more copiously the Lord uttered
the following stanzas:
No less than five thousand monks, nuns, and lay devotees of both sexes,
full of unbelief and conceit,
Remarking this slight, went, defective in training and foolish as they
were, away in order to beware of damage.
The Lord, who knew them to be the dregs of the congregation, exclaimed:
They have no sufficient merit to hear this law.
My congregation is now pure, freed from chaff; the trash is removed and
the pith only remains.
Hear from me, S‚riputra, how this law has been discovered by the highest
man, and how the mighty Buddhas are preaching it with many hundred proofs of
1 know the disposition and conduct, the various inclinations of kotis of
living beings in this world; I know their various actions and the good they have
Those living beings I initiate in this (law) by the aid of manifold
interpretations and reasons; and by hundreds of arguments and illustrations have
I, in one way or another, gladdened all creatures.
I utter both SŻtras and stanzas; legends, G‚takas, and prodigies, besides
hundreds of introductions and curious parables.
I show Nirv‚na to the ignorant with low dispositions, who have followed
no course of duty under many kotis of Buddhas, are bound to continued existence
The self-born one uses such means to manifest Buddha-knowledge, but he
shall never say to them, Ye also are to become Buddhas.
Why should not the mighty one, after having waited for the right time,
speak, now that he perceives the right moment is come? This is the fit
opportunity, met somehow, of commencing the exposition of what really is.
Now the word of my commandment, as contained in nine divisions, has been
published according to the varying degree of strength of creatures. Such is the
device I have shown in order to introduce (creatures) to the knowledge of the
giver of boons.
And to those in the world who have always been pure, wise, good-minded,
compassionate sons of Buddha and done their duty under many kotis of Buddhas will
I make known amplified SŻtras.
For they are endowed with such gifts of mental disposition and such
advantages of a blameless outward form that I can announce to them: in future ye
shall become Buddhas benevolent and compassionate.
Hearing which, all of them will be pervaded with delight (at the
thought): We shall become Buddhas pre-eminent in the world. And I, perceiving
their conduct, will again reveal amplified SŻtras.
And those are the disciples of the Leader, who have listened to my word
of command. One simple stanza learnt or kept in memory suffices, no doubt of it,
to lead all of them to enlightenment.
There is, indeed, but one vehicle; there is no second, nor a third
anywhere in the world, apart from the case of the Purushottamas using an
expedient to show that there is a diversity of vehicles.
The Chief of the world appears in the world to reveal the
Buddha-knowledge. He has but one aim, indeed, no second; the Buddhas do not
bring over (creatures) by an inferior vehicle.
There where the self-born one has established himself, and where the
object of knowledge is, of whatever form or kind; (where) the powers, the stages
of meditation, the emancipations, the perfected faculties (are); there the
beings also shall be established.
1 should be guilty of envy, should I, after reaching the spotless eminent
state of enlightenment, establish any one in the inferior vehicle. That would
not beseem me.
There is no envy whatever in me; no jealousy, no desire, nor passion.
Therefore I am the Buddha, because the world follows my teaching'.
When, splendidly marked with (the thirty-two) characteristics, I am
illuminating this whole world, and, worshipped by many hundreds of beings, I
show the (unmistakable) stamp of the nature of the law;
Then, S‚riputra, I think thus: How will all beings by the thirty-two
characteristics mark the self-born Seer, who of his own accord sheds his lustre
all over the world?
60 And while I am thinking and pondering, when my wish has been fulfilled and
my vow accomplished I no more reveal Buddha-knowledge
If, O son of S‚ri, I spoke to the creatures, 'Vivify in your minds the
wish for enlightenment,' they would in their ignorance all go astray and never
catch the meaning of my good words.
And considering them to be such, and that they have not accomplished
their course of duty in previous existences, (I see how) they are attached and
devoted to sensual pleasures, infatuated by desire and blind with delusion.
From lust they run into distress; they are tormented in the six states of
existence and people the cemetery again and again; they are overwhelmed with
misfortune, as they possess little virtue.
They are continually entangled in the thickets of (sectarian) theories,
such as, 'It is and it is not; it is thus and it is not thus.' In trying to get
a decided opinion on what is found in the sixty-two (heretical) theories they
come to embrace falsehood and continue in it.
They are hard to correct, proud, hypocritical, crooked, malignant,
ignorant, dull; hence they do not hear the good Buddha-call, not once in kotis
To those, son of Sari, I show a device and say: Put an end to your
trouble. When I perceive creatures vexed with mishap I make them see
And so do I reveal all those laws that are ever holy and correct from the
very first. And the son of -Buddha who has completed his course shall once be a
It is but my skilfulness which prompts me to manifest three vehicles; for
there is but one vehicle and one track; there is also but one instruction by the
Remove all doubt and uncertainty; and should there be any who feel
doubts, (let them know that) the Lords of the world speak the truth; this is the
only vehicle, a second there is not.
The former Tath‚gatas also, living in the past for innumerable ∆ons, the
many thousands of Buddhas who are gone to final rest, whose number can never be
Those highest of men have all of them revealed most holy laws by means of
illustrations, reasons, and arguments, with many hundred proofs of
And all of them have manifested but one vehicle and introduced but one on
earth; by one vehicle have they led to full ripeness inconceivably many
thousands of kotis of beings.
Yet the Ginas possess various and manifold means through which the
Tath‚gata reveals to the world, including the gods, superior enlightenment, in
consideration of the inclinations and dispositions (of the different
And all in the world who are hearing or have heard the law from the mouth
of the Tath‚gatas, given alms, followed the moral precepts, and patiently
accomplished the whole of their religious duties;
Who have acquitted themselves in point of zeal and meditation, with
wisdom reflected on those laws, and performed several meritorious actions, have
all of them reached enlightenment.
And such beings as were living patient, subdued, and disciplined, under
the rule of the Ginas of those times, have all of them reached
Others also, who paid worship to the relics of the departed Ginas,
erected many thousands of StŻpas made of gems, gold, silver, or crystal,
78.Or built StŻpas of emerald, cat's eye, pearls, egregious lapis lazuli, or
sapphire; they have all of them reached enlightenment.
And those who erected StŻpas from marble, sandal-wood, or eagle-wood;
constructed StŻpas from Deodar or a combination of different sorts of
And who in gladness of heart built for the Ginas StŻpas of bricks or
clay; or caused mounds of earth to be raised in forests and wildernesses in
dedication to the Ginas;
The little boys even, who in playing erected here and there heaps of sand
with the intention of dedicating them as StŻpas to the Ginas, they have all of
them reached enlightenment.
Likewise have all who caused jewel images to be made and dedicated,
adorned with the thirty-two characteristic signs, reached enlightenment.
Others who had images of Sugatas made of the seven precious substances,
of copper or brass, have all of them reached enlightenment.
Those who ordered beautiful statues of Sugatas to be made of lead, iron,
clay, or plaster have
Those who made images (of the Sugatas) on painted walls, with complete
limbs and the hundred holy signs, whether they drew them themselves or had them
drawn by others, have
Those even, whether men or boys, who during the lesson or in play, by way
of amusement, made upon the walls (such) images with the nail or a piece of
Have all of them reached enlightenment; they have become compassionate,
and, by rousing many Bodhisattvas, have saved kotis of creatures.
Those who offered flowers and perfumes to the relics of the Tath‚gatas,
to StŻpas, a mound of earth, images of clay or drawn on a wall;
Who caused musical instruments, drums, conch trumpets, and noisy great
drums to be played, and raised the rattle of tymbals at such places in order to
celebrate the highest enlightenment;
Who caused sweet lutes, cymbals, tabors, small drums, reed-pipes, flutes
of ekonnada or sugar-cane to be made, have all of them reached
Those who to celebrate the Sugatas made thoughts, one shall in course of
time see kotis of Buddhas.
They have all of them reached enlightenment. By paying various kinds of
worship to the relics of the Sugatas, by doing but a little for the relics, by
making resound were it but a single musical instrument;
Or by worshipping were it but with a single flower, by drawing on a wall
the images of the Sugatas, by doing worship were it even with distracted
thoughts, one shall in course of time see kotis of Buddhas.
Those who, when in presence of a StŻpa, have offered their reverential
salutation, be it in a complete form or by merely joining the hands; who, were
it but for a single moment, bent their head or body;
And who at StŻpas containing relics have one single time said: Homage be
to Buddha! albeit they did it with distracted thoughts, all have attained
The creatures who in the days of those Sugatas, whether already extinct
or still in existence, have heard no more than the name of the law, have all of
them reached enlightenment.
Many kotis of future Buddhas beyond imagination and measure shall
likewise reveal this device as Ginas and supreme Lords.
Endless shall be the skilfulness of these leaders of the world, by which
they shall educate kotis of beings to that Buddha-knowledge which is free from
Never has there been any being who, after hearing the law of those
(leaders), shall not become Buddha; for this is the fixed vow of the Tath‚gatas:
Let me, by accomplishing my course of duty, lead others to enlightenment.
They are to expound in future days many thousand kotis of heads of the
law; in their Tath‚gataship they shall teach the law by showing the sole vehicle
The line of the law forms an unbroken continuity and the nature of its
properties is always manifest. Knowing this, the Buddhas, the highest of men,
shall reveal this single vehicle.
They shall reveal the stability of the law, its being subjected to fixed
rules, its unshakeable perpetuity in the world, the awaking of the Buddhas on
the elevated terrace of the earth, their skilfulness.
In all directions of space are standing Buddhas, like sand of the
Ganges, honoured by gods and men; these also do, for the weal of all beings in
the world, expound superior enlightenment.
Those Buddhas while manifesting skilfulness display various vehicles
though, at the same time, indicating the one single vehicle: the supreme place
of blessed rest. vious [sic] actions; with due regard to their strenuousness and
vigour, as well as their inclination, the Buddhas impart their lights to
Acquainted as they are with the conduct of all mortals, with their
peculiar dispositions and previous actions; with due regard to their
strenuousness and vigour, as well as their inclination, the Buddhas impart their
lights to them.
By dint of knowledge the leaders produce many illustrations, arguments,
and reasons; and considering how the creatures have various inclinations they
impart various directions.
And myself also, the leader of the chief Ginas, am now manifesting, for
the weal of creatures now living, this Buddha enlightenment by thousands of
kotis of various directions.
I reveal the law in its multifariousness with regard to the inclinations
and dispositions of creatures. I use different means to rouse each according to
his own character. Such is the might of my knowledge.
I likewise see the poor wretches, deficient in wisdom and conduct,
lapsed into the mundane whirl retained in dismal places, plunged in affliction
Fettered as they are by desire like the yak by its tail, continually
blinded by sensual pleasure, they do not seek the Buddha, the mighty one; they
do not seek the law that leads to the end of pain.
Staying in the six states of existence, they are benumbed in their
senses, stick unmoved to the low views, and suffer pain on pain. For those I
feel a great compassion.
On the terrace of enlightenment I have remained three weeks in full,
searching and pondering on such a matter, steadily looking up to the tree there
Keeping in view that king of trees with an unwavering gaze I walked round
at its foot (thinking): This law is wonderful and lofty, whereas creatures are
blind with dulness and ignorance.
Then it was that Brahma entreated me, and so did Indra, the four rulers
of the cardinal points, Mahesvara, ősvara, and the hosts of Maruts by thousands
All stood with joined hands and respectful, while myself was revolving
the matter in my mind (and thought): What shall I do? At the very time that I am
uttering syllables, beings are oppressed with evils.
In their ignorance they will not heed the law I announce, and in
consequence of it they will incur some penalty. It would be better were I never
to speak. May my quiet extinction take place this very day!
But on remembering the former Buddhas and their skilfulness, (I
thought): Nay, I also will manifest this tripartite Buddha-enlightenment.
When I was thus meditating on the law, the other Buddhas in all the
directions of space appeared to me in their own body and raised their voice,
'Amen, Solitary, first Leader of the world! now that thou hast come to
unsurpassed knowledge, and art meditating on the skilfulness of the leaders of
the world, thou repeatest their teaching.
'We also, being Buddhas, will make clear the highest word, divided into
three parts; for men (occasionally) have low inclinations, and might perchance
from ignorance not believe (us, when we say), Ye shall become Buddhas.
'Hence we will rouse many Bodhisattvas by the display of skilfulness and
the encouraging of the wish of obtaining fruits.'
And I was delighted to hear the sweet voice of the leaders of men; in
the exultation of my heart I said to the blessed saints, 'The words of the
eminent sages are not spoken in vain.
'I, too, will act according to the indications of the wise leaders of
the world; having myself been born in the midst of the degradation of creatures,
I have known agitation in this dreadful world.'
When I had come to that conviction, O son of S‚ri, I instantly went to
Benares, where I skilfully preached the law to the five Solitaries, that law
which is the base of final beatitude.
From that moment the wheel of my law has been moving, and the name of
Nirv‚na made its appearance in the world, as well as the name of Arhat, of
Dharma, and Sangha.
Many years have I preached and pointed to the stage of Nirv‚na, the end
of wretchedness and mundane existence. Thus I used to speak at all times.
And when I saw, S‚riputra, the children of the highest of men by many
thousands of kotis, numberless, striving after the supreme, the highest
And when such as had heard the law of the Ginas, owing to the
many-sidedness of (their) skilfulness, had approached me and stood before my
face, all of them with joined hands, and respectful;
Then I conceived the idea that the time had come for me to announce the
excellent law and to reveal supreme enlightenment, for which task I had been
born in the world.
This (event) to-day will be hard to be understood by the ignorant who
imagine they see here a sign, as they are proud and dull. But the Bodhisattvas,
they will listen to me.
And I felt free from hesitation and highly cheered; putting aside all
timidity, I began speaking in the assembly of the sons of Sugata, and roused
them to enlightenment.
On beholding such worthy sons of Buddha (I said): Thy doubts also will
be removed, and these twelve hundred (disciples) of mine, free from
imperfections, will all of them become Buddhas.
Even as the nature of the law of the former mighty saints and the future
Ginas is, so is my law free from any doubtfulness, and it is such as I to-day
preach it to thee.
At certain times, at certain places, somehow do the leaders appear in
the world, and after their appearance will they, whose view is boundless, at one
time or another preach a similar law.
It is most difficult to meet with this superior law, even in myriads of
kotis of ∆ons; very rare are the beings who will adhere to the superior law
which they have heard from me.
Just as the blossom of the glamorous fig-tree is rare, albeit sometimes,
at some places, and somehow it is met with, as something pleasant to see for
everybody, as a wonder to the world including the gods;
(So wonderful) and far more wonderful is the law I proclaim. Any one
who, on hearing a good exposition of it, shall cheerfully accept it and recite
but one word of it, will have done honour to all Buddhas.
Give up all doubt and uncertainty in this respect; I declare that I am
the king of the law (Dharmar‚ga); I am urging others to enlightenment, but I am
here without disciples.
Let this mystery be for thee, S‚riputra, for all disciples of mine, and
for the eminent Bodhisattvas, who are to keep this mystery.
For the creatures, when at the period of the five depravities, are vile
and bad; they are blinded by sensual desires, the fools, and never turn their
minds to enlightenment.
(Some) beings, having heard this one and sole vehicle manifested by the
Gina, will in days to come swerve from it, reject the SŻtra, and go down to
But those beings who shall be modest and pure, striving after the
supreme and the highest enlightenment, to them shall I unhesitatingly set forth
the endless forms of this one and sole vehicle.
Such is the mastership of the leaders; that is, their skilfulness. They
have spoken in many mysteries; hence it is difficult to understand (them).
Therefore try to understand the mystery of the Buddhas, the holy masters
of the world; forsake all doubt and uncertainty: you shall become Buddhas;
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