|English translation of |
Holy Saddharma Pundarika
English translation by H.Kern
taken from http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/lotus/
Out of the multitude of Bodhisattvas Mah‚sattvas who had flocked from other worlds, Bodhisattvas eight (times) equal to the sands of the river Ganges then rose from the assembled circle. Their joined hands stretched out towards the Lord to pay him homage, they said to him: If the Lord will allow us, we also would, after the extinction of the Lord, reveal this Dharmapary‚ya in this Saha-world; we would read, write, worship it, and wholly devote ourselves to that law. Therefore, O Lord, deign to grant to us also this Dharmapary‚ya. And the Lord answered: Nay, young men of good family, why should you occupy yourselves with this task? I have here in this Saha-world thousands of Bodhisattvas equal to the sands of sixty Ganges rivers, forming the train of one Bodhisattva; and of such Bodhisattvas there is a number equal to the sands of sixty Ganges rivers, each of these Bodhisattvas having an equal number in their train, who at the end of time, at the last period after my extinction, shall keep, read, proclaim this Dharmapary‚ya.
No sooner had the Lord uttered these words than the Saha-world burst open on every side, and from within the clefts arose many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Bodhisattvas with gold-coloured bodies and the thirty-two characteristic signs of a great man, who had been staying in the element of ether underneath this great earth, close to this Saha-world. These then on hearing the word of the Lord came up from below the earth. Each of these Bodhisattvas had a train of thousands of Bodhisattvas similar to the sands of sixty Ganges rivers; (each had) a troop, a great troop, as teacher of a troop. Of such Bodhisattvas Mah‚sattvas having a troop, a great troop, as teachers of a troop, there were hundred thousands of myriads of kotis equal to the sands of sixty Ganges rivers, who emerged from the gaps of the earth in this Saha-world. Much more there were to be found of Bodhisattvas Mah‚sattvas having a train of Bodhisattvas similar to the sands of fifty Ganges rivers; much more there were to be found of Bodhisattvas Mah‚sattvas having a train of Bodhisattvas similar to the sands of forty Ganges rivers; Of 30, 20, 10, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Ganges river; of 1/2, 1/4, 1/6, 1/10, 1/20, 1/50, 1/100, 1/1000, 1/100,000, 1/10,000,000, 1/100 X 10,000,000, 1/1000 X 10,000,000, 1/100 X 1000 X 10,000,000, 1/100 X 1000 X 10,000 X 10,000,000 part of the river Ganges. Much more there were to be found of Bodhisattvas Mah‚sattvas having a train of many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Bodhisattvas; of one koli; of one hundred thousand; of one thousand; Of 500; Of 400; Of 300; Of 200; Of 100; Of 50; Of 40; Of 30; Of 20; Of 10; Of 5, 4, 3, 2. Much more there were to be found of Bodhisattvas Mah‚sattvas having one follower. Much more there were to be found of Bodhisattvas Mah‚sattvas standing isolated. They cannot be numbered, counted, calculated, compared, known by occult science, the Bodhisattvas Mah‚sattvas who emerged from the gaps of the earth to appear in this Saha-world. And after they had successively emerged they went up to the StŻpa of precious substances which stood in the sky, where the Lord PrabhŻtaratna, the extinct Tath‚gata, was seated along with the Lord S‚kyamuni on the throne. Whereafter they saluted the feet of both Tath‚gatas, as well as the images of Tath‚gatas produced by the Lord S‚kyamuni from his own body, who all together were seated on thrones at the foot of various jewel trees on every side in all directions, in different worlds. After these Bodhisattvas had many hundred thousand times saluted, and thereon circumambulated the Tath‚gatas, from left to right, and celebrated them with various Bodhisattva hymns, they went and kept themselves at a little distance, the joined hands stretched out to honour the Lord S‚kyamuni, the Tath‚gata, and the Lord PrabhŻtaratna, the Tath‚gata
And while those Bodhisattvas Mah‚sattvas who had emerged from the gaps of the earth were saluting and celebrating the Tath‚gatas by various Bodhisattva hymns, fifty intermediate kalpas in full rolled away, during which fifty intermediate kalpas the Lord S‚kyamuni remained silent, and likewise the four classes of the audience. Then the Lord produced such an effect of magical power that the four classes fancied that it had been no more than one afternoon, and they saw this Saha-world assume the appearance of hundred thousands of worlds replete with Bodhisattvas. The four Bodhisattvas Mahisattvas who were the chiefest of that great host of Bodhisattvas, viz. the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva called Visishtak‚ritra (i.e. of eminent conduct), the Bodhisattva Mahasattva called Anantak‚ritra (i.e. of endless conduct), the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva called Visuddhak‚ritra (i.e. of correct conduct), and the Bodhisattva Mahasattva called Supratishthitak‚ritra (i.e. of very steady conduct), these four Bodhisattvas Mah‚sattvas standing at the head of the great host, the great multitude of Bodhisattvas stretched out the joined hands towards the Lord and addressed him thus: Is the Lord in good health? Does he enjoy well-being and good ease? Are the creatures decorous, docile, obedient, correctly performing their task, so that they give no trouble to the Lord?
And those four Bodhisattvas Mah‚sattvas addressed the Lord with the two following stanzas:
And the Lord answered the four Bodhisattvas Mah‚sattvas who were at the head of that great host, that great multitude of Bodhisattvas: So it is, young men of good family, I am in good health, well-being, and at ease. And these creatures of mine are decorous, docile, obedient, well performing what is ordered; they give no trouble when I correct them; and that, young men of good family, because these creatures, owing to their being already prepared under the ancient, perfectly enlightened Buddhas, have but to see and hear me to put trust in me, to understand and fathom the Buddha-knowledge. And those who fulfilled their duties in the stage of disciples have now been introduced by me into Buddha-knowledge and well instructed in the highest truth.
And at that time the Bodhisattvas Mah‚sattvas uttered the following stanzas:
This said, the Lord declared his approval to the four Bodhisattvas Mah‚sattvas who were at the head of that great host, that great multitude of Bodhisattvas Mah‚sattvas, saying: Well done, young men of good family, well done, that you so congratulate the Tath‚gata.
And at that moment the following thought arose in the mind of the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Maitreya and the eight hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Bodhisattvas similar to the sands of the river Ganges: We never yet saw so great a host, so great a multitude of Bodhisattvas; we never yet heard of such a multitude, that after issuing from the gaps of the earth has stood in the presence of the Lord to honour, respect, venerate, worship him and greet him with joyful shouts. Whence have these Bodhisattvas Mah‚sattvas flocked hither?
Then the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Maitreya, feeling within himself doubt and perplexity, and inferring from his own thoughts those of the eight hundred thousand myriads of kotis of Bodhisattvas similar to the sands of the river Ganges, stretched out his joined hands towards the Lord and questioned him about the matter by uttering the following stanzas:
Meanwhile the Tath‚gatas, who had flocked from hundred thousands of myriads of kotis of worlds, they, the creations of the Lord S‚kyamuni, who were preaching the law to the beings in other worlds; who all around the Lord S‚kyamuni, the Tath‚gata, were seated with crossed legs on magnificent jewel thrones at the foot of jewel trees in every direction of space; as well as the satellites of those Tath‚gatas were struck with wonder and amazement at the sight of that great host, that great multitude of Bodhisattvas emerging from the gaps of the earth and established in the element of ether, and they (the satellites) asked each their own Tath‚gata: Where, O Lord, do so many Bodhisattvas Mah‚sattvas, so innumerable, so countless, come from? Whereupon those Tath‚gatas, answered severally to their satellites: Wait awhile, young men of good family; this Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva here, called Maitreya, has just received from the Lord S‚kyamuni a revelation about his destiny to supreme, perfect enlightenment. He has questioned the Lord S‚kyamuni, the Tath‚gata, about the matter, and the Lord S‚kyamuni, the Tath‚gata, is going to explain it; then you may hear.
Thereupon the Lord addressed the Bodhisattva Maitreya: Well done, Agita, well done; it is a sublime subject, Agita, about which thou questionest me. Then the Lord addressed the entire host of Bodhisattvas: Be attentive all, young men of good family - be well prepared and steady on your post, you and the entire host of Bodhisattvas; the Tath‚gata, the Arhat, is now going to exhibit the sight of the knowledge of the Tath‚gata, young men of good family, the leadership of the Tath‚gata, the work of the Tath‚gata, the sport [i.e. magic display of creative power, lÓl‚, synonymous with m‚y‚.] of the Tath‚gata, the might of the Tath‚gata, the energy of the Tath‚gata.
And on that occasion the Lord pronounced the following stanzas:
After uttering these stanzas the Lord addressed the Bodhisattva Mahasattva Maitreya: I announce to thee, Agita, I declare to thee: These Bodhisattvas Mah‚sattvas, Agita, so innumerable, incalculable, inconceivable, incomparable, uncountable, whom you never saw before, who just now have issued from the gaps of the earth, these Bodhisattvas Mah‚sattvas, Agita, have I roused, excited, animated, fully developed to supreme, perfect enlightenment after my having arrived at supreme, perfect enlightenment in this world. I have, moreover, fully matured, established, confirmed, instructed, perfected these young men of good family in their Bodhisattvaship. And these Bodhisattvas Mah‚sattvas, Agita, occupy in this Saha-world the domain of the ether-element below. Only thinking of the lesson they have to study, and devoted to thoroughly comprehend it, these young men of good family have no liking for social gatherings, nor for bustling crowds; they do not put off their tasks, and are strenuous. These young men of gyood family, Agita, delight in seclusion, are fond of seclusion. These young men of good family do not dwell in the immediate vicinity of gods and men, they not being fond of bustling crowds. These young men of good family find their luxury in the pleasure of the law, and apply themselves to Buddha-knowledge.
And on that occasion the Lord uttered the following stanzas:
The Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Maitreya and those numerous hundred thousands of myriads of kotis of Bodhisattvas were struck with wonder, amazement, and surprise, (and thought): How is it possible that within so short a moment, within the lapse of so short a time so many Bodhisattvas, so countless, have been roused and made fully ripe to reach supreme, perfect enlightenment? Then the Bodhisattva Mah‚sattva Maitreya asked the Lord: How then, O Lord, has the Tath‚gata, after he left, when a prince royal, Kapilavastu, the town of the S‚kyas, arrived at supreme, perfect enlightenment on the summit of the terrace of enlightenment, not far from the town of Gay‚, somewhat more than forty years since, O Lord? How then has the Lord, the Tath‚gata, within so short a lapse of time, been able to perform the endless task of a Tath‚gata, to exercise the leadership of a Tath‚gata, the energy of a Tath‚gata? How has the Tath‚gata, within so short a time, been able to rouse and bring to maturity for supreme, perfect enlightenment this host of Bodhisattvas, this multitude of Bodhisattvas, a multitude so great that it would be impossible to count the whole of it, even if one were to continue counting for hundred thousands of myriads of kotis of ∆ons? These Bodhisattvas, so innumerable, O Lord, so countless, having long followed a spiritual course of life and planted roots of goodness under many hundred thousands of Buddhas, have in the course of many hundred thousands of ∆ons become finally ripe.
It is just as if some man, young and youthful, a young man with black hair and in the prime of youth, twenty-five years of age, would represent centenarians as his sons, and say: 'Here, young men of good family, you see my sons;' and if those centenarians would declare: 'This is the father who begot us! Now, Lord, the speech of that man would be incredible, hard to be believed by the public. It is the same case with the Tath‚gata, who but lately has arrived at supreme, perfect enlightenment, and with these Bodhisattvas Mah‚sattvas, so immense in number, who for many hundred thousand myriads of kotis of ∆ons, having observed a spiritual course of life, have long since come to certainty in regard to Tath‚gata-knowledge; who are able to plunge in and again rise from the hundred thousand sorts of meditation'; who are adepts at the preparatories to noble transcendent wisdom, have accomplished the preparatories to noble transcendent wisdom; who are clever on the Buddha-ground, able in the (ecclesiastical) Council and in Tath‚gata duties; who are the wonder and admiration of the world; who are possessed of great vigour, strength, and power. And the Lord says: From the very beginning have I roused, brought to maturity, fully developed them to be fit for this Bodhisattva position. It is I who have displayed this energy and vigour after arriving at supreme, perfect enlightenment. But, O Lord, how can we have faith in the words of the Tath‚gata, when he says: The Tath‚gata speaks infallible truth? The Tath‚gata must know that the Bodhisattvas who have newly entered the vehicle are apt to fall into doubt on this head; after the extinction of the Tath‚gata those who hear this Dharmapary‚ya will not accept, not believe, not trust it. Hence, O Lord, they will design acts tending to the ruin of the law. Therefore, O Lord, deign to explain us this matter, that we may be free from perplexity, and that the Bodhisattvas who in future shall hear it, be they young men of good family or young ladies, may not fall into doubt.
On that occasion the Bodhisattva Mahasattva Maitreya addressed the Lord with the following stanzas: